Roquefort Cheese Substitutes

Roquefort cheese is a popular variety of blue cheese made from sheep's milk. It has a distinctive flavor, aroma, and texture, featuring characteristic blue veins running through the paste. Roquefort is a protected designation of origin (PDO) cheese that can only be made in certain areas of France using traditional methods.

Roquefort Cheese Substitutes

If you don't have access to genuine Roquefort or need a substitute for dietary restrictions, several excellent alternatives are available. While no other cheese can truly replicate Roquefort, other blue cheeses, strong-flavored hard cheeses, tangy cheeses, and even some dairy-free options can stand in nicely depending on the application.

What Is Roquefort Cheese?

Roquefort cheese originated in the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in Southern France. Legend has it that a young shepherd boy left his lunch of bread and ewes' milk cheese in a nearby cave, only to return months later to find the cheese covered in blue-green mold. The villagers decided this was a delicious accident and began intentionally cultivating the mold to produce the cheese.

Today, genuine Roquefort cheese is still aged in the natural Combalou caves to allow Penicillium roqueforti mold spores to grow. This process gives the cheese its characteristic tangy flavor, crumbly texture, and blue veining. By French law, only cheeses aged in these caves can bear the name Roquefort.

Key Takeaway: Roquefort is a famous French blue cheese made from sheep's milk and aged in natural limestone caves to allow blue mold to develop. This process gives it a sharp, tangy flavor and crumbly texture with blue veining.

Why Substitute for Roquefort Cheese?

There are a few reasons you may need or want to use an alternative for Roquefort cheese:

  • You can't find Roquefort cheese: True Roquefort can be difficult to locate depending on where you live. It's imported from France and not always easy to find in regular grocery stores.
  • You have dietary restrictions: Roquefort contains dairy, which is unsuitable for vegans or those with milk allergies. Even some dairy eaters try to avoid sheep's milk.
  • You want a cheaper substitute: Imported Roquefort is generally expensive. Other blue cheeses make more budget-friendly swaps.
  • You dislike the intense flavor: Roquefort is quite pungent and salty for some palates. Milder blue cheese varieties or creamy cheeses may suit your tastes better.
  • You need a different texture: Crumbling blue cheeses like Roquefort don't work well when you need melted cheese. Substitutes like gorgonzola provide better meltability.

Top Roquefort Cheese Substitutes


Gorgonzola makes an excellent replacement for Roquefort in most recipes. Like Roquefort, it's a veined blue cheese. However, gorgonzola comes from cow's milk rather than sheep's milk, giving it a milder, more buttery flavor and creamier texture when at room temperature. Its meltability also exceeds that of Roquefort.

Gorgonzola pairs wonderfully with fruits, nuts, and salads. It works nicely in creamy pasta sauces, pizza, tarts, and anywhere else you want some blue cheese kick without extreme pungency. Those with sheep's milk allergies often rely on gorgonzola to meet their blue cheese cravings.


Hailing from England rather than France, Stilton makes a less expensive and more widely available substitute for Roquefort. It features a similar blue veining and intense, complex flavor thanks to extended aging. The aroma also mimics that of Roquefort.

The paste of Stilton tends to be slightly firmer and less crumbly than Roquefort since Stilton uses pasteurized cow's milk. It doesn't impart as much creaminess but provides a nice sharpness. Stilton works beautifully with fruits, wines, crackers and makes an outstanding addition to salads or tarts.

Bleu d'Auvergne

Bleu d'Auvergne comes from the Auvergne region of France, like Roquefort. However, it relies on cow's milk rather than sheep's milk. As a result, it has a milder blue cheese flavor with less creaminess and a firmer, moister texture.

Nonetheless, the production method including the use of Penicillium roqueforti mold gives it some similarities with Roquefort. It makes a nice stand-in for blue cheese salads, pasta, cheese plates and anywhere you want some sharpness without extreme intensity.

Danish Blue

As the name suggests, Danish blue cheese comes from Denmark rather than France. It offers an affordable, widely available Roquefort alternative with less complexity but a pleasing blue flavor. Cow's milk provides a creamy, soft texture despite less buttery richness.

