Why Is American Cheese Orange? (Answered And Explained)

American cheese is a blend of Cheddar and Colby cheese. It usually has a mild salty taste with a creamy texture. These types of cheese are white and yellow. So, with the knowledge that the blend of American cheese is usually white and yellow, you’ll wonder, why is American cheese orange?

American cheese is orange because the producers season it with annatto. Annatto is an orange-red condiment that adds color to food. It is from the seeds of a tropical tree known as achiote(Bixa Orellana) found in America. Seasoning the cheese with annatto changes the color and makes it turn orange. 

You may wonder why American cheese producers decide to season their cheese with orange, whether for its uniqueness or to improve the taste. You may also want to know the difference between white and orange American cheese or if the American orange cheese is better. Don’t panic! This article has all the answers you need

Is Any Cheese Naturally Orange?

There’s nothing like cheese that is naturally orange. The reason is that milk doesn’t have any orange pigment, and cheese is a product of milk. So, no cheese is naturally orange. To get orange cheese, add food coloring when processing it. 

However, cheese coloring didn’t start today. People have used it for a while, and many cheese users now prefer colored cheese to any other type of cheese. Back in the 16th, dairy farmers started experiencing low sales in their cheese business. People said the cheese was of low quality. 

Due to the low sales, the dairy farmers decided to devise a means to generate more sales. The means they finally agreed on was to add color to the cheese. So, they opted for this method, and people began to love cheese more. 

Americans then opted for this method and started seasoning their cheese with annatto, a food coloring. At first, this was to improve the quality of the cheese and make it attractive. But over time, it now focuses on the taste and flavor the food coloring adds to the cheese. 

Despite adding annatto to their cheese to improve the color and taste, Cheddar cheese is the only recognized orange American cheese. 

Cheddar cheese isn’t naturally white because it is a product of milk. During the production process, the producers add annatto food coloring, which makes the color of the cheese turn yellow. However, there are cheddar cheeses that aren’t orange. These cheese types are known as Vermont cheddar or white cheddar. 

Why Is American Cheese White And Orange?

American cheese is orange and white because the producers add annatto food coloring to one and not the other. Adding color makes one taste slightly different from the other. It also makes it more attractive than the other. 

Cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese in America. It comes in different varieties, and you can blend it with Colby. This cheese type also blends with food coloring like annatto. So, to get different blends of cheddar cheese, Americans decided to add food coloring to the cheese. They call one “white cheddar cheese” and the other “orange cheddar cheese.”

So, when you ask why American cheese is white and orange, the reason is just that the cheesemakers decide to add food coloring to some and leave some white. 

As a cheese lover, choosing your type of cheese may be based on preference. However, there may be other reasons why Americans prefer white cheddar cheese to orange cheddar cheese.

Difference Between White And Orange American Cheese

You may think that white and orange American cheese does not have differences because they’re a product of the same brand of cheese known as cheddar. But that’s not absolute. There’s a difference between the two. For one, the colors are different, and both have different tastes.

Despite the color and taste, there are other differences between white and orange American cheese. Here are some you need to know. 

  1. White American cheese is more expensive than orange cheese. 
  2. The taste of the white American cheese differs from the orange cheese because the annatto the cheesemakers add to the cheese is a bit peppery. This peppery texture adds a different taste to the orange cheddar cheese. 
  3. White American cheese contains more crumbs than orange cheese.
  4. You can blend the white American cheese in any dish you choose. But the orange cheese selects food that blends with its color. 
  5. White American cheese is made by processing the cheddar into a smooth paste. This smooth paste forms a block of cheese. The orange cheese is made by adding the annatto food coloring to it. 
  6. Maybe people feel like there’s a special attachment to orange cheese. Due to this, they prefer orange cheese to white American cheese. 

Despite these differences, you can choose white or orange American cheese. It depends on preference. If you want to blend your cheese into any non-specific food, use white cheese. However, if you wish to add it to a specific food like macaroni, use orange cheese. 

As long the type of cheese blends with the food you want to use it with, you shouldn’t be afraid to try a new recipe. 

Why Is American Cheddar Cheese Orange?

American cheddar cheese is orange because the producers add annatto food coloring to it to improve the taste and appearance. The reason for adding color to cheddar cheese was due to preference. But, over time, it has become a variety that American cheese lovers use for a specific meal

With the introduction of orange cheddar cheese, you may wonder if it’s a healthy choice. Well! The truth is that the color is only an addition and doesn’t have any side effects. So, you can blend your orange cheese into your food without fear. However, the only disadvantage is that it is only suitable for specific kinds of food that require coloring. 

There you have it! The reason American cheese is orange. It doesn’t matter if you choose to use white or orange American cheese for your meals. Both are healthy because they’re of the same brand. However, when making a choice, ensure that the cheese color suits the kind of food. 

About The Author

Hi There, I'm Lisa. I'm a 30-year-old with a passion for cooking, art, and dogs (not always in that order). ShiftyChevre is a collection of my adventures with cheese and other kitchen-related topics.

Leave a Comment