If you know all about Italian cuisine, you must definitely know about Fontina cheese! Fontina cheese is a great option of cheese for various savory dishes. It is also perfect for fondue. In today’s article, we will be discussing best fontina cheese substitutes.
I am sure you may have been in a situation where you need fontina cheese, but you can’t seem to find any at the grocery stores near your house. In that case, why not consider using a substitute? This article will help you with the best fontina cheese substitutes.
At this point, you must be wondering, what are the best substitutes for fontina cheese? The best fontina cheese substitutes are emmental, gruyere, edam, parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, gouda and tofu.
However, fontina cheese may be a new concept to many. So, before I discuss the best substitutes for fontina cheese, let me give you a better idea about the cheese itself. This will help you understand how to substitute it better.
Quick Peek: Fontina Cheese
This section has a lot of information on fontina cheese. You will get to know what it is, its flavor, texture profile, uses, and nutritional information. So, let’s explore it together!
What Is Fontina Cheese?
Fontina cheese is a semi-hard cheese made with cow’s milk. It originated in the Valle d’Aosta region of Northern Italy. It has a tough beige-colored natural rind. Though originally from Italy, fontina cheese is now made in various places in the world.
Generally, the fontina cheese made in Sweden, Denmark, and the United States has a milder flavor as compared to the fontina made in Italy. The name fontina has many derivatives similar to various other cheeses. These derivatives include Fontinella, Fontal and Fontella.
Describing Fontina Cheese: Flavor And Texture
Fontina has a semi-hard texture. It is soft and smooth without being gooey or moist. It is creamy, buttery, and rich, considering the fact that it has a 45% milk fat content. As the cheese matures, its texture hardens.
When we talk about the flavor of fontina, it has a mild and nutty taste when it is not aged much. It also has a tart flavor which adds to the flavor of other ingredients.
However, fontina cheese has an extremely strong and pungent aroma. Moreover, as the cheese matures, its smell and flavor intensify. For this very reason, a lot of people don’t prefer matured fontina cheese.
Uses Of Fontina Cheese
As you may have guessed already, fontina cheese, due to its Italian origin, is used widely in Italian cuisine. However, it is now used in various cuisines around the world! Fontina cheese is quite often used to make fondue.
This is because it has the perfect texture for the same after melting. Moreover, it makes a great addition to sandwiches. It is also popularly baked with olive oil and herbs to serve as a dip with bread.
Fontina cheese also makes a great addition to sauces, pizzas, and pasta. Along with that, it can also be served as a table cheese with crackers.
Fontina Cheese On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Considering the fact that fontina cheese has 45% milk fat content, it definitely is not very healthy. Around 28 grams or 1 ounce of fontina cheese contains 110 calories. Out of these, 79 calories are from fat.
Fontina cheese has 47% of saturated fat. It has high amounts of cholesterol and sodium along with small amounts of potassium, carbohydrates, proteins, and iron. However, it is definitely a good source of calcium and vitamin A!
Fontina cheese should definitely be eaten carefully since it has a high amount of saturated fats. This is especially for people trying to watch their weight and people with cardiovascular issues.
Why Use A Substitute For Fontina Cheese?
I am sure this question must have come to your mind! Regardless of how good fontina cheese tastes, there are a few good reasons you can consider using a substitute!
Firstly, fontina cheese is extremely high in calories. Yes, other types of cheese also can be high in calories. However, some of the substitutes are lower in calories and have less fat content than fontina cheese.
Moreover, fontina cheese may be difficult to find in certain places. Fontina cheese isn’t as popular a cheese as some of the substitute options given in this article. Various other types of cheese might be much easier to find than fontina cheese.
Some recipes ask for fontina cheese. However, the smell makes it unappetizing for some. In that case, using a substitute with a milder odor may come in handy!
Lastly, in case you are out of fontina cheese, why run to the store to get some? You can just use a substitute! You can save yourself some time and energy! Substitutes work equally well as per flavor profile.
That definitely was a lot of information on fontina cheese. Now, let me take you to the main attraction of this topic, the best fontina cheese substitutes!
17 Best Fontina Cheese Substitutes
This section has all the best substitutes for fontina cheese. Moreover, there is also information on how you can substitute. So, let’s quickly explore the substitutes!
Emmental cheese is a medium-hard cheese from Switzerland. It has a nutty and tart flavor similar to that of fontina cheese, making it a good substitute for the same.
Emmental cheese is what is usually referred to as ‘Swiss cheese.’ It has large distinct holes that differ it from various other types of cheese. It is also made from cow’s milk, similar to fontina cheese.
Emmental has a texture and taste that works well as a fontina cheese substitute in almost all recipes. It can be added to sandwiches and other recipes, melted to make fondue, and also makes a great table cheese.
Gruyere is another type of cheese with a Swiss origin. It has a nutty and buttery flavor that is quite comparable to mature fontina cheese. Hence, it works as a great fontina cheese substitute.
The texture of gruyere cheese is also quite similar to that of mature fontina cheese. It can be used in various types of recipes such as sandwiches, pasta, and pizzas. It does melt well. However, it might not be the best alternative for a fondue.
