I personally taste-tested a variety of Gruyere substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion. Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or want a swap that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.
The best substitute for Gruyere is Comté, it’s slightly milder than Gruyere but has a similar richness and complexity. For a cheap and easily accessible option, use a generic Swiss cheese. Emmental and Beaufort cheeses are also good options.
I made a few different batches of French onion soup to test out several different Gruyere substitutes.
Gruyère cheese is rich and creamy and it’s known for its complex, nutty taste. It’s a type of Swiss cheese and is often used in classic recipes like fondue and French onion soup. Its melting qualities make it a popular choice for gratins and casseroles, and its intense flavor also means you can find it as part of cheese boards.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Comté||Rich and buttery||10/10|
|Swiss cheese||Cheap and readily available||8/10|
|Emmental||Fruity and nutty||7/10|
|Beaufort||Complex with floral notes||6/10|
|Jarlsberg||A crowd pleaser||7/10|
Of all the cheeses I tried, Comté came closest to the rich and complex nature of Gruyere, so it’s first on my list. This semi-firm cheese originates from France and it’s known for its smooth texture and melting capabilities. It melts just as well as Gruyere.
The flavor was nutty, buttery, and salty which is similar to how I would describe Gruyere. It wasn’t as strong as Gruyere, but I would say it hits the perfect balance between not being overpowering and also having a distinct flavor.
It was delicious over my French onion soup.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with Comté.
Regular Swiss Cheese
One of the major issues with Gruyere cheese is the price. If you’re making a run-of-the-mill cheese toastie, you don’t always want to splash out on a $10 pack of cheese.
If this is you, regular Swiss cheese should be your go-to option for convenience and cost-effectiveness. Swiss cheese is a generic name for mass-produced cheese that aims to imitate traditional Swiss-produced cheeses. It lacks the complexity of Gruyere, but you can always mix in a touch of parmesan to add more flavor, and it melts wonderfully.
Psst… if you’re in the UK, red Leicester is a good generic cheese that has a nutty flavor similar to Swiss cheese.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with a generic Swiss cheese.
Emmental cheese is the one with the signature holes, or “eyes”. It’s also a Swiss cheese, so has a lot of similarities to Gruyere. It melts really well and is actually one of the other regular ingredients in fondue because of its silky, soft texture.
The flavor is less pronounced than Gruyeres’s flavor but stronger than a generic “Swiss cheese”. It’s somewhat fruity, with notes of hazelnut and butter (according to the cheese experts!). Ideal for a ‘middle of the road’ option, or for any dish where you’re not melting the Gruyere because of its cool appearance.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with Emmental.
If money isn’t the issue, try Beaufort. Beaufort is an alpine cheese like Gruyere and offers its own complex flavor, although again, it’s not as intense as Gruyere. Beaufort is rich, buttery, and sweet, with floral notes that add depth. The exact flavor can vary depending on which season it was produced.
And how cool is this? The floral notes are there because the milk used to make this cheese comes from cows that graze on alpine pastures.
Along with a potentially more expensive price, Beaufort is also less common than Gruyere, so you might have to visit a cheese shop to get it. But if you want a substitute that’s just as special as Grueye, this is a great option.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with Beaufort.
Fontina (or Asiago):
From Swiss cheeses to Italian cheese. If you’re looking to replicate the texture of Gruyere, Fontina is a front-runner. It’s got a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth quality that gives it a luxurious feel.
In terms of flavor, Fontina is buttery cheese with undertones of earthiness. Note that traditional Fontina is produced in Italy, but you can also find a mass-produced version of Fontina that will have the same flavor notes but less intense.
Pro tip: Another Italian cheese you can try is Asiago. It’s got a milkier flavor, and which one you prefer is personal preference (I like Fontina, so that’s what I use for my French onion soup). Both of them melt well.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with Fontina.
Jarlsberg is a Norwegian cheese that was created to resemble Swiss Emmental cheese. It’s a crowd-pleaser with a mild nutty flavor that’s more straightforward than Gruyere, making it great for everyday dishes or anyone who doesn’t like ‘strong’ cheeses.
When Jarlsberg melts, it is kind of stretchy and not as creamy as Gruyere. But this is an easy fix, you can mix in some Havarti, which is a mild cheese with a high fat content. The high-fat content means it melts into a smooth and gooey sauce.
Together Jarlsberg and Havarti mimic the texture of melted Gruyere brilliantly.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with Jarlsberg + some Havarti if you want a creamier melt.
Provolone cheese is ideal if you have any cheese haters in the midst and need a really mild cheese. It’s milky and creamy but still has a touch of sweetness to it in a nod to Gruyere.
And it melts in a very similar way to Gruyere – it’s gooey and slightly stretchy.
If you want more flavor, go for smoked provolone. The smokiness adds a woodsy or even nutty flavor to the cheese and gives it a similar depth to Gruyere.
Psst… smoked provolone in a grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized onions is amazing.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with provolone.
Appenzeller / Raclette
Appenzeller and raclette are both Swiss alpine cheeses like Gruyere and offer a similar richness and robust flavors, although they taste different from Gruyere.
Appenzeller cheese has a tangy, fruity taste with a spicy finish thanks to the herbal brine it’s seasoned with. The exact ingredients in the brine are a closely guarded secret and each cheese maker has their own recipe, but it’s generally got a base of wine or cider.
Raclette is famous for its melting abilities and is commonly scraped over potatoes in a traditional dish. It’s got a creamy but pungent flavor with earthy notes, although it’s not as strong as Appenzeller.
How to substitute: Replace Gruyere cheese in a 1:1 ratio with appenzeller or raclette.
Substitutes To Avoid
There are lots of suitable substitutes for Gruyere, but one I don’t recommend is cheddar. Cheddar would be an easy option but it doesn’t have any of the nutty qualities of Gruyere which I think are integral to its flavor. Cheddar also tends to become oily when you melt it, not smooth and creamy like Gruyere.
Best Gruyere Cheese Substitutes + 1 To Avoid
- 1 portion Comte
- 1 portion American Swiss cheese
- 1 portion Emmental
- 1 portion Beaufort
- 1 portion Fontina or Asiago
- 1 portion Jarlsberg + Havarti for meltability
- 1 portion Swiss raclette
- 1 portion Provolone
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen Gruyere substitutes at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.