From American Swiss cheese to the more uncommon, Tête de Moine Cheese, Sarah Bond – food scientist – is going in-depth about 19 substitutes for gruyere cheese. Whether you need it for a recipe or just want to try new cheeses, we’re breaking down the best gruyere cheese substitutes here!
What is Gruyere Cheese?
Gruyere is a Swiss cheese variety named after the Swiss town of Gruyères. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, and is made from cow’s milk. It is a firm cheese that melts very well, making it the gold standard for use in fondue and French onion soup, but also a great option for grilled cheese sandwiches.
The nutty flavor pairs well with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, spinach, or sliced ham, so it goes well on any cheese board. Gruyere is the go-to cheese for potatoes Au Gratin, or really any Au Gratin recipe. While Cheddar is the American favorite for mac & cheese, gruyere deserves at least an honorable mention, and Gruyere is the clear favorite in the European mac n cheese known as German Kasespatzle.
How Is Gruyere Cheese Made?
Production starts by heating cow’s milk in large vats to a temperature around 93-95F (34-35 C). A lactic acid bacterial starter culture is added to the milk which helps to acidify the milk and initiate the fermentation process. The enzyme rennet is added to the milk to coagulate it. This causes the milk to curdle and form a gel-like substance. This coagulated milk is cut into small curds, and the curds are then stirred to release whey. The size of the curds can affect the texture of the final cheese.
The curds are then gently cooked to expel yet more whey and develop the desired texture before the curds are placed into molds and pressed to further remove whey and shape the cheese. The cheese wheels are then salted either by dry salting or brining. Salt enhances the flavor, helps preserve the cheese, and influences its texture.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Gruyère is aged from six months to over a year. During this critical time, the cheese develops its characteristic flavor and texture. Traditionally, Gruyère is aged in cool, humid caves. While this is not strictly adhered to, many varieties of gruyere sold today are still cave-aged. The environmental conditions in the caves contribute to the development of the cheese’s unique characteristics.
What does Gruyere Cheese Taste Like?
Gruyere is a firm, pale yellow cheese with a smooth, creamy texture when melted. The flavor of Gruyère is generally described as nutty, slightly sweet, and savory. It has a complex taste that can vary depending on factors such as the age of the cheese and each manufacturer’s nuances in their production methods.
Young Gruyère tends to have a milder, creamier taste, while aged Gruyère develops a more robust flavor. As it ages, the cheese can also develop small, crunchy crystals, which add a delightful texture to the cheese.
19 Gruyere Cheese Substitutes
- Emmental Cheese
- Fontina Cheese
- Jarlsberg Cheese
- Comté Cheese
- Appenzeller Cheese
- Maasdam Cheese
- Raclette Cheese
- Le Brouere Cheese
- L’Etivaz Cheese
- Gouda Cheese
- Edam Cheese
- Engleberg Cheddar Cheese
- Graviera Cheese
- White Cheddar
- American Swiss Cheese
- Dubliner Cheese
- Wensleydale Cheese
- Tête de Moine Cheese
There is a whole world of different types of cheese you could use as an alternative to Gruyere. We are going to list 19 in the order the group of us here at Live Eat Learn preferred them. We don’t claim this to be either scientific or expert, just the result of a whole lot of test cooking and recipe tasting.
What is Emmental Cheese?
Also known as Emmentaler, it is a Swiss cheese that originated in the Emmental region of Switzerland. It is a hard cheese made from cow’s milk, with a pale yellow color and characteristic holes. Emmental is typically aged for three to four months and has a mild, nutty flavor. The holes in the cheese are formed during the fermentation process when carbon dioxide is released.
Why is Emmental a good substitute for Gruyere?
Emmental has a similar texture and flavor which is admittedly a bit milder than Gruyere. Both cheeses are Swiss in origin and share a mild, nutty taste. Emmental also melts well, making it a good choice for recipes that require the gooey, melty goodness of Gruyere, such as in quiches, hot sandwiches, or fondue. It is also often used in Germany as a substitute in Kasespatzle. I visited my parents in Germany most summers while in college, and have to say that if you haven’t tried kasespatzle instead of mac and cheese, you really ought to.
What is Beaufort Cheese?
Beaufort is a firm, cow’s milk cheese that hails from the Savoie region in the French Alps, and is named after the Beaufortain Valley. The cheese has a pale yellow interior with a smooth, creamy texture. Its flavor can range from fruity and nutty to slightly tangy. Beaufort is typically aged for five to twelve months.
Why is Beaufort a good substitute for Gruyere?
The two cheeses share a similar Alpine origin and firm texture, and the melting properties of Beaufort are comparable to Gruyère, allowing it to be used in various dishes. In France, it is often used in gratins, quiches, and fondues.