Danish blue works well in blue cheese dressings, compound butters, dips, spreads and dishes where you want blue cheese accents without the sheepy tang. Its lower price point makes it handy for large gatherings. You can also melt Danish blue nicely over burgers or steak.


The famous Spanish blue cheese Cabrales makes for a bold, earthy alternative to Roquefort. A mix of cow's, sheep's and goat's milk provides depth and complexity. Like Roquefort, Cabrales gets aged in natural caves to allow blue veining to develop.

The flavor of Cabrales is quite robust and sharp with lovely hints of salt, butter and tang. It crumbles nicely over bold salads and pairs wonderfully with cured meats. Cabrales also shines in blue cheese compound butter. Its intensity allows it to substitute for Roquefort in most applications.

Additional Cheese Substitutes for Roquefort

The cheeses below may not mimic Roquefort exactly but work reasonably well as stand-ins, depending on the preparation:

  • Feta - Briny, tangy feta can replace crumbled Roquefort in Mediterranean dishes, tapenades, pestos and salads calling for sharp accent flavors. Feta imparts delicious saltiness and tang. Just don't expect creaminess.
  • Goat Cheese - The tang and creaminess of fresh goat cheese help it fill in for Roquefort, especially when mixed with herbs and olive oil. Choose a aged, hard goat cheese for the most similar intensity and crumble.
  • Blue-Veined Goat Cheese - For the best of both worlds, pick a creamy blue goat cheese with tang and sharpness from mold spores. Blue goat cheese brings nice complexity and pairs wonderfully with fruits and nuts.
  • Gruyere - Nutty, savory Gruyere makes a nice substitution when you specifically want punchy Swiss flavor rather than sheep's milk tang. It melts beautifully too. Sharpen it up by adding a touch of lemon or vinegar.
  • Aged Cheddar - For another substitution option that melts gracefully, turn to aged cheddar. Sharp cheddar varieties provide enough bite to reasonably mimic crumbled Roquefort without the blue flavor.
  • Parmesan - Grated parmesan won't exactly replicate Roquefort but adds a nice salty, savory quality along with crunch. It works in salads, pastas and pizzas wanting an extra umami kick.
  • Herbed Cream Cheese or Ricotta - For dips, spreads and other recipes needing richness and tang rather than crumbles, try whipped herbed cream cheese or ricotta cheese mixed with lemon and olive oil.

Vegan and Dairy-Free Substitutes

Vegans and those avoiding dairy need not miss out on potent, flavorful cheese. Several plant-based options mimic Roquefort's intensity quite well:

  • Cashew Cheese - Soaked cashews pureed with miso paste, nutritional yeast, vinegar, herbs and vegan probiotic cultures yield incredible dairy-free cheese subs. Ferment it to make tangy, spreadable blue cheese.
  • Nutritional Yeast - These yellow flakes pack a major umami punch reminiscent of aged cheese. Sprinkle over pasta, pizza and salads wanting savory richness without dairy.
  • Miso Paste - Spread some mellow white or red miso paste on crackers or sandwiches when you want deep cheese notes. The salty umami makes miso a stellar flavor booster.
  • Vegan Blue Cheese - Check the specialty vegan cheese section for ready-made blue cheese alternatives. These nut-based cheeses capture the mold flavors beautifully.
  • Tofu - Blend silken tofu with miso paste, lemon juice, garlic and herbs for an easy creamy "cheese" filling perfect for ravioli, manicotti, or lasagna.
  • Eggplant - For amazing dairy-free cheese texture and meltability, roast eggplant until caramelized, then puree with olive oil, lemon, garlic and savory seasonings.


Where can I find substitutes for Roquefort cheese?

Most major grocery stores carry some of the blue cheese alternatives listed, like gonzola, Stilton, or Danish blue. Check the specialty cheese section for more unique varieties like St. Agur or Cambozola blue brie.

You may need to visit a specialty cheese shop for cheeses like Bleu d'Auvergne or Spanish Cabrales. Many cheese shops also stock quality vegan blue cheese options these days.

