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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.

6. Edam

Edam is another cheese that can work well as a replacement. This cheese originates from the Netherlands. It is a cheese with a lighter interior and a red waxy exterior (like Babybel cheese). You will need to either shave the waxy shell off or slice it off to consume or cook with this cheese.
Unlike Gruyère, this cheese has a more subtle taste. However, it does offer a bolder flavor the longer it ages. The consistency of Edam is similar to that of Gruyère, making it a suitable replacement in that regard.

This cheese is a good alternative for those who enjoy recipes that include Gruyère but don’t enjoy pungent cheeses. This cheese pairs well with berries, melons, apples, and pears. You’ll find it pairs better with particular fruit depending on how long it is aged.

Use Edam when you want to replace Gruyère on a cheese platter. It also has a lovely melty consistency when you use it in cooked recipes like pasta. As the flavor is milder, you’ll need to use a larger quantity of this cheese to come close to the taste that Gruyère provides. In general, you’ll want to use about 1.3x the amount required by the recipe.

7. Beaufort

Beaufort cheese is one variety that dates to the time of the Romans, or potentially before. This French cheese requires a large amount of milk for creation. Depending on the variety of cheese made, about 106 gallons are needed to make 88 pounds of cheese. Beaufort requires 130 gallons of milk.

The milk used to create Beaufort is explicitly sourced from Beaufort cows in France. Three varieties are available summer Beaufort, winter Beaufort, and Beaufort chalet d’alpage. This cheese is in the Gruyère family, so that it will offer some similar flavor notes. However, when trying Beaufort for the first time, you’ll notice this cheese is much creamier in taste.

The cows that create this cheese eat flowers and grass on the mountaintops; the cheese also provides these flavors. The color of the cheese also changes depending on when the milk is harvested. Expect Beaufort to range in color from white to yellow.

Beaufort is another cheese with a milder taste than Gruyère. It still works as an excellent replacement in cooked dishes where it provides a melty texture or with fish.

8. Appenzeller

Appenzeller is another Swiss cheese that originates from a small area in Switzerland named Appenzell. This hard cheese is lightly colored and offers a fruity taste when consumed.

There are three varieties of this cheese which are defined based on the length of time they are aged and their taste. The three available types include classic, surchoix, and extra. Appenzeller extra is aged for the longest amount of time – six months or longer.

As with most cheeses, this cheese gains sharpness the longer it ages. Both Gruyère and Appenzeller offer bold flavors with nuttiness. Appenzeller works perfectly in dishes in which you crave a strong cheese flavor.

Depending on the variety of Appenzeller purchased, it is made with skim or full-fat milk mixed with brine. The result is a salty flavor with an exterior that can not be consumed. This cheese also works excellently in cooked dishes, which require a melty consistency.

9. Graviera

Graviera is the only Greek cheese that can be found on this substitute list. Like many of the above substitutions, graviera is created from cow’s milk. It also provides a similar taste to Gruyère.

This cheese hails from a Greek island named Naxos. A specific type of cow is bred and raised on this island that produces Graviera cheese. It is a hard cheese that provides a sweet, caramel flavor to dishes.

Due to its popularity, it is also made in other areas of Greece, including Crete and Lesbos. In some areas, it is made from sheep’s milk. Use graviera in a 1:1 ratio when replacing Gruyère. This cheese works best in dishes that have Mediterranean flavors – specifically Greek-inspired cuisine.

Use this hard cheese in salads and cooked dishes. It provides an excellent melty consistency when cooked. Use graviera for appetizers and main entrees.

FAQ’s

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.

Is Gouda a good substitute for Gruyère?

Yes, Gouda works well as a substitute for Gruyère. You will notice a taste difference as Gouda has a richer taste than Gruyère. However, it melts well and can be served on a charcuterie platter, making it an excellent replacement.

Is Swiss cheese the same as Gruyère?

The answer to this is yes and no. Gruyère is a type of Swiss cheese. However, there is a multitude of Swiss cheeses available that vary in color and flavor like Jarlsberg. Some have a more similar taste than others.

Summary

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.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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