What is Fontina Cheese?
This is a semi-soft cheese that hails from the Valle d’Aosta region in Italy. It is named after the local pastureland and is made from whole cow’s milk. Fontina has a pale yellow interior with a strong, earthy flavor. The cheese has a smooth and elastic texture, with tiny holes scattered throughout the interior. It is typically aged for about three months.
Why is Fontina a good substitute for Gruyere?
Fontina is an excellent substitute for Gruyere due to its similar texture and flavor. Both cheeses share a semi-soft consistency and have a rich, nutty taste. Fontina melts well, making it a suitable replacement in dishes where Gruyere is called for. It is often used in fondues, but works well in gratins, and sandwiches.
Fontina has a protected designation of origin (PDO) status in the European Union, meaning that true Fontina can only be produced in the designated regions. This makes it a little pricey, but no more so than cave-aged Gruyere.
What is Jarlsberg Cheese?
This is a Norwegian cheese known for its mild, nutty flavor and distinctive large holes. It was created in the 1950s as an imitation of Swiss Emmental. The cheese is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese made by a unique process that involves adding specific bacteria to the milk, forming the characteristic holes during the fermentation process. The cheese is then aged for several weeks to develop its flavor. It has a smooth, creamy texture and a mild, slightly sweet taste.
Why is Jarlsberg a good substitute for Gruyere?
Jarlsberg has similar meltability and a similar mild, nutty flavor. It can be used in dishes that require melted cheese, such as quiches, fondue, and sandwiches, providing a creamy texture and a mild taste reminiscent of Gruyere. You will also find it in some gratins recipes instead of the more common Gruyere.
What is Comté Cheese?
Comté is a French cheese hailing from the Jura region. It is a firm, unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese with a nutty flavor. Comté is aged from a few months to several years, resulting in different intensities of taste and texture.
Comté cheese is crafted from the milk of Montbéliarde or French Simmental cows. The milk is collected from local farms and processed in cooperatives. The cheese-making process involves pressing the curds into large wheels, which are then aged in cellars. Comté’s distinctive flavor comes from the alpine grasses the cows graze on.
Why is Comté a good substitute for Gruyere?
Comté is an excellent substitute for Gruyere due to its nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Comté also has good melting properties, making it suitable for recipes that call for melted Gruyere. Not surprisingly, it is a good bit more expensive than Gruyere. We suggest using the younger less expensive cheese as a sandwich substitute and aged Comté in cheese boards or in French onion soup.
What is Appenzeller Cheese?
This is another Swiss cheese that originates from the Appenzell region. It’s a semi-hard, cow’s milk cheese that has a unique and robust flavor. The production of Appenzeller is strictly regulated, and it is aged for about three to four months. During the aging process, the cheese is washed with a blend of herbs and spices, which contributes to its distinct taste and appearance. The cheese has a smooth texture and a pale yellow color.
Why is Appenzeller a good substitute for Gruyère?
Like other suitable alternatives to Gruyere, appenzeller has a similar semi-hard texture and melts well. It has a rich, nutty flavor, making it a good substitute for Gruyère in many recipes like quiches, and gratins, and of course, is a reasonable option for fondue.
Appenzeller is one of the few Swiss cheeses that is still made using raw milk. The unique blend of herbs and spices used during the washing process is a closely guarded secret, known only to a select few individuals in the production chain. This may be part of the reason Appenzeller is a bit pricey.
What is Maasdam Cheese?
This is a Dutch cheese that closely resembles Swiss Emmental as it was created as a hybrid of Gouda and Emmental. It is a heavily aged cheese with the distinctive holes of Swiss cheese. Maasdam is known for its mild, nutty flavor, a smooth, creamy texture, and a flavor close to Gruyere.
Why is Maasdam a good substitute for Gruyere Cheese?
Maasdam is a good substitute for Gruyere due to its nutty flavor and smooth texture. While it may not have the exact same depth of flavor as Gruyere, the similarities make it suitable as a replacement wherever you might use Gruyere.
What is Raclette?
Raclette is both a dish and a cheese used to make a cheese dish native to Switzerland. The cheese is heated, traditionally in front of a fire, and boiled new potatoes or meat are held beneath to catch the dripping cheese.
Today Swiss restaurants often use a heat lamp to melt the cheese and just drip the cheese over a whole plate full of food vs single pieces. The name “raclette” comes from the French word “racler,” which means “to scrape,” referring to the traditional method of melting the cheese and scraping it onto potatoes, bread, or vegetables.
Raclette, the cheese, is a semi-hard cheese that originated in Switzerland. The cheese is made from cow’s milk and is typically aged for about three to six months. It has a smooth, creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor.