Fondues usually need a young fontina cheese. At the same time, gruyere is more comparable with mature fontina cheese. Hence, if possible, the use of gruyere should be limited to using it as a substitute for mature fontina cheese.
Edam cheese is a semi-hard cheese with a very mild flavor from the Netherlands. Considering its nutty flavor that is very similar to that of fontina cheese, it can be used as a substitute for the same.
In case you are not fond of the fat content in fontina cheese, Edam is a great option as a substitute. Edam cheese has a much lower fat content than that of fontina cheese. Edam typically works well with cold dishes.
It would make a great addition to salads and sandwiches. Moreover, it goes really well on a cheese board, paired with fruits. The sweet flavor of certain fruits pairs particularly well with the hint of salt in Edam cheese.
Parmesan is a hard cheese hailing from Italy. It is also made from cow’s milk and is aged. Though it might not be too similar to fontina cheese in terms of flavor and texture, it can still work as a substitute for the same in certain recipes.
Parmesan also has a nutty flavor similar to that of fontina cheese. However, the flavor of parmesan cheese is much sharper than that of fontina cheese. Moreover, it makes a very good addition to various hot dishes.
Parmesan cheese can be used as a substitute for fontina in pasta and sandwiches. It can also be made into a fondue. However, the taste will be much sharper. But, parmesan is best used when grated over various hot dishes.
Mozzarella is another mild-tasting soft and stringy cheese from Italy. Though it has a very mild flavor compared to fontina cheese, it can be used as a substitute for very young fontina cheese.
Mozzarella definitely does lack the nutty flavor that fontina cheese has. However, it is very easily available as compared to mozzarella and works extremely well in various hot dishes.
Shredded or pieces of mozzarella work well in pasta, pizzas, sandwiches, and salads. It can give a slightly sweet flavor to your food. In case you don’t want a sharp aftertaste like fontina cheese, mozzarella is the best option to use as a substitute.
Provolone is another type of soft Italian cheese. It has a milder flavor than young fontina cheese. However, it does have a distinct tangy flavor, similar to that of fontina cheese, and hence can be used as a substitute for the same.
Provolone is another great option for a substitute, especially for people that want a milder-smelling and tasting cheese. It works well in various hot dishes such as pasta, pizzas, and sandwiches.
Provolone is ideal for dishes where you want the cheese to melt well. When aged, provolone also develops a sharper taste. So depending on the flavor profile you want, you can choose young or aged provolone cheese.
Cheddar cheese is one of the most popular varieties of cheese used in the world. It has a salty flavor and can be used as a substitute for fontina cheese in various recipes.
Young cheddar cheese, similar to fontina cheese, has a milder flavor, whereas mature cheddar imparts a much stronger flavor. You can choose the type that would work best for your recipe, depending on your personal flavor preference.
Cheddar is generally very versatile. It works well in almost every recipe. You can use it in pizzas, pasta, and sauces. It especially makes a great addition to various types of sandwiches.
Gouda is a slightly hard cheese made from cow’s milk from the Netherlands. It might not be a perfect match for fontina cheese, especially in terms of flavor and texture. However, it definitely can be considered while thinking of a substitute.
Gouda, especially if smoked, has a very distinct flavor. Gouda works well in all hot dishes and can even be melted to make fondue. Moreover, the distinct flavor of gouda stays intact in almost all recipes.
Gouda is a cheese that can easily be experimented with. If you would like a flavor sharper than fontina cheese, gouda definitely makes a good option. Gouda can also easily be sliced, grated, or cubed.
Vacherin is a soft cheese made from cow’s milk from Switzerland and France. This cheese is rich and aromatic and makes a great substitute for fontina cheese in various recipes.
Usually, the French variety of vacherin cheese is a closer alternative to fontina cheese than the swiss variety. This is because the French variety has a more creamy and buttery flavor and has similar fat content to that of fontina cheese.
As vacherin is a soft cheese, it works best as a fontina cheese substitute in recipes where the cheese has to be melted. You can even serve it as a table cheese with crackers, different types of fruits, and cold meat.
Taleggio is a semi-soft cheese of Italian origin. Though it has a texture similar to that of young fontina, its flavor matches aged fontina more. It can be used as a substitute for aged fontina.
Since it has similarities with both young and aged fontina cheese, tallegio cheese is very versatile in most recipes. It works extremely well in salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta, and sauces.
However, one important thing to remember is that taleggio generally has a higher fat content than fontina cheese. So, it might not be the best substitute option if you are trying to cut down on your fat content.
However, thanks to the high-fat content, it melts really well. Because of this, it makes a great addition to hot dishes.
Havarti is a Danish cheese made with cow’s milk. It has a similar texture and mild and creamy flavor to young fontina; hence it works as a good substitute for the same.
Havarti cheese tends to work well in both hot and cold dishes. It melts extremely well, making it preferable in hot dishes. Havarti also works really well when paid with various types of wines.
Havarti also blends really well with various herbs and spices. So, if you are looking for a cheese with a mild flavor, Havarti cheese is definitely worth consideration.
