Gouda Cheese Substitute: Alternative Options

Among one of the most popular cheeses around the world, gouda cheese is known for its distinctly sweet flavor that pairs well with a variety of less intense flavors so as to create a unique flavor profile, such as in pasta or even in sampler platters.

There are a large variety of other cheeses or cheese-like products that can be substituted for Gouda. However, your choice in substitute depends on what you’re looking to replicate; Whether it be Gouda’s flavor, texture, or for a specific use case like fondue.

In terms of flavor, the best gouda substitutes are gruyere, aged Monterey jack, or maasdam cheese. In terms of texture substitutes, edam, cheddar, and emmental cheeses are great options. Lastly, if you’re making fondue or intend to melt the cheese, good alternatives are fontina, provolone, and gruyere.

Why Should Gouda Cheese be Substituted?

Unlike certain other types of cheese, gouda cheese is relatively popular in nearly every country, making it rare to find a grocer or market that does not sell this particular cheese in some shape or form. However, this may be a double-sided sword, with gouda’s popularity also being a primary reason why it would be sold out, especially in well-trafficked stores.

As such, home chefs may find it necessary to improvise and instead purchase another kind of cheese that may act as a substitute to gouda.

gouda alternatives

Apart from availability issues, gouda cheese is somewhat more expensive than other types of cheese owing to the length of time at which it must be aged as well as the pasteurization process it undergoes prior to this aging, both of which may be expensive for production companies and cheesemakers to perform.

There is also the case of personal taste wherein certain individuals may enjoy the characteristic flavor or texture of gouda but not its other aspects, necessitating the replication of this desired characteristic with none of gouda’s other features included.

Flavor Substitutes for Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese is best known for its sweet yet mild flavor accented by a creaminess that is shared by only a few other types of cow’s milk cheese, of which is one of the main reasons for its wide-spread popularity.

Gouda cheese’s particular taste profile may be difficult to replicate in its entirety, however, and as such the closest possible approximations to its unique flavor have been listed in this article.

Gruyere Cheese

Texturally firmer than that of gouda cheese, gruyere works best as a gouda cheese substitute in dishes wherein the particular texture of the cheese is less of a concern than its flavoring. 

gruyere cheese

This is due to the fact that gruyere cheese shares much of the same main body of flavor that gouda has, with a distinctly sweet head and a lightly savory aftertaste, perfect for complementing certain types of dishes.

This is especially so in baking dish recipes that the chef may wish to replace gouda cheese in, as gruyere is considered among the best possible types of cheese for the purpose of baking owing to the ease at which it melts and the fact that it retains its distinct flavor when placed in an oven or other sources of high heat.

Aged Monterey Jack Cheese

While Monterey jack cheese is considered somewhat more salty than that of gouda cheese, it begins to take on certain sweet notes as it ages, which may offset its otherwise buttery and savory body of flavor. This is all the more applicable in instances where the cheese is not the primary source of flavor in the dish, such as sandwiches or paninis.

Additionally, Monterey jack cheese and gouda cheese possess much the same physical integrity and texture as one another, making them structurally similar in usage so long as melting is not brought into the equation, of which certain brands of Monterey jack cheese may not do as readily as gouda cheese itself.

Keep in mind that, especially in the United States, Monterey jack cheese is a highly variable type of cheese with many different brands or additives that can change its particular flavor, appearance or texture, meaning that only certain types of Monterey jack cheese are suitable to act as a gouda cheese replacement.

Maasdam Cheese or Dutch Emmental Cheese

Relatively uncommon in some parts of the world, maasdam cheese shares many of its same characteristics as gouda cheese, with a semi-hard texture and a somewhat high fat content, lending many notes of sweetness and creaminess to its flavor profile.

However, maasdam cheese does not share any similarity in appearance to gouda, save for a similar shade of yellow, as maasdam cheese contains what is referred to as internal voids, or holes, of which are most commonly seen in Swiss cheese, a direct competitor of the maasdam cheese.

This may equate to a more uneven slice if used in dishes such as sandwiches or pizza, as well as a difference in appearance, if it is an important factor in said dish.

As such, maasdam cheese is best used as a substitute for gouda cheese in things such as fondue or potato wedges, wherein it may be melted or otherwise used exclusively for its similarity in flavor to gouda cheese.

Texture Substitutes for Gouda Cheese

Certain dishes may instead use a blend of gouda cheese and other cheeses with more intense and robust flavors so as to only utilize the fast-melting and textural characteristics of gouda cheese, essentially overpowering its flavor and only using it as a textural ingredient.

This, by relation, can also be seen in dishes that primarily use gouda’s semi hard yet high fat texture in order to improve upon the relative mouth-feel found in the dish.

Fortunately, there are far more potential textural substitutes to gouda than there are cheeses with similar flavor profiles, and as such finding them within your pantry or in a nearby grocery store should be no trouble at all.

