emmental cheese substitute

8 Best Substitutes for Emmental Cheese

Commonly known as Swiss Cheese – Emmental Cheese is one fine delight to add to many recipes.

Cheese is something that we never get enough of. From adding to paste to making soups, fillings, and toppings, different types of cheese are used.

Emmental Swiss Cheese is particularly known for its rich fat content and therefore used to enrich food. 

emmental cheese substitute

The use of Emmental cheese is popular in Switzerland and in some parts of France so, if you don’t get to find this cheese in your nearby grocery store, then worry not! There are some excellent alternatives to replace Emmenthal cheese in recipes. 

Here are some practical ways to substitute Emmental cheese in cooking with Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Raclette, Fontina and French Comte cheese varieties. But first, let’s dig deeper and find out more about Emmental cheese and its uses.

What is Emmental Cheese?

If you keep asking yourself, what can I substitute for Emmental cheese, then you must first understand what this cheese is and how the Emmental cheese tastes.

emmental cheese substitute

Emmental, Emmenthaler, Emmenthal or Emmentaler, this cheese is known by several different pronunciations, but they are all referred to as one single firm and dense cheese with an inedible and hard rind. The cheese you see with lots of wholes in it, on television shows, is actually the Emmental or Swiss cheese. It looks aged and tastes like authentic cheese.

Emmental cheese’s production was first started in Bern, which is an Emme River valley in Switzerland. The production started in the 13th century, which makes this cheese one of the oldest cheeses of Swiss origin.

Emmental cheese is prepared using unpasteurized milk of cow, and it does not contain any additives or preservatives. 

✔ Place of Origin: Emme River Valley, Bern, Switzerland
✔ Source of Milk: Cow
✔ Aroma: Sweet or like fresh-cut grass
✔ Color: Light Yellow
✔ Flavor: Buttery, Nutty, and slightly fruity
✔ Texture: Semi-hard with irregular-shaped large holes

Uses of Emmental Cheese in Cooking

Emmental cheese is hard in texture, rich in content, nutty in taste and melts well upon heating. For this season, this cheese can be used in a variety of dishes like:

  • Casseroles

Most casserole dishes call for lots of cheese on top and inside. The Emmental cheese melts well and forms a good texture after melting, so it is great to make casseroles. 

  • Fondue

Fondue is a Swiss dish that is made primarily out of cheese. Emmental cheese is particularly great to make this dish. 

  • Soups

Some creamy and cheesy soups like seafood chowders, onion soup or broccoli cheese soup call for lots of good melted cheese in the recipe, so Emmental cheese is a good option to go for.

  • Dips

Some dips with cheese are baked or cooked to get a melted cheesy taste. Use Emmental cheese to make these dips.

  • Sandwiches

Adding a slice of Emmental cheese can be added to sandwiches to get a deep and nutty cheese flavor.

 As an Appetizer

You can always serve Emmental cheese directly as an appetizer in a platter made out of crackers, dips, fresh veggies and cubed Emmental cheese.

The 8 Best Substitutes for Emmental Cheese

What is a good substitute for Emmental cheese? Well, there are many! To replace the Emmental cheese, we will be looking for cheese that has a similar level of firmness, source, colour, flavor, texture, and melting ability. Let’s see what the best matches to use instead of Emmental cheese are.

1. Gruyere Cheese

From the flavor to texture, melting ability and place of origin, every characteristic of gruyere cheese makes it a good substitute for Emmental cheese. If you are looking for an Emmental cheese substitute for fondue, then gruyere cheese is a great choice.

emmental cheese substitute - Gruyere Cheese

Gruyere is also a smooth Swiss cheese that melts well. It is prepared out of cow’s milk and processed for longer than six months. It does has holes, firmness and a good melting ability. All these qualities make it a fondue cheese. 

Gruyere is most famous for its use in Croque Monsieur, which is a grilled cheese sandwich. It is best to make soups, dips and casseroles cheesy.

Difference Between Emmental and Gruyere Cheese

Besides the following differences between Emmental and gruyere cheese, their color and firmness are also different from one another.

Facts Emmental Cheese Gruyere Cheese
How old Since the 13th century. Since the 11th century
Wheel Weight 220 pounds 100 pounds
Made of Partially skimmed unpasteurized cow’s milk Whole unpasteurized cow’s milk
Rind Brined to form a rind. Washed rind cheese
Aged at 50-55 degrees F for 4 months or more 60- 65 degrees F for 8-10 months
Holes Irregular-sized holes. Fewer holes
Salt content Lower than Gruyere. Higher than Emmental

2. Fontina Cheese

Fontina is another creamy and rich cheese with high-fat content and denser taste. It has a mix of pungent and sweet taste. It has a nutty and buttery flavor which resembles the Emmental cheese. This cheese is also prepared out of unpasteurized milk, and it has a semi-hard texture. There are fewer holes in this cheese.

emmental cheese substitute - Fontina Cheese

Fontina absorbed the moisture from caverns, and that gives it a unique aroma and flavor. Fontina comes in Swedish, Danish and Italian varieties, which are sweeter in flavor and have waxed rings.

