Emmental cheese melts and slices well. This makes it ideal for fondue, gratins, casseroles, pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheeseburgers, egg dishes, and other dishes that call for melted cheese.
If you happen to run out of it, here is a snapshot of some possible alternatives.
- Gruyere Cheese
- Gouda Cheese
- French Comte
- Vacherin Fribourgeois
- Cheddar cheese
Before we delve deep into the long list of possible alternatives, let’s understand a bit more about the characteristics of Emmental cheese.
18 Best Substitute For Emmental Cheese
Emmental cheese is one of the two staple kinds of cheese used in making cheese fondue. It is a semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Like other Swiss cheeses, it is characterized by its walnut-sized holes formed during fermentation.
The characteristics of Emmental cheese vary, depending on its maturity. The classic is aged at least 4 months, the Réserve at least 8 months, and the Premier Cru at least 12 months.
It tastes slightly buttery, nutty, and fruity with a sweet aroma. The longer the cheese is aged, the deeper the flavor and the darker color of the rind.
If Emmental cheese is not available, your best substitute is Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is also a Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk. It carries the same characteristics as Emmental and the other principal cheese in making fondue.
In terms of characteristics and use, Gruyere is similar to Emmental, which makes it the best substitute overall.
Gruyere cheese is the most popular cheese in the Swiss cheese family. It is a semi-hard yellow cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Gruyere is generally aged at least 6 months or longer. It has its signature holes typical of Swiss cheese, but the Gruyere holes are small, unlike other Swiss cheeses.
Gruyere flavors vary from creamy, rich, nutty, salty, and earthy based on their age. The young Gruyere has a rich, salty, creamy, and nutty taste. As it matures, the flavors turn earthy.
Gruyere has a pleasant aroma that does not overpower, a perfect cheese for baking. Its high water-to-oil ratio makes it an exceptional melting cheese for fondue recipes, dips, French onion soups, and Croque monsieur.
The best fondue should have a creamy, buttery, smooth melting cheese. Emmental is famous as one of the two staple kinds of cheese in making traditional cheese fondue, but these cheeses would work just as good.
Gouda cheese is a creamy Dutch cheese made from cow’s milk. Its yellow color is brighter than Gruyere, but the taste is comparable. It is the next best substitute for fondue recipes.
Gouda is an aged cheese with a texture that ranges from semi-firm to hard and crystalline. Young Gouda aged less than a year is lighter in color, springy in texture with a soft, mild flavor.
Gouda aged less than a year is ideal for melting and slicing in mac and cheese, sandwiches, quiches, casseroles, baked dishes, and fondue.
Do not use aged Gouda for fondue because its low moisture will not melt the cheese, but you can still use it for cooking, grating over dishes, or part of a cheeseboard.
Comte is a favored cheese in France made from raw cow’s milk. It is a pale-yellow, semi-hard cheese with varying textures and flavors. Its process is threefold, encompassing feeding and raising cows, the cheese-making process, and aging.
Young Comte has a grainy, supple, and open texture with a fresh milky taste. Aged Comte has a firm, dense, crystalline texture with a smoky, fruity, nutty, and sweet flavor.
Choose young Comte if you want an Emmental substitute for fondue because it has a higher melting point. Comte also works with grilled cheese sandwiches, omelets, mac and cheese, and other dishes that require melted cheese. Aged Comte does not melt smoothly but works well for grating and snacking.
Jarlsberg is a semi-hard, mild-aged Norwegian cheese. It is not a well-known cheese, but it has characteristics similar to Emmental and Gouda combined. For this reason, Jarlsberg makes an excellent substitute for Emmental for fondue.
Because it melts and slices well, you can use it in melted soups, pasta dishes, and creamy sauces. You can grate it over gratins, quiches, casseroles, frittatas, and baked dishes. You can also serve it on grilled or cold sandwiches, cheese platters, or cheeseboards.
Fontina cheese may not be Swiss cheese, but it bears the signature eyes or small holes that Swiss cheese is known for. It has a considerable amount of fat (45%), which gives Fontina its creamy texture and good melting characteristic. This makes it an excellent substitute for Emmental in fondue.
Fontina cheese is made from raw cow’s milk and is aged between 90 to 150 days. The texture starts as semi-soft and turns semi-hard as it ages. The flavor also intensifies as it ages.
Young Fontina is generally used as a table cheese, while the aged Fontina is for grating. The young Fontina is wonderful to use in recipes that require melty, smooth cheese like mac and cheese, casseroles, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Aside from fondue, pizzas, dips, and sauces will also benefit from this gooey, melty cheese.
There is some confusion regarding the origin of Vacherin Fribourgeois. Vacherin cheese is of French origin, but the Swiss-made Vacherin Fribourgeios is a Swiss cheese produced from the Canton of Fribourg.
