If I had to pick one type of melted cheese that I had to use for my favorite recipes forever, it would have to be Raclette. Soft, delicious, and probably the most versatile ingredient that can fit into almost any gourmet recipe, Raclette is a staple in my cookbook and has been for quite a while.
As great as it is, Raclette cheese is also quite expensive. I usually buy it in bulk at Raclette Corner, but since the price of a single block goes as high as $40, I can imagine most people can’t afford to use it every day.
If you are looking for a substitute for Raclette cheese, there are quite a few good alternatives. Whether you’re looking for something cheaper or cheese with a similar flavor but a different texture, I’ll give you a few ideas and recipes to try out in your kitchen.
What is Raclette Cheese?
Raclette (or “racler”, more specifically) roughly translates to “scrape” or “scraping” and is a French word that is synonymous with this cheese type and the same-named dish.
The first documented case of using Raclette dates all the way back to the late 12th century. Peasants across Savoie hauled large wheels of quickly-melting cheese while commuting and treated themselves by spreading it on bread.
Its texture is soft and creamy while its taste is a perfect blend of salty, sweet, and nutty tastes. Since its aroma and flavor aren’t overwhelmingly strong, it fits great into most types of dishes and goes exquisitely well when served with boutique wine.
10 Raclette Cheese Alternatives
For Raclette fans and connoisseurs, this cheese is probably an irreplaceable part of their cuisine. However, people who can’t afford to store wheels of Raclette may want to give these cheeses a shot:
|Cheese Substitutes||Taste||Texture||Fat Level||Lactose Content|
|Raclette||Salty, somewhat nutty and sweet||Semi-hard||28%||0%|
|Young Comtè||Sharp, nutty, smoky, sweet & fruity taste||Semi-hard||10%||<1%|
|Jarlsberg||Mild, sweet and nutty||Semi-soft||27%||0%|
|Young Fontina||Mild, nutty||Semi-soft||45%||<1%|
|Taleggio||Fruity, buttery, salty||Semi-soft||7-10%||<1%|
|Gruyère||Creamy, salty & nutty||Hard||32%||0%|
|Appenzeller||Sharp, nutty, fruity||Hard||11%||0%|
|Aged Gouda||Moderately sharp, nutty||Semi-hard to Hard||48%||0-2.2%|
|Asiago Pressato||Sweet, buttery with a distinctly salty aftertaste||Semi-soft to semi-hard||14%||<0.1%|
|Taleggio||Fruity, smokey||Elastic semi-soft||25%||<1%|
Raclette Cheese Alternatives with Milder Flavor
Raclette’s taste isn’t overwhelming, but its colorful undertones may not appeal to everyone. Even though it’s not a sharp-flavored kind of cheese, there are numerous substitutes that have a weaker taste. For recipes that don’t revolve around cheese as the main ingredient, you may want to consider Young Comté, Jarlsberg, Young Fontina, Edam, or Taleggio cheese.
Young Comté Cheese
If you are looking for a versatile Raclette cheese alternative, let me recommend Young Comté Cheese. Its rich taste and semi-firm but highly flexible texture allow you to use it as a melted topping, but it’s equally great as an appetizer.
Comté cheese is slightly more affordable than Raclette, but since it’s usually sold in 100-pound wheels, you’re likely to get a good discount if you’re buying in larger quantities. The best way to use Comté is to grate it on smoking-hot meat, salads, or atop bean-based dishes.
With a mild, slightly nutty taste, a strong aroma that becomes stronger as it ages, and a semi-firm texture, Jarslberg Cheese is very similar to Raclette. It comes in a host of unique varieties, so you can expect to find certain Jarlsberg cheese products that have a predominantly sweet or even spicy flavor.
The traditional cow’s milk Jarlsberg has a smooth body, a creamy texture, and numerous holes drilled by healthy bacteria that make it so flavorful.
Since it’s a relatively costly delicacy, my favorite way of using Jarslberg cheese as a substitute for Raclette is making a large cheese fondue on special occasions.
This dip is great with bruschetta, and to make it, just follow the steps below:
- Layer a large cooking pot with garlic slices
- Pour 300ml of white wine and a teaspoon of lemon juice, and cook until they boil
- Grate 225-250g of Jarlsberg cheese into the pot
- Add a teaspoon of cornflour
- Slice bread into small cubes or buy/make bruschetta for four people
Young Fontina Cheese
Due to its immense popularity, Fontina cheese is available in a broad spectrum of shapes, sizes, and tastes. From semi-soft to firm and from relatively mild to sharpish taste, you’ll have to be careful when picking your Fontina, but you can rest assured you’ll always get good quality.
The traditional Fontina cheese is produced exclusively in Aosta Valley in Italy and has a very intense, sharp flavor. Because of this, I recommend using it as a side dish when large meat-based meals are served so that everyone can fully relish its unique taste.
Since its fat content is usually near or at 45%, I’d avoid mixing it with other cheeses and high-fat ingredients, even though it melts pretty well. While aged Fontina has a distinctly sharp taste, Young Fontina has a milder taste and a creamier texture, giving you a bit more flexibility to use it in recipes you’d normally use Raclette cheese in.
Named after the town it originates from, Edam Cheese is semi-hard in texture and mild, salty, and a bit nutty in flavor. Although its taste is slightly weaker than Raclette, Edam is among the cheapest cheeses you can find on the market, making it an excellent alternative for chefs on a cash-strapped budget.
Edam cheese also boasts minimal or zero lactose content, making it an excellent choice for meals prepared for lactose-intolerant people. Even though its texture is fairly firm, Edam melts well and is a great pizza topping.
