colby jack cheese

7 Best Colby Jack Cheese Substitutes

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Colby Jack cheese is one of the most popular types of cheese around and for good reason! It has a mild flavor, with a slight tang, and a firm texture that makes it wonderfully versatile.

There are many ways to use Colby Jack cheese, from slicing and topping it on a sandwich to melting it in a sauce or baking it as a casserole topping. However, if you cannot find any Colby Jack, or if you have run out, you will need to find a suitable substitute.

Which are the best substitutes for Colby Jack?

The best substitutes for Colby Jack will depend on what you were initially using the Colby Jack cheese for, as well as the flavor and texture you would prefer the cheese to have. Some of the best substitutes include Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, and more.

Keep reading to find out what you need to look for in a good Colby Jack cheese substitute, as well as the best replacements you can try!

What Is Colby Jack Cheese?

To be able to find the best substitutes for an ingredient, it helps to know as much about the ingredient as possible!

Colby Jack cheese is an American cheese that has a mild flavor, with some tangy notes to it. It is similar to cheddar, but slightly less sharp, and with a little more sweetness.

It is a very versatile cheese due to this mild flavor, as the taste isn’t as overpowering as many other types of cheese.

The light and creamy aroma of Colby Jack isn’t very overwhelming either, and the mild aroma is achieved by only aging the cheese for between one to three months.

Colby Jack cheese has a semi-hard texture that is softer than cheddar but firmer than mozzarella, which makes it great for slicing and shredding.

The color of Colby Jack cheese can range from pale to bright orange, and there might be some holes present in the cheese, but there will not be many.

Colby Jack cheese can be enjoyed in many ways – sliced and used in a sandwich, layered onto a burger and melted, or folded into a cheesy casserole!

What to Look For in a Colby Jack Cheese Substitute

There are so many different types of cheese to choose from, and they all have varying characteristics, such as texture, flavor, and melting ability. When finding a suitable substitute for Colby Jack, you would want to look for a cheese that is as similar as possible.

picking cheese

Here are the various things to consider when choosing a substitute for Colby Jack:


The texture of the cheese plays a really important role. Colby Jack cheese is a semi-hard cheese, and it really would be worth looking for another semi-hard cheese to use in its place.

A cheese that has a similar texture to Colby Jack cheese will have similar attributes when it comes to how the cheese fares with slicing, grating, and shredding, so you do not have to change much in the way of preparation.

The texture of the cheese makes a big difference in a sandwich, wrap, or on a cheeseboard, so it definitely is an important consideration.


One of the biggest factors to consider is the flavor of the cheese you are going to use in place of Colby Jack. You don’t want to end up choosing a cheese that has a vastly different flavor to Colby Jack and have it completely change the meal you are making.

Colby Jack cheese has a mild, creamy flavor, with some sweetness and tang to it, and it isn’t a very overpowering cheese, so you would want something similar.

Look for a cheese that has a mild flavor and some tang to it. You might want something with a little more sharpness to it, but make sure that the sharpness isn’t too strong that it becomes overwhelming.

Melting Ability

If you are going to be using the cheese for cooking, or if you are planning on melting it, then the melting point and melting ability are definitely something to consider.

Not all cheese types melt well, and Colby Jack is a type of cheese that has a great melting ability. It is a popular ingredient in cheese sauces and in cheesy dishes such as Mac’n’Cheese.

Make sure that the substitute cheese you are considering has a good melting ability, and that it will not just clump up or turn rubbery when it is exposed to any heat. It should melt smoothly and creamy, and still retain its mild, yet tangy flavor. Make sure that it is not a cheese that turns oily when melted either.

How You Are Using the Cheese

You will obviously need to consider what you are using the substitute for. If you were going to be making a sandwich with the Colby Jack cheese, the melting ability isn’t too big of a factor. You are also then able to use different-texture cheese, such as a softer feta.

If you were going to be adding the Colby Jack to a sauce or in a baked dish, then you would have to find a substitute that is suitable for this. Think about whether you need to grate, shred, or slice the cheese, and which types of cheese this is easily done with.

The 7 Best Substitutes for Colby Jack Cheese

Now that you know what to look for in a substitute for Colby Jack cheese, take a read through the below best substitutes for Colby Jack, keeping in mind what you are going to be using the cheese for, to find the best substitute for you to use.

1. Cheddar

Cheddar is one of the best substitutes you can use in place of Colby Jack cheese. Both are made in a similar way, and cheddar is a popular cheese that can be purchased at almost every grocery store.

Cheddar comes in a few varieties, and this mostly has to do with how long the cheddar is aged for. If you want a stronger flavor, with quite a bit of tang, then you should choose a matured cheddar.


However, if you want something milder and more similar to Colby Jack, then look for a regular cheddar cheese or a mild cheddar that hasn’t been aged for too long.

You also need to keep in mind that the melting ability of cheddar changes with the amount of time it has been aged for. For a cheddar most similar to Colby Jack when it comes to flavor and melting ability, then a creamy, mild cheddar would be the best option.

If you were looking for cheese for a sandwich, then a slightly sharper mature cheddar would taste delicious.

2. Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack cheese is another great substitute for Colby Jack cheese. Both are made in the USA, and both have a mild flavor and a semi-hard texture. 

