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14 Best Fontina Cheese Substitutes

These Fontina cheese substitutes make fantastic back-ups to the elusive Italian cheese.

We’ve all been there—mid-recipe, you realize you’re out of Fontina cheese. Don’t worry; this mishap doesn’t mean the end of your dish! 

14 Best Fontina Cheese Substitutes featuring Fontina Cheese on a Wooden Cutting Board with a Burlap Bag of Wheat in the Background

No need to go to a specialty deli or scour the Italian Alps. Reach for a trusty alternative like Gruyère, Edam, or Cheddar instead. 

These substitutes are more accessible and offer a flavor & texture profile that mirrors Fontina. 

Say cheese to these Fontina cheese substitutes and keep your culinary adventures alive!

What Is Fontina Cheese? 

Fontina cheese is a semi-soft cow milk cheese with a rich texture. 

It comes from the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps. People love it for its earthy and robust flavor.

It goes by several other names, including fontalfontella, and fontinella

This semi-soft cheese has graced our tables since the 12th century. 

Fontina is available year-round, but experts will tell you summer and autumn are when Fontina shines. 

Why? It’s all about the cows.

Herds ascend to higher altitudes (during those seasons) and graze on lush grasses. 

This diet enhances the aroma and flavor of the milk they produce and, in turn, the cheese.

Fontina boasts a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status, akin to Parmesan.

There are two primary forms of Fontina. 

A younger version, which is soft and creamy, is ideal for melting into fondue. 

The more mature, aged variant is rich and nutty in flavor. Given its high-fat content (45%), it also melts beautifully.

Fontina cheese pairs well with roasted meats like venison and truffle recipes.

What Does Fontina Cheese Taste Like? 

Fontina cheese boasts a beautiful balance of mildly pungent and earthy flavors. 

Despite its intense, nutty aroma and signature tartness, its initial taste is surprisingly mild. 

The smell and aftertaste, however, can be strong and is what might turn some people away. 

As for texture, the semi-hard cheese is creamy, buttery, and rich. Yet it remains neither gooey nor overly moist.

As Fontina matures, its texture becomes firmer and its aroma more pronounced.

Best Fontina Cheese Substitutes

With Fontina’s rich and distinct flavor profile, finding the perfect substitute may seem daunting- but fret not! 

There’s a world of options matching Fontina’s texture and taste. And they are perfect for making grilled cheese, fondue, or pizza.

Let’s dive right in.

3 Blocks Gruyere on a Cutting Board

1. Gruyere

Gruyère, a Swiss cow’s milk cheese, is a readily available substitute for Fontina. 

This hard cheese has a similar flavor to Fontina. It’s also found in most supermarkets, making it a versatile superstar. 

Known for its signature holes, Gruyère shines on cold platters and transforms into a gooey delight when melted. 

Grate it over soups and pasta, or use it on recipes that require a melty cheese.

Two Chunks of Gouda on a Cutting Board with Rosemary

2. Gouda

Gouda is a stellar stand-in for Fontina, sharing a similar spicy, earthy charm.

This Dutch cheese is more salty, with a higher fat content, making it soft. 

This creamy cheese effortlessly melts into fondue. It also grates well over pasta and adds depth to salads and desserts. 

Block of Emmental Cheese with a Slice Cut Off on Parchment

3. Emmental

Emmental, known to many as “Swiss cheese,” hails from Switzerland’s Emmental region.

This semi-hard cow’s milk cheese is iconic for its hole-pocked appearance. It boasts a distinct nutty, sometimes fruity, flavor. 

Though its aroma might not suit all, Emmental is a fondue favorite and a charcuterie board champion. 

Raw Organic Havarti Cheese and Slices on a Slate Cutting Board with Basil and Tomatoes

4. Havarti

Havarti, a Danish cow’s milk cheese, is another prime substitute for Fontina. 

Its little abundant pores make it visually distinct. Yet its mild and creamy flavors align with a young Fontina’s. 

Havarti’s soft texture melts so well, making it a perfect choice for paninis or pasta bakes. I also love it on cheese boards. 

Havarti is a versatile option, too, available pre-sliced or in wedges at most grocery stores.

Raw Organic Taleggio Cheese Block and Slices with Walnuts and Tapenade on a Round Cutting Board

5. Taleggio

Taleggio is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Italy. 

Known for its intense aroma, Taleggio offers a bold flavor reminiscent of aged Fontina. Its soft texture, however, is more similar to young Fontina. 

With a higher fat content than Fontina, Taleggio melts beautifully. It’s an excellent choice for hot foods, including a savory topping for soups. 

Provolone Cheese Rounds and Triangles on a Plate

6. Provolone

Provolone, another Italian gem, is a tangy, light cow’s milk cheese. It’s perfect for replacing Fontina in both hot and cold dishes. 

