Cheddar belongs to a group of hard cheeses and is often made with animal or microbial rennet, which most vegetarians steer clear of. In that case, is cheddar cheese vegetarian?
Cheddar cheese can be vegetarian, as many companies have now switched from animal rennet to a more animal-friendly option, plant-based or microbial rennet.
Therefore, you don’t have to give up your favorite cheesy dishes and recipes.
So yes, some brands of cheddar cheese are considered vegetarian. Keep reading to find out more.
Is All Cheddar Cheese Vegetarian?
Cheese is one product that those switching to a vegetarian lifestyle want to keep in their diet. Luckily, there are many vegetarian-friendly varieties of cheese available.
Cheddar is a type of hard cheese, which means it needs extra help in the production process to achieve the desired texture.
Many brands use animal or microbial rennet to get the taste and texture right.
These kinds of rennet are something that vegetarians avoid in such products. For that reason, most cheddar is not vegetarian.
Plant-based rennet is rapidly replacing animal rennet in the industry.
The calf or genetically modified enzymes are replaced with plant-based alternatives made from artichokes or thistles. This is the primary concern for vegetarians when shopping for cheddar.
Can Cheddar Cheese Be Made Without Rennet?
Cheddar cheese without rennet is hard to find.
Most hard cheeses like Parmesan, cheddar, and Pecorino Morano are made with rennet – plant or animal-based – to achieve a thicker texture.
However, cheeses are available without animal rennet that is plant-based and vegetarian – including cheddar cheese.
What Brand of Cheddar Cheese Is Vegetarian?
When looking for vegetarian cheddar cheese, you want to look at the labels.
In most cases, the producers will label their products to inform the buyers whether they offer vegetarian-friendly goods.
Here are some ways to establish whether a brand of cheddar cheese is vegetarian:
- First, check the product for a “V,” “Cruelty-Free,” or “Animal” friendly label.
- In the ingredients section, look for any mention of rennet or enzymes, such as: “Non-animal rennet” or “Vegetable rennet.”
- Another thing to remember is that Kosher cheeses are 100% vegetarian. This is because Jewish religious rules don’t permit milk and meat to be mixed. So look for the labels: “OK,” “Star K,’ “OU,” and “Tablet Star.”
- Naturally, vegan cheese is vegetarian-friendly. However, as they don’t eat dairy either, their cheese is mainly made with coconut milk, nuts, flour, etc.
Here are some brands to keep an eye on when it comes to vegetarian-friendly cheddar cheese:
- Bass Lake Cheese Factory
- Kirkland Signature (Costco)
- Happy Farms (ALDI)
- Laughing Cow
- 365 Whole Foods
- Trader Joe’s
- Widmer’s Cheese Cellars
What Brands of Cheddar Cheese Are Made with Non-animal Rennet?
There are a few of types of cheddar cheese that are made with non-animal rennet. Read on to see what they are.
This type of cheddar is produced with microbial rennet.
They offer three varieties of cheddar cheese:
- Cabot Vermont Sharp – a customer favorite, it has a consistent flavor that appeals to many consumers.
- Cabot Extra Sharp – has a distinctive cheddar taste that customers often look for specifically.
- Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar – is the company’s “wild card.” It has an even sharper taste than their “Extra Sharp” variation, and the flavor differs from batch to batch.
Kerrygold offers two types of cheddar: “Reserve Cheddar,” aged 24 months, and “Aged Cheddar,” aged 12 months.
This type of cheddar is handmade and has a mild taste.
According to producers, Organic Valley let their cheddar age for 300 days to achieve a better taste.
Labels for Vegetarian Cheddar Cheese
Labels can be tricky.
Producers must label their cheeses with a “V” that marks the product as vegetarian in the UK.
However, this isn’t the case in most other countries – especially in Europe, when the traditional way of making cheese has remained.
There is no such rule that demands producers to label their cheese products in the US.
In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) declares that enzymes of any origin should be simply labeled as “enzymes.”
In this case, your best option would be to look for “Vegan” or “Vegetarian” labels or to ask the producers or employees in your local cheese store.
Naturally, you probably want to avoid cheddar or any other kind of cheese that might be genetically modified (GMO).
If that’s the case, look for a “Non-GMO product” label on the brand of cheese you want to buy.
Note: Keep in mind that many companies change their production process from time to time. Make sure to check the labels of the products you buy every now and then to ensure the product is still vegetarian-friendly.
Is Cheddar Cheese Ramen Vegetarian?
Some brands offer cheddar cheese ramen that is suitable for vegetarians.
In most cases, however, cheddar cheese ramen isn’t vegetarian.
Besides whether the cheddar in the product was made with rennet, beware of ingredients like chicken stock.
Is Kraft Cheddar Cheese Vegetarian?
No. Kraft cheddar cheese isn’t vegetarian. It’s mostly made from cow’s milk and contains microbial rennet.
Is Colman’s Cheddar Cheese Sauce Vegetarian?
No. Colman’s cheddar cheese sauce isn’t vegetarian. However, it can contain eggs and the animal rennet in the cheddar.
Is Mature Cheddar Cheese Vegetarian?
No. In most cases, cheddar is made with animal or microbial rennet, making it unsuitable for vegetarians.
However, some brands use plant-based rennet in the production process.
American cheese has cheddar in it – is it vegetarian?
When it comes to American cheese, it really depends on the brand. Most big brands of American cheese aren’t vegetarian-friendly, but you can find organic and vegan brands that are.
Today’s cheese market is well stocked with diverse options to cater to anyone’s dietary requirements.
For example, although cheddar belongs to the family of hard cheeses, it’s becoming widely available to vegetarians since many companies are switching to plant-based rennet.
You don’t have to give up your grilled cheese or your favorite lasagna recipe.
Do proceed with caution, though, when picking a brand of cheddar at your local store or market.