10 Best Provolone Substitutes: Say Cheese!

What is the best Provolone substitute?

Are you a cheese lover looking for a delicious provolone cheese substitute? Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply looking to expand your cheese horizons, we have got you covered. In this article, we will introduce you to both dairy and non-dairy alternatives to provolone cheese.

Try using: Smoked Gouda, Aged Cheddar, Fontina, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Gruyère, Edam, Emmental, Creamy Cashew Sauce or Natural Yeast.

From creamy cashew-based spreads to natural products, these provolone cheese substitutes are sure to satisfy your cravings. So don’t let dietary restrictions hold you back from enjoying the cheesy goodness of provolone.

What is Provolone?

Provolone is actually a semi-hard, smooth-textured cheese with a distinct tangy taste. It originated in Southern Italy and is known for its versatility – from melting beautifully on pizzas and sandwiches to holding its own on a cheese platter. Provolone comes in two varieties, mild (Provolone Dolce) and sharp (Provolone Piccante). The former is young, mild, and creamy, while the latter packs a punch with its aged, robust flavor.

So, whether you’re a cheese enthusiast or just looking to change things up, provolone is a delightful addition to any dish. Ever tried it in a classic Italian sandwich? (see recipe below)

What can I substitute for Provolone?

Here are some of the best ingredients to substitute the flavor and role that provolone cheese provides in your recipes.

  • Smoked Gouda
  • Aged Cheddar
  • Fontina
  • Parmesan
  • Mozzarella
  • Gruyère
  • Edam
  • Emmental
  • Creamy Cashew Sauce
  • Natural Yeast

Provolone substitutes

Smoked Gouda

Smoked Gouda is a delicious Dutch cheese known for its rich, smoky flavor. It has a creamy texture and is also normally aged for a bit. If you’re thinking of using it as a stubstitute for Provolone, you’re in for a treat! The smokiness of Gouda adds a unique twist to dishes. For sandwiches, burgers, or paninis, all you need to do is swap Provolone with Smoked Gouda for an extra depth of flavor. It’s also fantastic in mac ‘n’ cheese, giving it a more complex taste. Just keep in mind that the smokiness can be quite bold, so adjust accordingly based on your preferences.

  1. Sandwiches and Burgers: Swap out your usual cheese for smoked Gouda in sandwiches or burgers. It adds a smoky kick that pairs well with various meats and veggies.
  2. Cheese Platter: Why not include smoked Gouda on a cheese platter for a distinct and flavorful option. It complements both light and bold flavors, making it a crowd-pleaser.
  3. Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Upgrade your mac ‘n’ cheese game by incorporating smoked Gouda. Its smoky notes bring a whole new dimension to the dish.
  4. Pizza Toppings: Use shredded or sliced smoked Gouda as a pizza topping. It melts really well and adds a unique taste to your pizza creations.
  5. Cheese Sauce: Make a rich and flavorful cheese sauce for vegetables or pasta using smoked Gouda. Melt it with some cream or milk, and you’re in for a delicious treat.
  6. Egg Dishes: Grate smoked Gouda over scrambled eggs or omelets for a savory and smoky breakfast option.
Gouda cheese

Aged Cheddar

Aged cheddar cheese is a classic cheese that undergoes an aging process, which can vary from a few months to several years. The longer it ages, the sharper and more intense the flavor becomes.

  1. Sandwiches and Paninis: Aged cheddar can add a robust and sharp flavor to your sandwiches or paninis. It pairs well with various deli meats, vegetables, and condiments, providing a different taste experience compared to Provolone.
  2. Burgers: For your next burger, try a slice of aged cheddar instead of Provolone. The bold flavor can easily stand up to the richness of the meat, creating a tasty combination.
  3. Cheese Platter: Why not include aged cheddar on a cheese platter for a mature and flavorful option. It complements fruits, nuts, and crackers, making it a great choice.
  4. Grilled Cheese: Elevate your grilled cheese game by using aged cheddar. The sharpness of the cheese adds a delightful twist to this classic comfort food.
  5. Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Substitute Provolone with aged cheddar in your mac ‘n’ cheese recipe. It brings a tangy and intense flavor that can be absolutely delicious.
  6. Snacking: Enjoy it on its own or with some crusty bread for a quick and satisfying snack. The aged cheddar’s bold taste makes it a great standalone treat.
Cheddar cheese


Fontina cheese, is a flavorful and semi-soft Italian cheese with a nutty taste. If you’re thinking of swapping it for Provolone, you’re onto something delicious!

