Gouda vs. Gruyere: Differences & Which Is Better?

Gouda Vs Gruyere

Gouda and Gruyere are types of cheese that are relatively similar to one another. Most times it is very difficult to make a difference which is which. However, some people tend to be persistent in their choice of cheese, especially when combining cheese with other types of food or drinks. So, what are the differences between Gouda and Gruyere, and which one is the better choice?

Gouda cheese has sweet and nutty flavors, but you can also feel fruity notes. Gruyere cheese is saltier and more bitter, although it also contains fruity notes and sweetness. Gruyere’s nutty aftertaste lasts longer than Gouda’s. Also, Gruyere has a more firm texture than Gouda, while Gouda melts easier. 

Gruyere and Gouda come from different countries, but they are characterized by a lot of similarities. These similarities often raise questions about the features and properties of both types, so people never know which one to choose. In this article, I have made a precise comparison of every detail related to Gouda and Gruyere, so you could put an end to the debate between the two.

Gouda Cheese vs. Gruyere: Differences 

To understand the differences between Gouda and Gruyere, you have to look into their properties and features closely. The differences that exist are subtle, and if you have tried both kinds of cheese, there is a chance that you have noticed only one or none of them. However, no matter how small they are, the differences still exist, and they change the combinations you do with them. 

Below, you will read everything about the differences between Gouda cheese and Gruyere, in terms of origin, taste, texture, production, color, and use. 


When comparing types of cheese, it is important to know where they come from. Their origin influences a lot of their features, which is why there are differences between them. 

Gouda is a cheese made out of cow’s milk in the Netherlands. To be more precise, it is made in a Dutch town with the same name as the cheese, close to Rotterdam. Gouda is a type of cheese that is used the most in Holland, meaning that there is no place in the whole Netherlands without Gouda in store. 

Gruyere comes from Switzerland, and it is the most popular Swiss cheese. We are actually talking about a very special cheese here since it has the “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” status. This status means that only if the cheese is made in special districts can be called Gruyere.


For some people, it is difficult to make a difference between Gouda and Gruyere since they contain similar flavors. However, if you try to taste the cheese cautiously, you will definitely notice different notes in the tastes of these two types of cheese. 

Gouda is usually compared to Edam because of its sweet and fruity flavor. Since Gouda is semi-soft, it usually melts in your mouth, and the sweetness stays with you for a long time after the consummation. Its taste is mild and milky. On the other hand, Gruyere offers some slightly different tastes. 

Namely, Gruyere also contains fruity and sweet flavors, but not as sweet as those in Gauda. Actually, some would say that Gruyere is salty and slightly bitter, and it has a nutty flavor at the end, which is really felt long after you ingest the cheese. 

The older versions of Gruyere taste even creamier than the younger ones. 


Gauda is a semi-hard cheese, meaning that its texture is not so firm. However, it becomes harder as the cheese gets older, and its texture becomes denser. Another thing you can notice in aged Gauda versions is that they get crunchy due to calcium lactate crystals that form because of the reduced moisture in the cheese. 

On the other hand, Gruyere has a firmer texture, and its surface is not entirely smooth. Actually, Gruyere is characterized by small holes in it due to the bubbles produced by natural bacteria. Natural bacteria are commonly added to cheese as a part of the production process. 

Gouda Vs Gruyere

Ways of Production 

High-fat cow’s milk is the essential ingredient in making Gouda cheese. Although Gauda is produced in many places around the world, it is a well-known fact that Holland has the best type of milk, so that is why Gauda is so delicious in the Dutch regions. 

On the other hand, Gruyere is produced by using whole cow’s milk. Even though it is the same type of milk as in Gauda, the Swiss methods of making cheese are done differently. Also, the other ingredients that are used in the production are not the same as in Holland, meaning that it is logical that these two types of cheese will have differences in flavors and tastes. 


Gauda is one of the most used types of cheese worldwide, mainly because this kind of cheese is significantly versatile. In other words, Gauda goes well with many dishes, meaning that it is really easily combined with other types of food. Also, another great feature of Gauda is that this type of cheese melts easily. 

On the other hand, Gruyere is a very popular ingredient in French onion soup. Also, it is a great ingredient on top of a French toast, but it is good as a table cheese option as well. So, it can be said that Gruyere is equally versatile as Gauda. 

Gouda Vs Gruyere


Gauda cheese comes in a pale ivory color. This is the usual color of this type of cheese, but you can also see some Gauda variations that come in a yellow-orange combination. 

On the other hand, Gruyere comes only in the pale ivory color. 

Gouda Vs. Gruyere: Which Is Better? 

There is usually no right or wrong answer to this question since it depends on your taste. They are usually interchangeable, so you can use both of them in many dishes. 

On the other hand, if you are looking for a specific taste and texture, then you will probably need to choose the one that suits your preferences the best. If you want cheese with a stronger taste, then opt for Gruyere. If you more like a mild kind of cheese, choose Gouda.

What Kind of Cheese Is Closest to Gruyere?

If you are unable to find Gruyere, you can always rely on some substitute. Some good cheese options that are close to the features of Gruyere are Emmental, Jarlsberg, and Raclette. These kinds of cheese are good replacements since they have similar properties, and you will not notice many changes in the taste. 

Can You Use Gouda Instead of Gruyere? 

If you are in a situation when Gruyere is not available at your disposal, then you might opt for Gauda. They share a lot of properties and features, meaning that Gauda will be a proper substitute for Gruyere. However, you should expect slight changes in the taste since Gouda is a tiny bit sweeter than Gruyere. 

What Cheese Is Comparable to Gouda? 

When it comes to texture and properties, you can find a lot of types of cheese that are similar to Gouda. For instance, Edam, Munster, Monterey Jack, Havarti, and Cheddar are known as very suitable substitutes for Gouda. You will be able to enjoy a similar, delicious taste of Gouda, although you might notice some slight changes in your dishes in terms of flavors. 

Obviously, Gouda cheese and Gruyere share a lot of similarities, but it is always important to know all of their features. The differences between them might not be very significant when it comes to picking out a type of cheese for a cheese plate, but when it comes to cooking different dishes, you might have to think twice. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!