Havarti vs Cheddar: What’s the Difference?

Written By Ollie Cartwright


Havarti and Cheddar are popular choices among cheese enthusiasts. Both have distinct characteristics that cater to various taste preferences and uses. In this comparison, we’ll take a closer look at these two types of cheese, dissecting their origins, textures, and flavours.

Side by side comparison of Havarti and Cheddar with labels

Havarti is a semi-soft Danish cheese known for its creamy texture and mild flavour, while Cheddar, originating from England, is firmer and can range from mild to extra sharp in taste. The main differences are their texture, ageing process, and flavour profiles.

What is Havarti?

Havarti, originally from Denmark, is a semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk. Its creamy and slightly tangy taste with a buttery texture is why it is so popular.

The cheese is typically aged for around three months, though it can be aged longer to develop more robust flavours.

Havarti has small and irregular openings called “eyes” throughout its body and is often flavoured with herbs, spices, or caraway seeds.

What is Cheddar?

Cheddar, hailing from the English village of Cheddar, is a firm cheese made from cow’s milk. It is known for its depth of flavour, which can range from mild and creamy to sharp and tangy, depending on the ageing process, lasting from a few months to several years.

Cheddar has a smooth, firm texture and lacks the “eyes” found in Havarti. It is one of the most popular and widely consumed cheeses worldwide.

Similarities Between Havarti and Cheddar

Obviously, they are both pretty popular cheeses. But there are most things that makes these two similar.

  • Milk Source: Both Havarti and Cheddar are primarily made from cow’s milk, which contributes to their rich and creamy textures.
  • Versatility in Cooking: Despite their textural differences, both cheeses are highly versatile in cooking, finding their way into various dishes, from simple sandwiches to complex cheese platters.
  • Global Popularity: Havarti and Cheddar have both gained international recognition and are widely available in various parts of the world, enjoyed by cheese lovers globally.

Differences Between Havarti and Cheddar

But they are not the same – far from it in fact! Here are the main ways these cheeses differ from one another.

  • Texture: Havarti is semi-soft and creamy, easily sliced and melted, making it ideal for sandwiches and as a table cheese. However, Cheddar is firmer and more crumbly, especially when aged, making it suitable for grating over dishes.
  • Ageing Process: Havarti is typically aged for about three months, resulting in a milder flavour. Cheddar is aged longer, from a few months to several years, resulting in a broader range of tastes from mild to very sharp.
  • Flavour Profile: Havarti offers a mild, buttery, and slightly tangy flavour, making it a more subtle cheese. Cheddar’s flavour is more robust, varying from creamy and mild to sharp and complex.
  • Culinary Uses: Havarti’s creamy texture makes it excellent for melting, ideal for grilled cheese sandwiches and creamy sauces. Cheddar’s firm texture allows for versatile use, from slicing for sandwiches to grating for toppings and baking into savoury dishes.
Can You Substitute Havarti for Cheddar?

Absolutely, you can substitute Havarti for Cheddar in most recipes. Havarti is creamier and milder than Cheddar, so keep that in mind for flavour and texture changes in your dish.

Havarti vs Cheddar: Which Wins?

If you could only eat one or the other from now on, which of these two popular cheeses are getting your vote?

Do You Prefer Havarti or Cheddar?

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