11 Best Gruyère Cheese Substitute Options

Finding the perfect Gruyère substitute can be a key culinary quest, especially when this nutty, slightly sweet staple is not available or you’re exploring dietary alternatives. In this post, we’ll guide you through a range of cheeses and non-dairy options that not only mimic Gruyère’s smooth melting qualities but also its distinctive taste.

closeup of block of gruyere cheese

Gruyère’s smooth melting qualities but also its distinctive taste. Whether you’re whipping up a classic fondue, a hearty French onion soup, or any dish that traditionally relies on the unique flavor profile of Gruyère, we’ve got you covered with the best alternatives to keep your meals deliciously on track.

What is Gruyère Cheese?

Gruyère cheese is a hard yellow cheese that originates from the town of Gruyères in Switzerland. It’s actually from the Swiss Alps!

It’s made from cow’s milk and is well-loved for its rich, creamy, slightly nutty taste. Gruyère is a staple in fondue recipes due to its smooth melting qualities. (Gruyere mac and cheese is next level!)

As it ages, the flavor of Gruyère can range from sweet and nutty to more complex and assertive, with a slightly grainy texture developing over time. 

Now that you’re an expert on this delicious type of cheese, let’s take a look at some substitutes for Gruyere that have a similar flavor profile and texture. Because let’s be honest, whoever has all the ingredients they need?

Best Gruyere Cheese Substitutes

Swiss Cheese

Swiss Cheese, often associated with Emmentaler, is known for its mild, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor, along with its signature holes or “eyes.” It melts well and has a smooth, creamy texture, making it a versatile substitute for Gruyère in cooking and baking.

Best Used For

Ideal in fondue, sandwiches, Starbucks bacon Gruyère egg bites, and gratins, where its melting qualities and mild flavor can shine.

Comté Cheese

Comté is a French cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, offering a complex flavor profile that ranges from nutty and creamy to fruity, depending on its age. Its excellent melting properties and depth of flavor make it a fine stand-in for Gruyère.

Best Used For

Great for use in French onion soup, croque monsieur, and traditional fondue recipes.

Beaufort Cheese

Beaufort is another French cheese, similar to Comté and Gruyère, with a smooth, velvety texture and a slightly sweet taste. It melts beautifully, making it suitable for any recipe that requires a rich, creamy cheese. This cheese is one of the many culinary gifts from France!

Best Used For

Perfect for gratins, soufflés, and savory pastries

Edam Cheese

Edam is a semi-hard cheese from the Netherlands with a mild, slightly salty flavor and a firm texture. While not as intense in flavor as Gruyère, it can melt well and offers a subtle, nutty taste. I’m a huge fan of this Dutch cheese!

Best Used For

Works well in baked dishes, sandwiches, and cheese platters.

Jarlsberg Cheese

Jarlsberg comes from Norway and is known for its nutty, mild, and slightly sweet flavor, similar to Swiss cheese. It has large holes and a creamy texture, melting easily.

Best Used For

Ideal in cooking where its melting characteristics are desired, such as in quiches, omelets, and on pizza.

selection of fancy cheese

Raclette Cheese

Raclette is a semi-hard cheese that is especially known for its melting properties, making it a popular choice for the dish of the same name. It has a slightly sweet, milky flavor with a smooth texture.

Best Used For

Excellent for melting over vegetables, in sandwiches, or in traditional raclette dishes.

Engelberg Cheese

Engelberg is a less commonly known cheese but serves as a good substitute for Gruyère due to its similar texture and flavor profile. It’s a Swiss cheese that melts well and can add depth to dishes.

Best Used For

Suitable for fondues, baked dishes, and anywhere you’d enjoy the creamy, nutty flavor of Gruyère.

Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese, originating from the Netherlands, is a semi-hard cheese celebrated for its rich, unique flavor and smooth texture. It’s made from cow’s milk and is known for its creamy, slightly sweet taste, which can vary from mild to sharp depending on its age. 

Best Used For

Gouda cheese shines in a plethora of dishes, from melting cheese in baked goods and blending smoothly into soups and sauces, to enhancing the flavor of sandwiches, quiches, and cheese boards. 

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese, especially the medium to sharp varieties, offers a more pronounced flavor than Gruyère but can be used as a substitute due to its excellent meltability and rich taste.

Best Used For

Best used in dishes where a bolder cheese flavor is welcome, such as in casseroles, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Emmentaler Cheese (or Emmental Cheese)

Emmentaler is a Swiss cheese that’s very similar to Gruyère, with a rich, nutty flavor and a smooth melting quality. It’s one of the best substitutes due to its similar origin and taste profile.

Best Used For

Ideal in fondue, baked dishes, and sandwiches, where its flavor and texture can closely mimic that of Gruyère.

Appenzeller Cheese

Unlike a semi-soft cheese, Appenzeller cheese is a semi-hard cheese known for its distinctive, rich flavor that comes from being bathed in a secret herbal brine. It’s semi-hard property also makes it ideal for melting. Originating from the Appenzell region of Switzerland, it boasts a complex taste profile that includes nutty, spicy, and slightly fruity notes. 

Best Used For

In dishes where its bold flavor can shine, such as traditional Swiss fondue, where it adds a spicy depth. It’s also splendid in baked goods, melted in sandwiches, or as part of a cheese platter.

From pasta dishes to potatoes, Gruyere is my favorite melty cheese. You really can’t go wrong with it. Have questions or suggestions about these Gruyere substitutes? Leave them in the comments below. 

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