Caerphilly Cheese Alternatives

Caerphilly cheese is a type of Welsh cheese that originated in the town of Caerphilly in Wales in the early 1800s. It has a crumbly texture and a tangy, lemony flavor.

Caerphilly Cheese Alternatives

However, Caerphilly can be difficult to find, even in the UK. So what can you substitute if you can't get your hands on this specialty cheese?

There are a few great options for Caerphilly cheese alternatives depending on how you plan to use it.

Characteristics to Look For

When finding a sub for Caerphilly, you'll want to try to match some of its key characteristics like:

  • Crumbly texture - Caerphilly has a crumbly texture rather than being smooth and creamy.
  • Tangy flavor - It has a pleasant tanginess and lemony notes.
  • Mild flavor - While tangy, it still has a relatively mild flavor.
  • Melts well - Its crumbles nicely and melts smoothly when heated.

Keeping those traits in mind will help you select the best stand-in cheese.

Cheddar Cheese

Most recommendations suggest using cheddar cheese if you can't find Caerphilly. The two have a similar crumbly texture when young and both have a tangy flavor profile.

Mild cheddar is going to be closer in flavor, without some of the sharp notes that aged cheddars develop. And since cheddar is so ubiquitous, it's easy to find.

Just be aware that cheddar on its own may not provide quite enough tang. So you can mix it with small amounts of a more acidic cheese like feta or combine it with acidic ingredients like lemon juice in a recipe.

Tip: Seek out Canadian or English cheddar which tend to be less sharp than American varieties.

Key Takeaway: Young or mild cheddar is the most readily available Caerphilly swap.


Wensleydale is an English cheese made from cow's milk that originally hails from Wensleydale, Yorkshire.

Like Caerphilly, it has a crumbly, moist texture. And it boasts a fresh, mildly tangy flavor with fruity overtones.

So if you want something closer to the real thing, Wensleydale makes an excellent substitute in terms of mouthfeel and taste. Store-bought varieties won't be exactly the same as traditional farmhouse Caerphilly, but should work nicely where the cheese is an accent and not the star.


Derby is another English cow's milk cheese to consider that's crumbly with a tangy zing. It's also on the milder side flavor-wise.

So while it may not be a perfect match, it shares some similar attributes. Derby can work well in cooked applications where its going to melt into a dish.

Queso Fresco

Queso fresco is a type of Mexican fresh cheese. It develops a crumbly texture when it's fully drained as the whey is pressed out.

While more bland on its own than Caerphilly, queso fresco pick ups flavor from other ingredients when melted or heated. And it browns nicely when grilled or baked.

If using as a Caerphilly alternative, combine it with acidic components like lime juice or hot sauce to recreate more of that tangy taste. Then it can fill in for applications like:

  • Quesadillas
  • Enchiladas
  • Tacos

You can also crumble the firm cheese over dishes before serving to replace Caerphilly's garnish potential.

Monterey Jack

Finally, Monterey Jack cheese makes a good flavor substitute for Caerphilly, even though the textures don't match up.

Monterey Jack is a semi-soft American cheese with a creamier, smooth melting texture. But it shares that lemony tang and mellow flavor with subtle fruity notes.

So in recipes where texture isn't as much of an issue, and the cheese will be fully incorporated, Monterey Jack can provide the right taste. Things like:

You may just need to adjust the overall liquid content to account for differences in moisture.

Tip: For an extra tangy kick, use pepper jack rather than regular Monterey Jack.

CaerphillyCrumblyTangy, lemonyMelts smoothly
CheddarCrumblySharp or mild tangMelts smoothly
WensleydaleCrumbly, moistMild, tangyDoesn't melt well
DerbyCrumblyTangyMelts smoothly
Queso FrescoCrumblyMild, can pick up other flavorsMelts smoothly
Monterey JackCreamy, smoothTangy, lemonyMelts very smoothly
Comparison of Caerphilly cheese characteristics versus possible substitutes

Exact Dupe

If you're looking for an almost identical stand-in for Caerphilly in a dish, then you want Duckett's Caerphilly Cheese.

This variety is still produced in Wales using traditional methods. And it has a crumbly paste with a lemony zing that mimics the flavor of original farmhouse Caerphilly.

