Vacherin Cheese Substitutes

Vacherin is a creamy, rich cow's milk cheese that originates from France and Switzerland. With a high fat content ranging from 45-50%, vacherin has a smooth and supple texture with flavors ranging from nutty to sweet.

Vacherin Cheese Substitutes

This semi-soft cheese is a key ingredient in classic Swiss fondues, most notably the moitié-moitié fondue which contains half Gruyère and half Vacherin Fribourgeois. Vacherin also works beautifully baked, melted, or simply enjoyed on a cheese board.

However, vacherin can be difficult to source depending on where you live. Fortunately, there are several excellent substitutes for vacherin that can be easier to find.

Vacherin Cheese Varieties

There are a few main types of vacherin cheese to be aware of:

  • Vacherin Fribourgeois: Semi-hard Swiss vacherin made in the Fribourg canton. Ranges from a young, creamy dessert cheese to an older, nutty cheese used in fondue.
  • Vacherin Mont d'Or: Soft, seasonal vacherin made in France or Switzerland. Packaged and ripened in a spruce bark box giving flavors of wood and nuts. Extremely rich and creamy.
  • Vacherin d'Abondance: Soft French vacherin with a supple texture and slightly sweet profile.

Finding Suitable Vacherin Substitutes

When selecting an alternative for vacherin, consider cheeses that can mimic vacherin's rich milkiness, smooth texture, and nutty or sweet flavors. The meltability of vacherin is also a key factor if you intend to use the cheese for fondues or baking.

Here are some excellent substitutes to use in place of the various vacherin varieties:

Replacements for Vacherin Fribourgeois

  • Fontina - Italian semi-soft cheese with a similar creaminess. Fontina Val d’Aosta is a good choice.
  • Emmental - Nutty, melty Swiss cheese that works well mixed into fondue along with Gruyère.
  • Appenzeller - Firm, brown Swiss cheese with fruity notes. Also melts well.
  • Raclette - Smooth, melty cheese traditionally used for the Swiss raclette dish.

Replacements for Vacherin Mont d'Or

  • Taleggio - Soft, washed rind Italian cheese with meaty, nutty notes.
  • Pont l’Évêque - Buttery French cheese with woody aromas from aging box.
  • Explorateur - Canadian, bark-wrapped triple cream with a lush texture.

Replacements for Soft French Vacherins

  • Brie - Classic bloomy rind French cheese with creamy interior and mild flavors.
  • Camembert - Similar to brie but smaller in size. More earthy than brie.
  • Brillat Savarin - Triple cream brie style cheese. Exceptionally rich and decadent.
  • Saint André - Soft, buttery French cheese with tangy lemon notes.

Key Takeaway: Use nutty, melty cheeses like Fontina, Emmental or Raclette for Vacherin Fribourgeois. Substitute soft, creamy cheese like Brie or Camembert for soft French vacherins.

How to Choose Vacherin Substitute Cheeses

When selecting an alternative cheese to use instead of vacherin, keep the following criteria in mind:

  • Style of Cheese: Match the style and texture of the vacherin variety as closely as possible. For soft vacherins, choose a bloomy rind cheese like brie. For Vacherin Fribourgeois, go for a semi-firm, sliceable cheese that melts well.
  • Milk Type: Vacherin is always made from cow's milk, so steer clear of sheep or goat cheeses as substitutes. The high butterfat content of vacherin also means you want a full fat cow milk cheese.
  • Region: Since vacherin is a European cheese, sticking to cheeses from France, Italy or Switzerland will get you closer in flavor. American artisan cheeses are wonderful too however.
  • Ripening: Fully ripened, aged cheeses tend to have more complex, nutty flavors reminiscent of vacherin. Cheese that is too young may lack the sweetness and depth of flavor.
  • Seasonality: Soft cheeses like Vacherin Mont d'Or are only made during cooler months when cows produce richer milk. Choosing seasonal cheeses will provide better results.

Vacherin Substitutes For Fondue

One of the most popular uses for Vacherin Fribourgeois is in Swiss fondue, either on its own or along with Gruyère. When fondue is on the menu, be sure to choose melty cheese that can beautifully emulsify into the wine and broth base. Here are suitable melters:

  • Gruyère - The classic Swiss fondue cheese, nutty Gruyère should always be your base even when omitting the vacherin.
  • Emmental - The holes in Emmental help it melt smoothly. Partner with Gruyère for great fondue.
  • Appenzeller - Full flavored and perfect for fondue thanks to its meltability.
  • Raclette - Originally designed as a melted cheese, raclette works very nicely for fondue.
  • Fontina - Choose Fontina Val d’Aosta for ultimate creaminess and melt.