12. Grana Padano
Grana Padano cheese is a hard cheese very similar to parmesan. However, it has a milder flavor than that of parmesan and can be used as a substitute for fontina cheese.
Grana Padano is another cheese option with lesser fat content than fontina cheese. Similar to parmesan, it can be added to various hot and cold dishes. It works well for pasta, pizzas, and salads and can be eaten just like that, thanks to its mild flavor.
Grana Padano can easily be grated and also melts well. However, similar to aged fontina cheese, it does have a distinct odor. So, this is a factor worth considering, especially if you want to use a cheese with a milder odor.
Montasio is a creamy cheese made from cow’s milk, hailing from Italy. It has a creamy texture and can have a flavor very similar to that of fontina cheese. Hence, it can be used as a fontina cheese substitute.
Montasio, similar to fontina cheese, has a very high-fat content. It is this fat content that gives it a creamy and buttery texture. It can be used as a substitute for fontina cheese in both hot and cold recipes.
Montasio might again not be the best option for a substitute, especially if you want a cheese with lower fat content. In that case, you might want to consider other options.
14. Bel Paese
Bel paese is a semi-soft Italian cheese. It melts easily, and hence it makes a good substitute for fontina cheese in various recipes.
Since it is not very commonly used everywhere in the world, there are chances of this cheese not being too easily available. However, if you do have some handy, you can definitely give it a go at using it as a fontina cheese substitute.
Bel paese cheese is soft, melts easily, and has a milky taste that works very well in almost all recipes. It is also lower in fat content than fontina cheese, so that is definitely a plus!
Reblochon is a type of semi-soft French cheese. It has a nutty flavor and a texture similar to that of fontina cheese. Hence, it can be used as a substitute for the same.
It has a buttery and soft texture with an earthy flavor that can taste quite similar to fontina cheese. It does have a high-fat content, similar to fontina cheese which gives it that particular texture. Hence, this is worth considering as a substitute.
Moreover, reblochon is another type of cheese that isn’t very popularly used, so it might not be available too widely. However, it can be used as a fontina cheese substitute if you have some handy.
Tofu is made with soybeans that are soaked in water. It makes for a great dairy-free and vegan substitute for fontina cheese.
Tofu has a firm texture and crumbles extremely well. It is a great addition to various vegan recipes. Moreover, tofu is available in various varieties, from soft to hard. So, accordingly, you can choose the texture that works best for your recipe.
Tofu mostly makes a great substitute as an addition to various hot dishes. It works well in pasta and pizzas. However, if you like the flavor and taste of tofu as it is, you can also use it in cold salads.
17. Nutritional Yeast
This may sound highly unconventional, but nutritional yeast is another vegan substitute for fontina cheese that actually works. It provides a woody flavor with an intense cheese aroma.
Nutritional yeast might not be the best substitute option for all recipes, considering its texture. However, if you are looking for a vegan alternative to fontina cheese to add to pasta and other hot dishes, nutritional yeast generally does the trick.
It is better used as a substitute for hard and aged fontina cheese rather than young fontina cheese. This is because the flavor of nutritional yeast will match the flavor of mature fontina cheese better.
By now, I am sure you must have gone through all the seventeen best fontina cheese substitutes. However, the list is quite long, as it may seem confusing as to which one to use in your recipe.
In case you are still confused about which cheese to use as a fontina cheese substitute, there is no need to worry! I have broken it down further for you to make it easier. Have a look!
Most Suitable: Edam cheese is the most suitable substitute for fontina cheese.
Easily Available: Mozzarella and cheddar are the most easily available fontina cheese substitutes.
Best Flavor Profile: Montasio cheese will provide the best flavor profile when used as a substitute for fontina cheese.
Best Vegan Substitute: Though there are only two vegan options given, try using tofu as it is more versatile than nutritional yeast.
Now that we have reached the end of this article, I hope it has helped you find the best substitute for fontina cheese. As mentioned earlier, fontina cheese is definitely very high in calories. Hence, it must be eaten in moderate amounts.
A lot of the substitute options given are lower in calories and worth considering, especially if you want your fat intake to be low. Moreover, most of the substitute options for fontina cheese work in all recipes.
So, whenever you are in a dilemma with regards to using fontina cheese, do consider giving one of the substitutes a try!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is fontina cheese best used for?
Fontina cheese has various uses, however, it works best in baked cheese dips and as cheese fondue.
What does fontina cheese taste like?
Fontina cheese has a milky, mild and nutty flavor when young. This flavor intensifies as the cheese matures.
What is the difference between fontina cheese and mozzarella cheese?
They are both types of Italian cheeses, however, the main difference is that fontina cheese is made with cow’s milk whereas mozzarella is made with buffalo’s milk. Moreover, mozzarella has a string consistency whereas fontina has a softer texture.
What does fontina pair well with?
Fontina cheese pairs well with stone fruits along with dried fruits like dates, raisins and figs. It also pairs well with port and sherry wines.
Is fontina cheese good on pizza?
Yes, fontina cheese does work well on pizza and in pasta too.
Is fontina cheese good with crackers?
Yes, fontina cheese pairs very well with crackers.