Swiss cheese is delicious and is a favorite among many. However, it sometimes can be difficult to come by, and in these situations, you would need a good substitute for it!
Emmenthal is a popular swiss cheese and is probably the Swiss cheese best known outside of Switzerland.
It is a hard and savory cheese with a rich and unique taste that can be eaten as a starter or enjoyed in certain meals. Swiss cheese is notable for its holes, which are called eyes.
These characteristics are fairly unique to Swiss cheese, so what are the best substitutes for Swiss cheese? The best substitutes for Swiss cheese will include cheese that has a rich flavor, a good aroma, and a similar texture. The right substitute will also depend on what you were going to use the Swiss cheese for. Some substitutes include fontina cheese, sharp white cheddar cheese, and gouda cheese.
If you don’t feel like popping out to your grocery store, or your local shop doesn’t have Swiss cheese, take a look below at the best substitutes that you could use in its place!
What Is Swiss Cheese?
Before knowing which would be the best substitutes for Swiss cheese, it helps to know exactly what Swiss cheese is.
There are numerous types of cheese that are made in Switzerland, so the term Swiss cheese is quite generic.
However, in America and some other countries, Swiss cheese mostly refers to two popular types of Swiss cheese: Emmenthal and Gruyere.
These two types of cheese are great for fondues, as they melt beautifully and have a great flavor.
Most often, Swiss cheese is a semi-hard yellow cheese that has a subtle aroma and subtle nuttiness. The cheese features holes of various sizes, which help you pick out the cheese easily in the store.
Gruyere cheese is slightly softer than Emmenthal and has fewer holes, but has a similar taste. As Swiss cheese ages, it gets a sharper flavor.
Swiss cheese can be sold in blocks, but it is often sold sliced, ready to be used on a burger or sandwich, or pre-prepared to be used to make a delicious fondue!
The Best Substitutes For Swiss Cheese
Keep in mind what you were going to be using the Swiss cheese for before deciding which substitute would work best. The substitute you use to make a sandwich might be different from the substitute you would use to make fondue.
1. Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
Sharp white cheddar cheese is possibly the best substitute you could use for Swiss cheese. It has a similarly sharp and nutty flavor, and it melts almost as well as Swiss cheese does.
You can use sharp white cheddar in place of Swiss cheese in dishes such as pasta dishes, sandwiches, quiches, and even in fondue.
Some sharp white cheddar options can be slightly crumbly, which is a different texture to what Swiss cheese has. It also does not have holes like Swiss cheese, but not many other cheese types do!
You could also look to use normal cheddar cheese, as most have a slight tang to it and the texture can be similar to Swiss cheese.
Cheddar cheese can also act as a good base when melting cheese, even if you have to mix it in with other types too.
Cheddar cheese can be aged for a specific amount of time, so if you are wanting a substitute with a stronger flavor and more tang, then look for mature cheddar cheese which has been aged longer.
2. Fontina Cheese
Fontina cheese is another great option to use in place of Swiss cheese. It is a semi-soft cheese that has a slightly hard texture and has a medium flavor which can sometimes be slightly mild.
First produced in Italy, fontina cheese is made from cow’s milk, which makes it rich and creamy.
For this reason, it is a popular cheese to use to make fondue, and it is one of the best substitutes to use in place of Swiss cheese when making fondue.
To add to the similarities between fontina cheese and Swiss cheese, fontina cheese has some small holes within the round when it is cut.
If this appearance is important to you, then this is a good cheese to slice and use as a starter or on an open sandwich, as it looks similar!
Other ways you can substitute fontina for Swiss cheese would be in paninis, a chicken cordon bleu, and quiches.
The benefits of fontina are that it is a gluten-free cheese, and after being aged for 90 days, it has a medium flavor with a beautifully creamy consistency.
3. Gouda Cheese
Gouda is a cheese that comes from the south of the Netherlands, and like Swiss cheese, is a cow’s milk cheese.
Also like Swiss cheese, gouda is semi-hard and has a slightly sweet flavor that is rounded off with some nuttiness. Gouda cheese can be aged over various amounts of time.
Depending on how long gouda is aged for, it can range from smooth to sharp and anywhere in between.
Using gouda in recipes such as chicken bakes and casseroles, you will achieve a similar taste as to what you would get with Swiss cheese, and as the cheese would be melted, the difference in appearance won’t be noticed.
Look for a gouda cheese that has a medium flavor to replace Swiss cheese in a recipe, but if you want a milder taste, choose one that has been aged for around four weeks. For a stronger flavor, gouda can be aged up to a year.
4. Provolone Cheese
Provolone cheese is mostly produced in northern Italy. It is a semi-hard cheese that has a mild taste, but because it is firm with a semi-grainy texture, it melts really well, making it great for fondue or for making baked dishes.
One of the reasons that provolone makes such a good substitute for Swiss cheese is that it can be found at just about every grocery store, and the similarities it shares with Swiss cheese make it great as a substitute for many dishes.
Provolone can be aged from a month to up to six months, and the longer it is aged for, the sharper and richer the taste will be. No matter how long it is aged, provolone is buttery and rich, but it is rounded off with some sweetness too.
When looking for a substitute for Swiss cheese when making casseroles, pizza, and sandwiches, provolone is a great option, and you should not be able to notice much difference.
The benefit is that it is often a more affordable option than Swiss cheese.