Why is Raclette a good substitute for Gruyere?
Raclette has similar melting qualities and flavor (sort of) to Gruyere. Both kinds of cheese have a rich, creamy texture when melted, so using Raclette in fondue is an easy swap. Raclette tends to be a bit saltier than Gruyere.
Le Brouere Cheese
What is Le Brouere Cheese?
This is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese that hails from the Lorraine region of France. It is a washed-rind cheese made from cow’s milk, known for its creamy texture and robust flavor. The name “Le Brouere” is derived from the region’s local dialect and refers to the ripening cellars where the cheese matures, not unlike cave aging of Gruyere though it is not aged as long.
Why is Le Brouere a good substitute for Gruyere?
Le Brouere’s rich and creamy texture, coupled with its nutty and savory undertones, make it a suitable substitute for Gruyere. Both cheeses share a somewhat similar flavor, offering a blend of sweetness and earthiness. Le Brouere’s ability to melt well also makes it a good choice in recipes where Gruyere is called for, such as in fondue or gratins. Le Brouere is often used in quiche recipes, a dish Gruyere goes well in.
What is L’Etivaz Cheese?
L’Etivaz is a Swiss cheese that hails from the Vaud Alps in Switzerland. This cheese is a classic Alpine variety, and its production is closely tied to traditional methods. It is a raw cow’s milk cheese and is known for its rich and nutty flavor.
This is a more expensive substitute as the production of L’Etivaz is a labor-intensive process. The cheese is made exclusively from the milk of cows grazing in alpine pastures. The milk is heated in copper cauldrons over an open wood fire, and the cheese is then aged for a minimum of 130 days.
L’Etivaz is one of the few cheeses still produced in the traditional Swiss Alpine manner. The cheese is made only during the summer months when the cows are grazing on high-altitude pastures, contributing to its unique taste and higher price.
Why is L’Etivaz a good substitute for Gruyere?
Some cheese experts assert that L’Etivaz was the forerunner to Gruyere which would suggest it is an excellent substitute for Gruyere. It shares a nutty and rich flavor, meltability, and texture.
What is Gouda?
Gouda is the most popular cheese in the Netherlands. I lived in Rotterdam for five years, and can say this is no participation ribbon. The Dutch love their cheese. This semi-hard cheese is made with cow’s milk and like Gruyere is patiently aged.
Gouda is mild and creamy with a caramel flavor when young, and takes on an increasingly sharp, nutty, more robust flavor with age. Gouda is aged from a few weeks to 7 years depending upon the flavor desired.
Why is Gouda a good substitute for Gruyere?
Gouda is a good substitute for Gruyere due to its meltability though its taste is by no means a match. It has a similarly smooth and creamy texture when melted, making it suitable for a variety of dishes where Gruyere is commonly used, such as fondues, macaroni and cheese, warm sandwiches, and creamy soups.
What is Edam Cheese?
Edam cheese is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands. It is known for its distinctive round shape and mild, nutty flavor. The cheese has a pale yellow interior and a recognizable red wax coating. Edam is traditionally made from cow’s milk and is one of the oldest cheeses still in production. The wax coating helps preserve the cheese and the aging process contributes to its firm texture and mild taste.
Why is Edam a good substitute for Gruyere?
Edam’s mild nutty flavor is not a match for Gruyere, but its similarity in texture and its ability to melt well make it a reasonable alternative where the distinctive Gruyere flavor is not crucial. It is typically a little less expensive than a cave-aged Gruyere. We like Edam on cheese boards. It is a great option in our ski hill charcuterie. I came up with this for ski trips while living in Holland. It is easily backpackable, and makes a great classy snack on the slopes, on hikes, or really anytime.
Engleberg Cheddar Cheese
What is Engleberg Cheddar Cheese?
This is a type of cheddar that originates from the United Kingdom and is named after that region in the UK. Englebert is a firm and smooth-textured cheese made from cow’s milk with a flavor fairly close to Gruyere. Engleberg, like Gruyere, is typically aged for 5 months or longer, resulting in a sharper flavor.
Why is Engleberg a good substitute for Gruyere?
Engleberg Cheddar can be a suitable substitute for Gruyere due to its sharp and nutty flavor reasonably similar to Gruyere. Its meltability is a plus. Cheddar cheese is one of the most popular and widely consumed cheeses globally. The name “cheddar” is not protected, leading to various types and styles of cheddar worldwide.
What is Graviera Cheese?
Graviera is a Greek cheese produced mainly on the Island of Crete. It is typically made from sheep’s milk, although there are variations using a mix of sheep and goat milk. Graviera has a firm texture and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. The aging process contributes to its distinct flavor and texture.
