4 Substitutes for Gruyere Cheese in Mac and Cheese

So you’ve decided to make delicious homemade mac and cheese and run into something you aren’t familiar with or are having a hard time finding: Gruyère. Many good recipes for mac and cheese require some amount of Gruyère, but it’s not always available or some people don’t care for its taste.

The best direct substitute for Gruyère cheese in mac and cheese is Emmentaler, Havarti, Jarlsberg, Beaufort, or any Swiss type of cheese. If you dislike the taste of Gruyère or Swiss cheeses, the options are quite varied: gouda, smoked gouda, mozzarella, Monterey jack, Colby jack, Colby, and mild or sharp cheddars are all excellent choices.

Closest Tasting Alternatives

The best substitutes for Gruyère in mac and cheese will be similar tasting Swiss-type cheeses from Switzerland, followed by Swiss cheeses made in other countries.

1. Emmentaler

Probably the all-around closest to Gruyère, this is another Swiss-type cheese from Switzerland.  It is actually smoother than Gruyère, making it a favorite in fondue.

2. Jarlsberg

Norwegian cheese in the Swiss cheese style. It may be a bit stronger than Gruyère and lends itself to being melted on top of things – perhaps mixed with some bread crumbs to top that mac and cheese.

3. Comte or Beaufort

Both of these are French cheeses with a very similar taste as traditional Swiss cheese.

4. Generic Swiss or Baby Swiss

You can use any generic Swiss or baby Swiss cheese in a pinch, but obviously, the actual Swiss or Swiss-type cheeses above will have the closest flavor and melting properties.

Other Alternatives

If you don’t care for the flavor of Swiss cheeses, there are a multitude of other options available that will make delicious mac and cheese. The primary property you should look for is how the cheese melts.  Cheeses that work well in mac and cheese include: 

There are also several processed cheeses, such as Velveeta, that can make mac and cheese even easier to make. Many processed kinds of cheese are excellent for melting.

If you are trying to make a more healthy mac and cheese, many cheese alternatives can be considered – just keep in mind the tradeoffs of flavor and melting ability.  Swapping out the butter for something else can also yield a big health improvement while hopefully not sacrificing taste