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14 Equally Delicious Monterey Jack Cheese Substitutes

Monterey jack is one of the most popular cheeses in both Mexican and American cuisines. It is known for its incredible flavor and versatility, which is why you’ll often find it listed as a key component of many dishes.

However, you may not always have Monterey jack on hand, so it is essential to have a substitute to use in its place. Up ahead, you’ll find the best Monterey jack substitutes.

What Is Monterey Jack Cheese?

Monterey jack cheese is a semi-hard aged cheese that originated in California. It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk, and it is sometimes known simply as jack cheese. 

Usually, Monterey jack is allowed to age for six weeks to four months, depending on the variety.

However, other alternatives like dry jack are left to age for up to 10 months, resulting in low moisture content and drier texture.

 Monterey jack has a mild buttery flavor and melts very easily, so it is a common ingredient in many dishes that require melting cheese with high moisture content.

It is typically added to dishes like mac and cheese, quesadillas, burgers, and sandwiches.

Nutritional Value Table

SubstituteCalories (Per 100 gm)
Cheddar Cheese402
Gouda Cheese356
Muenster Cheese368
Pepper Jack Cheese357
Comte419
Havarti Cheese371
Edam357
Colby Cheese394
Mozzarella280
Swiss Cheese380
Emmental Cheese371
Gruyere Cheese413
Provolone Cheese352
Parmesan Cheese431

1. Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese is a very versatile cheese that works great when used in place of Monterey jack.

It originates from the dutch city of Gouda, where it gets its name, and it has a nutty taste that enhances the flavor of any dish it is added to. 

Gouda cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a similar texture to Monterey jack. It also melts really well, so you can add it to sandwiches, burgers, and mac and cheese

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with gouda cheese.

2. Muenster Cheese

Muenster cheese is a very popular cheese that comes in two variations. The French version and the American variant. 

The American muenster cheese is the best option for replicating the texture and taste of Monterey jack cheese. It has a mild smooth taste and melts really easily because of its soft texture.

So, you can use it in any dish where Monterey jack cheese is required.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with muenster cheese.

If you’d like to make a well-melted grilled cheese sandwich with muenster cheese, here is a video to give you some inspiration.

3. Pepper Jack Cheese

Pepper jack cheese is a great substitute for Monterey jack cheese if you don’t mind a touch of heat.

It is a derivative of Monterey jack, so it is made from similar ingredients and has a similar texture. However, it has a bolder and more spicy flavor since it contains a variety of peppers and herbs. 

You can add this spicy cheese to burgers, pasta, casserole dish, and mac and cheese.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with pepper jack cheese.

4. Comte

When it comes to french cheeses, comte is one of the best options for replacing Monterey jack cheese. This french cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a firm texture.

The taste of comte is very unique, with sweet and savory notes that are nutty and fruity. It can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes.

It also doesn’t disappoint on the melting end as it melts really well and is very popular in France for that quality.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 Ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with comte cheese.

5. Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is another lovely substitute for Monterey jack cheese. It is made from cow’s milk and has a creamier texture and shaper taste than Monterey jack. 

However, cheddar cheese melts exceptionally well, so if you’re making a recipe where the gooey melted cheese consistency is essential, then it is an ideal option to try. 

You can add cheddar cheese to burgers, but it works best with baked dishes like casseroles or even pizza.

It is also best to stick with mild cheddar cheese as other varieties like sharp cheddar, can be a bit too strong to replicate the flavor of Monterey jack.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with cheddar cheese.

6. Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is one of the best replacements to use when you want something that will produce a similar taste and texture to that of Monterey jack cheese. 

 It is made from cow’s milk and comes from Denmark. This cheese has a semi-hard texture and a mild buttery taste that mimics the flavor of Monterey jack really well.

It is also very versatile. You can melt it in sauces and pasta or grill it in for delicious sandwiches and burgers.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 Ratio when replacing Havarti cheese with Monterey jack cheese.

7. Edam

Edam cheese is a great substitute for Monterey jack cheese. It originates from the Netherlands and has a semi-hard texture similar to that of Monterey jack. 

This cheese has a mild flavor with nutty and salty notes, and it tastes incredible on its own. However, you can add it to any cooked dish that calls for Monterey jack, as it melts really well and produces a similar taste.  

You can enjoy edam cheese plain on a cheese board platter or add it to savory dishes like pasta or casseroles.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with edam cheese.

8. Colby Cheese

Colby cheese is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It has similar properties to cheddar cheese, and the two are often mistaken to be the same thing.

However, Colby cheese has a milder flavor and a higher moisture content than cheddar cheese.

Its mild flavor and good melting properties make it an excellent substitute for Monterey jack cheese. 

Although it is commonly used as a table cheese paired with wine and enjoyed plain, Colby cheese can actually be added to sauces, sandwiches, and burgers.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with Colby cheese.

9. Mozzarella

Mozzarella cheese is a fantastic substitute for Monterey jack cheese. It has a high moisture content and a milky, tangy flavor that works really well with dishes that call for Monterey jack.

