The Best Cheese for Onion Soup

The Best Cheese for Onion Soup

In this article, we look at the best cheese for your onion soup, and how they bring out the best in the flavours. Each recommended cheese has a diverse and unique flavour profile and will cater to all taste buds – even for the fussiest of cheese eaters.

Typically, traditional onion soup uses hard, Swiss cheese, for example, Gruyere. Gruyere cheese is ideal for melting and has a mildly sweet nutty flavour. This helps to balance the savoury flavour in the soup.

Top 6 cheeses for onion soup are:

  • Gruyere
  • Comte
  • Beaufort
  • Appenzeller
  • Raclette
  • Truffle Cheddar

The Best Cheese for Onion Soup

Gruyere is the perfect matching pairing to complement your traditional onion soup. Why? It has great melting properties, is full of flavour and is easy to cook with. Gruyere cheese comes from the town of Gruyere in Switzerland. It has a rich, nutty and buttery flavour, whilst also fresh and grassy. This is due to the nature of the high-quality grass that the cows graze on.

Gruyere is a very good melting cheese. This is because rennet added during the cheese-making process. Once melted, it adds a rich, creamy texture to your soup.

Another Good Cheese for Onion Soup

Alternatively, Comte can be used in replacement of Gruyere. Comte is from Eastern France, very close to the Switzerland border. Considering this, it is very similar to Gruyere and therefore makes the ideal substitute. Comte is slightly more fruity and savoury in flavour in comparison to Gruyere. I find that Comte is the best crowd-pleaser if you want to appeal to all.

Comte cheese
Comte cheese is very rich and buttery, identified in the yellow colouring.

Another cheese also similar to Gruyere but may be considered a little more upscale or high end is Beaufort. Beaufort is usually available at your local fromagerie. As an Alpine cheese, it also falls into the same category as Gruyere. Beaufort has a more savoury flavour, more earthy and robust in comparison to Gruyere or Comte.

Can I use strong and spicy cheese?

If you love the creamy buttery textures of Alpine cheese, but prefer something a little stronger, look no further than Appenzeller. Appenzeller uses the classic Alpine recipe, however, it is also washed in wine or cider. These sweet flavours naturally absorb into the cheese and help to form a rind. The centre of the cheese is strong in flavour and spicy.

What if I prefer a smokey flavour?

For a more savoury palate, a perfect match will be Raclette. Raclette is traditionally made on the French side of the Alps. It is well known for its exceptional melting properties, making it perfect to add a creamy texture to your soup. Raclette flavour is earthy and mildly smokey. The intensity of the flavour is increased as the rind is washed. It is therefore edible.


Consider the time of year you are purchasing Alpine cheese. For maximum flavour, look at the amount of time the cheese has matured (most Alpine cheese matures for a minimum of 6 months). Therefore, Alpine cheese is best purchased in autumn or winter. This is because the cows will have been grazing on rich spring grass, in comparison to eating hay during the winter. Cheese made with spring milk tends to be sweeter and have a buttery texture.

Want to try something a little different?

Alternatively, for those looking to push the boat out even further and try something new, truffle cheddar or truffle parmesan is a great choice. Truffle infused cheeses add a world of flavour, full of depth, earthy and mushroom. Due to the intense flavour, truffle cheese can be used sparingly.

How long will my cheese last?

All of the different cheese recommendations for your onion soup are semi-hard or harder style cheeses. This means they will last for a longer time in the fridge if you are saving some for a later date! Read more about storing your cheese correctly here.

Where can I buy these Cheeses?

All of the cheeses (or a very similar version of them) are readily available and can be found in the majority of supermarkets or local delis. A deli or fromagerie will be best at advising which cheeses are ripe and at their best.