Edam Cheese

Also among one of the most common semi-hard cheeses, edam cheese is considered an excellent textural replacement for gouda in recipes that call for semi-hard or firm texture that holds up well to the presence of heat.

This makes edam cheese an unsuitable replacement for gouda cheese in meals or dishes that require it to melt, as the average fat content of edam after its minimum aging time is only an approximate 30%, making it difficult to melt without the addition of excess moisture.

However, a benefit to using edam cheese as a textural substitute for gouda cheese is its near lack of flavor and odor, making it almost unnoticeable in meals where more potent and intense flavors may be present, allowing edam cheese to act entirely as a textural ingredient.

Cheddar Cheese

While technically considered a very hard type of cheese, cheddar cheese may act as an excellent textural substitute to gouda in meals wherein it is melted or softened somewhat by the presence of moisture or heat, such as in soups or similar dishes.

Keep in mind that cheddar cheese is known for being quite sharp in taste and as such may be unsuitable for certain types of meals, as authentic cheddar cheese that has undergone some length of aging can be overpowering in comparison to gouda cheese’s own milder flavor.

cheddar cheese

This being said, a variety of cheddar cheese sold in markets and grocery stores are in fact not cheddar cheese at all and instead a replication product that has undergone none of the processes authentic cheddar cheese would have been subjected to.

This can equate to commercially available cheddar cheese being an unsuitable textural replacement for gouda cheese in the event that you have purchased or are using a cheddar replication product instead of the real cheddar cheese.

Emmental Cheese

Slightly softer than gouda cheese, Emmental cheese may act as an excellent textural replacement for gouda cheese in meals that do not otherwise have a distinct body of flavor.

This is due to the fact that, despite being considered somewhat savory, Emmental cheese is found to be quite mild in most of its particular varieties, allowing the chef to retain a balanced flavor profile without the new cheese addition overpowering the other ingredients.

However, Emmental cheese has a distinctly pockmarked appearance, possessing internal voids or holes along its surface that make its appearance quite different from that of gouda cheese.

In the event that this distinction in appearance between the two cheeses is not an issue, Emmental cheese may be utilized as both a melting replacement and simple physical integrity replacement pertaining to gouda cheese, especially in dishes that require an alpine or Swiss-type cheese product.

Melting and Fondue Substitutes for Gouda Cheese

Being among one of the most moist cheeses available on the market, gouda cheese in its relatively young form is often used for melting or even in fondue wherein it can act as the main textural body of the dish or sauce.

While the majority of aged cheeses are known to be quite low in moisture and fat content, certain types of cheese can possess similar levels of moisture content and fat percentage, making them similar in melting capacity to gouda cheese itself.

Fontina

While distinctly more savory and intense than gouda, fontina’s high fat percentage in its younger state is very similar to that of gouda, allowing it to act as a potential replacement in a variety of dishes that combine one or more flavors so as to complement fontina’s pungency.

Keep in mind that fontina is somewhat harder than gouda in its non-melted form, making it a poor choice if it is only to be softened instead of melted in the dish.

Provolone

More akin to mozzarella than gouda, provolone can melt just as readily as gouda cheese itself owing to its high moisture content if stored in the proper conditions. 

provolone

However, provolone melts into “ropes” owing to the fact that its curd is treated in a certain way during the production process, producing a somewhat different texture than gouda cheese when melted.

This may be remedied with the addition of other cheeses or similar dairy products that can help break up the curd chains that will form, creating a smoother melt and diluting the provolone’s flavor if the sharp variety is being used.

Gruyere

Already previously mentioned in this article, gruyere is an excellent meltability substitute for gouda cheese in a multitude of ways, especially in cases wherein young gruyere that has only been aged an approximate five months is being used.

A major benefit to replacing gouda cheese with gruyere cheese is the similarity in their flavor profiles, with gruyere cheese presenting much the same sweet and creamy flavor notes as gouda in its younger form.

Gruyere is also considered an excellent melting cheese owing to its relatively high moisture and fat content, occasionally eclipsing that of gouda cheese in certain instances. This creates a smooth and palatable melt that does not overshadow other flavors present in a dish, allowing it to accompany nearly any other ingredient incorporated into the meal, much like gouda cheese itself.

References

1. Bob “Robert” Brown. (2006) “The Complete Book of Cheese.” Echo Library. Retrieved via Google Books 

2. Donnelly, C.; Kehler, M. (2016). The Oxford Companion to Cheese. Oxford Companions. Oxford University Press.

3. Thorpe, Liz. The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love. Flatiron Books, 2017

4. Y. Jo, D.M. Benoist, A. Ameerally, M.A. Drake, Sensory and chemical properties of Gouda cheese, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 101, Issue 3, 2018, Pages 1967-1989, ISSN 0022-0302, https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2017-13637.

Dominic Peterson
Hey there! My name is Dominic but everyone calls me “Dom.” Food is a huge part of my life and DomEats.com allows me to share my foodie experiences with the world.