HOME > Chowhound > Cheese >

Discussion

What can i substitute for gruyere?

I want to make baked macaroni cheese which, according to the recipe requires cheddar, parmesan and gruyere. I am unable to find gruyere in the local supermarkets so is there something that i can use to substitute? Is parmesan ok?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
    1. I agree with C70 - Gruyere is a kind of Swiss, so go for a good one.

      1. If you're trying to stay true to the recipe get some kind of good swiss, but it's mac and cheese-I've seen every cheese under the sun called for in some mac recipe or another. You could substitute almost anything provided it melts nicely.

        1. With the cheddar, you can even add (heaven forbid), American
          Cheese, or any cheese that will melt. If you add more parmesean, the consistency might be too grainy.

          And when I buy Swiss cheese, I buy domestic. A lot of people like Boars Head, but it has less flavor to me.

          JMO

          1 Reply
          1. re: mcel215

            "...you can even add (heaven forbid), American
            Cheese,..."

            Goodness. For certain uses, American cheese is irreplaceable.

          2. Saying Swiss for cheese is as silly as saying French for wine. Emmenthal is nutty and mellow so not as similar to gruyere. I would suggest raclette or just add more cheddar (make sure it's sharp) since adding more parmesan won't make the cheese as stringy. You can also consider adding fontina with the sharp cheddar or aged gouda. If you want to be a bit different, substitute all cheeses with smoked gouda, mozzarella and parmesan.

            9 Replies
            1. re: swissfoodie

              Not sure what part of the world you live in, swissfoodie, but here in Los Angeles every single supermarket sells a cheese called "swiss cheese." While surely there are fine cheese stores that will provide a variety of cheeses from Switzerland, there is a standard cheese sold here that is simply called "swiss cheese." Some brands are bland, some are decent (Boarshead was mentioned), but I believe the other posters were simply trying to be helpful in suggesting swiss, because if the original poster lives in a place where he or she cannot find guyere, it's pretty unlikely they will be able to find emmentaler or raclette.

              1. re: DanaB

                It doesn't mean because the large food companies that seek to simplify things for the average American call a product they attempt to promote as cheese 'Swiss' that one can't make a clarification on a food/gourmet forum. And for the record, I live in Canada where the same nomenclature unfortunately applies yet some of us make an effort to drive a bit further to find quality products rather than to settle.

                1. re: swissfoodie

                  I think everyone would agree that clarifications are great, but that simply wasn't what you were doing. For the record, there is a cheese designated as Swiss Cheese, aka American Swiss Cheese. Yes, it is to emulate Switzerland's Emmentaler, but it is different from it and has its own characteristics. I.e., it's a legitimate choice of cheese, even if you consider it dumbed-down for the average American's palette.

                  1. re: swissfoodie

                    So, my comments haven't shown up on here so far, perhaps because someone is mad that I stood up to this swissfoodie dude. I'm just saying, no need to be snotty.

                  2. re: DanaB

                    I live in Singapore. Cheese is seldom used as an ingredient, much less eaten on its own so it's really hard to find the cheeses mentioned in overseas cookbooks. The usual ones are just mozarella and parmesan. It's really a pity the cheese selection is so limited.

                    1. re: DanaB

                      Kudos to you, DanaB, for your reply about Swiss Cheese! You said precisely what I was thinking .. thank you!

                      1. re: DanaB

                        In North America we have a cheese called "swiss cheese." No such cheese exists in Switzerland. There are many distinct varieties of swiss cheeses. But you are mistaken in saying it would be difficult to find emmentaler in Los Angeles (or anywhere else in North America) since what people in NA call "swiss" is usually a type of emmentaler. The point is that just because two different types of cheese originate in Switzerland doesn't mean they are at al similar or good substitutes for one another. Gruyere is a sharp, salty cheese, whereas emmental is not. Cheddar would be a better substitute for gruyere than emmental/"swiss."

                        1. re: DanaB

                          Raclette is a very soft, mild-flavored cheese with a very low melting point that's not aged...yes, it's produced in the Alps from cow's milk....but any similarity to Gruyere from there on is purely accidental.

                          Go with a good Swiss or an Emmental if you can find it....those are the closest.

                          The Comte down the page is a good call, too.

                        2. re: swissfoodie

                          ITA with this. I have yet to find a "swiss" cheese that has the same intensity of flavor as gruyere. I'd substitute sharp cheddar.

                          http://www.savour-fare.com

                        3. I think the fontina rec is a great one. It melts nicely and there are some nice Italian ones out there.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rabaja

                            Geez, if the OP can't even find gruyere-a very basic cheese that even the teeny little grocery near my house carries-I wonder if they'll find any of the other cheeses being suggested. Italian fontina WOULD be delicious. Good luck.

                            1. re: christy319

                              Yes, I've seen every conglomeration of cheeses in different recipes. Patti LaBelle even uses Velv**ta. Actually, it is one of four she uses.

                              I like to make sure my cheddar is extra sharp. Although in Martha's she calls for Canadian Cheddar, she also uses gruyere. Good luck in your search.

                          2. If Jarlsberg is available it is another version of swiss but a little nuttier. I think it would be a nice addition to mac and cheese. BTW, what recipe are you using? The cheese combination is really intriguing.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                              I took it from a cookbook. Consist of macaroni milk butter flour the three cheeses and nutmeg. The book's by periplus.

                            2. Fontina is a nice suggestion if you can find it in your market. Comté would be even closer to Gruyere in flavor, though the fontina will melt a bit better. I've noticed that one of the local specialty markets doesn't stock gruyere arund this time of year, but does stock comté.

                              And if you can't find any of the above, I've been seeing shredded/cubed gouda in the shredded cheese section of the dairy aisle lately. That would melt well and work well in a mac & cheese recipe, even if it's flavor is different from gruyere.

                              1. I once saw a cooking show where the lady sprinkled a little white wine on swiss cheese to make it taste a little more like gruyere. Gruyere is expensive here so that little tidbit stuck in my mind. I haven't tried it yet, though. She shredded the swiss first, sprinkled with wine, let sit for 15 minutes or so, then added it to her dish.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: thymetobake

                                  It's a nice thought, but there's no wine used at any stage of making (true) Gruyere -- and Gruyere doesn't taste anything like wine.

                                  (It will make the dish taste good, though -- no doubt at all about that.)

                                2. There's more than one kind of Fontina. The variety found in most supermarkets is the Danish kind, which is very mild. The Italian Fontina is a little harder to find (cheese shop or Italian market, likely). Gruyere and Comte are very similar cheeses although Comte is French (they're from opposite sides of the mountain (Alps). Most other "Swiss" cheeses found in US are quite different from those two. Although all are pretty tasty and melt well, they're less full flavored.

                                  For Mac & cheese, you can pretty much use any cheese(s) you like, but you'll want them to be "melty" cheeses.

                                  1. Note that the original post was in 2006, so the OP and others might not be participating any more. And the poster who revived this thread hasn't posted elsewehere.

                                    Obviously you can still express opinions about gruyere in mac-n-cheese, and its alternatives.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: paulj

                                      That's weird. Thanks for pointing that out. I never pay attention to the dates.

                                    2. I have found I can buy anything on line. Also I have found that in many towns there is at least one upscale grocery with a cheese department, even if it is "the next town". "But" not always - which is why there is the internet!

                                      1. Heaven forbid is the perfect substitute both are very swiss tangy you could go for a nice tangy swiss cheese