Substitutes for Gruyere Cheese

Substitutes for Gruyere Cheese

Gruyere cheese is Swiss or Alpine region cheese. It is named after the town Gruyeres in Switzerland. This cheese is produced with cows milk and is rich, nutty, fruity and slightly sweet in flavour. It is a great melting cheese and used in a variety of dishes such as fondue or lasagne. Gruyere is readily available and can be purchased at delis, markets and even in larger supermarkets. However, there may be times at which Gruyere is unavailable and you need to make a swap. Considering this, what are the best substitutes for Gruyere?

Substitutes for Gruyere Cheese:

Cheese that has good melting properties are popular substitutes for Gruyere. For example, Emmental. Also made in Switzerland, it is great for melting and a mild, sweet and buttery flavour. Consider cheese made with cows milk as it has a similar flavour profile.

Top 5 cheeses that make good substitutes for Gruyere include:

  • Emmental
  • Raclette
  • Comte
  • Jarlsberg
  • Beaufort

What Causes Cheese to Melt:

Cheese usually has good melting properties when rennet is added during the cheese-making process. Additionally, cheese melts well when it has a higher moisture content, and there is a good balance between water to fat ratio. Read more here on melting cheese. 


Emmental (also known as Emmentaler) cheese is the best substitute for Gruyere. Also made in Switzerland, but specifically Emmental, it is a semi-hard cheese made with unpasteurised cows milk. This cheese is best recognised for the holes (better known as eyes) running through the main body of the cheese. Eyes are a very common feature in Swiss cheese and give it distinguishable characteristics. 

The eyes are formed due to a reaction in bacteria. Propionibacterium is added to the cheese during production, and this reacts with the lactic acid already found within the cheese. This reaction produces carbon dioxide, which causes the cheese bubble, eventually, they then collapse to form the eyes. 

substitutes for gruyere cheese
The holes in Emmental cheese are known as eyes.

Which Substitute is Best for Melting?

Another alternative to Gruyere cheese is Raclette. This is a French cheese, its name derived from the word ‘racler’ which translates to mean ‘to scrape’ Raclette is made with cows milk, and has a savoury, earthy flavour. Traditionally, this cheese is used in the Raclette dish, the cheese is heated and then scraped off on top over potatoes, pickles and prosciutto. However, it is also perfect in dishes such as lasagne, which is why it makes a great alternative to Gruyere. 

What is a Cheaper Substitute?

Jarlsberg is also a good substitute for Gruyere. This cheese is made with cows milk and comes from Norway. Similar to Emmental, Jarlsberg also has eyes within the cheese. Besides, it has very similar flavours to Gruyere, in the fact that it is nutty, fruity and sweet. However, it is a little milder and therefore better suited to those who do not like strong overpowering cheese flavour. 

Jarlsberg is a cheaper alternative to Gruyere, as well as being more readily available in most supermarkets. 

Comte and Beaufort:

A crowd-pleasing substitute for Gruyere is Comte. A French cheese with a light washed rind and made with cows milk. Comte also has very good melting properties and is great in fondue. It is best known for its yellow colour, buttery in flavour as well as being mild and sweet. 

Lastly, to a higher quality substitute. Beaufort. Also a French cheese, this cows milk cheese is made with the best quality milk available, therefore is a little more expensive to purchase than Gruyere. It has a lot of depth to its flavour, rich, earthy and savoury, with a hint of fruitiness on the finish.

Use Beaufort to enhance your dishes or fondue for that extra touch and more rounded flavour.