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Jarlsberg Cheese Substitute: 5 Common Alternatives to Use

Lisa Price
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by Lisa Price

There are several excellent Jarlsberg cheese substitute available today like Gruyere and Gouda. But if you’re unfamiliar with the Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese (pronounced “YARLS-burg”), you may be left wondering;

What is Jarlsberg Cheese?

Jarlsberg cheese is a mild, semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese related to the Swiss cheese family — although it’s sweeter than traditional Swiss cheese. It has a nutty, buttery, mellow flavor. It works well in sandwiches, cheese platters, and cooked dishes. Jarlsberg cheese is essentially a mix between Gouda and Swiss Emmental.

Jarlsberg is a versatile cheese that is used in a wide variety of ways in different recipes. The best Jarlsberg cheese substitute depends on its role within the recipe. When substituting Jarlsberg cheese, it’s important to consider ratio exchanges and the availability of substitute cheeses.

We discuss five Jarlsberg cheese substitutes for five different uses.

Our top Jarlsberg substitutes are:

  • Sliced Gruyère as a Jarlsberg cheese substitute for sandwiches
  • Cream cheese in place of Jarlsberg for spicy melted Mexican dishes
  • Vegan Gouda cheese for plant-based charcuterie boards
  • Comté as a Jarlsberg alternative for soufflés and quiches

Sliced Gruyère:

Gruyere Cheese is the best Jarlsberg cheese substitute for sandwiches
Sliced Gruyère

Gruyère is less creamy than Jarlsberg and not quite as mild. Gruyère does melt fantastically well if you’re considering a sandwich melt, but it also works phenomenally well when sliced.

Gruyère cheese substitutes well in a recipe where it can take on a shining lead role. Jarlsberg is often utilized for its subtle flavors, which can often flatter the stronger flavors of other ingredients. So beware of using Gruyère if the recipe is full of bold flavors that may require a milder cheese to act more as a backdrop.

However, Gruyère does pair deliciously with certain bold flavors such as fruits, caramelized onions, mustards, and pecans. For example, a recipe originally calling for smoked ham, sweet apple relish, and sliced Jarlsberg on rye could be scrumptiously interesting with a substitute of Gruyère.

Substitution Ratios: Since Gruyère has a stronger flavor than the mild Jarlsberg cheese, you may wish to substitute slightly less Gruyère to make up for its stronger flavor. If the recipe calls for 100 grams of Jarlsberg, consider substituting 80 grams of gruyère.   



Similar to Jarlsberg cheese in appearance, Raclette is filled with holes. It shares many similarities with Jarlsberg. It is also a semi-hard cheese with a creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor.

Like Jarlsberg, this cheese melts exceptionally well due to both its moisture ratio and fat content. If a recipe called for using Jarlsberg cheese for fondue or to melt on top of a sandwich, it would be a natural substitute.

Raclette is not meant to be eaten raw and is specifically used for melting and grilling. It can often be found in a variety of flavors, from mild to added herbs like chilies and peppercorns. Unless you are intentionally adding extra flair to your recipe, it’s probably best to substitute the mild-flavored Raclette for the Jarlsberg cheese in your intended recipe.

If melting the cheese onto sandwiches, meats, or vegetables, it’s good to know that this cheese is traditionally sliced thinly before melting, usually less than one centimeter.

Substitution Ratios: As both cheese are quite similar, it can be substituted for Jarlsberg on a 1:1 ratio for both fondues and sandwich melts.

Related article: Excellent raclette cheese substitute.

Cream Cheese:

Cream Cheese is a good jarlsberg substitute
Cream Cheese

If you’re eyeballing a savory Mexican recipe filled with melted cheese and spicy peppers, there’s a chance it may call for the additional Jarlsberg cheese. You can find Jarlsberg cheese used to stuff jalapeño peppers for an oozy, cheesy treat. It’s also a popular addition to cheese dips and sauces.

Jarlsberg’s mild flavor makes it a natural receptor for the addition of the bold and complex flavors found in Mexican dishes, like lime, cilantro, chili peppers, and even cocoa!