Opt for the non-smoked variety to maintain a similar profile. Young Provolone offers a mild, milky taste with a unique zest. 

But as it ages, it develops a bolder, tangier flavor. 

Although it’s softer and hard to grate, Provolone melts well and is perfect for salads, pasta, and sauces.

A Person Holding a Spoon over a Bowl of Melted Vacherin Cheese, Spooning Cheese onto Bread over a Cutting Board

7. Vacherin

Vacherin is a creamy cow’s milk cheese from France and Switzerland, similar to Brie.

It’s a viable Fontina substitute, particularly the French Mont d’Or variety, which boasts a rich, buttery flavor. 

It’s fantastic in melted dishes, with its high-fat content. This makes it perfect for sauces, pasta, fondue, and savory pies. 

You can also savor its creamy richness at room temperature alongside crackers on a cheese board.

Edam Cheese Block and Chunks with Dip on a Gray Cutting Board and Gray Background

8. Edam

Hailing from the Netherlands, Edam is a well-regarded cheese known for its rich and nutty taste. 

Its iconic spherical shape, light yellow color, and protective red wax coating make it recognizable. 

Edam ages well, becoming hard over time, and is a practical, long-lasting cheese option.

Edam shines as a Fontina substitute! This is thanks to its pleasant melting qualities and milder, yet robust, flavor.

Use it on Italian pizzas, salads, or accompanying French toast and red wine.

Mozzarella Cheese Balls with Basil in a Wooden Bowl

9. Mozzarella

This popular cheese has a mild and milky flavor. And it serves as a convenient substitute for a very young Fontina. 

While Fontina has a nutty and earthy aftertaste, Mozzarella offers a cleaner, subtle tart finish.

Mozzarella has a distinctive stringy quality when it melts. So, it can step in for Fontina in various recipes.

It’s an excellent choice for adding a touch of sweetness to pasta, meats, sandwiches, pizzas, soups, and salads. 

Triangle Chunk of Parmesan on a Wooden Cutting Board with a Cheese Knife

10. Parmesan

The classic Italian cheese can be a terrific substitute for Fontina. It works best when you want a more intense, savory flavor. 

Parmesan comes from cow milk and must age for at least a year. This helps it develop a firm, granular texture, and a rich, nutty taste. 

It’s versatile, easily grating into a fine powder or shaving into delicate slivers. Parm is a fantastic topping for pasta dishes, salads, and baked goods. 

Cheddar Cheese Blocks and Shredded Cheddar on a Parchment Paper

11. Cheddar

This brightly colored cheese has a sharp flavor, making it a fabulous substitute for Fontina. 

Cheddar is a firm cheese which you can be slice, grate, or melt, suiting many culinary applications.

Now, it has a bolder taste than Fontina. But it can still harmoniously blend into pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and baked dishes.

Montasio Cheese with Walnuts and Peppercorns on a Piece of Burlap Cloth and Pine Boughs in the Background

12. Montasio

Montasio, an Italian mountain cheese, shares familial ties with Fontina, offering a similar taste and texture. 

Rich and indulgent, Montasio boasts a high-fat content of 32%, making it a less calorie-conscious choice. 

But, if you want Fontina’s creaminess in dishes, Montasio makes an excellent substitute.

Grana Padano Chunks on a Black Slate Cutting Board

13. Grana Padano

Grana Padano, a staple in Italian cuisine, is known for its mild flavor and intense aroma. 

With a crumbly texture, this cheese transforms into a melty delight when heated. Talk about rich and flavorful!  

Use it on pasta, pizzas, salads, and roasted vegetables, or enjoy it as a savory snack alone. 

Chunks of Tofu in a Ceramic Bowl on a Wooden Table

14. Tofu

What the what now?! Tofu as a Fontina substitute? Absolutely! 

Tofu originates from East Asia. Producers make it from ground and water-soaked soybeans, with the solid part becoming tofu. 

It is a nutritious option that can lower cholesterol and has potential health-protective effects.

Although firmer in texture than Fontina, tofu can serve as a substitute in pasta dishes and baked goods. 

And it’s gluten-free and a fantastic option for vegans seeking a cheese alternative.

14 Best Fontina Cheese Substitutes

These are the best fontina cheese substitutes! Can’t find fontina or ran out? No need to run to the store. From Edam to tofu, there’s a substitute for you.


  • Gruyere

  • Gouda

  • Emmental

  • Havarti

  • Taleggio

  • Provolone

  • Vacherin

  • Edam

  • Mozzarella

  • Parmesan

  • Cheddar

  • Montasio

  • Grana Padano

  • Tofu


  • Select your favorite fontina cheese substitute.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious recipe with a fontina cheese substitute in 30 minutes or less!
Fontina Cheese Substitutes

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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