Havarti Cheese Substitutes

Havarti cheese is a popular choice among cheese enthusiasts due to its creamy texture and mild flavor, making it a versatile choice for many recipes. However, not everyone has this Danish cheese in their fridge or pantry at all times. That’s where finding suitable Havarti cheese substitutes comes in handy, ensuring your dish doesn’t suffer from a lack of this delightful ingredient.

Whether you’re unable to source Havarti cheese locally, or you just want to explore new options, there are various cheese substitutes that can provide a similar taste and texture. Through experimenting with these alternatives, you’ll not only become more knowledgeable about different types of cheese, but you’ll also contribute to the culinary diversity of your dishes.

In this article, you’ll find a list of possible havarti cheese substitutes and their unique attributes, so you can make the right choice for your next recipe. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to master the art of creating dishes that are both sumptuous and versatile.

What is Havarti Cheese

Gateway Cheese™: Havarti

Origin and Characteristics

Havarti is a Danish cheese that originated in the 19th century, by a Danish dairy pioneer named Hanne Nielsen. Havarti is named after her family’s farm, Havarthigaard, which was situated north of Copenhagen. This semi-soft cheese is made from cow’s milk, featuring a creamy texture and a distinctive, buttery flavor.

Texture and Flavor Profile

Havarti cheese is quite versatile due to its distinct texture and flavor. It has a creamy texture that melts easily and a rich, buttery flavor with slightly acidic, tangy notes. The cheese is typically aged for three months to develop its full taste. Havarti is visually appealing, featuring small irregular holes and a pale yellow color.

Culinary Uses and Pairing

  1. Melting: Havarti is an excellent choice when it comes to melting cheese. Its creamy texture allows for even melting, making it perfect for sandwiches, quesadillas, and macaroni and cheese.
  2. Appetizers and Snacks: You can enjoy Havarti on its own as a snack or as part of an appetizer. Pair it with crackers, bread, or fruits like apples and grapes to add a touch of sophistication to your cheese platter.
  3. Cooking and Baking: Havarti is a great choice for cooking and baking as well. You can use it in a variety of dishes like pasta, casseroles, or even in a cheese sauce for vegetables.
  4. Pairing Suggestions: Havarti pairs well with light-bodied wines like white wines, fruity reds, or even a crisp beer. When it comes to pairing with other foods, you can’t go wrong with cold cuts, olives, or pickles.

In summary, Havarti cheese is a versatile and delicious option that can be used in various culinary endeavors. It has a rich history and offers a unique flavor profile that will elevate your meals and snacks.

Cheese Substitutes for Havarti

Best Substitutes Overview

When looking to replace Havarti cheese in your recipes, there are several substitution options that maintain taste and texture. Some of the best Havarti cheese substitutes include Tilsit, Gouda, Edam, Monterey Jack, Colby, and Esrom. We will dive into detailed descriptions for each cheese below.

Detailed Substitute Descriptions

  1. Tilsit: This semi-hard cheese has a similar texture to Havarti and melts nicely. Originating from Germany, Tilsit carries a somewhat strong aroma but has a milder taste making it a great option for recipes requiring a smooth texture and subtle flavor.
  2. Gouda: A popular Dutch cheese, Gouda is creamy, semi-hard, and has a mild flavor. It is suitable for Havarti cheese substitute as it melts easily which makes it perfect for dishes like casseroles, sandwiches, and pasta.
  3. Edam: Another Dutch cheese, Edam has a consistency comparable to Havarti. It also features a mild, slightly sweet taste that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Edam’s balanced flavors make it a versatile option in recipes requiring a Havarti substitution.
  4. Monterey Jack: As a semi-hard American cheese, Monterey Jack boasts a mild flavor and creamy texture. This cheese is ideal for melting, making it an excellent choice for recipes like grilled cheese sandwiches and casseroles.
  5. Colby: Colby is a semi-hard, mild-flavored American cheese similar in taste and texture to Havarti. Its ability to melt and blend well in dishes like macaroni and cheese or nachos make it an optimal Havarti substitute.
  6. Esrom: This Danish cheese, also known as Danish Port Salut, shares a similar consistency and mild flavor with Havarti. Esrom melts well, making it ideal for dishes that require a cheese with good melting properties.

In summary, when you need to replace Havarti cheese in a recipe, options such as Tilsit, Gouda, Edam, Monterey Jack, Colby, and Esrom are at your disposal. These cheeses offer similar textures and flavors, ensuring your dish maintains its intended taste and consistency.

Substitute Cheese by Category

Soft Cheeses

If you’re looking for a soft cheese substitute for Havarti, consider trying the following cheeses. These options will offer a similar creamy, smooth, and buttery texture that Havarti is known for:

  • Brie: A popular French cheese with a creamy and soft texture, its subtle, earthy flavor pairs well with many dishes.
  • Camembert: Another French soft cheese, Camembert has a stronger flavor compared to Brie and offers the same richness and creaminess.

