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9 November 2021

Best extra mature cheddar cheese

We pitted Cathedral City and Pilgrims Choice against cheaper own brands to see which cheese came out on top
FW
Felix Wilson
 Extra Mature Cheddar on cheese board

Whether it’s on a cheese board, in a sandwich or as the bubbling crown on your lasagne, extra mature cheddar cheese is a deliciously versatile ingredient. But do you need to spend more for the big brands to get a great-tasting cheddar? 

In September 2021, we tested Cathedral City and Pilgrims Choice, alongside 10 cheaper own-label options from the likes of Asda, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Lots of own brands delivered brilliant results, but we only uncovered one standout supermarket cheese tasty enough to beat its rivals and be given Best Buy status. While one of the premium cheddars was our joint lowest scorer, after losing marks for its lack of flavour. 

Keep reading to find out which supermarket topped our cheesy taste test and the premium cheddar that came bottom of the table. 

Best extra mature cheddar cheese

Only logged in Which? members can view our test results and tasting notes below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the extra mature cheddar cheeses on test. To get instant access join Which?

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All prices correct as of October 2021

Aldi Emporium British Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£1.79 (45p per 100g)

Aldi Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Aldi is among the cheapest own-brand cheeses we tested. Can it hold up against the competition?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Aldi.

Asda Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

 £1.99 (50p per 100g)

Asda Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

How does Asda’s offering compare with other supermarkets?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda.

Cathedral City Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£2.79 (80p per 100g)

Cathedral City Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Cathedral City claims its cheese delivers a ‘rich yet creamy flavour with every bite’. But does it live up to the hype?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose.

Co-op British Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£2.20 (£1.10 per 100g)

Co-op  Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Co-op's extra mature cheddar is one of the priciest cheeses we tested. Is it worth you forking out?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Co-op (in-store only).

Iceland Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£2 (50p per 100g)

Iceland Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Iceland is better known for its frozen foods. So will its chilled extra mature cheddar be able to beat the other brands?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Iceland.

Lidl Valley Spire Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£1.79 (45p per 100g) 

Lidl Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Lidl's offering costs less than half as much as the most expensive brand we tested. But does it pack the same punch?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Lidl (in-store only).

M&S British Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£2.75 (50p per 100g)

M&S Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

M&S claims that this extra mature cheddar is made at an award-winning creamery. But is it worthy of a Best Buy?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Ocado

Morrisons Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£2 (50p per 100g)

Morrisons Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Morrisons extra mature cheddar cheese has slightly fewer calories per 100g than the other cheddars in our taste test. Find out if that has any effect on its taste and texture. 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Morrisons.

Pilgrims Choice Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£2.59 (74p per 100g)

Pilgrims Choice Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Pilgrims Choice says its extra mature cheddar packs a ‘slight crunch and a mighty, tasty punch’. But how convinced was our tasting panel? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

Sainsbury’s Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

 £2 (50p per 100g)

Sainsburys Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Will Sainsbury’s extra mature cheddar stand out among our cheesy crowd? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Sainsbury's.

Tesco Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

£2 (50p per 100g)

Tesco Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Is the UK’s biggest supermarket hiding the best extra mature cheddar cheese in its chilled aisle? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Tesco.

Waitrose Essential Extra Mature British Cheddar Cheese

£2 (57p per 100g)

Waitrose Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese

Will Waitrose’s extra mature cheddar become an essential addition to your shopping list?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results. 

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Waitrose.

Head to our guide to wines to find out which wine is best paired with cheddar cheese. 

Is extra mature cheddar cheese healthy?

Crowded cheeseboard

Which? nutritionist, Shefalee Loth, explains: 'Cheese is a great source of calcium and protein. It also contains many other nutrients, including iodine, phosphorus and vitamins B2, B5 and B12. However, compared with milk and yoghurt, cheddar is high in fat, saturated fat and salt, so it should be enjoyed in moderation.

'Using a strong, extra mature cheddar should mean you don't have to use as much to appreciate the flavour.'

How many calories are in cheddar cheese?

A typical 30g serving contains around 125 calories, which is about the same as an individual bag of crisps. 

However, the recommended serving size for cheese is only around 30g, which is about the size of a small matchbox – think pocket matches rather than the big ones you’d use to light a barbecue. 

This is roughly enough cheese for a couple of crackers, depending on how thick you slice it.

So although 125 calories doesn't sound like a huge amount, with such a small serving size, it’s very easy to overindulge.

See all of our best food and drink

Can you freeze cheddar cheese?

Man smiling at cheese

Yes, cheddar cheese can be frozen for up to four months. Most hard cheeses will freeze well and without affecting their flavour – great news if you want to bulk buy your favourite cheddar while it's on offer. 

However, it can make the texture slightly more crumbly and harder to slice so its best to use defrosted cheese for cooking.  

See all of our fridge freezer reviews

How sustainable is cheese?

Cheese in general is among the worst offenders for greenhouse gas emissions: at 21.2kg of CO2eq* for every 1 kilo of cheese produced. This is nearly three times more than pork. 

This is largely because cheese comes from ruminants such as cows, who generate significant amounts of greenhouse gas. It's also partly because making cheese is so resource intensive: it takes around 8 to 10 kilos of milk to make a single kilo of cheese.

Eating local cheeses may slightly reduce this impact, but transport typically accounts for very little of the total emissions for these type of food products.

Thinking of cutting down on dairy? Find out which plant-milk alternative is best for you. 

Are cheese packets recyclable?

Most cheese packs aren't suitable for kerbside recycling. 

Terracycle does have recycling drop-off points across the UK, but you may need to travel to find one near you. 

You can use Terracyle's online map to find their locations. 

How we tested extra mature cheddar cheese

The products were assessed by a large panel of consumers who regularly buy and consume extra mature cheddar cheese. 

The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK. 

Each extra mature cheddar cheese was assessed by 64 people.

The panellists rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one. 

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying. The order they sampled the extra mature cheddar cheese was fully rotated to avoid any bias. 

Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others.

The overall score is based on:

  • 50% taste
  • 20% aroma
  • 15% texture
  • 15% appearance

These weightings are based on consumer rankings of the importance of different extra mature cheddar attributes.


*Greenhouse gases are measured in the unit of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq). 100g GHG causes the same environmental damage as 100g carbon dioxide, 4g methane or 0.4g nitrous oxide. 

Source: Data from Poore & Nemecek (2018) and Hannah Richie ‘Environmental impacts of food production’ (2020).