It has similar characteristics to Gruyere; nutty flavor with hints of milk and fresh hay. The interior has a buttery, open texture and is straw-colored.
Vacherin Fribourgeois is a fantastic melting cheese and perfect not just on fondue but on other recipes that call for melted cheese like potatoes, grilled sandwiches, and steamed vegetables.
Raclette is another Swiss semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a light yellow color and melts exceptionally well.
Raclette has a smooth, firm, and creamy texture with irregular holes (the holes are a common characteristic of Swiss cheese). It generally has a fruity, nutty, spicy, milky flavor and floral aroma.
Raclette has excellent melting properties because its fat content does not separate. This makes Raclette an ideal cheese for cheese fondue or any dishes that call for melted cheese, such as casseroles, grilled cheese sandwiches, gratins, and pasta and egg dishes.
Emmental is not just for fondue. It has a variety of uses in food preparation and cooking. In the absence of Emmental, you can substitute these cheeses.
Who does not know Cheddar cheese? It is the most popular cheese in the United States after Mozzarella. Similar to Emmental, it has a buttery, sharp punch and creaminess. Unlike the Swiss cheese Emmental, it does not have holes, but it still remains comparable.
Cheddar cheese is a favorite melting cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta-based dishes, potato-based dishes, and casseroles.
Parmigiano in English is Parmesan but not all Parmesan sold in the American market is genuine Parmigiano. It is a staple cheese in Italian kitchens.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard Italian dry cheese made from unpasteurized skimmed milk. It is generally aged at least 2 years to 4 years or more. The long aging gives Parmigiano an extreme granular texture. It has a fruity, nutty flavor with a slight sharp aftertaste and aroma of roasted almonds and butter.
The addition of Rennet helps make the Parmigiano melts smoothly, and that is enough reason to make it a good substitute for Emmental.
Brie is a creamy, buttery, runny cheese made traditionally from cow’s milk, although some come from goat’s milk. It is a soft-ripened, off-white cheese with a mild, smooth, rich flavor and an earthy aroma.
The presence of Rennet in Brie makes it melty enough for recipes that require melted cheese like panini, pizzas, flatbreads, and grilled sandwiches.
Camembert cheese shares similar characteristics to Brie cheese, and both originated in the northern region of France. It is made from cow’s milk with bloomy, soft edible rinds.
Camembert is denser and has a more intense flavor and hints of a deeper earthy aroma.
Camembert melts well on dishes that require melted cheese. It is an excellent addition to your cheese platters or cheeseboards.
Edam cheese has almost identical characteristics to Gouda cheese. Both are Dutch in origin, aged, and melt well, although Edam is drier than Gouda.
Young Edam has a creamy, nutty taste with hints of butter and hazelnuts. You can substitute Emmental with Young Edam in salads, soups, sandwiches, and dishes that need melted cheese.
Provolone is an Italian semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. The variety produced in the United States has a pale yellow to white color and sweet taste.
It has a milder taste than Emmental but has that nutty, salty undertone that is comparable.
Provolone is found in classic sandwiches, salads, pasta, and pizzas; and is excellent for grilled cheese sandwiches.
Tallegio has similar characteristics to Brie. In fact, Brie is the best substitute for Taleggio despite its French origin. It has a mild aroma with a fruity, sweet flavor.
It has a strong aroma and a tangy aftertaste. Tallegio also melts quite well, making it perfect for spreading and grilling.
Tallegio is a favored choice for bruschetta; grated Tallegio goes well with salads. Its superb melting properties make it a good choice for polenta.
Havarti is a Danish semi-soft cheese derived from cow’s milk. It has no rind and has a creamy to pale yellow color.
Havarti generally tastes sweet with subtle tanginess and buttery aroma. The thing that makes this cheese unique is that it has holes similarly found in Swiss cheese.
Substitute Emmental with Havarti in pasta, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, or sauces.
Grevé is a Swedish semi-hard cheese derived from cow’s milk. It has a similar taste and appearance to Swiss cheese, including the large holes endemic to Swiss cheese.
Grevé has a creamy, dense texture and a nutty, sweet flavor, but the longer it ages, the flavor turns more intense.
Like Swiss cheese, it has good melting properties needed for recipes that require melted cheese. It is also served grated and as a table cheese or snack.
Maasdam is a Dutch cheese in a Swiss-style cheese type made from cow’s milk. Aging only takes 4 weeks to produce a yellow, smooth rind.
Maasdam is designed to be the cheaper version of Emmental, but it has a higher moisture content than Emmental. This makes its texture softer.
Violife Original is non-dairy. It is made from coconut oil (21%), water, starch, salt, and other flavorings.
Violife Original has a buttery, nutty flavor and melts well because of the coconut oil. It smells and tastes like cheddar cheese and melts well but is not gooey melty.