  1. Cheese Boards: Aged Fontina shines on a cheese board. Its nuttiness pairs well with fruits, nuts, and also cured meats, creating a well-balanced and sophisticated platter.
  2. Paninis and Grilled Sandwiches: Use aged Fontina in paninis or grilled sandwiches for a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Its creamy texture and rich flavor add a gourmet touch to your favorite toasted creations.
  3. Pizza Toppings: Sprinkle grated aged Fontina on your pizza for a more nuanced and complex taste. It melts beautifully and complements a variety of toppings.
  4. Fondue: Aged Fontina is also an excellent choice for fondue. Melt it with some white wine, garlic, and a touch of nutmeg for a decadent dipping experience.
  5. Pasta Dishes: Or why not incorporate aged Fontina into pasta dishes like baked ziti or creamy pasta bakes. Its creamy texture enhances the overall richness of the dish.
  6. Cheese Sauces: Make a flavorful cheese sauce for vegetables or potatoes using aged Fontina. Its unique taste can add depth to your cheesy creations.

Remember, Fontina has a distinct nutty flavor, so it might be a bit different from the mild taste of Provolone.



Parmesan cheese is a hard and aged Italian cheese, known for its granular texture and rich, savory flavor. I think it is best known as a topping for everyones favorite – spaghetti bolognese. Sp, if you’re thinking of using it as a substitute for Provolone, you’re in for a different but delightful twist.

  1. Grated Toppings: Parmesan is fantastic as a grated topping for pizzas, pastas, and salads. The salty and nutty notes can add a burst of flavor to your dishes, providing a distinct profile compared to the milder Provolone.
  2. Sandwiches: While Parmesan may not melt as smoothly as Provolone, you can still use it in sandwiches. Opt for thin shavings or grate it finely to distribute the flavor evenly.
  3. Pasta Dishes: Substitute Provolone with Parmesan in pasta dishes like spaghetti or fettuccine alfredo. The aged cheese will bring a depth of flavor and also a satisfying umami kick to the sauce.
  4. Cheese and Cracker Pairing: Why not serve Parmesan with crackers for a simple and elegant appetizer. Its robust flavor pairs well with various types of crackers and can also be accompanied by fruits or jams.
  5. Vegetable Gratin: Use Parmesan in vegetable gratins or casseroles. Its strong flavor can enhance the overall taste, especially when combined with roasted or sautéed veggies.
  6. Snacking: Enjoy Parmesan on its own or with some fresh fruit for a quick and tasty snack. Its intensity makes it a satisfying treat.

Just keep in mind that Parmesan has a stronger taste, so you may want to adjust quantities based on your preference.

Spaghetti bolognese and parmesan as a provolone substitute.

Mozzarella as a Provolone substitute

Mozzarella cheese is a mild and stretchy Italian cheese, well-known for its use in pizza but versatile enough for various dishes. If you’re thinking of using Mozzarella as a substitute for Provolone, you’re in for a gooey and delicious experience.