Well-stocked supermarkets often carry other substitutes like quality feta, aged cheddar, Parmesan, goat cheese and cream cheese options in the regular cheese case.

For the widest selection of all cheese alternatives, natural food co-ops, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and cheese shops will have you covered. You can also order cheeses online.

How can I use Roquefort substitutes in cooking and baking?

Most blue cheese varieties make excellent stand-ins for Roquefort in recipes. For instance, you can use gorgonzola, Stilton, bleu d'Auvergne or Danish blue in blue cheese dressings, compound butters for steak, blue cheese dips, stuffed mushrooms, salads and pasta dishes.

The creaminess of gorgonzola specifically makes it a stellar choice for rich preparations like creamy pasta, risotto, cheese souffles, twice-baked potatoes, cauliflower gratin and polenta.

Many Roquefort cheese substitutes also shine when simply enjoyed raw with fruit, nuts and wine. Create an easy baked brie by topping a wheel with bleu d'Auvergne and baking until melted. Feta and goat cheeses work nicely in spanakopita and Mediterranean vegetable tarts.

For vegan and dairy-free options, cultured nut-based cheeses make wonderful substitutes in virtually any recipe. Use them the same way you would dairy-based cheese. Tofu ricotta subs perfectly for ricotta cheese in lasagna, manicotti, or ravioli fillings.

What's the difference between Roquefort cheese and other blue cheeses?

The main differences between Roquefort and other blue cheeses come down to the type of milk used, aging conditions and geographic origin.

By French law, genuine Roquefort cheese must come from sheep's milk and get aged a minimum of 3 months in the natural Combalou caves near Roquefort-sur-Soulzon village. These conditions provide nuances in flavor, texture and the development of blue veining that set Roquefort apart.

Other blue cheeses rely on cow's milk or goat's milk rather than sheep's, resulting in varying fat content, moisture levels and slight differences in flavor or creaminess. Most non-Roquefort blues don't undergo cave aging either, causing distinctions in the mold growth and characteristics.

However, the basic blue cheese making process of introducing Penicillium roqueforti spores via bread, needles or other means generally remains similar across good quality blue cheeses. So while no blue cheese truly replicates genuine Roquefort, many make fine substitutes.

How should I store Roquefort cheese substitutes?

To retain optimum quality and flavors, store blue cheeses and other soft cheese substitutes for Roquefort in the warmest part of your fridge, usually the door. The warmer temperature prevents undesirable crystallization while slowing further ripening for best texture.

Make sure all cheeses get tightly wrapped first in wax or parchment paper before placing in a zip-top bag or sealed container to contain odors. Wipe off any condensation or moisture during storage. Discard moldy portions rather than keeping compromised cheese.

For longer storage, most substitutes freeze reasonably well too. Wrap cheese tightly in plastic wrap, then foil or an airtight container before freezing for 1-2 months. Place frozen cheese in the refrigerator overnight to thaw slowly before serving.

Can I use blue cheese dressing as a substitute?

Of course! Using prepared blue cheese dressing makes an easy shortcut substitution for crumbled blue cheese. Simply use the same amount called for in the recipe. Homemade blue cheese vinaigrette also works wonderfully drizzled over salads or grilled steak wanting some blue cheese zing.

You can even mix plain Greek yogurt or sour cream together with quality blue cheese crumbles and milk to quickly make your own blue cheese dressing substitute. Add herbs, garlic, lemon juice or other flavorings to taste. The possibilities are delicious!


While no other cheese truly compares to the unique flavor, aroma and texture of genuine Roquefort cheese, plenty of quality substitutes are available. For blue cheese lovers, gorgonzola, Stilton, Danish blue and other mellow blue cheese varieties make fine subs.

Those wanting sharpness without distinct blue veining can turn to aged cheddar, Parmesan, feta or fresh goat cheese.

And innovative dairy-free options like cultured nut cheeses beautifully mimic Roquefort for vegans, delivering satisfying intensity and creaminess.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions