Can I Use Swiss Cheese Instead of Provolone? (Solved!)

  • Swiss cheese can substitute provolone in most recipes due to similar melting qualities and texture, despite having a nuttier flavor
  • Swiss cheese is easier to slice and works well in both hot and cold dishes, offering a budget-friendly alternative to provolone
  • The flavor difference between Swiss and provolone is mainly due to aging, with Swiss having a more intense taste if it has larger holes
  • Provolone is softer and can be folded for presentation, unlike Swiss cheese, which is harder and might break if folded
  • Both cheeses melt similarly but are not ideal for making creamy sauces due to their stringy texture when melted

Is Swiss Cheese a Good Substitute for Provolone?

If you don’t have any provolone to hand, perhaps you have wondered if you can use Swiss cheese instead.

Or maybe provolone is too expensive, and you are looking for a cheaper alternative.

Well, you will be pleased to know that Swiss cheese works equally well in both hot and cold dishes.

However, there are bound to be some specific differences, so let’s have a look.

They are both pretty much the same color, yellow, light orange, or pale brown, so your recipes are certainly going to look the same as usual. 

Most importantly, does Swiss cheese taste the same as provolone?

The flavor of either cheese will depend on how long it has been aged.

However, provolone typically has a mild, sweet taste, almost buttery, with a hint of sharpness.

Swiss cheese has a nutty flavor and is stronger than provolone.

Just how intense the taste is will be determined by the size of the holes in the Swiss cheese.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but the holes are caused by bacteria.

So, the longer the bacteria work on the cheese, causing a stronger taste, the bigger the hole!

In general, the flavor of your recipe will be similar, whether you use Swiss cheese or provolone, providing you use a relatively young version of either one.

And, of course, both varieties have a smoked version if that is your preference.  

What is the Difference in Texture Between Swiss Cheese and Provolone?

There is quite a difference in texture between Swiss cheese and provolone, and this could affect which one you choose for your recipe. 

Swiss cheese is described as semi-hard, whereas provolone falls in the category of semi-soft.

Provolone has a high moisture content, and this is what makes it softer and harder to slice.

So, if you were planning on using provolone for sandwiches or a cheese board, you would need to chill it first before slicing.

Whereas Swiss cheese, having a harder texture, slices easily, even at room temperature. 

However, if you want to fold your cheese to create an attractive look to your dish, then provolone is the better choice; it is quite pliable.

If you try and fold Swiss cheese, it will undoubtedly break in half.

They both melt easily but with a stringy texture, similar to mozzarella, as opposed to becoming creamy.

Neither Swiss cheese nor provolone is ideal for sauces, they will not melt evenly to the point where they could be stirred.

Provolone Taste Test

My Final Thoughts

Swiss cheese and provolone possess similar qualities that make them interchangeable in recipes.

Provolone has a somewhat sweeter, milder taste and Swiss cheese is nuttier in flavor.

They both melt easily but are not suitable for making creamy sauces.

Swiss cheese is harder in texture and can be sliced easily, whereas provolone is softer but can be folded if necessary.

Whichever you choose, I am sure you will enjoy it!

If you are interested in how other recipes can be adapted, have a look at my article on using provolone in Chicken Parmesan instead of mozzarella.

How does the idea of using Swiss cheese as a substitute for provolone in recipes encourage you to think about the role of cheese flavors?

Let us know in the comments below!

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