5. Manchego Cheese
Manchego cheese is another semi-hard cheese, similar to Swiss cheese. It is produced in Spain and can be identified by the outside herringbone ridge that it has before it is cut.
Unlike Swiss cheese, manchego cheese is made with sheep’s milk and usually includes natural ingredients.
This means that most manchego cheese types are gluten-free, so this makes it a good substitute for Swiss cheese if you need a gluten-free option.
Manchego cheese is left to age for various periods of time, but as it is left to age for longer, it will become flakier, and it will develop tiny pores, which can seem similar to the larger holes that are found in Swiss cheese.
One of the most popular ways that manchego cheese is served is when it is battered and deep-fried.
This means you can use it in recipes where the Swiss cheese would have been fried. It also works well as an appetizer and is especially delicious served with marmalade.
If you need a substitute for Swiss cheese in an appetizer, then manchego might be your best bet. Just keep in mind it might have a slightly different taste due to it being made from sheep’s milk and not cow’s milk.
6. Pecorino Romano
Pecorina Romano is a hard cheese, unlike Swiss cheese. It can be aged anywhere from two months to up to three years, and the longer it is aged for, the richer and more intense the flavor will be.
Like manchego, Pecorino Romano is made from sheep’s milk and has been made for centuries. It usually has a sharp and tangy flavor and is sometimes crumbly too.
You can buy Pecorino Romano in a few different forms, either whole, shredded or grated. Use Pecorino Romano in place of Swiss cheese when making quiches, pasta dishes, or when making pizza.
You might not end up needing as much Pecorina Romano as you would need Swiss cheese, as the flavor is quite a bit more intense, and you can achieve that cheesy flavor with a little less cheese.
7. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is a great all-around cheese that is wonderfully versatile. It is also a healthier option than most other cheese types too!
Made from curds that have not been aged or pressed, mozzarella is a mild-tasting cheese, and it won’t add too much of a new flavor to a dish it is cooked on.
It has a mild and very slight savory flavor, but it does well to compliment and highlight other ingredients.
One of the benefits of using mozzarella in place of Swiss cheese is that it melts really well, and this makes it a great option to use in dishes that are topped with cheese, such as on pizza, pasta bakes, or baked casseroles.
Mozzarella cheese can also be used in place of Swiss cheese when served as an appetizer. When doing this, pair the mozzarella cheese with tomato and basil for a fresh starter.
Being springy but dense, mozzarella can be sliced, baked, or topped onto various dishes as a substitute for Swiss cheese.
Just keep in mind that it will not offer much of the same flavor as Swiss cheese, but it will work well in texture and consistency when cooked.
8. Edam Cheese
Edam cheese is a semi-hard cheese that is made in the northern regions of Netherlands.
It can be made from either cow’s milk or goat’s milk, but the type you find in the grocery store is usually made from cow’s milk, just like Swiss cheese.
When left to age, Edam cheese becomes richer in flavor. Edam cheese which has been left to age for too long might be a little bit too strong to use in place of Swiss cheese, so it would be better to use a milder, younger Edam cheese.
Edam can be a good substitute for Swiss cheese as an appetizer or as a snack, as it pairs well with fruit. As a dessert or on a cheese plate, it is a great substitution for Swiss cheese.
You will notice Edam cheese at the grocery store is usually wrapped in red wax or another color wax. This is done to protect the cheese until it is used in a recipe or enjoyed as is. The wax helps keep the smooth, creamy texture of Edam cheese.
9. Gruyere Cheese
Gruyere is technically a Swiss cheese, but most of the time, Swiss cheese refers to Emmenthal cheese.
This is a great substitute as it has great melting qualities, and it is wonderfully creamy too. It can go well with a wide range of ingredients, and it holds its own in dishes.
The taste of gruyere cheese is sharp and buttery, and it has some nutty notes to it as well. Like with other cheese, the longer gruyere is left to age, the sharper the flavor will become. It will also become grainier and flakier as time passes.
Gruyere cheese needs to be aged for a minimum of five months, and unlike other types of cheese types, no heat is used in the cheese-making process.
Swiss cheese and gruyere cheese are very similar in taste, texture, and appearance, and can be used interchangeably with each other.
If you cannot find Emmenthal cheese in your local store, check to see if they maybe have gruyere stocked!
Now that we’ve gone over all of the best substitutes for Swiss cheese, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Why does Swiss cheese have holes?
Swiss cheese has holes due to bacteria that appear in the aging process.
The bacteria, propionibacterium freudenreichii, causes the cheese to produce and release carbon dioxide gas, which creates the holes that Swiss cheese is known for.
The holes do not change the flavor, but the bacteria and the cheese-making process gives Swiss cheese its signature taste.
What is the most popular type of Swiss cheese?
The most popular type of Swiss cheese around the world is Emmenthal cheese. Many people can spot Emmenthal cheese straight away as it has signature holes throughout.
Is brie Swiss cheese?
Brie is not Swiss cheese, and instead, it comes from Brie, a region in France where it originated. Brie is a pale color cheese that is soft with a slight tang. It is very creamy.
What is Swiss cheese best used for?
Swiss cheese can be used for many things. As it melts so well, it is great for fondue, cheese sauces, pasta, bakes, and sandwiches.
Up Next: Are Lemon Seeds Edible?