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Gruyere Cheese Substitute

When someone mentions Gruyère cheese, do you have dishes that instantly pop into your mind? More than likely, you’ve had this delicious cheese before – especially if you’ve ever tried French onion soup. Below you’ll find a Gruyère cheese substitute list for when you have a craving but don’t have any on hand.

package named Gruyere Cheese, sliced cheese and cutting board

What is Gruyère cheese?

Gruyère cheese is a delightful, aged cheese that is both versatile and flavorful. It can be added to dishes like mac n cheese or used in fondue. While there are multiple locations Gruyère is sourced from (including France), it is most often associated with Switzerland. This cheese originated in a southern Swiss town named La Gruyère.

Gruyère cheese is created in 70- pound wheels and has a bold, nutty flavor. It has a hard rind and presents as a firm cheese. While some cheeses are created from goats or other animals, Gruyère cheese is made from whole, pasteurized cow’s milk.

Types Of Gruyère Cheese

There are many different types of Gruyère cheese varieties, though there is one prominent Gruyère cheese. It is known as Gruyère AOP Classic or Gruyère AOP. This AOP title was established in 2001 and ensured any gruyere made needs to stay within certain specifications. You’ll find Gruyère AOP is most commonly used in recipes. It sits aging for 6-9 months. The flavor profile is sweet and on the softer side. An additional Gruyère type is Gruyère AOP Reserve, which is aged ten months and has a harder, crumbly consistency. It offers a darker color and bolder flavor. Other available options include Gruyère AOP Bio (organic), and Gruyère AOP d’Alpage.

Substitutes and Alternatives

1. Jarlsberg

Jarlsberg cheese is an excellent substitute for Gruyère cheese, especially since both are produced in Switzerland. It was created in Norway and continues to use a Norway recipe. Strangely enough, it continues to be classified as Swiss cheese.

There are a few differences between these cheese, starting with appearance. Jarlsberg has holes throughout the cheese due to the way it’s produced, while Gruyère AOP is required to have minimal holes in it, and small ones at that. Beyond that, it is not as firm as Gruyère and airs on the sweeter side. You’ll still get a nutty flavor when using Jarlsberg.

This cheese is a perfect replacement for Gruyère in dishes that require cheese to be melted, like fondue and cheesy sandwiches. It also works well sliced on a cheeseboard. Besides the subtle flavor difference and sweetness provided by Jarlsberg, you’ll end up with a similar tasting dish.

2. Emmental (Swiss Cheese)

Emmental cheese is another Switzerland-derived cheese option listed as one of the best Gruyère cheese substitutes. You’ve most likely heard of this cheese referred to as Swiss cheese instead of Emmental. Emmental also works very well for dishes that warrant gooey, melty cheese. This is because it uses the same bacteria used to process Gruyère.

Swiss cheese has a much more subtle flavor, so while it might be okay in many dishes, it is more suitable for meals like French onion soup. Opt for using this cheese as a replacement in recipes that have more robust flavors. In dishes where the cheese is the star ingredient, Emmental will come up lacking.

3. Raclette

Raclette cheese is another Swiss cheese that originates from Valais, a mountain-filled area in Switzerland. This cheese is known explicitly for the way it is served, which is also called raclette. It involves melting the top cheese section, usually with a blow torch, and scraping it onto a plate or over other food. Raclette works well as a Gruyère substitute because it is a harder cheese and also melts well.

This cheese is an excellent choice for dishes like fondue. It provides a similar nutty taste that is experienced in Gruyère. Beyond nuttiness, it also has a spicy and flowery taste that is quite different from Gruyère cheese. If you’re seeking something that melts well and has a bold flavor, opt for raclette. If you are interested in a cheese that has a similar taste to Gruyère, choose Jarlsberg instead.

4. Comté

This cheese does not hail from Switzerland but instead from France. It is considered one of the most popular cheeses in France, and for a good reason – it has an intense and complex mixture of flavors. When the milk is collected throughout the year affects the color of comté cheese. When the milk is collected during the hotter months, the cheese has a yellow appearance, and during the colder months, it appears much lighter. The flavor of this French cheese and texture can also vary depending on how long it has been aged. Fresher cheese will be sweeter and have a more subtle flavor. Comté cheese aging for longer has strong flavor notes and is often described as having a little bit of a crunch in each bite.

It works as a replacement for Gruyère dishes due to its excellent ability to melt and creamy texture. This is another option that can be used for fondue or French onion soup. Any French-inspired dish works well with this cheese. Comte has an interesting flavor profile that differentiates itself from Gruyère besides the nuttiness present. When consuming comté cheese, expect notes of chocolate, butter, and spicy pepper. The flavor of this cheese is on the sweeter side. Choose comté for its melty nature to replace Gruyère as the flavor will be quite different.

5. Fontina Val d’Aosta

Fontina Val d’Aosta is an Italian cheese that is also an excellent Gruyère cheese substitution. Fontina is made from unpasteurized milk, unlike Gruyère. However, it boasts similar flavors and can be added to multiple types of dishes. When eating fontina, you can expect a buttery and nutty flavor. Beyond these flavors, you’ll be able to taste subtle flowery and herby notes. It is also considered a firm cheese and melts well in dishes. Additionally, fontina is considered a pungent cheese, just like Gruyère. Aka, it is deemed a “stinky cheese.”

With the similarities in flavor and meltiness, they are often swapped in recipes easily. Opt for fontina for grilled cheese sandwiches, meat-based entrees, and Italian-style dishes. Besides slight flavor differences, fontina is almost a perfect match as a replacement to Gruyère.


What does Gruyère cheese taste like?

It has a robust and nutty flavor profile that is noticeable in dishes. It is also described as salty, buttery, and smooth.

What is similar to Gruyère cheese?

Out of all of the alternatives, Jarlsberg is the most commonly mentioned. The similar flavor and ability to melt well into dishes help distinguish this excellent Gruyère substitute. Emmental is often recommended as the next best option because of its more mild flavor and excellent melting cheese abilities.

What is so special about Gruyère cheese?

Gruyère cheese has been around since the 12th century and is one of the only Swiss cheeses known for not having large holes. The flavor of this cheese depends on how long it is aged. It can range from nutty to earthy.

What do you use Gruyère cheese for?

Gruyère cheese is excellent for eating on its own in slices and in recipes where it can be melted and enjoyed like a Croque Monsieur. Other uses include cheesy dips and even quiches.


Following the above recommendations for gruyere substitutes, you’ll have plenty of options when you can’t find this delectable cheese in your kitchen. All of the above choices provide an excellent melty texture; the main differences lie in flavor.

If you must choose one option as the best substitute, choose to add Jarlsberg to your recipe. The flavor will be the most like that of Gruyère. Emmental and Fontina fall in close second place after Jarlsberg.

If the above options aren’t available at your local grocery store, you can also opt for Edam, Graviera, or Beaufort cheese. These range from Dutch to Greek origins and offer either similar flavors or textures.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document easy real food recipes perfect for busy families. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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