Semi-Soft to Semi-Hard Cheeses

For those who want a semi-soft or semi-hard cheese as a substitute to Havarti, you can explore the following options, which have a nice balance of creaminess and firmness:

  1. Gouda: A versatile Dutch cheese with a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s available in various stages of aging, from young and mild to aged and robust.
  2. Fontina: An Italian cheese known for its excellent melting properties. Fontina has a rich, nutty flavor that works well in dishes calling for Havarti.
  3. Muenster: This American cheese has a smooth, slightly elastic texture and a mild, nutty flavor. It’s an excellent substitute for recipes that call for a meltable cheese.
GoudaSweet, nuttySemi-soft to semi-hard
FontinaRich, nuttySemi-soft
MuensterMild, nuttySemi-soft

Firm Cheeses

While firm cheeses might not have the exact same melting properties as Havarti, they can still provide a delicious substitute, offering nutty flavors and a satisfying bite. Some of these cheeses include:

  • Jarlsberg: A Norwegian cheese with a mild, nutty flavor and large holes, similar to Swiss cheese. It’s more firm compared to Havarti but melts well when grated.
  • Emmental: A Swiss cheese known for its distinctive holes and a sweet, fruity taste. Its medium-hard texture works well when you need a firmer cheese in your recipes.

When choosing a Havarti substitute, consider the desired texture and flavor profile for your dish. With so many delicious options available, you’re sure to find the perfect match for your culinary needs.

Creative Culinary Applications

Melting and Sauces

When searching for a Havarti cheese substitute with similar melting properties, consider using cheeses like Gouda, Muenster, or Fontina. They all share a creamy texture when melted, making them ideal for various dishes. For example:

  • Sauces: Creamy cheese sauces are perfect for pasta dishes like mac and cheese or as a tasty addition to burgers.
  • Fondue: A smooth and velvety cheese blend is essential for a delicious fondue experience. Try combining Gouda or Fontina with other types of cheese for a diverse flavor profile.
  • Pizza: Enhance your homemade pizza with a Havarti alternative that offers excellent melting properties, ensuring a uniformly gooey and delicious result.

Baked Dishes

If you’re looking to use a Havarti substitute in baked dishes, several options can easily replace this cheese in recipes like casseroles, lasagna, or even grilled cheese sandwiches. Some of the suitable options are:

  • Gouda: A versatile cheese that adds a rich, buttery flavor to your baked dishes.
  • Provolone: An ideal choice for Italian-inspired meals like lasagna, Provolone offers a mild, slightly tangy flavor.
  • Colby or Colby-Jack: Mild and creamy, these cheeses are great for those who prefer a less intense flavor.

Cold Cheese Boards

When it comes to cheese boards, Havarti is a popular choice. However, other cheeses can also make a welcome addition to your selection, providing similar taste profiles and characteristics. Here are a few options:

GoudaSemi-hard with a nutty and mildly sweet flavor, comes in various ages
EdamCreamy and pale yellow, with a mellow, somewhat sweet taste
MuensterA mild, smooth, and slightly tangy cheese, it has a creamy, pale texture

In summary, when replacing Havarti cheese in your culinary creations, options abound for melting, baked dishes, or cold cheese boards. Consider the desired taste, texture, and functionality of the cheese substitute to ensure a delicious and satisfying end result.

Havarti Cheese Substitutes + Recipe

Havarti and Turkey Panini
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Substitute
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 288 kcal


  • Sliced Havarti cheese
  • Sliced turkey
  • Sourdough bread
  • Butter
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced red onions
  • Baby spinach


  • Preheat a panini press or a skillet over medium heat.
  • Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on one side of each slice of sourdough bread.
  • Layer the Havarti cheese, turkey, tomatoes, red onions, and baby spinach on one slice of bread. Top with the other slice of bread to form a sandwich.
  • Spread a thin layer of butter on the outside of the sandwich.
  • Place the sandwich in the panini press or skillet and cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove from the heat, slice the panini in half, and serve hot.


Calories: 288kcal
Keyword havarti cheese substitutes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Mac & Cheese Questions Answered By Experts | Epicurious FAQ

What cheeses have a similar flavor profile to Havarti for use in recipes?

Some cheeses with a similar flavor profile to Havarti include Gouda, Colby, Monterey Jack, and Provolone. These cheeses can work well in many recipes where Havarti is called for due to their mild flavors and creamy texture.

Can Swiss cheese be used as an alternative to Havarti in dishes?

Yes, Swiss cheese can be used as an alternative to Havarti in some dishes. Its mild flavor and ability to melt well make it suitable for use in recipes like sandwiches, casseroles, and quiches. However, Swiss cheese has a distinct flavor and texture compared to Havarti, so consider that when making the substitution.

Which cheese is a better substitute for Havarti in a cheese pairing, Gouda or Provolone?

Both Gouda and Provolone can be suitable substitutes for Havarti in a cheese pairing. Gouda has a slightly sweeter, nuttier flavor, while Provolone offers a mild, smooth taste. The choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the other components of the pairing.

When substituting another cheese for Havarti, how does the nutrition content compare?

The nutritional content of cheese can vary depending on factors such as fat content and moisture level. In general, substituting another cheese for Havarti may result in differences in fat, protein, and calorie content. For more specific comparisons, refer to the nutrition labels of the cheeses in question.

What are some accessible cheeses that can replace Havarti for someone with dietary restrictions?

For those with dietary restrictions, there are a few options to consider when seeking a Havarti substitute. Lactose-free cheese varieties, such as Lactaid or Green Valley Creamery brand cheeses, may be a suitable option for individuals with lactose intolerance. For vegan or dairy-free options, non-dairy cheeses made from nuts, soy or other plant-based ingredients can be good alternatives.

For those looking to buy an alternative to Havarti, what are commonly available options at major grocery stores?

Commonly available Havarti alternatives at major grocery stores include Gouda, Colby, Monterey Jack, Provolone, and Swiss cheese. These cheeses can typically be found in the cheese or deli section and can be used in a variety of recipes where Havarti is called for. If seeking a specific flavor profile or dietary needs, check the labels or inquire at the store’s cheese counter for more information.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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