The objectives of this study were to determine the volatile components responsible for the sensory perception of nutty flavor in Cheddar cheese. Cheddar cheeses with and without nutty flavors were selected by descriptive sensory analysis. Volatile aroma components from Cheddar cheeses with and without nutty flavors were isolated and characterized using solvent extraction with high vacuum distillation, dynamic headspace analysis, gas chromatography-olfactometry, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. More than 50 aroma-active compounds were detected in Cheddar cheeses. Consistent differences were observed between nutty and not nutty Cheddar cheeses. Strecker aldehydes were detected in higher amounts in Cheddar cheeses with nutty flavors compared with Cheddar cheeses without nutty flavors. Strecker aldehydes, dimethyl sulfide, and propionic acid were evaluated in young and aged Cheddar cheese models for nutty flavor by descriptive sensory analysis. Dimethyl sulfide and propionic acid did not contribute to nutty flavor in Cheddar cheese. The addition of Strecker aldehydes to young (<4 mo old) Cheddar cheese models resulted in nutty/malty flavor perceived by sensory analysis. When Strecker aldehydes were incorporated into aged (>9 mo old) Cheddar cheese models, nutty flavor perception increased. Strecker aldehydes contribute to nutty flavor in aged Cheddar cheese.