Skip to Content

5 Best Provolone Cheese Substitutes to Delight Your Taste Buds

Provolone cheese is a versatile, semi-hard Italian cheese that occupies a unique place in the hearts of food enthusiasts. Its robust flavor and smooth melting capabilities make it a go-to for a variety of dishes.

But what happens when you need a provolone substitute? Whether it’s due to dietary restrictions, availability, or a simple desire for something new, there are delectable alternatives to this Italian classic that can elevate your dishes in their own right.

5 Top Provolone Cheese Substitutes

Each provolone cheese substitute has its own distinct character and melts away the fear of straying from the traditional flavor profile. I will guide you through the flavors and textures of five outstanding substitutes—mozzarella, gouda, fontina, cheddar, and Swiss cheeses.

From substituting in your favorite pasta dishes to enhancing the alluring aroma of a classic panini, these alternatives ensure that your recipes stay as vibrant and delicious as you intend them to be.

1 – Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella, often regarded as the darling of Italian cuisine, boasts a similar stretchy, gooey texture and mild flavor profile akin to provolone. Its exceptional melting capabilities render it an excellent choice for replacing provolone in a variety of hot dishes, ranging from luscious pastas to mouthwatering pizzas.

Moreover, for individuals seeking a milder taste experience compared to provolone’s characteristic sharpness, mozzarella proves to be a safer option. When opting for a substitution, it is advisable to use a slightly larger quantity of mozzarella than provolone to ensure that the richness of the latter’s flavor is well replicated.

2 – Gouda Cheese

Gouda, a classic Dutch cheese, stands out with its slightly firmer texture and richer flavor profile compared to its mozzarella counterpart. Known for bringing a subtle touch of sweetness to any culinary gathering, it boasts a delightful caramel-like undertone that adds a sophisticated depth to your recipes.

When melted, Gouda transforms into a creamy delight, making it an ideal 1:1 substitute for dishes traditionally calling for provolone. Whether elegantly displayed on a cheeseboard or gracefully draped over a steaming bowl of French onion soup, Gouda promises a culinary experience that delights the senses.

3 – Fontina Cheese

This cow’s milk Italian cheese, Fontina, boasts a rich and buttery profile, accompanied by an earthy taste that beautifully enhances more intricate dishes. Fontina’s creamy texture makes it a superb choice for recipes requiring a velvety finish, melting effortlessly into culinary creations.

While it may lack the boldness of provolone, Fontina’s nutty undertones serve as a delightful counterpart in dishes such as a decadent mushroom risotto or a flavorsome garlic bread, where provolone’s robustness could potentially overshadow the delicate flavors.

4 – Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar is a quintessential cheese known for its sharpness and crystalline texture. It’s a fantastic provolone substitute in various applications, especially when you’re looking to enhance the flavors of a dish.

In terms of its melting capabilities, cheddar is a bit more finicky than other options on this list. However, when paired with creamier cheeses such as mozzarella or Gouda, it can produce a velvety texture that perfectly complements dishes like mac and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches.

When using cheddar in place of provolone, balance the substitution with a bolder hand; cheddar is not nearly as mild and may require a slight reduction in quantity for those accustomed to provolone’s subtler presence.

5 – Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese, with its signature holes, is known for its nutty flavor and pale yellow color. This cheese, also called “emmental” or “emmentaler,” is a popular substitute for provolone due to its similar melting capabilities and mild taste.

However, it should be noted that Swiss cheese has a slightly firmer texture than provolone and may not melt as smoothly in certain dishes. In recipes where the texture of provolone is essential, Swiss cheese can serve as a substitute with minimal adjustments.

When used in dishes such as hot sandwiches or stuffed meats, Swiss cheese compliments the flavors and adds a unique nutty and sweet character that sets it apart from its Italian counterpart.