Provolone Substitute: 12 Tasty Alternatives

Last Updated on June 18, 2023 by Aaron

Run out of provolone cheese for your Philly cheesesteaks? Provolone, an Italian cheese that originated in Southern Italy, is a household name in many parts of the world.

Known for its smooth texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor, provolone is a versatile cheese that can be used in a variety of dishes.

But what happens when you run out of provolone or can’t find it in your local grocery store?

Fear not, as there are several cheeses that can step in as a substitute. This article will explore these alternatives in detail, discussing their characteristics, why they work as a substitute, and what to look out for.

We have 3 BONUSES for you at the end.

1. Low-Moisture Mozzarella

Low-moisture mozzarella is a fantastic substitute for provolone. Like provolone, it’s a pasta filata (stretched-curd) semi-hard cheese with a similar stretchy texture and a mild flavor.

It melts and pulls beautifully, making it a great choice for sandwiches, pizzas, and casseroles. However, it’s slightly less tangy than provolone, so it may not provide the same depth of flavor in certain dishes.

When shopping for low-moisture mozzarella, look for blocks or slices rather than the regular mozzarella or fresh varieties that are packed in water, which tends to turn your food soggy and wet.

Read the comparison of Mozzarella vs Provolone here.

2. Gouda

Gouda, a cheese originating from the Netherlands, is another excellent substitute for provolone. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that complements many dishes.

Gouda melts well, making it suitable for grilled cheese sandwiches or as a topping for baked dishes. It’s a bit creamier (and prone to melt) than provolone, so it may change the texture of the dish slightly.

When choosing Gouda, opt for a younger cheese, as it will have a milder flavor and a softer texture that’s closer to provolone dolce. Read the comparison article here.

3. Cheddar

Cheddar is a widely available cheese that can be used as a substitute for provolone. It has a slightly sharper flavor, but its creamy texture and excellent melting properties make it a good fit for many dishes.

Cheddar comes in a variety of ages, from mild to extra sharp. For a closer match to provolone, opt for mild or medium cheddar. However, if you prefer a stronger flavor, you might enjoy the extra sharp variety.

Read cheddar vs provolone

4. Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack is a semi-hard cheese with a mild, slightly sweet flavor, much like provolone. It’s an excellent melter, making it ideal for sandwiches, quesadillas, and casseroles.

Monterey Jack is also available in a spicy version, pepper jack, which includes hot peppers for added flavor. If you’re looking to add a bit of a kick to your dish, pepper jack could be an exciting alternative.

5. Emmental

Emmental, or Swiss cheese, is another good substitute for provolone. It’s a semi-hard cheese with a distinctive, slightly nutty flavor.

Emmental melts well, making it a good choice for dishes like fondue or grilled cheese sandwiches. However, it has a more pronounced flavor than provolone, which may not be to everyone’s liking.

When choosing Emmental, look for cheese with large, well-defined holes, as this is a sign of a well-aged cheese.

6. Fontina

Fontina is an Italian cheese that tastes similar to provolone. It has a rich, warm buttery flavor that’s slightly nutty and a bit more intense than provolone. Fontina melts really well, making it a good choice for dishes that require a cheese that can blend smoothly into a variety of recipes, including as a pizza topping, in soups, sauces, gratings, and chowders.

But, it’s worth noting that fontina is a bit softer than provolone (and not as stretchy), so it may not hold up as well in sandwiches or other dishes where you want the cheese to maintain its shape.

Read detail: Fontina vs Provolone

7. Edam

Originating in the Netherlands, Edam cheese is an acceptable provolone alternative. It has a nutty flavor and a blended texture that works well in dishes and as toppings.

Edam is made from cow’s or goat’s milk, giving it a sweet curd taste. It pairs well with fruits or snacks at tea time. Edam cheese is usually firmer than provolone, you might want to go for a younger version.

8. Jarlsberg

Jarlsberg is a versatile cheese that hails from Norway. One of the key reasons why Jarlsberg works as a substitute for provolone is its similar texture. Both cheeses offer a semi-hard consistency that holds up well in various culinary applications.

However, Jarlsberg is slightly sweeter and nuttier than provolone, which can add a different flavor profile to your dishes. This can be a positive aspect if you’re looking to experiment with flavors.

9. Taleggio

Taleggio is a flavorful substitute for provolone. Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy. It’s named after Val Taleggio, the valley where it was first made. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavor is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang.

while Taleggio might not be the most obvious choice for a provolone substitute — It has a soft and sticky texture due to its high moisture content, which makes it creamier than provolone.

This unique flavor profile can add an interesting twist to dishes that traditionally use provolone.

Less Popular (but super great) Options

1. Caciocavallo

Next up, we have caciocavallo. This Italian cheese is almost identical to provolone. In fact, most of the provolone cheesemakers make caciocavallo too, watch production.

Caciocavallo is made using the same stretched-curd method, but texture-wise this cheese is often drier (and harder) than provolone. Caciocavallo has a sharper flavor that some people might enjoy more than provolone. It is typically aged for a slightly longer period of time as provolone.

Caciocavallo will melt like provolone but less dramatically.

2. Pallone di Gravina

Pallone di Gravina is a little less popular, perhaps you have never heard of it. It’s another Italian cheese produced in a similar manner to caciocavallo but in a balloon shape.

It is usually aged a few months longer – at around 9 months – and has a sharper flavor than provolone. In addition to that, Pallone di Gravina also gives a heavier nutty taste that some might prefer over the saltiness of provolone.

It is a harder cheese than provolone and mozzarella, but it does melt okay-ish. The availability is the deal-breaker here – it’s not easy to find and is not as common as the others.

3. Scamorza

Scamorza is a southern Italian cheese under the pasta filata family.

Scamorza is a cow milk cheese but often mixed with sheep milk. Similar to smoked provolone, this cheese is more commonly recognized as smoked cheese with a slightly sweet flavor and creamier texture. It’s also aged for around the same length of time as provolone.

For melting ability, scamorza cheese does pretty well — somewhat in between the mozzarella and caciocavallo.

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