Best 18 Fontina Substitutes
Does your recipe require fontina cheese and you don’t have any lying around? Do you want to replace it with a vegan version? Would you like to use another type of cheese instead?
If you don’t have fontina and you’re in a panic, you don’t have to fuggedaboutit. Here are some great fontina substitutes to try!
What is Fontina cheese?
Fontina cheese is usually found in delicatessens… or in Italy since it’s Italian cheese! Fontina cheese is made from cow’s milk, which means it has a certain sweetness and lightness to it. Fontina, the authentic fontina, is made from the milk of cows in Valle d’Aosta, in the Italian Alps. While fontina cheese can be made in various other regions, the original fontina is recognized as the one in the Valley of Aosta.
This type of cheese is made from raw milk. With a semi-soft texture, fontina has been produced since the 12th century. And while you’d think it could be tricky to replicate it, there are many ways around it. Discover what to use instead of fontina in our suggestions below! But…
What does fontina cheese taste like?
It’s important to discuss fontina’s flavor profile before we jump into how to substitute it. After all, how could you replace it if you can’t associate a taste, flavor, aroma, smell, texture, and consistency to it?
- Fontina flavor profile
Fontina is quite intense in terms of smell. It’s often labeled as pungent. But it has a signature flavor, combining a nutty, powerfully earthy aroma, and an intense tartness that influences other ingredients around it. While it has a rather potent odor (which could be the reason why people look for an alternative) its taste is mild, gentle, and soft. It’s the aftertaste that turns some people away!
- Fontina texture & consistency
Fontina is a semi-hard cheese. It’s soft and smooth, but not gooey, nor moist. It’s rather creamy, buttery, rich, and unctuou, which is no big surprise; this cheese has a 45% fat content. As it matures, its texture hardens and its aroma intensifies.
There are so many fontina substitutes!
Given its intense flavor, you might think that fontina would be hard to substitute. But regardless of whether you’re making a cheesy sandwich, a fondue, a rich pizza, or a salad, fontina goes with anything, and there are tons of options which are similar in texture and taste, and even a couple of great vegan substitutes. Just pour yourself a glass of red wine and browse our suggestions.
Is fontina similar to gouda? Well, they are both aged cheeses and they share similar properties. They both have a certain spiciness and earthiness to them.
Gouda, one of the most popular Dutch cheeses, is also one of the best fontina cheese substitutes due to its distinct odor, color, texture, and consistency, its richness and its creaminess. Melted, grated, cubed, sliced, added in pasta, salads, fondue, to vegetable dishes, to desserts, even, gouda can be a dish-saver.
Gruyère is a great cheese to complement pasta, sandwiches, soups, and cheese platters of course. With its characteristically formed holes, it goes great in cold platters. But it also turns into a gooey, delicious madness, when melted. In terms of taste, Gruyère comes very close to fontina cheese.
Made from raw, unpasteurized milk, this cheese is rich, dense in terms of flavor, and has a nutty, buttery, earthy aroma, just like fontina. Young gruyère is sweeter and softer. As it matures, it turns to a strong, yeasty, deep flavor, and it gets a more crumbly texture.
Can I substitute mozzarella for fontina cheese? Well, yes! Mozzarella can be compared to a very young fontina. The difference is in the aftertaste. Fontina leaves a nutty, deep, earthy flavor, while mozzarella tends to give a tart, acidic finish.
Just add it to pasta, meats, sandwiches, pizzas, soups, and salads in place of fontina. While mozzarella is a stringy, rather milky cheese, it makes a great fontina substitute if you need to add a little sweetness to your dish.
One of the best alternatives for fontina – Emmental – is nutty, and pungent. This semi-hard cheese is rather acidic and somehow fruity, sharing some of the tartness of fontina.
Its intense smell, which can be off-putting for some, will also remind you of fontina cheese. Its mouthfeel will remind you of cheddar, only with more piquant. Use it in sauces, grilled sandwiches, and snacks, soups, or grated over veggies.
Also from Italy, this tangy, cheesy, smelly, and yet light, milky cheese can replace fontina in both cooked and cold dishes, especially if you buy the non-smoked type. Provolone is a young, mild cheese with a moderate aroma, and a special zest to it.
As it ages, provolone can develop a strong, tangy flavor. It works great with salads, pasta, and sauces. As it is somewhat on the soft side and not easily grated, provolone is ideal in melty dishes.
