9 Best Emmental Cheese Substitutes

Emmental cheese goes by different names like Emmenthaler, Emmenthal, or Emmentaler, and they are all pronounced differently. 

But they are all referred to as one single firm and dense cheese with an inedible and hard rind. It’s the common cheese you see in most TV shows, and it has lots of holes in it. It is an aged and authentic cheese. But what if you can’t get an Emmental cheese at the moment?

There are many good emmental cheese substitutes you can use instead, such as gruyere cheese, jarlsberg cheese, and french comte, cheddar cheese, gouda cheese, brie cheese, parmigiano-reggiano, etc.

Emmental cheese has an aromatic, sweet, and delightfully intricate flavor and tones of ripe fruit and hazelnuts, with low acidity. It can be used in different recipes and cuisines.

What Is Emmentaler Cheese?

Emmental Cheese Substitutes

The original Emmental cheese from the heartland of the Emme valley is traditionally made from raw cow’s milk and can be aged for up to 18 months. A similar version is made in Switzerland, Germany, and French.

Traditional Emmentaler is made only in west-central Switzerland. It is here, in the canton of Bern, that the cheese first came into being.

Emmentaler cheese is usually made from milk gotten from local cows fed with grass and hay; this gives the cheese its distinct sweet flavor. 

The raw milk is triggered to form curds by adding natural whey and rennet, and the curd is separated with whisks, then transferred into molds and drained of any excess whey. 

The molds are then brined and set to age. The iconic eyes in the body of the cheese are created by keeping it at a warm temperature for a minimum of 2 months.

Because it uses only raw milk directly from pasture, authentic Emmentaler cheese is unpasteurized and flavourful. Most Emmentaler cheese contains no artificial essences or filler making them completely gluten-free. 

But you may need to check the package to confirm its ingredients because Emmentaler can be made in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants. 

If your recipe calls for Emmentaler cheese and you can’t find any, you can use any of the following Emmental cheese substitute, and they work just great in most recipes.

Best Emmental Cheese Substitutes

1. Gruyere

Gruyere cheese is also from Switzerland, has a more saltier taste, and is a perfect emmental cheese substitute. However, its taste changes slightly with age; it has a creamy texture with a nutty flavor that is very similar to Emmental cheese; this makes gruyere cheese the best substitute option for Emmental.

However, it is important to note that gruyere is harder than Emmental, so you may need to opt for one that isn’t as aged if the texture is essential in your dish.

Gruyere cheese is excellent for baking because it has a distinctive flavor and is also very mild, so it won’t overpower the dish and make everything taste like cheese. 

Gruyere can be melted and used for fondue and even soup; it is commonly used in the famous French onion soup.

Gruyere cheese can be added to sandwiches; it also pairs very well with chicken and ham. It can be used in salads and pasta dishes. Pairing gruyere cheese with beer or cider is more complimentary than with wine.

2. French Comte

French comte cheese gets its name from the region it originates from. It is made with unpasteurized cow’s milk. 

It is a hard cheese with a flexible texture and a mild taste that tends to have a slightly sweet flavor. It also has an extra nutty flavor that is similar to Emmental cheese and can be used for cooking.

Comte pairs really well with any dish like a simple plate of mac and cheese or a fancy dish. Its firm texture enables you to cut it into cubes, slice it, or grate on top of your pasta dish; it can also be served with toast.

3. Jarlsberg

Jarlsberg cheese also has the infamous holes or ‘eyes’ like Emmental cheese. It originates from Norway and has a semi-soft texture compared to the other aforementioned cheeses. It is made from cow’s milk and can be eaten on its own as a snack or added to dishes.

Jarlsberg cheese has a mild flavor, with a soft and sweeter undertone and a nutty finish. It also has a texture that can be described as soft and buttery.

During the cheese production process, the bacteria feed on the lactic acid and release carbon dioxide. This creates bubbles that form the holes in the final product. This is also the typical process of making gruyere, emmental, Havarti, and any other cheese with ‘eyes.’

Jarlsberg cheese can be used to make sandwiches, souffle, and dips. This makes it an excellent Emmental cheese substitute due to its versatility.

4. Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese has a relatively hard cheese consistency and is also a good substitute for emmental cheese. It ages for about two years and takes on a yellowy-white color.

It originates from the United Kingdom and is named after the village it was originally made. It is one of the most popular cheeses in the UK and is also produced all around the world.

It has a firm, but mild taste, with a flavor similar to that of hazelnut, and the cheese simply melts in your mouth.

When using cheddar as an Emmental cheese substitute, look for a mild, young cheddar. The flavor of aged cheddar tends to be very sharp and too developed. 

Orange cheddar may not be the right substitute option for Emmental as it contains annatto; this gives it a different flavor from Emmental.

Even a mild cheddar may not deliver the same texture as Emmental because it’s made differently. But if you have cheddar as your only option, then use a mild, young white (or pale) cheddar.

5. Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese originated in the Netherlands, and it has a distinctive yellow color. It is made from cow’s milk and is one of the oldest cheeses; it makes a huge part of the dutch culture and legacy.

Although the cheese is named after the city Gouda, it is not produced there. Gouda cheese can be used for sandwiches and pairs well with wine, grapes, or some stronger drinks due to its sweet taste. The longer the cheese ages, the sweeter it becomes.

6. Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano is an Italian cheese, and because the Italians take their cuisine very seriously and are experts in pizza and pasta dishes, Parmigiano-Reggiano tends to play a significant role in any Italian kitchen.

Parmigiano is sometimes used to refer to parmesan, but keep in mind that although the original Reggiano is parmesan, not every parmesan is Reggiano.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is a popular and delicious cheese that has been nicknamed the king of cheeses. This makes it a perfect substitute for any cheese.

Keep in mind that Parmigiano-Reggiano is an entirely different cheese from Emmental and may produce a different result in your dish. Parmesan is a hard cheese with a strong buttery and nutty flavor.

To use parmesan as an Emmental substitute, you may need to pair it with another cheese. Although you can also use it on its own, just remember to keep the rest of the ingredients that the dish calls for in a mild flavor.

7. Brie

Brie cheese is a soft and pale cheese with a moldy rind that can be eaten. The flavor of the cheese depends on the ingredients used in its preparation.

When it is overripe, brie cheese is creamy in texture, with a bouncy and firm outside. It is usually served alongside nuts, fruit, or wine.

Brie cheese has a very mild flavor, but its texture is much softer than Emmental. If the recipe asks for melted cheese, or you are making a cheese platter, then brie would make a perfect substitute.

8. Violife Original

If you are vegan, a vegan Emmental cheese substitute you can use in sandwiches, grilling, or as a snack is violife original. It is made with coconut oil, starch, salt and doesn’t contain genetically modified ingredients.

It can serve as an alternative for most cheeses if you are on a vegan diet but still like the taste of cheese.

9. Vegan Cheddar

Vegan cheddar can be served alongside crackers, pizza, and toast. It can be made easily at home, with ingredients that can be found easily, such as cashews.

Making vegan cheddar is a quick and fun process, and it is made with agar agar powder. It can be served with wine, olives, grapes, or toast.

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