You’re planning to whip up an easy croque monsieur dish, but you discover that you don’t have good-melting gruyere cheese in your pantry upon collecting your ingredients. You scour your nearby supermarket but still can’t get your hands on this Swiss product (or it might be too costly for your budget). If that’s the case, the next best thing to do is to look for a suitable gruyere cheese substitute!
Continue reading to learn how to mix and match dairy products to achieve this ingredient’s signature taste and/or texture. In this short list, we’ve put together 12 of the best gruyere cheese substitute options that you can try for sandwiches, platters, pasta, fondue, baking pastries, and more!
What Is Gruyere Cheese?
To help you choose the most suitable substitute for gruyere cheese recipes, you should first understand what the original main ingredient is and its basic qualities. Essentially, gruyère cheese (sometimes misspelled as guyere or gruyer) is a type of hard cheese made from cow’s milk that hails from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. This Swiss cheese melts incredibly well, so it’s great to use for cheese recipes that need an extra layer of goo.
You might be wondering, what does gruyere cheese taste like? Generally speaking, it has a full-bodied salty flavor with distinct hints of nuttiness and sweetness, although this may vary depending on the producer and length of the aging process. Check out the following sections to find out which cheeses to use for the most effective gruyère substitute.
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Good Melting Gruyere Cheese Substitute Options
In this section, you’ll find types of cheeses suitable for melting that you can use for classic recipes that call for gruyere.
Raclette cheese is a type of Swiss or Alpine cheese that is specifically made and used as an ingredient in the popular French dish of the same name. Traditionally, a serving of a raclette dish won’t be complete without gooey cheese. It’s common practice to heat a wheel of cheese and scrape off the melted parts on top of food. Hence, the cheese used for it has to have a low melting point too.
Since raclette cheese originates from the same region as gruyere and melts really well too, you can use it as a suitable substitute for gruyere cheese. It tastes salty, sweet, and only mildly nutty compared to the original thing. You can best use raclette for grilled vegetables like Swiss chard or in this cheesy asparagus tart. It would also make for a tasty topping for crispy French fries.
Beaufort cheese is often associated with the gruyere cheese family, so it’s not surprising that you can use it as a good substitute. This cheese is AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) certified. Hence, it’s only legally produced using unpasteurized cow’s milk in the Maurienne, Tarentaise, and Beaufortain valleys in the Savoie region of the French Alps. You can guarantee that you’ll be tasting nothing but the prime version when you decide to try it out.
Like gruyere, beaufort is a type of firm cheese. Their similarities don’t stop there, though. Since beaufort also melts really beautifully, you can best use it as a gruyere cheese alternative for baking pastries and making fondue. It’s smooth, with an element of creaminess to it. Plus, their flavors are somewhat close together, as this Alpine-style product gives off the same fruitiness and nuttiness as gruyere.
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Comté cheese is very similar to beaufort and, in turn, gruyere. It’s another type of French cheese, originating from the eastern region bordering Switzerland called Franche-Comté, to be specific. It’s a semi-soft cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk, with varying flavors depending on how long it’s been aged. It tastes kind of similar to Swiss gruyere. Although, younger types have a distinctly milder taste with caramel and butter undertones, developing a nuttier quality with a kick of heat the older they get.
Since comte is also a good melting cheese, most people would say that it’s the best substitute for gruyere among all the cheeses. This ingredient will surely shine as an alternative in broiled and baked recipes, like for making light cheese puffs. Likewise, you can use gruyere as a comte cheese substitute.
Emmental cheese (also known as emmentaler or emmenthaler) is closely related to gruyere since it also has its roots in Switzerland. It’s a semi-soft cheese with large holes called “eyes.” The flavor of emmental can vary, although it often has a nutty and fruity character and it’s stronger compared to generic American Swiss cheese products. This isn’t far from the flavor profile of gruyere, so it’s actually a common substitute.
Not to mention, emmental cheese also melts really well. Some might even prefer it to gruyere when making fondue because its melted state tends to be silkier in terms of texture. Nonetheless, it’s a great substitute for gruyere cheese like in this recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich or this Panera-inspired French onion soup.
Appenzeller is an AOC-certified hard Alpine cheese that’s exclusively made from cow’s milk in the Appenzell district of northeastern Switzerland. It has been around for a long time, dating as far back as 700 years.
The appenzeller cheese has a strong and complex taste that translates into a pungent smell. The flavor of this cheese includes a hint of a grassy element, with the same nuttiness and fruitiness that is often present in most Alpine cheeses. If you plan to use this as a gruyere alternative, you should keep in mind that this ingredient would most probably impart a similar yet stronger flavor to your dish.
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Fontina (With Parmesan Cheese)
When gruyere substitutes are mentioned, you won’t think about cheese blends right off the bat. The most common route is to go for ones that are within the Swiss cheese family, or at least closely related to gruyere. But did you know that you can actually play around with flavors to achieve the signature gruyere taste and consistency?
