10 Best Substitutes For Gruyere Cheese In French Onion Soup

French onion soup is the perfect dish in cold weather. It is pleasantly thick, very rich, with the sweet taste of onion and tart thyme and the viscous stretching cheese eaten with crispy baguette.

What cheese can I put in French onion soup? Most often, French onion soup is cooked with Gruyere or Emmental cheese. However, mozzarella, gouda, fontina, cheddar, or raclette can also be used. French onion soup is traditionally cooked using gruyere cheese. But what can you substitute it with? Let’s look at the 10 best substitutes for gruyere cheese in French onion soup.

Alternative Cheese for French Onion Soup

What can I use instead of Gruyere in French onion soup? Here are 10 kinds of cheeses you can use instead of gruyere in French onion soup:

  • Mozzarella
  • Emmental
  • Jarlsberg
  • Gouda
  • Fontina
  • Provolone
  • Monterey Jack
  • Parmesan
  • Cheddar
  • Raclette

10 Best Substitutes For Gruyere Cheese In French Onion Soup


You can use mozzarella instead of gruyere in French onion soup as it melts well and has a delicate creamy taste, just like gruyere. Mozzarella will complement the taste of other ingredients in the soup and will not fade them. Mozzarella will not lose its fibrous texture and make the soup delicious. 

Mozzarella is an indispensable part of many national Italian dishes, too, and is used to prepare various casseroles, pizza, lasagna, delicious pies with cheese fillings. Unlike spicy and rich parmesan, mozzarella has a delicate creamy taste. Its soft citrus-straw notes emphasize but do not drown out the taste of other ingredients in the dish.

Mozzarella goes well with vegetables, herbs, white wine or vermouth, ham, olives, and berries. Delicate mozzarella melts well, but at the same time, it does not lose its slightly fibrous structure. Mozzarella will be good in French onion soup, pizza, lasagna, or various salads.

See also: What Does French Onion Soup Taste Like? All You Need to Know


Emmental is a Swiss hard cheese made from the milk of Alpine cows. It is covered with a dense light brown crust, and the cheese itself is creamy yellow in color with large holes and sweetish almond flavor. Emmental is most often used in various salads or sandwiches.

Emmental cheese has a characteristic spicy, nutty taste and is perfect for French onion soup if you do not have gruyere.  Emmental goes well with desserts and fruits, and it can be used as an appetizer for wines, added to soups and main courses. In addition, this cheese is used for fondue.

Emmental cheese is great for appetizers, sandwiches, breakfast and cheese platter, fondue, where its rich and creamy flavor is fully revealed. Emmentaler’s sweet and nutty flavor makes it extremely delicious. Unlike most hard cheeses, Emmental does not dissolve completely in sauces when heated. The cheese is perfectly grated and grilled.


Jarlsberg is a Swiss-style Norwegian cheese. Its taste is similar to Emmental, but Jarlsberg is sweeter and stronger. Jarlsberg is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and melts very well, so it can be used for cooking French onion soup instead of gruyere. Jarlsberg is also used for classic cheese fondue combined with Gruyere, as well as on a cheese plate and as a sandwich cheese.

Jarlsberg is especially popular in the USA and Europe. Jarlsberg got its original name thanks to the Norwegian town of the same name, where this kind of semi-hard cheese was first made in the cheese dairy. Jarlsberg is also used to make salads, snacks, and mashed soups. Jarlsberg is often accompanied by fruit and wine.


If you want to use Gouda cheese for French onion soup, it will be a good idea as Gouda is a light cheese with a soft creamy taste and excellent melting properties and is a less expensive substitute for gruyere cheese. Gouda can be used in various hot dishes, salads, soups, sauces, baked dishes, and sandwiches. Mature Gouda will be good for the cheese plate and will go well with noble wines such as Merlot or Shiraz.

In the Netherlands, Gouda is very often eaten as a snack, dipped in local mustard. Mature cheese is served with apple syrup topping, and extra-mature Gouda goes well with strong light unfiltered beer, ale, or even port.


Fontina cheese belongs to semi-hard varieties, but at the same time, it has a rather soft texture which is perfect for French onion soup. Fontina cheese is an excellent stand-alone snack, served on a cheese plate with red wine. In addition, it can be used to prepare salads and appetizers. You can also use shredded fontina cheese for baking. Mature cheese melts well and is used to prepare main courses. Young Fontina cheese can be served as an appetizer that goes well with red wine.

Fontina cheese is famous not only for its taste and cheese aroma. This product boasts of its vitamin and mineral composition, which contains a sufficient amount of lactic acid microorganisms and vitamins, and other biologically active and beneficial compounds for the human body.


Provolone, with its creamy, milky taste and smooth texture, is good for French onion soup. Provolone also goes well with bread,  vegetables such as radishes and olives. Provolone Dolce’s taste is harmoniously complemented by honey, mustard, and fig jam. This cheese is good with sparkling and young fruit wines (Barbera, Novello, and others).

Provolone Picante is often served with salami, added to scrambled eggs, pasta, pies, pizza, sandwiches, and other dishes. It is served along with long-aged red wine (Refosco, Amarone, and others).

Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack Cheese is an American semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk with a nutty flavor: it is obtained through long aging in a mixture of pepper and cocoa. Monterey Jack cheese melts well and resembles soft cheddar cheese. Monterey Jack can be used for French onion soup as its taste is similar to gruyere, and it also melts well.

Monterey Jack is made from cow’s milk. It melts well, is soft and aromatic, similar in texture to Colby and Cheddar. It is supplemented with traditional fillings: jalapeno pepper and pesto. Sometimes Monterey Jack is made from goat’s milk. This cheese is widely used in American and Mexican cuisines. It contains a large percentage of moisture and melts well. Therefore it is added when preparing sweet and salty casseroles, sandwiches, toasts, pasta, soups, sauces, meat, fish and vegetable dishes, pizza, tacos, etc. It is cut into strips and served with fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, pies, crackers, bread, and fruit wines.


Parmesan has a spicy, salty taste and a grainy texture. Parmesan is indispensable in Italian cuisine, which has long gone beyond its geographical scope and acquired international status. Parmesan is added to the French onion soup, pesto sauce used for pasta, lasagna, or served alone with balsamic vinegar. It will be a nice addition to your morning coffee and make a great pair with an evening glass of wine.


Spicy Cheddar is great as a component for a cheese plate, French onion soup, or stand-alone snack. Cheddar goes well with red wine with a rich, fruity bouquet, Merlot or Bordeaux, cider, or port. Dishes with Cheddar are always delicious and satisfying. Because the cheese melts easily, it can be safely added to French onion soup, various casseroles, pizza, hot sandwiches, and omelets. Also, Cheddar is used to make sauces for fish or meat.


Semi-hard cheese is the basis of the Swiss dish of the same name. Raclette has a unique taste and mushroom aroma that will complement French onion soup. Raclette is used both melted and sliced, added to sauces and hot dishes, casseroles. Raclette cheese also makes a great addition to stews.


To cook a delicious French onion soup, you need to choose stringy cheese that melts well. Traditionally, gruyere cheese is used for onion soup. However, gruyere can be substituted with a variety of types of cheese. You can opt for Emmental, Gouda, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Raclette, or even Monterey Jack. Choose only high-quality ingredients, and your French onion soup will be yummy and unforgettable.

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