If you want to replicate a moitié-moitié fondue, use half Gruyère and half of one of the above choices in place of the vacherin.

Soft Cheese Substitutes for Baked Vacherin

Vacherin Mont d'Or and other soft French vacherins are often baked whole in their boxes for a delicious molten cheese dish. For a similar gooey, decadent preparation, stuff these cheeses into boxes and pop in oven:

  • Brie - King of baked cheeses, brie oozes wonderfully when warmed. Add nuts or fruit.
  • Camembert - Smaller, earthier version of baked brie.
  • Brillat Savarin Triple Cream - Exceptionally rich and creamy warmed.
  • Explorateur - Canadian soft cheese with bark wrap, lovely baked.

Key Takeaway: Pick a soft bloomy rind cheese like brie or camembert for baking vacherin-style. Stronger melting cheeses work best for fondues.

Popular Brands of Vacherin Substitute Cheeses

It can be tricky tracking down the lesser known vacherin varieties, depending on where you shop. To make your search easier, here are some excellent and more common brands to try for vacherin substitutes:

Vacherin VarietyRecommended Brands of Substitute Cheeses
Vacherin FribourgeoisSartori Fontina, Emmi Emmentaler, Appenzeller Original
Vacherin Mont d'OrMarin French Triple Crème Brie, Vermont Creamery Bijou
Soft French VacherinsSaint André, Ile de France Camembert, Brillat Savarin Excelsior

These widely distributed brands offer comparable stand-ins for various types of vacherin cheese. Check cheese shops or quality grocery stores to find them.

Trying American Artisan Cheeses

The American artisan cheese movement has created exceptional handcrafted cheeses that rival European classics. When sourcing vacherin alternatives, look to these American made options:

  • Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog - Flavorful goat milk cheese with edible bloom. Lush and creamy when ripe.
  • Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam - Buttery triple cream with hints of mushrooms and fresh grass.
  • Cellars at Jasper Hill Moses Sleeper - Oozy, bark wrapped cheese with robust flavor and creamy texture.
  • Nettle Meadow Kunik - Indulgent blend of Jersey cow and goat milk, smooth like vacherin.

Supporting small local dairies makes for mighty fine eating as well. Branch out from the usual with American originals!

How to Store Vacherin Substitute Cheeses

Proper storage is key to enjoying any soft cheese, vacherin or its substitutes. Follow these tips:

  • Wrapping - Keep cheeses wrapped tightly in wax/parchment paper and then wrapped again in plastic wrap. Minimal air exposure prevents drying out.
  • Temperature - Store in the refrigerator around 40°F. Soft cheeses fare best at higher humidity. Allow to sit at room temp before serving.
  • Shelf Life - Consume fresh soft cheeses within two weeks of purchase for optimal flavor and texture. Fully aged cheeses last longer - up to several months.

With the right care, you can revel in these luscious cheeses for their full lifespan!


What's the best vacherin substitute for fondue?

For a Swiss fondue, nutty, melty cheeses like Gruyère, Emmentaler, and Appenzeller make excellent substitutes for Vacherin Fribourgeois. Fontina also works very well.

Can I use goat cheese instead of vacherin?

It's best to avoid goat cheese, since vacherin is always made from cow's milk. Some goat cheeses like Humboldt Fog can mimic textures though.

Is Italian bel paese cheese similar to vacherin?

While it is creamy, bel paese lacks the depth of flavor of vacherin. Italian fontina makes a better substitution in terms of taste.

What about American cheeses? Are there any good replacements?

Yes! luscious American triple creams like Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam or Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog offer comparable mouthfeel and complexity.

Can I use cream cheese as a substitute in baking?

Full fat cream cheese can work in a pinch, but it risks breaking or weeping oil when baked. Stick to ripened cheeses like brie or camembert for better results.

Is a young or aged cheese better for replacing vacherin?

Typically an aged, nutty cheese works best to replace the depth of flavor in vacherin. But for soft vacherins, you want a ripe cheese nearing the end of affinage for that ooey, gooey texture.


With its smooth, rich mouthfeel and complex nutty sweetness, vacherin cheese is indeed a treat. However delightful vacherin may be though, there are many accessible and comparable cheeses to use in its place.

Whether planning a fondue night or a showcase cheese course, turn to melty mountain cheeses from Switzerland, luscious triple creams from France, or silky Italian fontinas. American originals like Humboldt Fog also fit the bill beautifully.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions