Difference between: Emmental and Gruyere cheese

For this Difference Between, we are looking at two Swiss cheeses: Emmental and Gruyere.

Both are great choices for a French onion soup; neither are the rubbery, Americanized version of Swiss cheese.

Note: Emmental also goes by the names Emmenthal, Emmentaler, and Emmenthaler.


  • Emmental: a hard Swiss cheese with holes in it, similar to Gruyere
  • Gruyere: a firm, pale-yellow cheese, made of whole milk and having small holes, produced chiefly in France and Switzerland.

Both Emmental and Gruyere:

  • Are semi-firm cheeses.
  • Are pale yellow in color.
  • Have a nutty, buttery flavor.
  • Are great melting cheeses – ideal for fondue.
  • Are made in wheels.

Emmental cheese:

  • Has been around since the 13th century.
  • Comes from the Emmental Valley of Switzerland – where they speak German.
  • Is made in giant – up to 220 pound – wheels.
  • Is made from partially-skimmed unpasteurized cow’s milk.
  • Is lightly brined to form a rind.
  • Is aged at about 50 to 55 degrees F for at least 4 months, typically longer.
  • Has many inconsistently-sized holes.
  • Has a lower salt content than Gruyere.

Gruyere cheese:

  • Has been around since the 11th century.
  • Comes from Gruyere, Switzerland – where they speak French.
  • Is made in smaller – about 100 pound – wheels.
  • Is made from whole unpasteurized cow’s milk.
  • Is a “washed rind cheese” – it is doused in brine or wine during production.
  • Is aged at about 60 to 65 degrees F for 8 to 10 months.
  • Has few, if any, holes.
  • Unlike Emmental, the Gruyere name is not patented; there are imitations out there.

In conclusion, although they are quite similar cheeses, Gruyere is a bit more fattening – and arguably a tad more flavorful than Emmental; it also has a thicker rind and fewer holes that many associate with a traditional Swiss cheese.

Americanized Swiss cheese is made from pasteurized milk and is significantly less flavorful. Interestingly, the size of the holes is regulated.

Want to read more about Swiss cheese? My very first Difference Between post was on Swiss cheese verses baby Swiss cheese.

2 thoughts on “Difference between: Emmental and Gruyere cheese

  1. Emmental is tha shiznit. A must if you crave that McDonalds taste without actually going there and putting a ton of chemicals into your body.

    1kg of beef (10%-20%) (season with whateva u want — sometimes I do it in the style of a kebab — the real kebab not that takeaway bozack)
    bun (Brioche or English muffin)
    emmental cheese
    sauted and thinly sliced onions
    gherkin slices

    BOOM! Homemade motherclucking burger
    beef tomato slices

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