Emmental Cheese Substitute: What Can You Use?

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When I recently hosted a baby shower for my niece, who loves cheese, we decided to go for Cheddar Cheese Soup Substitute – What Can You Use? fondue with a creamy cheese sauce. Imagine my horror when the local grocers didn’t have any Emmental cheese! 

Now, if you know your cheese, then you know that Emmental cheese is the very heart of fondue making—and both are as Swiss as it comes. So, I wondered if there were any appropriate cheeses I could opt for to replace Emmental without my pregnant and temperamental niece noticing. Fortunately, there were, and these are the top options for substituting Emmental cheese.  

To substitute Emmental cheese in terms of texture, melt-ability, and flavor, choose a substitute like Gruyere cheese, Fontina cheese, gouda cheese, Jarlsberg cheese, Havarti cheese, Parmesan cheese, raclette cheese, Provolone cheese, French Comte cheese, Brie cheese, and cheddar cheese. For non-dairy options, you can try vegan cheese or cashew cheese.  

Perhaps you need Emmental cheese because of its appearance, in which case you’d need to look for a pale white cheese that has holes in it. 

But if you’re matching the taste, you can choose any of the options on my list. For melting purposes, you have to choose a substitute that has the same elasticity and melts as well as Emmental cheese.  

What Is Emmental Cheese?

Emmental cheese was first made in the village of Emmental in Switzerland. When I hear Swiss cheese, I instantly think of Emmental cheese with its pale creamy color and perforated texture with large holes. 

Made from cow’s milk, traditional Emmental is produced from the milk of cows that grazed the rich fields of the Alpine slopes. If you’re not a native of Switzerland, you’ve probably enjoyed a local variety that will be as tasty. 

You can expect a rich but mild flavor when you eat Emmental cheese for the first time. It stores well in the refrigerator and melts really well for great sandwiches. With a slightly nutty flavor, it’s ideal for salads and souffle. 

11 Best Emmental Cheese Substitutes

With so many great cheese options available, it can be quite tricky to pick a substitute for Emmental cheese. 

I decided on my substitution by considering what cheese was within my budget and also what was locally available. Finally, I kept in mind that the cheese I selected needed to be a great melting cheese for fondue.  

1. Gruyere Cheese

For my cheese fondue sauce, I knew that Emmental cheese would be best substituted by Gruyere cheese. Gruyere has a similar quality when it comes to melting, and Gruyere has a similar taste. 

What’s more, gruyere cheese is also Swiss in origin, and since it’s also made from cow’s milk, you get a very similar cheese to Emmental cheese. 

2. Fontina Cheese

A little further to the South, the Italian cheese of Fontina can also work as a substitute for Emmental cheese. 

Fontina cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. The taste of Fontina and Emmental cheese is very similar, making for a great substitution. 

However, Fontina cheese is not as great for melting as Emmental cheese. So if you’re also doing a fondue, look to one of the other substitutes on my list. 

3. Gouda Cheese

A favorite cheese that most grocery stores carry is gouda cheese, and it makes a surprisingly great substitute for Emmental cheese.

The semi-hard texture and soft flavor work ideally as a substitute for Emmental, and since it melts well, I could happily add gouda to my cheese fondue sauce. 

For the sake of appearances, if you want a substitute that visually resembles Emmental cheese, gouda doesn’t disappoint as it has the same coloration and also has some holes in the surface of the cheese. 

4. Jarlsberg Cheese

Norway has a great substitute that’s also made from cow’s milk with Jarlsberg cheese. Like Emmental cheese, Jarlsberg cheese has a perforated texture that’s full of holes. 

Use Jarlsberg cheese in cooking and baking, and serve it cold or melted.

5. Havarti Cheese

For a firm, more nutty-flavored cheese, consider Havarti cheese. This Danish cheese is a great appetizer, and since it melts well, it’s an ideal substitute for Emmental cheese and to use in a fondue. 

6. Parmesan Cheese

If you are looking for a tasty cheese to replace Emmental in a sandwich, then Parmesan cheese is another great Italian cheese to consider. Parmesan is a harder cheese, which grates well and lasts long in the refrigerator. 

7. Raclette Cheese

For my cheese fondue picky niece, I considered another Swiss cheese with raclette cheese. 

Like Emmental cheese, raclette cheese is a great melting cheese and it has a rich, buttery flavor. Melt it and scrape it right off the rind for a special meal.  

8. Provolone Cheese

You can use Provolone cheese for sandwiches, dips, and sauces in place of Emmental cheese. The flavor won’t be quite the same, but the texture is ideal in melted cheese dishes. 

9. French Comte Cheese

For a firm option to melt, French Comte cheese is an ideal choice. Like Emmental, it melts well and adapts to the flavors of what you serve with it. 

10. Brie Cheese

If you’re looking for a more flavorful cheese substitute, Brie cheese works well to replace Emmental cheese. 

When melted, it’s often served as a dip, and Brie cheese can also be served sliced on sandwiches. 

11. Cheddar Cheese

As melting cheeses go, cheddar cheese is a great alternative for making cheese fondue. The taste of cheddar is a bit stronger, so you may need to adjust your recipe quantities a bit. 

Though, using mild cheddar can help balance the fondue. 

Vegan Substitutes

There are even a few non-dairy substitutes you can use such as vegan cheese or cashew cheese. While this won’t be a perfect taste match, it can work really well for those vegan guests who attend your special event. 

Is Emmental Cheese Similar to Swiss Cheese?

Emmental cheese is a Swiss cheese. 

It’s considered the Swiss cheese of choice, though you can use other Swiss cheeses such as Gruyere, Swiss Tilst, and Sbinz. 

Can I Use Swiss Cheese Instead of Emmental?

Most other Swiss cheeses can be used to substitute Emmental if the flavor profile is similar and the cheese melts well. 

My Last Foodie Thoughts 

I managed to save the day by finding a good quality gouda that worked well as a melting cheese for my niece’s cheese fondue. 

Depending on the recipe you need Emmental cheese for, you can choose any cheese, like a Brie, cheddar, Provolone, Havarti, Jarlsberg, or Fontina cheese to substitute the nutty flavor and dense texture. 

Happy melting!

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