Muenster is a semi-soft cheese, pale in color and with a smooth texture, very popular in the United States. It can be used in a variety of different recipes, eaten on its own as an appetizer, or melted in dishes such as cheeseburgers or pizza.
Currently, there are a lot of cheeses that can work well as a substitute for Muenster cheese, but keep in mind that every cheese is different, and will yield different results in the kitchen.
The best substitutes for Muenster cheese
The name Muenster is not related to the city of Münster in Germany, nor to the Irish province of Munster, but rather to the city of Munster in Alsace (which was a province of Germany at the time the cheese was brought into the United States by immigrants, but that is currently a French province).
Muenster should not be confused with Munster cheese, which is the original variety of cheese, made in France, in fact, this is cheese made from unpasteurized or pasteurized cow milk has a stronger flavor and it’s usually a bit softer than its American counterpart.
American Muenster has a pale color and a smooth texture, with an orange rind that is made from annatto and that is completely edible. The cheese has a very mild flavor and a smooth and soft texture. When it ages, it can develop a sharper flavor, with a more pungent aroma.
It has excellent melting properties, and its mild taste goes well with dishes where the cheese flavor is not the main component. It’s often used in grilled dishes (sandwiches and cheeseburgers) or as a pizza topping. It’s also used as an appetizer, eaten on its own.
Muenster cheese pairs really well with red wines (like pinot noir or merlot) and dry wines (like chardonnay or pinot grigio). It also pairs well with beer and different kinds of meat like beef or poultry. When eaten as a part of a cheese platter, it can go well with apples, dried fruits, grapes, and pears.
Here’s the list of the best Muenster cheese substitutes you can use in your recipes.
Port-Salut is a type of semi-soft cheese that originates in France. It’s one of the oldest cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk, and it has a mellow, sweet flavor. It contains a high percentage of saturated fat but is a good source of protein and calcium.
Port-Salut has a lower price than other artisanal cheese and can be eaten on its own on a cheese platter. His mild flavor makes it a good Muenster substitute, and it also has similar melting properties, making it a good alternative when grilled cheese is required.
2. Monterey Jack
Monterey Jack is a cheese that originated in the United States, specifically in Monterey, California. It’s a semi-hard cheese, made from cow’s milk, known for its mild, sweet, and savory flavor.
It’s commonly used in different cuisines (such as Mexican and Spanish) for its flavor and its melting properties. Both of these characteristics, along with the fact that it’s widely available, make Monterey Jack a good Muenster cheese replacement.
There are different varieties of Monterey Jack, such as Dry Jack (which is an aged, harder version), Pepper Jack(which is flavored with pepper and different herbs), and Mixed Jack(Monterey Jack is mixed with other cheeses like Colby).
Your best bet, if you want a cheese similar to Muenster, is to stick with the less aged, more soft version.
Gouda is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, typically made from cow’s milk, it has a semi-hard consistency, and it is characterized by an aromatic and sweet flavor and by a dense texture.
There are different types of Gouda that vary based on the aging of the cheese. The younger ones have a milder and lighter flavor, while the older ones can become very tangy. Aged Gouda is usually preferred when looking for a cheese to eat on its own.
When looking for a good substitute for Muenster cheese, it’s better to stick to a younger Gouda: it will have the same mild and light flavor and will turn much creamier when melted, making it a good Muenster cheese alternative in all those recipes that call for melting cheese.
Mozzarella is an Italian cheese, widely known and one of the most popular cheeses in the world. Unlike other kinds of cheese, mozzarella is eaten fresh and not aged: this gives it a delicate flavor and a light aroma of cream. It is also a low-fat cheese, high in proteins and vitamins.
There are a lot of different varieties of mozzarella, but if you’re looking for a Munster cheese alternative, it’s better to stick to a low-moisture one sold specifically as a pizza topping.