  1. Pizza: Mozzarella is a classic choice for pizza. Whether shredded or sliced, it melts beautifully, creating that iconic stretchy and cheesy goodness. Feel free to mix it with other cheeses for a flavor combination that suits your taste.
  2. Sandwiches: Mozzarella is fantastic in sandwiches, especially when melted. Try it in grilled cheese, paninis, or even cold sandwiches for a mild and creamy texture.
  3. Caprese Salad: Use fresh mozzarella in a classic Caprese salad with tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. It’s a simple yet elegant dish that showcases the cheese’s freshness.
  4. Pasta Dishes: Whether it’s lasagna, baked ziti, or spaghetti, mozzarella can be a great substitute in pasta dishes. It adds a gooey and comforting texture to the dish.
  5. Appetizers: Mozzarella sticks or mozzarella-stuffed mushrooms make for delicious appetizers. The cheese’s mild flavor complements various herbs and spices.
  6. Casseroles and Bakes: Incorporate mozzarella into casseroles or baked dishes for that cheesy, golden-brown topping. It adds a creamy texture that pairs well with a variety of ingredients.
  7. Quesadillas: While not traditional, mozzarella can work well in quesadillas, especially if you’re looking for a milder and gooier option compared to Provolone.

Remember, mozzarella has a mild flavor, so it might not have the same tanginess as Provolone.

Mozzarella as a provolone substitute.

Gruyère as a Provolone substitute

Gruyère cheese is a Swiss cheese known for its nutty and slightly sweet flavor. It’s a versatile cheese that can be an excellent substitute for Provolone in certain dishes.

  1. Grilled Cheese and Paninis: Gruyère melts beautifully, making it a great choice for grilled cheese sandwiches or paninis. Why not pair it with your favorite bread and complementary ingredients for a delicious, melty treat.
  2. French Onion Soup: Gruyère is a classic choice for topping French onion soup. The cheese’s rich and nutty flavor complements the savory broth and caramelized onions perfectly.
  3. Quiches and Frittatas: Add Gruyère to quiches or frittatas for a creamy and flavorful addition. Its melting qualities contribute to a luscious texture in egg-based dishes.
  4. Cheese Fondue: Gruyère is a key ingredient in traditional Swiss cheese fondue. Combine it with Emmental or other melting cheeses for a delightful and gooey fondue experience.
  5. Croque Monsieur: Use Gruyère in a Croque Monsieur, a classic French sandwich. It brings a rich and also a rather distinctive taste to this ham and cheese delight.
  6. Cheese and Charcuterie Boards: Cube or slice Gruyère for a cheese and charcuterie board. Its nutty profile pairs well with fruits, nuts, and cured meats.
  7. Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Experiment with Gruyère in your mac ‘n’ cheese recipe. Its nutty flavor can add depth to the dish, and its melting quality also contributes to a creamy texture.

Remember, Gruyère has a unique taste, so your dish will have a different character compared to Provolone.

Gruyere cheese as a provolone substitute.

Edam as a Provolone substitute

Edam cheese is a Dutch cheese known for its distinctive round shape and mild, nutty flavor. If you’re considering using it as a substitute for Provolone, you’re in for a delicious and slightly sweet option.

  1. Sandwiches and Wraps: Edam’s mild and nutty taste makes it a great choice for sandwiches and wraps. Whether sliced or melted, it adds a pleasant creaminess to your favorite handheld meals.
  2. Cheese Platters: Cube or slice Edam for a cheese platter. Its subtle flavor complements a variety of crackers, fruits, and nuts, making it an excellent addition to a cheese board.
  3. Quesadillas: Try Edam in quesadillas for a different twist. Its melting characteristics work well in this dish, offering a mild and creamy texture to the melted cheese.
  4. Burgers: Place a slice of Edam on your burgers for a milder alternative to Provolone. It provides a gooey texture and a subtle nuttiness that enhances the overall burger experience.
  5. Salads: Grate or cube Edam to sprinkle on salads. Its mild flavor won’t overpower the other ingredients but will add a delightful creaminess.
  6. Cheese Sauce: Melt Edam with other cheeses for a flavorful cheese sauce. Use it on vegetables, pasta, or even as a dip for bread.
  7. Snacking: Enjoy Edam on its own or with some fresh fruit for a quick and satisfying snack. Its mild taste makes it a versatile and easy-to-enjoy cheese.

Remember, Edam has a softer and milder profile compared to Provolone, so adjust quantities based on your preferences.