When making a substitute for a dish as flavorful as Mexican, one must first analyze whether the cheese adds a specific flavor or hosts the other flavors. In most cases, with Jarlsberg and Mexican cuisine, it acts as the host to the different flavors.

This means the requisite substitute must have excellent melting capabilities to provide the correct consistency and have a mild enough flavor not to overshadow the other ingredients.

Cream cheese is our pick for this reason. The mild flavor is an excellent carrier for the traditional Mexican ingredients, allowing them to blend and contrast with each other seamlessly. It also melts into a good consistency for fillings and sauces.

Be careful when heating the cream cheese! If you use high heat or overheat it, cream cheese will change its texture and lose flavor.

While cream cheese may be slightly more delicate to heat than Jarlsberg, it is readily available at your corner market, making it an appealing substitute for Jarlsberg cheese.

Substitution Ratios: Due to their mild flavors, cream cheese can be substituted 1:1 for Jarlsberg cheese.

Got excess cream cheese? You can easily store cream cheese by freezing.

Vegan Gouda cheese

Vegan Gouda cheese
Vegan Gouda cheese

If you’re putting together a plant-based charcuterie board, then it’s worth considering adding a vegan smoked gouda style cheese. Gouda makes an excellent Jarlsberg substitute in general, although we decided to include a vegan version of it for our purposes today.

Plant-based diets have been growing in popularity over the last decade, so if you’re hosting a party, the chances are good that you may have some plant-based foodies in attendance. Luckily, the plant-based dairy industry has kept up with demands exceptionally well, providing an impressive range of delicious dairy-free cheeses.

Your vegan Jarlsberg substitute will pair heavenly with an array of fruit, nuts, bread, and even vegan dark chocolate!

Vegan gouda can be cut into cubes for a cheese platter. It’s even capable of being shredded and melted into a soup!

Substitution Ratios: For a charcuterie board, vegan gouda can be used 1:1 as a Jarlsberg cheese substitute.



When it comes to making the perfect Jarlsberg cheese soufflé, it can be frustrating if you can’t find one of the most important ingredients, Jarlsberg cheese, to complete your recipe. If the dish is time-sensitive, then your best option may be to look for an appropriate Jarlsberg cheese substitute. For this type of recipe, we recommend considering substituting Comté cheese.

Comté cheese is also a cow’s milk cheese with a creamy texture and a mild flavor. Like Jarlsberg, it has nutty undertones and melts easily into silky goodness. Its mild flavor and easy melting abilities make Comté a natural Jarlsberg substitute.

It’s worth noting that Jarlsberg is a surprisingly economic cheese, given its versatility. Substituting it with a cheese such as Comté can increase the total costs of the recipe, but also add an additional flair to the presentation.

Substitution Ratios: Comté is quite similar in taste and property to Jarlsberg and can be used as a Jarlsberg substitute in soufflés and quiches using a 1:1 ratio.

Are Gruyère and Jarlsberg Similar?

Yes, Gruyère can make an excellent Jarlsberg substitute, depending on the recipe. Gruyère has a slightly bolder taste and is somewhat less creamy than Jarlsberg, but it melts exceptionally well. It is also excellent served sliced — which is why we recommend it as a sliced Jarlsberg cheese substitute for sandwiches.

Is Gouda Similar to Jarlsberg?

Yes, the popular Dutch cheese, Gouda, can make a wonderful Jarlsberg substitute. In essence, Jarlsberg is a mix between Gouda and Emmental, so it naturally shares many of Gouda’s qualities, including its mild, buttery flavor. Young Gouda also has superior melting qualities, as opposed to aged Gouda. Another benefit of Gouda is that it is a readily available cheese.

Can you Substitute Jarlsberg for Swiss?

Yes, Jarlsberg cheese is a mix of Gouda and Swiss Emmental. Jarlsberg has the general look and consistency of Swiss Emmental, both filled with irregular holes.

However, Jarlsberg cheese is slightly sweeter and nuttier than its Swiss counterpart. Aside from this minor difference in flavor, both cheeses are excellent melting cheeses. Swiss Emental also happens to be a readily available cheese and can make a convenient Jarlsberg cheese substitute.

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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