This kind of mozzarella has a denser texture and a slightly more flavored taste. It melts perfectly and it’s a staple when making pizza because it doesn’t release water like other types of mozzarella. This makes it a perfect substitute for shredded Muenster cheese.
Havarti is a semi-hard cheese, native to Denmark, with a springy texture and a pale yellow color. It’s made from cow’s milk and it’s well balanced and buttery, with a mild taste that makes it a good Muenster cheese alternative.
There are two different kinds of Havarti: the first one, made with whole pasteurized cow’s milk, and the cream Havarti, which has added cream.
Havarti is typically aged for three months and develops a nutty, sweet flavor. It’s a perfect cheese to eat on its own, but it still works perfectly well when melted. You can substitute it for Muenster both in a cheese platter and in a recipe that calls for melting cheese.
Provolone is a traditional stretched-curd Italian cheese, largely available worldwide and well known for its versatility and flavor.
It’s made from cow’s milk and has a creamy interior and a semi-hard exterior. It usually comes in two varieties: provolone dolce (aged for three months, creamier and more delicate) and provolone piccante (aged for a longer time, sharper and stronger).
The variety that comes closer to the Muenster cheese flavor is the first one, provolone dolce, milder and with a delicate taste. It can be used to cook or as a grating cheese, eaten on its own, or as the main ingredient in a salad. Provolone also melts really well, so it can work as a Muenster substitute in sandwiches and cheeseburgers.
If you’re looking for a Muenster cheese substitute and you’re mainly interested in the melting properties of the cheese, cheddar can be a really good option.
Cheddar is a widely known and used cheese in a variety of recipes and dishes. It’s bright and mellow and has a particular taste that depends mainly on the age of the cheese.
A young Cheddar is smooth and soft, with a milder taste, while an older Cheddar becomes more crumbly and dry, acquiring more of a sharp taste with time. When looking for a Muenster cheese replacement, a mild Cheddar is your best option.
If you want something with a similar color to Muenster cheese, you can opt for white Cheddar. The only difference between white Cheddar and yellow Cheddar is food coloring, so it’s only a matter of aesthetic. A yellow Cheddar and a white Cheddar of the same age have virtually the same taste.
The melting qualities of this cheese make it a perfect substitute for Muenster cheese if you want something with the same mild flavor, that also melts really well.
Edam is a cheese made from cow’s milk, that originates in the northern regions of the Netherlands. It’s a widely used cheese, known for its mild and savory flavor and its versatility.
Edam is usually sold in small flat ended spheres with a light yellow interior and a coated exterior of red paraffin. Young Edam has a creamy texture and a mild taste, while older Edam is more intense in flavor and drier in texture.
Young Edam has a salty and nutty taste that resembles the same taste of Muenster: it works better as an alternative to Muenster on a cheese platter, where it goes well with fruit such as peaches, apricots, and cherries.
9. Brick Cheese
Brick cheese is another good option if you’re looking for a melting Muenster cheese substitute. Brick cheese comes from the United States, and it’s made in a brick-shaped form.
The color can range from pale yellow to white, and, when the cheese is young, it has a sweet and mild flavor. The flavor gets sharper and riper with age, but a younger brick cheese works better as a Muenster substitute.
Brick cheese has great melting properties, so it’s a perfect substitute when it comes to pizza or grilled recipes like sandwiches or hamburgers.
How to choose a Muenster cheese substitute
If you’re looking for a Muenster cheese substitute for a recipe that calls for melting cheese, you have a lot of options: you can use mozzarella, brick cheese, Cheddar, and provolone.
On the other side, if you need a Muenster substitute for a cheese platter, you can opt for Port-Salut, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Havarti, or Edam. A lot of these cheeses also work well when melted, but they all have a closer flavor and texture to Muenster, so they work best when eaten on their own.
Choose your Muenster cheese alternative based on your culinary needs and your personal taste, but remember that every cheese has a slightly different taste so you probably won’t find an exact replacement for Muenster.