Blue Cheese Alternatives

Blue cheese is a beloved ingredient for many chefs and home cooks. Its tangy, salty flavor adds a punch of umami to salads, pasta, pizza, dressings, dips, and more. However, not everyone enjoys the sharp taste and pungent aroma of blue cheese.

Blue Cheese Alternatives

Fortunately, there are several tasty blue cheese substitutes you can use instead. While no other cheese can perfectly replicate the unique flavor of blue cheese, these alternatives come close in their own way.

What Is Blue Cheese?

Blue cheese is made by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep milk with cultures of the mold Penicillium. This is what gives blue cheese its distinctive veins and pungent flavor.

The mold grows inside the cheese as it ages, resulting in a complex, tangy taste and crumbly texture. The longer blue cheese ages, the stronger its flavor becomes.

Some famous varieties of blue cheese include Roquefort from France, Italian Gorgonzola, British Stilton, and American Maytag blue.

The flavor of blue cheese ranges from mild and creamy to quite sharp and salty. It can have notes of garlic, pepper, nuts, and herbs. The texture varies too, from soft and spreadable to firm and crumbly.

Blue cheese pairs wonderfully with fruits like pears, apples, and grapes. It also goes great with walnuts, honey, and balsamic vinegar.

Some of the most common uses for blue cheese are:

  • In salads
  • Added to dressings and dips
  • On burgers or steak
  • In pasta dishes
  • On pizza
  • On a cheese plate

Now let's look at some excellent substitutes to use when you don't have blue cheese on hand.

Feta Cheese

Feta is a brined cheese made from sheep's or goat's milk. It originates from Greece and has a tangy, salty flavor similar to blue cheese.

While feta lacks the signature funkiness of blue cheese, it has a comparable crumbly texture. Feta brings a sharp saltiness to dishes that makes it a solid sub.

For the closest match, use about 25% more feta than the measured amount of blue cheese. This accounts for feta's slightly milder flavor.

Feta is a natural choice for Greek salads in place of blue cheese. It also works well in pasta, on pizza, in dips, and anywhere else you want a salty accent.

Tip: For a creamier feta texture, avoid pre-crumbled feta and instead buy it in a block. Then crumble it yourself before using.

Key Takeaway: Feta cheese makes an excellent replacement for blue cheese in terms of flavor. Use 25% more feta than the blue cheese a recipe calls for.


Gorgonzola is actually a type of blue cheese, originally from Italy. But it makes a great substitution for other blue cheese varieties.

There are two main kinds of Gorgonzola - dolce and piccante:

  • Dolce ("sweet") is creamy, mild, and spreadable. It works best in place of soft blue cheeses.
  • Piccante ("spicy") is firmer and more crumbly with a sharp bite. Use it to substitute aged blue cheeses.

Since Gorgonzola is a blue cheese, it contains those same mold cultures that provide the signature tang. The flavors differ slightly depending on the variety, but Gorgonzola makes an effortless 1:1 swap in any recipe.

Gorgonzola is excellent in risottos, pastas, salads, and as a topping for steak or crackers. Try it on a cheese board too for variety.

Goat Cheese

The tangy, fresh flavor of goat cheese is another excellent non-blue substitute. It has a creamier texture than blue cheese that softens when heated.

Younger goat cheese is mild and spreadable. Aged goat cheese becomes firmer and more crumbly, making it perfect for crumbling onto salads.

For the best results, use an unflavored goat cheese and replace the blue cheese measure for measure.

Goat cheese really shines when paired with fruits, nuts, or sweet flavors. It's great in salads, pastas, or even desserts. Spread it on pizza or add a log of goat cheese to a cheese platter.

Aged Cheddar

Aged cheddar has a sharp, tangy bite similar to blue cheese. When cheddar is aged for longer periods, it develops a deep, complex flavor with crunchy crystallized bits throughout.

Use about 3/4 as much aged cheddar as you would blue cheese. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup of blue cheese, use 3/4 cup aged cheddar instead.

The flavor won't be exactly the same as blue cheese, but aged cheddar makes an excellent savory substitution. It works well sprinkled over salads or pizza in place of blue cheese crumbles.

Tip: Avoid using aged cheddar in hot sauces or applications where you need the cheese to melt smoothly. The crystals can make sauces grainy.

Queso Fresco

Queso fresco is a fresh Mexican cheese made from cow or goat's milk. It has a mild salty-tangy flavor that makes it a good blue cheese stand-in.

Queso fresco doesn't melt well, so it's best used as a garnish or in cold preparations. It works great sprinkled over Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, elote, or huevos rancheros.

Since queso fresco is less tangy than blue cheese, use around 25% more in your recipe. And because of its mildness, you may want to add a touch more salt or spices to compensate.

Vegan Blue Cheese

If you need a dairy-free blue cheese substitute, try making vegan blue cheese at home. While challenging to perfect, it comes surprisingly close to the real thing.

The base is made from cashews or other nuts blended with coconut oil to form a "cheese" paste. Then probiotics and Penicillium roqueforti mold spores are added to cultivate the blue veins and tangy flavor.

It does take several weeks for the cheese to culture fully. But once done, you can use the vegan blue cheese anywhere regular blue cheese is called for.

Store-bought vegan blue cheese is easier to find nowadays too. Use it in place of dairy cheese measure for measure. The flavor and creaminess will depend on the brand.

Salty Accents

You won't fully replicate the flavor of blue cheese with these options. But for a quick flavor punch, add salty accents like capers, olives, anchovies, or miso paste.

A few ideas:

  • Chopped capers or green olives in pasta or salad
  • Anchovy fillets in dressings
  • White or yellow miso whisked into mashed potatoes

While not exactly the same, these umami-rich ingredients supply a similar brininess and saltiness that blue cheese is prized for. Start with small amounts and adjust to taste.

What About Bleu Cheese Dressing?

Bleu cheese dressing is delicious on salads and wings, but what if you don't have bleu cheese? These substitutes work well:

  • Feta or goat cheese - Use in place of the blue cheese when making the dressing.
  • Ranch seasoning - Surprisingly, this packs the tang you want without any cheese needed!
  • Sour cream or mayo - Not as flavorful, but provides creaminess if omitting the cheese.
  • Lemon juice - Brightens up cheese-free dressings.
  • Worcestershire sauce - Adds umami depth.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder - Boosts flavor.


Is blue cheese healthy?

Yes! Blue cheese is high in calcium for strong bones and contains probiotics for gut health. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may lower disease risk.

What makes blue cheese blue?

The blue veins come from Penicillium mold spores added during the cheesemaking process. This mold gives blue cheese its signature flavor.

Can I freeze blue cheese?

Yes, blue cheese freezes well for several months. Wrap it tightly first in plastic wrap, then foil. Thaw in the fridge before using.

What are some ways to use blue cheese?

Popular uses for blue cheese include crumbling over salads or pizza, stuffing into burgers, mixing into dressings and dips, baking into savory tarts, and adding to cheese boards.

What wine pairs well with blue cheese?

Sweet dessert wines like port or Sauternes complement blue cheese beautifully. Dry red wines and IPAs also make great pairings.


While blue cheese is irreplaceable, these tasty alternatives come respectably close. Feta, goat cheese, and Gorgonzola offer comparable tang and creaminess. Aged cheddar and queso fresco lack the “blue” flavor but mimic the crumbly texture.

For an intense umami burst, add salty accents like capers or miso paste. And vegan blue cheese recreates the blue veins in a dairy-free form.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!