Provolone vs Gouda

Provolone and Gouda are both popular varieties of semi-hard cheese made using cow milk.

They are very good melters, pair well with snacks or bread, and often include in many dishes.

So, what’s the difference?

Flavor wise, It can be pretty hard to tell the minute differences between this two cheeses. But, there are actually several traits that makes them very distinctable from each other, and it can be very helpful for your recipes whether you want to use that as a substitute or just to compare them.

Here is a comparison you need to know about Gouda and Provolone cheese:

Gouda

Gouda is a Dutch cheese that originates from the southern Netherlands. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually made in the city of Gouda.

It has got its name due to the fact that a lot of gouda is bought and sold in the Gouda market. The cheese name “Gouda” itself is not a regionally protected name and is usually referred to a cheesemaking style rather than where it came from. Think about it like a general name for “cola”, not necessarily means Coca Cola but people linked them.

The only regionally protected gouda is called “Noord-Hollandse Gouda”, which is truly Dutch made using Dutch cow milk. 

Red Wex Gouda is a popular Dutch Gouda. Learn more.

Gouda is a “washed curd” cheese meaning it’s done by draining away the liquid whey from curdled milk, and then rinsed with water.

Removing the water, the cheese is shaped in a mold in brine water. It’s then aged for at least a month, may up to a few years.

There are different ages of gouda. From young gouda, which only aged for about 4 weeks, to very old gouda that aged for more than 5 years or above. If you love mozzarella too, it’s here mozzarella vs gouda.

An extra note for storing gouda. It needs to “breathe” so you can’t just wrap it tightly in plastic. Instead, wrap it loosely in parchment paper first, place it in an airtight bag or container, and store it in the refrigerator (like the vegetable drawer). It can last up to a good 1-2 months.

If you simply toss the unfinished gouda in the fridge. It will only last for 1-2 weeks max.

How does gouda taste and how do you eat it?

Gouda is typically nutty and sweet, having a caramel-like flavor. Younger goudas have a mild, sweet flavor, and a soft texture.

Older goudas are harder in texture, darker in color and have a nutty and buttery flavor that’s sharper than young gouda.

Also, the bitterness or savory umami taste is quite strong, but not as strong as the feta cheese. If you’re curious about this particular taste, here I explain more in this article feta has a weird umami taste?.

Gouda melts really well, so it’s a great choice to cook with. The younger the gouda, the better it melts because of young gouda’s soft and creamy texture.

If you’re looking for a way to kick your casserole up a notch, try melting some gouda on it. It’s also excellent in macaroni and cheese.

Gouda also pairs well with fruit and sweet wines because of its sweet caramel-like flavor notes.  

Provolone

Provolone is a cheese that originates from Italy. It’s considered a staple in many Italian-American dishes.

A type of processed provolone was made popular in America when Philly Cheesesteaks became popular, and it has been known as a good sandwich cheese ever since. 

Closely related to mozzarella, but strung up with twine.

Provolone is classified as “Pasta Filata”, or “pulled curd” cheese. This means that the cheese curds are literally pulled into bands of cheese.

The bands are shaped into wheels, then brined and aged.

There are three types of provolone, classified by their age. There’s Provolone Dolce which is aged 2-3 months, Provolone Piccante, which is aged longer than 4 months, and American Provolone, which is milder and similar to Dolce.

Dolce version has a mild, sweet taste and is white to yellow in color. Piccante version has a sharper flavor due to the fact that it’s aged longer. 

If you use feta cheese a lot, there you go provolone vs feta.

How does Provolone taste and how do you eat it?

Provolone is grainy and firm from the outside. When you cut it, it is smooth and creamy inside.

It melts fairly easy. The taste is salty, tangy and buttery. And with that, provolone has been used in many sandwich recipe.

Provolone Piccante is a little spicy, and the flavor really comes out when it’s melted. When used as a table cheese, it pairs well with red wine. 

Nutritional Information & Comparison

Aside from the flavor and texture, the nutrition between gouda and provolone can be quite important if you are into dieting or healthy eating. The following information is based on 1 ounce serving portion:


Gouda (1 ounce) Provolone (1 ounce)
Calories 99.7 kcal 98.3 kcal
Carbohydrates 0.6 g 0.6 g
Total Fat 7.7 g 7.5 g
Saturated Fat 4.9 g 4.8 g
Sodium 229 mg 245 mg
Cholesterol 31.9 mg 19.3 mg

Which one is better, Gouda or Provolone?

It’s really a matter of how you want to use the cheese. And yes, you can absolutely substitute provolone for gouda.

If you’re looking for a sweet, nutty cheese to use in desserts, or with fruit, Gouda is probably the choice for that.

If you’re looking for a salty, savory cheese to complement a sandwich, pair with red wine, or to melt on top of an Italian dish, Provolone is the way to go.

If you’re on a low-sodium diet, Mozzarella is better than Provolone (see why). If you’re watching your cholesterol, Provolone is a better choice than gouda. 

Still not sure? Nothing beats your taste buds, here is gouda on Amazon, and here is provolone on Amazon. Check them for yourself.