Delicious traditional Swiss melted raclette cheese on diced boiled or baked potato served in individual skillets with salami and potatoes.
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9 Best Substitutes For Raclette Cheese

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Raclette is one of those cheeses people have seen everywhere, but don’t know what it is. This is the cheese that is melted and scraped off a big wheel directly onto a plate of food!

It’s fun, interactive, and has an unbelievably smooth, creamy, and cheesy consistency. However, it can be very difficult to find in most parts of the world. Not to mention it can be expensive!

So, what are the best substitutes for Raclette cheese? First, only choose alternatives with similar melting properties — after all, that’s what makes this cheese unique! Then, look for a cheese with a similar flavor. Your best choices would be Gruyère, Emmental, Gouda, and Appenzeller.

In today’s jam-packed article, we will discuss everything you need to know about choosing the best Raclette substitute. We’ve also naturally included a comprehensive list of the best substitutes you can try!

What Is Raclette Cheese?

Scraping melted Raclette cheese from wheel onto bread.

So, what exactly is this cheese? Raclette is a type of cow’s milk Swiss cheese that is specifically used to prepare a dish that is also called Raclette.

This dish is popular in many Alpine countries and has gained traction in other Western countries as well.

Traditionally, this dish consists of melted cheese (Raclette cheese) poured over boiled potatoes

The cheese used for this dish comes in large wheels.

Raclette is heated with a special machine or in front of an open fire. Then, the melted part is scraped onto the boiled potatoes (or anything else on the plate).

Other popular additions to this dish include pickled onions, dried and cured meats, and gherkins.

Today, this technique is used for virtually any dish. Many restaurants and establishments will melt Raclette over bread, pasta, steaks, fries, vegetables, and more. 

As we have mentioned, Raclette became popular in other parts of the world. And why wouldn’t it? With such a fun and unique way of serving such a tasty cheese, it’s a wonder it took this long! And who doesn’t love melted cheese?

Delicious traditional Swiss melted Raclette cheese on diced boiled or baked potato served in individual skillets with salami and potatoes.

Unfortunately, Raclette isn’t available everywhere. And if you do manage to get your hands on some, the price tag alone will likely give you a heart attack!

Cheese is already expensive enough as is, but the fact that you have to buy (and store) a big wheel makes it all the more unaffordable.

For this exact reason, many people started going to the internet, searching for the ultimate substitute for Raclette cheese. 

Characteristics Of Raclette

Now, let’s look at some more specific characteristics of Raclette cheese. This way, you will better understand what you are aiming to substitute! This will be especially helpful if you have never actually tasted this delicacy.

Raclette cheese rounds in storage while refining.

This cheese is made and shaped into very large wheels. When sold, they get cut into halves, quarters, and maybe even eighths (if you’re lucky enough to find them).

The shape makes it possible to melt a specific section of the cheese. Once it’s melted, you can still hold on to the unmelted section and scrape off what you want!

Raclette is classified as a semi-hard cheese — that means its texture is very similar to cheddar! It is firm enough to hold its shape at room temperature, but it is also soft to touch, creamy, and melts in your mouth.

Once melted, it gets a very pliable, thick, but slightly runny consistency. Some people like to describe it as stringy.

Raclette is a noticeably salty cheese with prominent undertones of sweetness and nuttiness. It is a cheese that gets aged for a minimum of 3 months.

However, the older it gets, the more prominent the flavors are. This cheese can be aged for up to 36 months! So if you love aged cheeses,  imagine the complex flavors that they will have developed.

Choosing The Best Substitute For Raclette Cheese

Now, let’s get to the fun part — choosing the best substitute! There are a few things to consider before just picking any type of cheese.

The most important is how you want to use the cheese. Substituting function, in this case, is harder than substituting flavor or texture.

Use 

You likely want to substitute the entire melting technique that Raclette rounds allow you to create — this can only be achieved using specific types of cheese. 

However, if you are only looking to substitute Raclette in a cheese sauce, create a dip, or use it as a garnish, your options are far broader!