Taleggio cheese has a similar texture to Raclette. It is a semi-soft cheese that you’ll easily recognize by its distinct square-shaped packaging. Traditional Taleggio cheeses are mild-tasting, just like Raclette, but the former has an unmistakable buttery aftertaste.
My favorite recipe for Taleggio involves blending it with grilled figs, so if you’re looking for a simple delicacy, you may want to give this a try:
- Grill eight figs over strong heat until they fully caramelize
- Season with salt and black pepper
- Pull the figs out of the oven and while they’re still smoking hot, grate 150g of Taleggio cheese over them
- Serve with parma ham as an appetizer and optionally top with three teaspoons of mustard
Raclette Cheese Alternatives With Stronger Flavor and Firmer Texture
The taste of Raclette cheese is rich and layered but often not strong enough for inexperienced gourmets to pinpoint. If you’re looking for an alternative with a more distinct flavor and aroma, I recommend Appenzeller, Gruyére, Aged Gouda, Asiago Pressato, or Roncal cheese.
Appenzell is a Swiss village where this cheese comes from. The texture of Appenzeller cheese is a bit firmer than Raclette’s, although they share a similar taste and aroma since they are both cow’s milk cheese types.
It’s fairly common for Appenzeller to be seasoned before wrapping while many dairy production companies also use wine or herbal brines to make its taste even stronger. It is an amazing Raclette substitute because it melts really well.
My favorite way of using Appenzeller cheese is spreading it on toasted bread. For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Mix two large whisked eggs with a cup of milk
- Season with salt, pepper, and desired spices
- Coat six bread slices with the mix
- Bake for 4-5 minutes on moderately-high heat
- Melt 250g of Appenzeller cheese and spread it on toasted bread
Like Appenzeller, the Gruyère cheese has a hard texture, is made of cow’s milk, and melts amazingly well. Its taste is strong but similar to Raclette, it easily blends with other ingredients and empowers the flavor of the dish it is a part of with a combination of sweet and salty tastes.
Since it’s a great-melting cheese, Gruyère makes for a great topping, but the best way to enjoy it is in a French traditional onion soup.
This iconic meal has been a mainstay in French cuisine for years, and if you want to learn how to make it, just use this recipe:
- Melt 50g of butter with a dash of olive oil
- Thinly slice a kilogram of onions and add them to fry for 10 minutes
- Season with a teaspoon of sugar and keep stirring until the onions are caramelized
- Thinly slice four garlic cloves and add them to the pan
- When the onions and garlic become brown, gradually pour 250 ml of white wine
- Grate 150g of Gruyère on top of the soup or serve separately in a bowl
This might also be interesting for you: Gruyère cheese substitutes
Aged Gouda Cheese
Gouda is a hard, nutty-flavored cheese that melts as good (if not better) as Raclette cheese, which is the main reason why I’d argue it’s one of the best cheeses for Raclette dishes. It’s a cow’s milk cheese that boasts a uniquely savory aroma, which makes it a great side dish that you can serve with any beef or chicken delicacy.
Aged Gouda cheese has a much firmer texture and a stronger aroma than Raclette while possessing a similar taste.
I prefer using it as an appetizer along with hard-boiled eggs, calabrese salamis, and seasonal salads. It goes particularly well with my favorite vegan salad, which you’ll only need a couple of minutes to make:
- Add 400g of mixed beans and 200g of couscous into a bowl
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of olive oil
- Peel half a cucumber into small ribbons and place it into a bowl
- Optionally add your favorite vegetables
Asiago Pressato Cheese
Asiago Pressato is made of whole milk while professionals who use traditional recipes also deploy special techniques to give it the “eyes” as proof of quality. Compared to other cheese types on the list, Asiago Pressato is among the best-melting ones, especially since it has a uniquely savory aftertaste.
You may want to use it as a topping for a delicacy called “Broccoli Cheese”, which can be made by following these steps:
- Cook 150g of broccoli florets at moderately high heat for roughly three minutes
- Melt 20g of unsalted butter and stir for one minute
- Gradually add 150ml of milk and keep whisking until the sauce is smooth
- Grate 60g of Asiago Pressato cheese on top of the sauce
The first cheese on the list made of sheep’s milk, Roncal is quite different from Raclette in terms of flavor while their creamy textures are easy to confuse for one another.
Its taste is very sharp, meaning that it could easily overshadow mild-tasting ingredients such as kefir, chia seeds, oysters, spinach, oats, and prunes. Because of this, I advise grating it in a bowl for people who’ve never tried it to take a bite before deciding whether they like it or not.
Are there any dairy-free alternatives to Raclette Cheese?
Vegusto’s No-Moo Raclette is one of the finest vegan substitutes for Raclette cheese.
What is the best 1-to-1 alternative to Raclette Cheese?
Fontina and Gruyère are the closest alternatives to Raclette in terms of taste, texture, and aroma.
Conclusion: There are great Raclette cheese replacements for every taste
Raclette cheese is phenomenal in all respects – its exquisite taste is often mimicked but never replicated. Its flavor is not too strong, yet it is distinct enough for people who never tasted two types of cheese to tell a difference.
Since its price tag is a bit too steep for some people, it’s not uncommon to search for alternatives.
While doing so, make a list of qualities you’re searching for. If you’re after Raclette’s taste, go for cowmilk-made cheeses such as Gouda or Appenzeller. If you’re usually grating Raclette but haven’t had much luck with certain meals, try the ones with a firmer texture like Comté or Edam.
Did you find your favorite replacement yet? Let us know in the comments.