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Best Provolone cheese substitute (12 Must-Try Ingredients)

In this article, we will help you find the best provolone cheese substitute. You can use it in your favorite recipes. Whether you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich or a pizza, there’s a provolone cheese alternative out there that can satisfy your cravings and dietary needs.

sliced provolone cheese on top of parchment paper.

What Is Provolone Cheese?

Provolone is a semi-soft cheese that hails from Italy. Cheesemakers make them in a “pasta filata” style, which translates to “spun paste.” This technique entails kneading the cheese in hot water.


Doing so gives the cheese a fibrous texture. For this reason, cheeses that use this method are also called “stretched-curd” or “pulled-curd” cheeses.


There are 2 kinds of provolone cheese: provolone dolce and provolone piccante.

Provolone dolce is usually aged for a maximum of 4 months. And Provolone piccante, on the other hand, ages for a maximum of 2 years.


Provolone tastes nutty, buttery, and smoky with a hint of spiciness. After all, the cheese goes through a smoking process, giving it a distinct flavor and aroma.

As with any other cheese, provolone gets sharper as it ages. Because of this, the dolce has a sweeter and milder flavor when compared to the piccante.

People make provolone cheese from cow’s milk. That said, this Italian cheese is not suitable for vegans.


This cheese has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) certification. The PDO status means that authentic provolone can only come from a specific region in Italy. As a result, provolone is an expensive cheese.

Because of these factors, you might need a substitution for provolone cheese.

Plant-Based Provolone Cheese Substitutes

1. Vegan Cheese Alternatives

Nowadays, there is an abundance of vegan cheese alternatives in the market. There is a vegan version for almost every cheese available. These alternatives are perfect swaps for provolone if you have a strict vegan diet.

The good thing is that you can choose the flavor and the texture that will fit your dish. And you are also free to use an option that does not break the bank.

2. Tofu-Based Provolone Cheese

As the name implies, tofu cheese comes from tofu, a soy product. Tofu has a neutral taste, so you can use it as a base for a “cheese” recipe. It will soak up any flavor you add and give you a decent alternative to provolone cheese.

Remember, though, that tofu cheese will not melt as provolone does. But you can experiment regarding texture. You can make crumbly cheese or creamy cheese using tofu.

For this reason, you can use tofu cheese as a spread or a casserole ingredient. But you cannot expect the same results when using it in recipes that need melted provolone. Skip it for grilled cheese sandwiches.

3. Nut-Based Provolone Cheese

Nut-based cheeses can also serve as a substitution for provolone cheese. These cheeses use either cashews or almonds, mostly.

Provolone comes with a nutty flavor to begin with. So, using a nut-based cheese alternative is a great idea.

You need to consider that people with nut allergies cannot have it. And these cheeses also do not melt well since nuts do not melt with heat.

You must avoid using the if you need melted cheese in your recipe.

4. Soy-Based Provolone Cheese

Soy cheese or soya cheese is just what it sounds like. People make these cheeses using soy milk instead of animal milk.

Because of this, soy-based provolone substitute options are perfect for vegans. However, people with soy allergies cannot have them. Not to mention, soy-based cheeses are also not good melting cheeses.

Use soy-based cheeses for snacking, sprinkling, and sandwiches. But opt for other swaps on this list for cheese fondue and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Dairy-Based Provolone Cheese Substitutes

1. Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese or Emmental cheese is an excellent provolone cheese substitute. It melts beautifully, making it great for dishes requiring melty cheese.

Swiss cheese is also aromatic and sweet. You should not worry about drastically changing your dish’s flavor. But you have to note that your recipe will lack the smoky taste of provolone.

Swiss cheese has holes that make them look different. Because of its unique appearance, your swap will be noticeable in cheese platters. Still, using Emmental cheese in cheese fondues and cooked dishes will yield similar results.

2. Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese is among the best substitutes for provolone cheese. After all, they have a similar smooth texture. The best thing about Gouda is that you can choose between young and aged varieties.

As Gouda cheese ages, the flavor gets sweeter. So, if your recipe needs sweet cheese with a mild flavor, choose a mature Gouda. If you need something mild like provolone dolce, go for young Gouda.

Gouda cheese has great melting abilities, too. You can use it in almost any dish that calls for provolone cheese. Melt it in sandwiches, or slice it to enjoy Gouda cheese.