For the technique element, you will need to choose a cheese option that can create a super melty texture. Then, you also need a large block which you can melt the cheese from. 

If you are only looking for the gooey texture, you may be able to get away with grilling or microwaving slices of cheese over the food.

If you don’t care about the texture or consistency of your substitute, any option will do as long as it tastes good!

The important thing is to decide how you want to use the substitute, before picking one at random.

Taste

Naturally, if you are looking for a similar flavor, you need to match that of Raclette cheese. As we have mentioned, this cheese is very salty with notes of sweetness and nuttiness. You can also look at some aged cheese options.

Gruyere arguably has the closest flavor to Raclette, especially if you choose a 6- or 9-month option. 

Texture

This kind of goes hand in hand with the “use” option. If you want to try the Raclette melting technique, your substitute will need to have a similar firm and melted consistency. 

However, if you are making a grilled cheese sandwich or incorporating it into a casserole, you can almost choose any cheese that melts.

Stay away from ricotta, chevre/chevin (soft goat’s cheese), feta cheese, halloumi, paneer, queso fresco, and queso panela. All of these are commonly-found examples of cheese that don’t melt at all.

Price

Now, this is all beside the point if you found the ultimate substitute, but can’t afford it. And let’s be honest — some types of cheese are ridiculously expensive for us everyday folk. So, first set your price, then choose a substitute to match.

If you want to treat yourself, sure, spend a bit more. But don’t spend your monthly food allowance on one block of cheese. Instead, buy 20 different ones!

Also, have a look at what is available in your area. When a piece of cheese is imported from overseas, it will be more expensive.

9 Best Substitutes For Raclette Cheese

Below we have compiled a list of our top 9 substitutes for Raclette cheese. We tried to include options that can substitute at least one element of Raclette, whether it’s the flavor, texture, functionality, or consistency.

We are sure that you will find your perfect match here. So, let’s get right to it!

1. Gruyère

A high view of a piece of Gruyère cheese cut on a board.

Gruyère is arguably the best (or at least one of the best) substitutes for Raclette.

This sweet cheese has a salty and sweet flavor, especially options aged 6-9 months. When the cheese is still young, it has a similarly nutty undertone as Raclette does.

Furthermore, it has a semi-hard texture that makes it perfect for melting and scraping off the wheel.

Gruyère can be used in every way Raclette is. And the best part, it is even easier to find and often more affordable!

If you look for Gruyère in the stores, it is usually sold in either slices or quarter wheels. You can easily find half or whole cheese wheels in specialty stores.

2. Appenzeller

Slices Of Appenzeller Cheese Isolated On White Background.

Young-aged Appenzeller has an incredibly unique and similarly nutty flavor to Raclette. It isn’t nearly as salty or noticeably sweet, but it is still delicious in its own way.

This cheese is available in more aged versions, but 3-4 month options are ideal for Raclette dishes.

Appenzeller is also a Swiss cow’s milk cheese. However, the big difference between it and Raclette (other than flavor) is its consistency. It is a hard cheese, meaning it isn’t as pliable or soft, and usually doesn’t have any eyes (holes). 

Many people overlook Appenzeller as a good Raclette substitute because of this. But, in reality, it is one of the best! Its melted consistency is super creamy, silky smooth, and rich in flavor. And, it comes in wheels as well.

The most frustrating part of this substitute is that you won’t be able to find it everywhere. And if you do, you will likely pay a little more due to its rarity in foreign countries.

3. Emmental

Quarter of Emmental cheese head isolated on a white background.

Emmental is a semi-hard Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk. While it is naturally less salty and more on the sweeter side of things, it does come with a variety of aged options.

This cheese perfectly replicates cartoon cheese! It has a bunch of holes (called eyes) in it, making it easily recognizable.

This cheese is sold in wheels, halves, quarters, and eighths. However, you can also get Emmental slices!

While it won’t be as creamy, soft, and smooth as melted Raclette, Emmental can still completely melt and get a good cheesy consistency.

This option is great for melting over food, incorporating into sauces, casseroles, and soups, and for using as a garnish.

4. Gouda

Traditional Dutch Gouda cheese with a piece on top.