Gouda cheese


Emmental cheese is a Swiss cheese known for its distinctive holes (known as eyes) and a mild, nutty flavor. If you’re thinking of using Emmental as a substitute for Provolone, you’ve chosen a cheese with great melting properties and a unique taste.

  1. Sandwiches and Paninis: Emmental melts beautifully, making it an excellent choice for sandwiches and paninis. Its mild nuttiness adds a delightful touch to grilled creations.
  2. Cheese and Charcuterie Boards: Slice or cube Emmental for cheese and charcuterie boards. Its nutty flavor complements cured meats, fruits, and various crackers, creating a well-balanced assortment.
  3. Burgers: Place a slice of Emmental on your burgers for a gooey and flavorful cheese topping. Its mild taste won’t overpower the other burger ingredients.
  4. Quiches and Casseroles: Add Emmental to quiches or casseroles for a creamy and savory experience. Its melting qualities contribute to a luscious texture in baked dishes.
  5. Fondue: Emmental is a classic choice for traditional Swiss cheese fondue. Combine it with Gruyère and maybe a touch of white wine for a delightful and communal dining experience.
  6. Cheese Sauce: Melt Emmental with other cheeses for a flavorful cheese sauce. Use it in pasta dishes, on vegetables, or also as a dipping sauce for bread.
  7. Salads: Grate or cube Emmental to sprinkle on salads. Its mild and nutty taste adds a cheesy touch without overpowering the freshness of the greens.

Keep in mind that Emmental has a mild flavor with a slight nuttiness, so it might not have the same tanginess as Provolone.

Emmental cheese as a provolone substitute.

Creamy Cashew Sauce as a Provolone substitute

Creamy cashew sauce is a versatile and dairy-free alternative that can be used in various dishes. If you’re considering it as a substitute for Provolone cheese, you’re in for a rich and nutty flavor experience.

  1. Pasta Dishes: Toss creamy cashew sauce with cooked pasta for a decadent and creamy alternative. Simply add your favorite veggies or proteins for a complete meal.
  2. Pizza: Use creamy cashew sauce as a base for your pizza instead of traditional tomato sauce. Top it with your preferred toppings, and bake for a delicious, dairy-free pizza.
  3. Dips and Spreads: Transform creamy cashew sauce into a dip or spread by adjusting its consistency. It can be a delightful accompaniment for chips, crackers, or also raw veggies.
  4. Gratin and Casseroles: Use creamy cashew sauce in gratins or casseroles for a creamy and dairy-free texture. It adds richness to baked dishes without the need for traditional cheese.
  5. Sandwiches and Wraps: Spread creamy cashew sauce on sandwiches or wraps for a luscious and nutty flavor. It pairs well with various fillings, adding a creamy element to your handheld meals.
  6. Burgers: Use creamy cashew sauce as a topping for burgers. Its richness can mimic the creamy texture of melted cheese, providing a flavorful alternative to Provolone.
  7. Stir-Fries: Incorporate creamy cashew sauce into stir-fries for a creamy and nutty sauce. It adds a unique twist to your favorite stir-fried veggies and proteins.

When using creamy cashew sauce as a substitute, keep in mind that it will have a different flavor profile compared to Provolone.

Do you want to make your own creamy cashew sauce?

By using four simple ingredients you can make your own creamy cashew sauce.

  • 2 cups cashew nuts
  • 1 1/4 cup water or broth
  • 1–2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Place the cashew nuts in a bowl. Then cover with water and soak for around 2 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Transfer the soaked cashews into the bowl of a food processor or blender with the water/broth, garlic, and salt.
  3. Puree until smooth. Dont rush this step and keep going until you have a smooth blend.
  4. If it is too thick add more water until you get the desired consistency.
  5. Store the sauce in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight jar.
Top Tips

Do not leave the cashew nuts in the water for longer than 2 hours. Doing so will alter the final texture of the sauce as the mixture will be too watery.

If you want to be adventerous you can add extra ingredients to change the flavor of the sauce. Consider adding cheese, chipotle peppers, pesto, or chili paste.