The cheese can make an excellent alternative for Emmental cheese in pizza toppings, chowder, sauces and soups etc.

3. Jarlsberg Cheese

It is a Norwegian cheese by origin, and it was first produced in Jarlsberg, Norway. It is semi-soft in texture with a mild taste. It is also processed out of cow’s milk. The cheese has open holes and due to its flavor, texture, melting ability, and firmness, it is sometimes referred to as Swiss cheese.

emmental cheese substitute - Jarlsberg Cheese

Jarlsberg cheese has a stronger and sweeter taste than Emmentaler cheese. It is buttery, nutty, rich in flavors and has a yellow color inside the rind. 

This cheese goes well in fondues and sandwiches. Jarlsberg is available in all forms like wheels, minis, slices or weighed pieces.

4. French Comte Cheese

French Comte cheese has a distinctive savoury and fruity flavor with the caramelized butter and roasted hazelnut-like aroma. This cheese is semi-hard in texture and does not have any holes inside. 

emmental cheese substitute - French Comte Cheese

It is matched to the Emmental cheese due to its color, firmness, milk source and melting ability. And due to these features, you can add this cheese to cook vegetables, egg cheese salads and mac and cheese etc. It goes well in sandwiches, Tarts, Bruschetta and Carpaccio’s.

5. Raclette Cheese

Raclette is not only the name of cheese, but there is also a Swiss dish which is called Raclette. Since this cheese is used to make this dish, it is named after it. It may also be named after the grill called Raclette on which this cheese is melted.

emmental cheese substitute - Raclette Cheese

Anyhow, the cheese has a good melting ability which makes it a close match to Emmental cheese. The raclette cheese is shaped in the wheel for storage. The wheel is cut in half and grilled or heated on fire to add the melted cheese directly to the dishes. It can be used raw or in melted form.

6. Gouda Cheese

Gouda is Dutch cheese, and it was first produced in the Netherlands. It has an orangish-yellow color which comes from the long processing of cow’s milk. It is one of the oldest Dutch cheese used in the world.

emmental cheese substitute - Gouda Cheese

The cheese is, in fact, named after the Dutch Gouda city where this cheese was kept for trading. 

Gouda cheese can replace Emmental cheese to make sandwiches, or you can serve it with grapes and wine as an appetizer.

7. Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a widely used cheese that is added to soup, dips, pizza’s, casserole and baking recipes. It has similar color, firmness and melting ability as that of Emmental cheese.

emmental cheese substitute - Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is actually an English cheese that originated in Somerset England and later it became one of the most popular cheese in the world. Like Emmental cheese it is also rich and dense. It comes in extreme varieties, which can be used in different meals.

8. Brie Cheese

Brie is a pale and soft cheese. It has a mouldy edible rind with a creamy texture inside. It can be used instead of Emmental cheese to serve as an appetizer with fruits, wine and nuts.

emmental cheese substitute - Brie Cheese


Vegan Emmental Cheese Substitutes:

What if a person is a lactose intolerant? Can you use Emmental cheese on a lactose-free diet? Well, you cannot! The best way is to replace Emmental cheese with its vegan substitutes. Violife is one lactose-free substitute for Emmental cheese which has a good texture, flavor and melting ability. It is made out of salt, coconut oil and starch.

The vegan cheddar available in the market is also a good replacement for Emmental cheese. It is made out of cashews and agar-agar powder, so it gives a good taste and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Swiss cheese and Emmental cheese the same?
In America and most parts of the world, Swiss Cheese is any cheese that has a mild taste with a hard texture. Emmental is an authentic Swiss cheese along with other cheeses like gruyere. Swiss cheese is processed out of milk, without the use of additives; it is nutty in flavor with a mild aroma, and its wheels usually have holes inside.
Is Emmental cheese similar to cheddar?
If you consider the color, and melting ability of cheddar cheese, then you will find it similar to Emmental cheese. However, the aroma and flavor of both kinds of cheese are slightly different from one and another.
Is Gouda cheese like Emmental?
The color and long ageing period make the gouda cheese look like Emmental. They are both firm cheese, so they are much alike. But gouda is a Dutch cheese whereas Emmental is Swiss cheese. Gouda does not have any holes and melts differently. But you can use gouda to replace Emmental cheese in sandwiches.
Is Emmental cheese the same as gruyere?
There are several similarities between Emmental and gruyere cheese, and a few of them include the color, melting ability, taste, aroma and texture of both cheese. But they are not the same; there are many differences between these cheeses as well. However, gruyere can make a good substitute for Emmental cheese.

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