Is fontina cheese similar to parmesan? Parmesan is dense, thick, sharp, nutty, hence can be a good fontina replacement when necessary. Parmesan works on everything, which we all know, since we add it to everything and anything!
One question that keeps cropping up online is: Can I substitute cheddar for fontina cheese? Yes, cheddar is one of the best fontina cheese alternatives.
While the American, yellow, soft, and creamy cheddar can work, the British, white cheddar, with is dry, stinky and crumbly charactersitics can stand in for fontina better. Cheddar is ideal in any food, making it an instant comfort food. Just play with it!
Edam, a cheese from the Netherlands, with a yellow color and a hard texture, is rather milky, sweet, mild, rich, buttery, and has an earthy, nutty aftertaste. It can be a good solution for cuting out fat, replacing fontina with this skim-milk cheese.
This type of cheese is best added to cold dishes: salads, cheese boards, dessert plates, and sandwiches. It’s ideal with sweet fruit, to enhance its saltiness and richness. You can also add it to hot dishes, such as pasta, or crêpes, if you have a sweet tooth.
Another Italian cheese, taleggio, can work just fine as a fontina replacement. The two have similar fat content, taste, and smell.
Taleggio has a tangy aroma and a pungent, bold, distinctive smell, just like fontina. It sometimes gets mistaken for an aged fontina, that’s how similar they are! Add it to meats (works great alongside bacon, hams, chicken), pizza, sandwiches, soups, and anything with bread!
10. Grana Padano
If you’re out of fontina, but you have some Grana Padano, use it! Both fontina and Grana are somehow hard (Grana even more so).
Grana Padano is mild in flavor, but that doesn’t stop it from having an intense odor. Grana grates easily and it has a crumbly texture, but it can turn into melting goodness, forming a fatty, rich crust. So add it to pasta, pizza, salads, roasted veggies, and even as a snack, as it is. Mamma mia!
Montasio has a high fat content as well. This makes it rich, buttery, and creamy. Its texture is rather crumbly but it can mimic the flavor of pungent, intense fontina cheese.
Another mountain cheese, Vacherin, is one of the best fontina substitutes if you have some in your kitchen. Made from cow’s milk, Vacherin is a soft cheese, fat and creamy, with a mild, buttery flavor, adding richness to your dish. You can use it in pasta, baked goods, or pies -any dish that involves melting since this cheese will bubble and form a delicious stringy crust.
Do you have Havarti in the fridge? Because if you do, you can use it instead of fontina. Havarti is rich, creamy, and melts into buttery heaven. Its taste is rather mild, just like fontina.
A semi-soft cheese, Havarti is porous and has tiny holes in it, but it is comparable to fontina. It can replace fontina in wine and fruit pairings, pasta, sandwiches, meats and fish, and cheese dips or sauces, alongside aromatic herbs.
14. Bel Paese
Is there any other cheese can I use instead of fontina, you’re asking? While the odds are slim, if happen to have some Bel Paese, give it a go. It is soft, melts easily, and has an intense, milky taste that will linger on, impressing you with its thick texture. Use paired up with fruit and wine, or add to pizzas, fondue, fillings, baked goods, and desserts.
15. Appenzeller Cheese
Is Swiss cheese comparable to fontina? Well, there is one Swiss cheese that works great as a fontina sub. Appenzeller, like Emmental (another Swiss cheese), is a hard cheese. It has a spicy aroma and an intense milky-sweet flavor. You can swap it for fontina in fondue, or in pasta such as macaroni.
Reblochon is a semi-soft French cheese. It packs quite the kick, having a nutty, earthy vibe to it, and its creamy, buttery texture will certainly remind you of fontina cheese. You can use it in cooked dishes, since it melts wonderfully, and it goes perfectly with onion soup, bacon, roasted meats, and potatoes.
Vegan alternatives to fontina cheese
After all this cheesy goodness, we have some non-dairy substitutes for fontina cheese. If you are looking for vegan fontina cheese, give these two a go!
17. Nutritional Yeast
Here is one you might not have thought of! Nutritional yeast is a good vegan alternative to fontina. Due to its mushroomy, woody, earthy, flavor and its intense, somehow cheesy aroma, nutritional yeast can do the trick, when sprinkled on top of your dish.
Another good vegan alternative to fontina is firm tofu. The firmer, the better.
So there you have it, cheese lovers everywhere! These are all the fontina substitutes we could think of. Have you stumbled upon other options? If so, please tell us!