3. Mozzarella Cheese

Low-moisture mozzarella cheese is another cheese you can use. People make it with buffalo milk using the same pasta filata technique. That said, it has similarities with provolone, making it an excellent replacement option.

Both have great melting abilities, too. So, you can use mozzarella in casseroles, sandwiches, and fondues.

The most significant difference is that mozzarella is softer than provolone. If you need to grate it, stick it in the freezer to get it firm enough.

Plus, mozzarella is a mild cheese, especially when compared to provolone. This mild taste of mozzarella is perfect if you find provolone too strong.

You can use mozzarella to replace provolone in almost all recipes.

4. Fontina Cheese

Yet another great alternative to provolone cheese is fontina cheese. Fontina cheese has a flavor profile similar to provolone- buttery, sweet, and nutty.

It is a perfect flavor match. The texture is also the same; fontina cheese is smooth and velvety. Not only that, but fontina is also an easy cheese to melt.

Because of these reasons, fontina cheese is the best substitution for provolone cheese.

Meat-Based Provolone Cheese Substitutes

1. Turkey or Chicken Breast

Turkey or chicken breast both have mild flavors. And this characteristic makes them a decent alternative to provolone cheese.

Obviously, with any meat you use to replace provolone, there will be a change in flavor and texture.

Turkey or chicken breast won’t melt. But when you slice them thinly, you can use them to replace provolone in some recipes, as they won’t affect the flavor too much.

Turkey or chicken breast can step in for provolone cheese in casseroles and pastry fillings.

2. Ham or Prosciutto

Ham or prosciutto has a salty and smoky flavor that can mimic provolone cheese. Because of their taste, you can use either ham or prosciutto in some dishes that call for provolone, too.

Use them in sandwiches, soups, and casseroles. But skip these options for grilled cheese sandwiches and fondue recipes. Note that these are meat-based, so vegans will also find them unsuitable.

3. Roast Beef or Pastrami

Roast beef and pastrami are also acceptable provolone alternatives. Both these meat products have a similar smoky taste. They can elevate your dishes by giving a hint of smokiness without provolone.

Then again, these are not cheeses. So, expect a strong meaty taste from them, which will affect the flavor profile of dishes.

Consider that you will have a very different dish than one that uses provolone.

This change is not always unwelcome, though. If you want a unique twist to your cheese dishes, roast beef or pastrami can provide that.

4. Salami or Pepperoni

If you’re in a pinch, you can use either salami or pepperoni to replace provolone cheese. These meats have an intense smoky and salty taste, so they are not as versatile as provolone cheese.

You cannot use them in all recipes that need provolone. Again, they cannot give you a melty and consistency. And their dark color will make your dish look different.

Most importantly, they have a strong meaty taste that you will not find in provolone. Use them in dishes that meld well with meaty flavors, like stews, casseroles, and soups.

Using Provolone Cheese Substitutes Tips

Using a substitution for provolone cheese might give you a very different flavor.

Opt for swaps with a similar flavor profile if you want a similar-tasting dish. Fontina cheese is the closest alternative in this case. But if a change in flavor does not bother you, you can use any of the substitutes above.

The texture of your chosen alternative can also affect your dish. If your recipe calls for melting the cheese, you must select a melty cheese like mozzarella. But if the recipe only calls for slicing the cheese, then your options widen. You may use pepperoni, chicken breast, Swiss cheese, and vegan alternatives.

Lastly, it would be best to consider who you’ll serve your dishes to. When feeding vegans, a good alternative would be tofu-based and nut-based cheeses.

What Cheese Is Similar To Provolone Cheese?

Fontina cheese shares many similarities with provolone cheese. Like provolone, fontina melts beautifully and has the same nutty buttery flavor. Because of this, you can use fontina in all dishes that call for provolone.

What Can You Replace Provolone Cheese With?

Aside from those listed above, other options are available to replace provolone. You can opt for Muenster cheese, a young Cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese. Other decent options include Monterey Jack cheese, Edam cheese, and Gruyere cheese.

Does Provolone Cheese Melt?

Yes, provolone cheese melts well. It is perfect for cheese melt sandwiches, baked pasta dishes, and cheese fondue.


If you need a substitution for provolone cheese, you have many choices. You can use plant-based, dairy-based, and meat-based alternatives. Soy and nut cheeses are suitable for vegans, so you can use them instead.

Fontina, Emmental, and Gouda cheese are top choices in the dairy-based category. Lastly, turkey breast, ham, and roast beef are the best meat-based swaps for this semi-soft cow cheese.

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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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