However, since mozzarella has a higher moisture content, it is best suited to sauces, pasta, and pizza. If you want to use it for sandwiches and burgers, you’ll need to use dried mozzarella.

This variety of mozzarella has been slightly aged for a few weeks, so it is drier and doesn’t release as much liquid.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with mozzarella.

10. Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese is a very broad term used to describe a variety of cheeses that originate from Switzerland and are characterized by their nutty flavor. 

These cheeses have a semi-hard texture similar to that of Monterey jack and they melt very well, so you can use them in any dish that requires a good melting cheese. 

You can use any variety of swiss cheese you get your hands on. Swiss cheese is also very versatile, so you can use it in baking, grilling, and stovetop cooking.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with swiss cheese.

Here is a video to give you some information on some of the most popular varieties of swiss cheese.

11. Gruyere Cheese

Gruyere is another tasty cheese that comes from Switzerland. It is made from cow’s milk and is a staple cheese in many dishes. Much like Monterey jack, gruyere cheese has a firm texture and melts really well. 

This cheese has a creamy and nutty taste that is more pronounced than the mild flavor of Monterey jack, but it will surely enhance the taste of any dish that calls for Monterey jack.

You can use it in anything from sandwiches to cheese fondue or sauces. Gruyere is also a good table cheese, so you can serve it on a cheese platter and enjoy it plain.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with gruyere cheese.

12. Emmental Cheese

Another excellent substitute for Monterey jack is Emmental cheese.  Like gruyere cheese, it is of Swiss origin and made from cow’s milk. In fact, gruyere cheese and Emmental are often combined in many recipes. 

The taste of this cheese can range from buttery smooth to nutty and fruit, depending on how long it has been aged. However, it is a lovely replacement for Monterey jack cheese as it melts really well and has a similar firm texture. 

You can add Emmental cheese to sauces, pasta, sandwiches, or casseroles, and it’ll give you a gooey melted texture and rich taste.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with Emmental cheese.

13. Provolone Cheese

If all you want is a substitute that will give you a similar flavor to that of Monterey jack, provolone cheese is a great substitute to try.  Like Monterey jack, it is made from cow’s milk and has a semi-hard texture.

It has a mild buttery flavor similar to Monterey jack, but it also brings its own unique nutty undertones. 

However, since it is aged for much longer, it is slightly drier and does not melt as well as Monterey jack, so it is best suited to dishes like sandwiches or quesadillas where only a subtle melted texture is required.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 Ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with provolone cheese.

14. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan is a great substitute to use in place of Monterey jack cheese, as it melts really well and has a creamy taste and flavor. 

However, it has a low moisture content and is usually dry. So, it is best suited to dishes that call for drier varieties of Monterey jack, like dry jack.  

You’ll also need to ensure to use fresh Parmigiano Reggiano if you want the cheese to melt properly, as the pre-grated parmesan sold in stores is very dry and may not melt at all.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing Monterey jack cheese with parmesan cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Cheese Is Most Like Monterey Jack Cheese? 

Colby jack cheese is a type of cheese that is very similar to Monterey jack cheese. Like Monterey jack cheese, it is made from cow’s milk and is semi-hard.

Can You Substitute Mozzarella For Monterey Jack Cheese? 

You can substitute mozzarella for Monterey jack cheese because it has a similar creamy flavor to Monterey jack cheese and also melts really well.

Is Monterey Jack The Same Thing As Cheddar Cheese?

Monterey jack is not the same as cheddar cheese. Although the two are made from cows’ milk.

Cheddar cheese has a sharp pungent taste and flavor and often comes in a yellow color; meanwhile, Monterey jack cheese is mild and slightly sweet.

Is Monterey Jack Cheese A Good Melting Cheese? 

Monterey jack cheese melts really well and can be used for any dish where melting cheese is a requirement.

Is Monterey Jack Cheese Healthy? 

Monterey jack cheese is a very healthy cheese rich in calcium, proteins, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and B12.

Can I Use Provolone Cheese Instead Of Monterey Jack?

You can use provolone cheese in place of Monterey jack. It will give you the same buttery flavor but with a sharp, nutty taste.  However, it may not melt as easily.

What Does Monterey Jack Cheese Taste Like?

Monterey jack cheese has a mild buttery flavor with a slight sweetness that enhances the flavor of any dish.

14 Equally Delicious Monterey Jack Cheese Substitutes

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time

15

minutes
Cooking Time

1

hour 
Total Time

1

hour 

15

minutes

Find a delicious alternative to Monterey Jack cheese with our list of substitutes. With so many options, you’re sure to find one you love.

Ingredients

  • Cheddar Cheese

  • Gouda Cheese

  • Muenster Cheese

  • Pepper Jack Cheese

  • Comte

  • Havarti Cheese

  • Edam

  • Colby Cheese

  • Mozzarella

  • Swiss Cheese

  • Emmental Cheese

  • Gruyere Cheese

  • Provolone Cheese

  • Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  • Pick any substitute you prefer from the lists above.
  • Follow the recipe instructions for your preferred substitute and use the proper ratio required while cooking.

Recipe Video

Jess Smith