Havarti Cheese Substitutes

Havarti is a delicious semi-soft Danish cheese with a creamy, buttery flavor. Its mild taste and velvety texture make it a versatile ingredient in many dishes like grilled sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and dips.

Havarti Cheese Substitutes

However, you may sometimes run out of havarti or want to try something new. Fortunately, there are several great havarti cheese substitutes available.

Substituting havarti cheese comes down to finding options with a similar texture and mild flavor. The best replacements will melt well and work in recipes calling for havarti.

What Is Havarti Cheese

Before jumping into the substitutes, let's take a quick look at what makes havarti cheese special:

  • Origin: Havarti hails from Denmark and was first made in the 1920s. It was originally called "Danish Tilsit" after the German cheese Tilsiter.
  • Texture: Havarti has a smooth, creamy texture. It's classified as a semi-soft cheese.
  • Flavor: Havarti is known for its mild, buttery taste with subtle sweetness and tangy notes. Aged havarti develops more salty, nutty flavors.
  • Uses: Havarti works well in sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, dips, cheese boards, etc. It melts very nicely.

Knowing these qualities help narrow down the cheeses that can properly stand-in for havarti when needed.

9 of the Best Havarti Cheese Substitutes

Here are 9 excellent havarti substitutes to try:

1. Gouda

Gouda makes an amazing havarti alternative thanks to its similar texture and mild taste. Choose a young gouda for maximum resemblance.

Aged gouda can work too but will have a stronger, caramelized flavor. The versatile semi-soft texture allows gouda to melt or slice nicely.

2. Monterey Jack

Monterey jack has a comparable creaminess and mild flavor. It melts wonderfully in grilled cheeses, dips, and more. The taste pairs well with fruits and white wines too.

It's slightly firmer than havarti but still melts smoothly. Monterey jack is also budget-friendly and easy to find.

3. Colby

Colby cheese mimics both the texture and subtle flavor of havarti. It melts beautifully for sauces or sandwiches.

Some describe colby as tasting like a mild young cheddar. The familiar flavor makes it a hassle-free substitution.

4. Saint Paulin

Saint Paulin is a French cheese with a semi-soft, creamy texture like havarti. It has a mild, buttery taste and slight tanginess.

This cheese melts nicely for fondue or baked dishes. It also tastes great with fruits and wines. The flavor is not as sweet as havarti but still mild.

5. Edam

Edam cheese makes a handy substitute thanks to its mild nutty and buttery flavors. Young edam works best to match havarti's creaminess.

Aged edam has a stronger, saltier taste. But overall it melts well and pairs nicely with fruits or wines.

6. Emmental

Emmental (or Swiss cheese) has a similar pale yellow color to havarti. The taste is fruity, buttery, and mild.

It's slightly firmer than havarti but the texture is still smooth. Emmental melts excellently too.

7. Tilsit

Tilsit cheese is arguably the closest flavor match to havarti. The taste is mild, delicate, and buttery.

This semi-hard cheese also resembles havarti in appearance. Tilsit may be harder to find but worth it for authentic flavor.

8. Young Cheddar

Mild young cheddar makes a decent flavor and texture substitute. Avoid aged sharp cheddar, which is too firm and sharp.

Young cheddar has a creamier texture and mild taste like havarti. Just know it will be slightly firmer than the original when melted.

9. Esrom

Esrom, also called Danish Port Salut, is a Danish cheese like havarti. It has a tangy, buttery flavor that melts smoothly.

The taste is stronger than havarti but works well in baked dishes or fondues. Esrom gives a authentic Havarti-style substitute.

Key Takeaway: Good havarti substitutes include gouda, monterey jack, colby, edam, tilsit, and other semi-soft cheeses with a mild flavor.

How to Use Havarti Substitutes

Using a havarti alternative is simple. Just follow these guidelines:

  • Use the same amount called for in the recipe. Havarti and substitutes have similar densities.
  • Consider flavor intensity. If the substitute has a sharper taste, use less to avoid overwhelming other ingredients.
  • Check firmness. Very firm cheeses may not melt as smoothly. Semi-soft is ideal for melting.
  • Pre-shred denser cheeses to help them melt better. Softer cheeses can be added in chunks.
  • Adjust cooking times. Firmer cheeses need more time to melt fully. Check often and adjust heating as needed.

With these tips, achieving delicious results with a substitute cheese is easy.

CheeseTextureFlavor IntensityMelting Ability
GoudaSemi-softMild to mediumExcellent
Monterey JackSemi-firmMildExcellent
Saint PaulinSemi-softMild to mediumGood
Young CheddarSemi-firmMildGood

Key Takeaway: Use the same amount of a substitute cheese called for. Adjust for flavor intensity, density, and cooking times as needed.


Is havarti similar to mozzarella?

Havarti and mozzarella are both known for melting well. However, mozzarella has a much milder, subtler taste. It also has a springier, chewier texture than the creamy havarti.

What’s a quick havarti substitute for a recipe?

For a quick substitution, low-moisture mozzarella offers excellent melting with a mild flavor. Young gouda or monterey jack also work very well in a pinch.

Can I use cheddar instead of havarti?

Mild young cheddar can substitute for havarti thanks to a similar creaminess and delicate flavor. Sharper aged cheddar has too bold a taste. Stick with young cheddar.

Is havarti good on pizza?

Yes, havarti is an excellent pizza cheese! It melts very smoothly and adds a lovely buttery flavor. Substitutes like mozzarella, monterey jack, or gouda work well too.

Can I substitute havarti in Alfredo sauce?

Absolutely. Havarti’s creamy texture makes it perfect for sauces. Replace it with gouda, monterey jack, or even parmesan for delicious results.


Havarti cheese is valued for its velvety texture and mild taste. Luckily, there are many great substitutes available when you need an alternative.

Look for semi-soft cheeses with a creamy body and delicate flavor. Excellent options include gouda, monterey jack, colby, saint paulin, edam, and tilsit.

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!