Everybody knows Gouda! This cheese is incredibly easy to find across the globe and reasonably affordable.

Gouda is a cow’s milk cheese from the Netherlands that has a semi-hard consistency and comes in a massive variety of ages — another reason why it’s a good choice!

If you don’t like the mature flavor of aged cheese, choose a 1-month Gouda. But, you can find products ranging up to 36 months!

Gouda also has a nutty flavor and is very rich. It can also sometimes have a caramel-like or butterscotch flavor. But, this cheese lacks sweetness, and smoked Gouda is also available. So when pairing it with food, choose the flavors wisely!

5. Asiago

Two slices of asiago cheese on a gray background horizontal format.

Next, we have an Italian cow’s milk cheese: Asiago! The exact consistency of this cheese varies according to its age. On average, it is classified as a hard cheese

The flavor of Asiago is very similar to Parmesan cheese. It has a distinct nuttiness and is very creamy, especially once melted. Once it reaches 9 months in age, its flavor becomes very sharp.

This cheese melts beautifully for Raclette. It is versatile in its use and extremely easy to pair with the flavors of other foods. However, it can be challenging to find and is sometimes pricey (depending on the brand).

One thing to note is that fresh Asiago does exist. Aged for only one month, it is much softer and smoother than its aged counterparts. But make sure that the milk used to make it is pasteurized! Otherwise, there are a lot of risks involved with buying and consuming it.

6. Fontina

Fontina cheese from Aosta Valle, Italy, made with milk from cows grazing in the mountains, slice isolated on white.

Fontina is another Italian cheese that is a must-try, even if you aren’t using it for Raclette!

This is our first semi-soft cheese on the list. What makes this cheese very unique is its flavor!

This is a relatively creamy cheese with an incredibly savory hue and prominently nutty undertones that mimics Raclette cheese beautifully.

As with most lesser-known cheeses, imported Fontina can be hard to find. We still highly recommend using it for Raclette if you want similar melting consistencies and scraping properties!

One thing you should know is that Fontina from the United States doesn’t have the same flavor as imported Fontina, and tends to have a much softer consistency, but it will still work for Raclette.

7. Cheddar

Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese on a Cutting Board.

Cheddar is another odd choice that not many die-hard cheese fans will agree with. But hear us out!

This type of cheese is easy to find, has a relatively mild flavor (even if it is aged), and is affordable. It generally also has nutty undertones as Raclette does!

But, what attracts us most for a Raclette substitute is aged cheddar. These are often semi-hard in consistency and melt incredibly well. You can also use them in a wide variety of ways, which makes up for their different flavors.

If you’re short on time and don’t want to spend a ton, (aged) cheddar is your best option for a Raclette substitute.

8. Beemster

Cheese collection, Dutch ripe hard cheeses made from cow milk in the Netherlands close up.

Beemster is a very unique cheese that will melt like Raclette, but won’t taste anything like it.

This Dutch cheese is relatively easy to find depending on where you’re located. That’s because of its distinctively sharp and salty flavor!

Beemster is an aged cheese, so you don’t often get young varieties. However, this is part of what makes it so delicious! One thing to be mindful of is how you pair it avoid very salty foods as well as acidic flavors!

And, because of its hard consistency, Beemster is also relatively versatile. It can be grated or shaved for garnishes or melted into a wide variety of foods. And, of course, it is a great choice for Raclette dishes.

9. Kasseri

Kasseri Greek traditional cheese with olives and rusk bread.

Kasseri is one of the most underrated cheeses out there, likely because it isn’t common in Western areas!

Kasseri is a type of Greek-Turkish cheese that is made of sheep’s milk — some farmers also include goat’s milk in their recipes!

It is a medium-hard cheese that has a uniquely stringy consistency. It is extremely creamy and rich in flavor. Many describe it as having a predominantly buttery flavor with hints of sweetness.

While the flavor and texture don’t match Raclette, the melting properties certainly do. Even if you cannot get your hands on large pieces of Kasseri, try using it as a substitute for Raclette sauces, toppings, and dips.

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