So for true Welsh recipes like Glamorgan sausages that rely heavily on the unique properties of this cheese, Duckett's makes the perfect choice.

The only downside is that as an artisanal cheese, supplies can be limited. So Duckett's isn't always easy to source.

Tips for Finding Caerphilly Alternatives

If you're striking out finding Caerphilly or an acceptable substitute from your normal grocery store, here are a few other places to check:

  • Specialty cheese shops - Smaller cheese boutiques often carry hard-to-find varieties.
  • Delis with cheese counters - Even standard deli counters sometimes stock more unique choices.
  • Online gourmet food stores - Retailers like sell specialty cheeses.
  • Direct from producers - Dairies like Duckett's sell direct to consumers via their websites.

So don't give up hope if your local supermarket comes up short! With some digging, you should be able to turn up one of these suitable substitutes.

How to Use Caerphilly Cheese Alternatives

Caerphilly is often called a Welsh cheddar. Like cheddar, it melts smoothly and can be incorporated into hot dishes.

But because it originiated as a snack for Welsh coal miners, one of the most popular ways to serve Caerphilly is still with bread or crackers.

So depending on how you want to substitute an alternate cheese, you'll use it a bit differently.

Eating Raw

If you'll be eating the cheese raw, pair Wensleydale, Derby, or crumbled queso fresco with:

  • Bread/crackers
  • Fruit (apples, grapes, figs)
  • Cured meats
  • Sweet jam or chutney

Rubbery cheeses like Monterey Jack don't make good stand-alone table cheeses. But the others can fill in nicely for out-of-the-way Caerphilly.

Cooking With

For using in cooked recipes, mild/young cheddar, Monterey Jack, and queso fresco all melt smoothly.

They'll work great anywhere you'd typically find Caerphilly like:

  • Rarebits
  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable bakes
  • Mac and cheese

And because it doesn't melt well, save crumbly Wensleydale for garnishing finished dishes instead.


Is Caerphilly healthy?

Like most full-fat cheeses, Caerphilly is high in calories, fat, and sodium. A 1-ounce serving provides about 100 calories and 8 grams of fat.

However, as part of a balanced diet, small amounts of this cheese can fit into a healthy meal plan. Cheese also provides protein, calcium, and vitamins (A, B12, K2) as well as immunity-boosting probiotics.

Just watch your portion sizes, and enjoy Caerphilly or another cheese substitute moderately. Those following low-fat or low-sodium diets should pick low-moisture, part-skim options.

What cheese tastes most like Caerphilly?

If you're looking for the closest flavor match, mild farmhouse cheddar provides a decent stand-in thanks to a similar crumbly texture and tangy dairy taste.

For an extremely close copy, seek out Welsh Duckett's Caerphilly. It's still made according to traditional techniques for ultimate authenticity.

Can I replace Caerphilly with cheddar?

Absolutely! Young or mild cheddar makes an excellent substitute for Caerphilly in just about any recipe or application. Opt for English or Canadian cheddar which is less sharp than many American cheddars.

Cheddar has a comparable crumble and tang. Just be aware that extremely aged, sharper cheddars may overpower more delicate dishes.

Is Caerphilly good for mac and cheese?

The crumbly, melty properties of Caerphilly cheese make it an awesome choice for homemade mac and cheese. Stir grated Caerphilly into your cheese sauce for added tang and complexity.

And because it melts smoothly, you can also use any of the alternatives mentioned like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or queso fresco in mac recipes. Top your macaroni with grated Wensleydale for extra flavor and crunch.

What is the best cheese for Welsh rarebit?

True traditional Welsh rarebit should be made with Welsh ingredients like Caerphilly cheese and Welsh ale.

But for rarebit topped with a Caerphilly substitute instead, the cheeses that melt the smoothest make the best replacements. So reach for:

  • Mild cheddar
  • Monterey Jack
  • Queso fresco
  • Derby cheese

Their supple, melty textures will incorporate perfectly into the rich rarebit sauce.


While it can be difficult to source true Caerphilly cheese, there are a number of acceptable substitutes available.

Whether you want something that mimics the crumbly texture or the tangy flavor, options like cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Wensleydale can fit the bill.

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!