Monterey Jack, like Colby Jack, is used in a wide range of ways, from being baked in casseroles, used in sauces and dips, and used in sandwiches and wraps.

monterey jack

The only thing to note is that Monterey Jack has a slightly different taste from Colby Jack. It has some tang to it, but it is sweeter than Colby Jack and is a little more creamy too.

It has a smooth and creamy texture, which means that it melts down really well. When melted, it retains its creaminess, which makes it ideal for sauces, casseroles, and grilled sandwiches.

The color of Monterey Jack cheese is paler than Colby Jack, but unless you are after the darker orange Colby Jack color, this shouldn’t be an issue. 

You can use Monterey Jack as a direct substitute for Colby Jack, using the same amount, preparing it, and even cooking it in the same way, and you will not notice much of a difference at all.

3. Mozzarella

Mozzarella is an Italian cheese, but it is a popular cheese found around the world, so you really will not have a hard time finding some at your local grocery store if you cannot find any Colby Jack cheese.


While mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese, and therefore it has a different texture to Colby Jack cheese, it can still work great as a substitute. It is ideal for topping pasta, pizza, and salads, and it can melt down well, to a stretchy, creamy consistency.

The flavor of mozzarella is milder than Colby Jack cheese, and it has a milkier, fresher flavor, with less tang to it. This will be fine however in a recipe that uses other stronger ingredients, and you might even prefer a milder-tasting cheese to add to your salads or wraps.

Mozzarella comes in a few different forms, with the traditional type being sold in the shape of a ball, usually contained in brine. However, you can also find grated and shredded mozzarella or a firmer, drier mozzarella that can be sliced and used much the same way as Colby Jack cheese.

4. American Cheese

American cheese is most commonly sold pre-sliced, but you can also find it in blocks or shredded, depending on how you prefer to use your cheese. It is often pre-sliced to be used on sandwiches and burgers.

American cheese is a good straightforward substitute to use in place of Colby Jack cheese, as it has a very similar taste and texture, and it is readily available in most grocery stores.

american cheese

You will not get the same level of tanginess from American cheese that you would get from Colby Jack, but it is creamy and slightly sweet.  The mild flavor is very similar to that of Colby Jack cheese.

American cheese does melt down nicely, but it doesn’t necessarily melt as well as Colby Jack cheese. To find a type that does, you should look for a high-quality American cheese, that is not as processed, and which does not contain too many additives or artificial ingredients.

For a milder flavor, with slight sweetness, then American cheese is a great substitute to use in place of Colby Jack, especially if you are making burgers or sandwiches!

5. Emmental Cheese

Emmental cheese is a semi-hard Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk. It is an easily identifiable cheese as it has large holes or ‘eyes’, which form during the fermentation process.

emmental cheese

The flavor of Emmental cheese is quite a bit more distinctive compared to Colby Jack cheese, as it has a mild, buttery flavor that can advance onto more full-flavored tang, depending on how long the cheese was aged for. To be similar to Colby Jack, you would look for a milder Emmental.

Emmental cheese has a good melting ability and melts down to be creamy and aromatic, similar to Colby Jack, so it can be used in place of Colby Jack when making casseroles or cheese sauce.

The semi-hard texture of Emmental cheese makes it very similar to Colby Jack as well, so it can be sliced the same and added to a burger or sandwich too. If you want a stronger flavor on your sandwich or burger, look for a longer-aged Emmental cheese.

6. Gruyere

Gruyere is another Swiss cheese that can be used in place of Colby Jack, and it works as a great substitute for the American-made cheese.


Gruyere has a sweet, nutty flavor, which is similar to the sweeter, milder flavors of Colby Jack, but just with slightly less tang. It has a firm texture that is easy to slice and shred, making it ideal for cheese boards, sandwiches, and eating as is.

Like Colby Jack cheese, Gruyere melts well, and it can be used in sauces, fondues, casseroles, and even to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. It is a very versatile cheese that will definitely work well in place of Colby Jack cheese, just with a nuttier, sweeter flavor.

7. Gouda

Gouda cheese ranges in intensity of flavor, depending on how long the cheese was left to age for, but gouda that has been aged for a shorter time has a milder, softer flavor, with a slight sweetness. 

This means that the milder Gouda varieties are a great substitute for Colby Jack cheese, and if you wanted something with a little more flavor and tang, you could opt for a more mature Gouda.


Gouda is known to have an aromatic and caramel-like flavor, which is definitely a great addition to many meals. It has a dense but springy texture that is easy to slice and easy to shred, and it melts down beautifully too.

It can be used in much the same way as Colby Jack cheese, so it is definitely worth experimenting with if you can find some.

The 7 Best Colby Jack Substitutes

Colby Jack is such a great cheese, but if you have run out, the local grocery is out of stock, or if you want to try something different, there are some great substitutes you can use in its place.

Think about what you would be using the Colby Jack cheese for, and the flavor and textures you want, and read through the above list to find the best Colby Jack substitute to use!

Related Questions

Is Colby Jack Similar to Cheddar?

Colby Jack and cheddar are similar in a few ways, such as mild cheddar having a mild flavor and creamy texture like Colby Jack, but they are different in many ways too. Cheddar is usually aged for a minimum of a few months, whereas Colby Jack is only aged for a few weeks to a few months.

Does Colby Jack Cheese Melt?

Colby Jack cheese melts well, which makes it a good option for cooking sauces and casseroles.

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