Cashew sauce as a provolone substitute.

Natural Yeast

Natural yeast, often referred to as wild yeast, is a type of yeast that is naturally present in the environment. It’s commonly used in baking for sourdough bread. However, if you’re looking to use it as a substitute for Provolone cheese, it’s a bit unconventional but can still be interesting! Here’s a creative way to experiment:

Sourdough “Cheese” Spread:

  1. Ingredients:
  • 1 cup natural yeast starter (active sourdough starter)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for a few hours)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavor)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  1. Instructions:
    In a blender or food processor, combine the natural yeast starter, soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic (if using), lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
    Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency by adding water if needed.
    Taste and adjust the salt or lemon juice according to your preferences.
  2. Usage:
    Spread it on crackers or bread for a unique and tangy flavor.
    Use it as a dip for veggies or pretzels.
    Include it in sandwiches or wraps as a dairy-free alternative.

Keep in mind that this “cheese” spread won’t have the exact texture or taste of Provolone, but it can offer a distinct, tangy, and cheesy element to your dishes.

Yeast powder


Is Provolone cheese like Halloumi?

While provolone and halloumi are both delicious cheeses, they’re quite different in terms of texture and flavor. Provolone is a semi-hard, aged cheese with a smooth texture and a mild to sharp taste, depending on its age. On the other hand, halloumi is a unique cheese that’s known for its high melting point, making it perfect for grilling or frying without losing its shape. Halloumi has a squeaky texture and a salty flavor, offering a distinct experience. So, while it’s right to that they’re both cheese, they serve different purposes in the kitchen. If you’re looking for a provolone substitute, consider other semi-hard cheeses, but if it’s halloumi you’re after, there’s no exact match.

How do I make an Italian sandwich?

This delicious Italian sandwich can be ready in just 10 minutes, once you have gathered all the ingredients together. It’s packed full of flavor, and will keep your hunger at bay! Can’t wait any longer – right – let’s go!


  • Ciabatta roll
  • 1 tablespoon pesto sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 slices Sliced mozzarella
  • 3 slices Smoked Ham
  • 1 slice Classic Salami
  • 1 slice Cracked Black Pepper Salami
  • 1 slice Classic Pepperoni
  • 1 slice Turkey Pepperoni


  • Cut the ciabatta roll in half and toast each half for a few minutes until the edges just start to brown a bit.
  • Spread the pesto sauce on the top slice of roll and then spread the sun-dried tomatoes on the bottom slice of roll.
  • Place your smoked ham, salami, black pepper salami, pepperoni and turkey pepperoni on the bottom slice of roll and top with the mozzarella slices.
  • Toast for a few minutes until the mozzarella melts and the meats warm up.
  • Top with the pesto half of the roll.
  • Slice in half and serve warm with a green salad.

Summary for Provolone substitutes

Okay – that’s you all sorted with suitable substitutes for provolone.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Smoked Gouda: Mellow and smoky, perfect for a touch of simple sophistication.
  • Aged Cheddar: Sharp and tangy, this is a classic choice that never disappoints.
  • Fontina: The stylish Italian cousin of provolone, bringing its own flair to your dishes.
  • Parmesan: Creamy and smooth, a fantastic melter for your dishes.
  • Mozzarella: The perfect pizza topping, known for its gooey, stretchy magic.
  • Gruyère: Nutty undertones that can elevate your recipes to new heights.
  • Edam: Edam has a mild, nutty flavor and a smooth texture, but not the melt factor of provolone.
  • Emmental: A firm, pale yellow cheese with a mild and nutty flavor, that melts well.
  • Creamy Cashew Sauce: Cashews can contribute to a creamy and rich element in certain dishes.
  • Nutritional Yeast: While not a direct replacement, nutritional yeast can add a cheesy, umami flavor to your dishes.

We have gathered together a lot more facts on ingredients such as herbs, spices, oils, nuts, etc. if you would like to learn some more.

Or if you need to swap out another ingredient have a look at our Substitutes section.