Fontina is a beige semi-hard Italian cheese that hails from the Aosta Valley near the Alps. This cow milk cheese type is pungent, with a buttery and nutty taste. Mix it with equal parts of your ol’ reliable parmesan cheese to pull off the added fruity quality of gruyere. Parmesan is the American name for the hard and gritty Italian cheese called Parmigiano-Reggiano, so you can also go for products labeled as such. Aside from the flavor, this combo melts well. It’s a great substitute for gruyere in mac and cheese, casseroles, pasta, and salads!
Jarlsberg cheese from Jarlsberg, Norway may seem like an unusual substitute for Swiss cheese, although it completely makes sense when you trace its history. In truth, it’s said to be a direct offshoot of the emmental cheese. It’s even classified as a Swiss or Alpine cheese despite coming from a completely different country. Nowadays, it’s also produced by a few manufacturers in the US with permission from the Norwegian government.
Made from cow’s milk, this Norwegian gem is yellow with holes that can vary in terms of size (usually medium or large). It’s mild-tasting, sweet, and nutty, which is a bit stronger but suitable for a gruyere replacement. In terms of texture, it’s semi-soft, imparting a creamy and buttery mouthfeel. You can have a portion of jarlsberg cheese on its own, although it would make for the perfect substitute in scalloped potatoes, or in this dish of twice-baked potatoes. If you like, you can use it as a topping for some other broiled or grilled gruyere cheese recipe. In the same vein, you can also use gruyere as a jarlsberg cheese substitute.
You might not expect an Irish dairy product to be a contender for answering the question of what is similar to gruyere cheese? However, the award-winning Dubliner proves that it can actually happen. Despite being named after the country capital, this product is actually produced in County Cork in the Republic of Ireland.
Dubliner is often likened to cheddar cheese because of its hard and granular feel. Although, you can absolutely use it as a substitute because it’s quite a similar cheese to gruyere in terms of its complex flavor. This Irish product offers a powerfully sweet, sharp, and nutty flavor all at the same time. It melts really well, too! Use it as an alternative if you want to amplify the taste of your dish.
Graviera comes close to feta in the list of the most popular Greek cheeses. It’s widely produced in different parts of the country, most notably on Crete’s island. With a slightly sweet, nutty, and sometimes spicy flavor, graviera cheese is similar to gruyere in terms of flavor despite being made of sheep’s milk. It has a buttery mouthfeel, and this cheese can melt pretty well too.
We recommend using graviera cheese as a substitute for gruyere to achieve a similar flavor profile and texture. Nevertheless, you can enjoy this Greek cheese on its own or paired with a medium-bodied wine if you wish.
Experience cheese like gruyere with a cut of Le Brouère from the region of Lorraine in France. It may not be as popular as the rest of the cheese types mentioned on this list, but it’s a valid contender since it belongs to the Swiss cheese gruyere family. After all, what could come closer to the ingredient you’re trying to replicate than one of its direct variants?
Le Brouère cheese is a good melting cheese, and it tastes quite like gruyere or comte. You can safely substitute gruyere for this one in any classic recipe to add a French flair to your dish. Although, le brouère might be tougher to find since it’s produced in limited quantities each year. If you do manage to get your hands on it, then you’re in for a treat. Use it as a substitute for gruyere cheese in a quiche or any other dish that you desire.
Best Gruyere Cheese Substitute for Cheese Platters
Now that you have an idea of the gruyere cheese substitutes that you can use for melting, you might be wondering: what can you substitute for gruyere cheese in a charcuterie or cheese platter? Check out this section for some ideas.
Edam cheese is a widely accessible type of cheese from the Netherlands. It takes its name from the town of Edam in Holland. You can find it sold in a sphere-like shape, with a bright and colorful paraffin wax coating.
This Dutch product is classified as a semi-hard cheese that doesn’t spoil and hardens over time. It doesn’t have a pungent smell unlike most cheeses, and it isn’t as fragile. Although edam can be melted, you can also cut it up to serve on your cheese board as a substitute for gruyere cheese. Enjoy its mildly salty and nutty flavor that is reminiscent of gruyere. However, you should also take note that it develops a stronger flavor with age.
Maasdam is another type of Dutch cheese that you can use as a substitute for gruyere in platters and wine pairings. It has a waxed rind like edam, although its color is yellow which is more natural-looking. It’s widely considered as an emmental-style cheese, and you can tell it apart from other Dutch cheeses because it has distinct large holes that develop during the aging process.
Similar to edam, maasdam is semi-hard. Each bite of this cheese gives off a combination of a mildly salty, sweet, and nutty taste, with a fruity aroma. This is similar to gruyere, so it’s an effective alternative. You might enjoy its creamy texture, too!
There’s a Gruyere Cheese Substitute For Every Occasion
Whether you’re looking for a good melting cheese to use for traditional gruyere recipes or one with a similar flavor for wine pairing, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. You can make do with closely related Swiss cheeses to those that originate from completely different countries, as long as you know which feature of gruyere you’re trying to replicate.