Why is Graviera a good substitute for Gruyere?
While the flavor may differ slightly, the two cheeses share enough similarities to be interchangeable in many recipes, especially those that require melting and a rich, savory taste.
What is White Cheddar Cheese?
This popular cheese variety originated in England but is now produced worldwide. It’s made from cow’s milk and undergoes a cheddaring process, where the curds are cut into small pieces, stacked, and then turned to create its characteristic texture. The name “white cheddar” refers to its pale color, which is natural and not the result of any additional ingredients.
Why is White Cheddar a good substitute for Gruyère?
This is a suitable, though perhaps not ideal, substitute for Gruyère due to its sharp and tangy flavor. While it lacks some of the nuttiness of Gruyère, it offers a robust taste that works with a lot of recipes. Its melting characteristics also make it a versatile cheese for cooking. Use it in macaroni and cheese and hot sandwiches.
What also makes it a good alternative to Gruyere is that people just like it. Cheddar cheese is the second most popular cheese in the United States, after mozzarella (thanks largely to pizza). It is also a good substitute because it is cheaper than most of the other options, so on days when the money tree just isn’t doing its thing this is an easy option.
American Swiss Cheese
What is American Swiss Cheese?
Also simply known as Swiss cheese in the United States, this is a type of cheese with its roots in Switzerland. It is characterized by its distinctive holes (eyes) and a mild, nutty flavor. While it shares similarities with traditional Swiss Emmental, American Swiss often has a milder taste.
It is made from cow’s milk, and the production involves a fermentation process with bacteria. The cheese is aged for different durations depending on the desired flavor and texture.
Why is American Swiss cheese a good Gruyere substitute?
It has a mild and slightly nutty flavor, and while it isn’t a taste match and may lack the complexity of Gruyere, it provides a creamy texture and melts well. It is suitable for dishes that require a smooth and gooey consistency.
It is also inexpensive and readily available. Use it in sandwiches, burgers, and hot dishes where a mild and meltable cheese is desired. Oh, and we do like Gruyere on the classic American hamburger.
What is Dubliner Cheese?
Dubliner is a hard cheese that originated in Ireland. It is a cow’s milk cheese with a smooth texture and a sweet, nutty flavor. Dubliner is often compared to cheddar, but has a distinctive taste and texture that sets it apart.
Dubliner is typically aged for about 12 to 18 months. During this period, it develops a firm and crumbly texture. The aging process also imparts a rich, nutty flavor to the cheese.
Why is Dubliner a good substitute for Gruyere?
Dubliner’s sweet and nutty taste makes it a viable alternative to Gruyere. While the flavor is not identical, the nuttiness of Dubliner complements many dishes where Gruyere is traditionally used. Additionally, though Dubliner is a firmer cheese than Gruyere, it melts well, making it suitable for recipes that require a melting cheese like Gruyere.
What is Wensleydale Cheese?
Wensleydale is an English cheese originating from the Wensleydale region in North Yorkshire. It is a crumbly, moist cheese with a mild and clean flavor. Traditionally, it was made from sheep’s milk, but today cow’s milk versions are more common. The cheese is aged for a relatively short period, usually around three weeks, resulting in a fresh and crumbly texture.
Why is Wensleydale a good substitute for Gruyere?
The flavor and texture of Wensleydale aren’t a match for Gruyere, but it is an inexpensive substitute that we think is close enough. While it lacks the nuttiness of Gruyere, its texture and ability to melt make it suitable for dishes like sandwiches, salads, or desserts where Gruyere might be too strong.
Tête de Moine Cheese
What is Tête de Moine Cheese?
Tête de Moine is a Swiss cheese originating from the Jura region. Its name translates to “Monk’s Head,” and the cheese is traditionally shaved into thin rosettes using a special knife called a girolle. Tête de Moine is made from cow’s milk and has a semi-hard texture. The cheese is aged for about two to three months, developing a robust and slightly spicy flavor. Its unique shape is achieved by the specific method of cutting the curds during production.
Why is Tête de Moine a good substitute for Gruyere?
While Tête de Moine differs in flavor from Gruyere, its meltability and distinct taste make it an interesting substitute. If you like a stronger cheese, this may be a good option for you. It brings a bold and unique flavor to dishes, and its ability to be shaved thinly allows for creative presentations.
If you don’t like a cheese that is a bit “smelly”, then perhaps try one of the other options we listed. Hot sandwiches and cheese boards are good opportunities to try Tête de Moine.
This wraps up our look at Gruyere cheese substitutes. If you are looking for some Gruyere recipes, head over to Live Eat Learn, and if there is some other cheese you’re interested in check out 53 Types of Cheese. And, as always, happy cooking!