What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

Emmental Cheese is a common dairy product in the US, commonly used in sandwiches as well as fondues.

Whether you enjoy having thin slices of emmental in your sandwich, or enjoy having whole blocks or wheels for grating or turning into fondue, it can often be a bit risky looking for other similar cheeses without a reference.

That said, you can end up with some cheeses that are way off the mark if you go purely based on what might be the same.

In this case, where you may not have access to emmental cheese or just can’t find any in the shops, there are a bunch of similar cheeses we can suggest that can be used for the same purposes as emmental as well as having similar flavors and properties.

Read below to learn what other cheeses are similar to Emmental so that you don’t waste money buying a cheese that is totally different. Find out more about Emmental cheese and its substitutes below.

What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

What Is Emmental Cheese?

Emmental cheese is a type of cheese from Switzerland. For the record, you may find cheese in the grocery store labeled ‘swiss cheese’.

For general purposes this is the same cheese, but it may not meet the D.O.P standards, perhaps being a cheaper version of the cheese.

Emmental can also be called Emmenthal, or even Emmentaller. The name can be broken into two: ‘emme’ which is a river and the German word ‘tal’ that describes a valley.

The cheese is most recognizable due to the large holes that appear in the cheese. This is due to the maturing process of the cheese, even though most emmental is quite young.

A mix of cultures are used in this process and some bacteria feed on the lactic acid and this then releases bubbles of carbon dioxide that create the bubbles.

The bubbles are trapped in the vacuum of the rind and stay in the cheese rather than popping.

Emmental is a smooth and semi hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It is generally quite smooth and semi-hard making it ideal for a sandwich cheese.

As a result of its smooth texture it is particularly good for melting, making it again ideal for toasted sandwiches as well as fondue, a dish that uses emmental for its melty features.

Depending on how long it has been aged, Emmental can be both nutty, fruity, buttery, but ultimately quite a mild cheese.

In many ways it is quite close to American jack or american square cheese, but with more pronounced cheese flavors. There are aged varieties of emmental that can have a bit more funk and age to them.

When we are looking for a substitute for Emmental, then, we are looking for something mild, with melting qualities, that is semi hard and also somewhat smooth, ideal for both melting and for using in sandwiches.

What Cheese Is Similar To Emmental?

Below we have found some cheese that you can substitute for emmental in any dish, sandwich, or other usage.

1. Gruyère

What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

Gruyère is another Swiss cheese, and is named after a region of Switzerland known as ‘Gruyères’.

Gruyère is a little harder than Emmental and as a result isn’t so ideal for sandwiches, being a little closer in texture to pecorino or parmesan, than the soft smooth cheese of Emmental.

Yet, when it comes to fondue this is basically the other cheese that is famed for its ability to melt, hence the fondue.

If you have ever had a traditional croque monsieur or madame, they will traditionally use Gruyère to make it.

Gruyère, especially more mature versions of the cheese, can also exhibit the holes or ‘eyes’’ common to Emmental as they are made in a similar way, but commonly have much less. Gruyère, in flavor, can be a little more strong and salty than Emmental.

In any case, if you are specifically looking for a cheese that can imitate the melting quality of the emmental cheese, then Gruyère is your best bet, especially for something like a fondue.

2. Jarlsberg

What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

Jarlsberg is a cheese from Norway but created in a Swiss style. It was genuinely manufactured in the ‘Dairy Institute’ at the Agricultural University of Norway, it was literally sold as a ‘research cheese’ before being named ‘Jarlsberg’.

While originally made in Norway it is now made in Ireland and the US to support its international sales, albeit the culture used to make the cheese comes from Norway.

Made in the same way emmental cheese is made, you can expect some Jarlsberg cheese to have the same eyes or holes that come from the maturing process of the cheese.

In any case as it was made to model emmental, Jarlsberg has a very similar taste that is mild and nutty, having similar melting qualities but also an ideally smooth texture that makes it good for sandwiches as well.

3. Gouda

What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

Gouda is a Dutch cheese made in Holland, and is a cheese that even out dates emmental itself, with mention of Gouda even going back to 1284 making it one of the oldest cheeses out there.

The cheese is semi hard and has a smooth texture, depending on the maturity.

More mature varieties can be harder and more like cheddar whereas younger varieties have the same smooth texture that you can expect with emmental.

The commercial variation of Gouda we get in the US is commonly the much younger, milder, and smoother version of Gouda, whereas the varieties in the Netherlands are likely more mature and artisan.

In terms of the cheese we get in the US it is quite similar to emmental, being both ideal for melting potentially into a fondue as well as having in a sandwich.

4. Leerdammer

What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

Leerdammer is another Dutch cheese that is quite similar to Emmental. Like Jarlsberg, Leerdammer was created specifically to compete with the sales of Gouda and Edam, so we can already imagine it will be very similar to these cheeses as well as Emmental.

Leerdammer, benign made with similar processes, also has the hole sor eyes that are typical of emmental cheese.

Leerdammer is made from cow’s milk and has a very similar texture to emmental, albeit with a slightly more nutty and sweet flavor, with a lighter color.

That said, if you are looking for a sandwich cheese like emmental Leerdammer is both very similar while also easy to get a hold of.

Leerdammer is a commercial cheese produced exclusively by one company, so the Leerdammer you see in the stores is the only one.

Cheese that is in the generic Leerdammer style but not sold under these exclusive rights is generally called Maasdam, and is also similar to Emmental cheese. Being commercially sold, it’s very easy to find in grocery stores.

5. Comte

What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

Comte is a French cheese that we can consider to be similar to Emmental.

While French, it is made in the area of Comté that actually borders Switzerland. Comté is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk in a slightly different way to Emmental.

In order to reach the specific requirements to be called ‘Comté’ cheese, there are many different and unique rules around its creation, specifically from cows in the region of Franché-Comté.

It is semi hard and flexible so it’s quite similar to emmental, especially having a similar flavor, and works well in both fondues and sandwiches.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Emmental is a very coveted cheese in European dairy manufacture. As a result many cheeses seek to replicate the success of Emmental by being similar.

Leerdammer and Jarlsberg are your best bet for a sandwich cheese that is similar to Emmental, while Gruyère and Comté probably have more similar melting qualities for use in something like a fondue.

We hope this list has prevented any holes in your dinner plans.

What Cheese Can You Substitute Emmental Cheese With?

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Gruyère

  • Jarlsberg

  • Gouda

  • Leerdammer

  • Comte


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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