Not many chefs have a soft spot for blue cheese, and they tend to look for substitutes. Blue cheese exudes an off-putting smell, it’s expensive, and it’s got no curb appeal at all. Surprisingly, blue cheese was invented by accident, and it is ripened when left in limestone caves after a period of time.
Although blue cheese is an acquired taste, I assure you that it’s love at first bite. In case there’s no chemistry between you and blue cheese, don’t worry. Explore other options in the list below.
List Of 13 Best Substitutes For Blue Cheese
Suppose that you are cooking a dish that requires blue cheese but you don’t want to bear with the smell, what are the substitutes? The following list includes the best replacements for blue cheese, and they can be found in any grocery stores or supermarkets easily.
- Gorgonzola Dolce
- Bleu d’Auvergne
- Monte Enebro
- Goat cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Queso Fresco
- Ranch dressing
I won’t keep you hanging for more. Let’s find out about these ingredients!
A Closer Look At Blue Cheese
Blue cheese, or bleu cheese, is a stinky cheese made with the cultures of the mold named Penicillium. The spores of Penicillium, which are penicillin, are added either before or after the curd takes shape.
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The cheese becomes blue by a process called needling, which involves puncturing various tiny holes using needles or skewers. By doing so, oxygen can easily penetrate into the inside of the cheese, facilitating the development of the spores.
It takes blue cheese somewhat 3-6 months to fully mature, but it can also be shorter or longer depending on the purpose of the cheesemaker.
Though called “blue cheese,” the color of the mold varies from green to blue hues. The smell is, not quite, but very strong, and it goes straight into your nose! Blue cheese has a pungent, salty taste; therefore, it is used to enhance the flavor of many dishes.
Blue Cheese Substitutes
I bet that you are here not because you are out of blue cheese – you hate the smell with all your guts, and you are in search of a replica blue cheese taste. What comes closer to blue cheese than… blue cheese, after all?
Blue Substitutes For Blue Cheese
You may think that I’m out of my mind – exchanging a blue cheese for a blue cheese. It’s exactly what I’m suggesting, since the original blue cheese that comes from France is just way too strong.
To make it clear, blue cheese refers to the traditional blue cheese made in France million years ago. At the same time, blue cheese is also a category that includes different variants, which have been modified in some aspects to be easier on your tongue.
Remain as one of the best-selling cheeses for years in Italy, it’s hard not to mention Gorgonzola on this list. Crafted from unskimmed cow milk, the cheese has a buttery and comforting mouthfeel.
The blue veins, however, contrast dramatically to the cheese: it has such an astringency taste that you may want to shove it down your throat right away. Because of this, Gorgonzola can be used instead of blue cheese, especially in baking recipes.
Once baked, Gorgonzola gains a smokey, savory flavor that makes it an excellent companion dish for lasagna, green salad, pizza, pasta, red wine, etc. Opt for an aged version of Gorgonzola if you prefer something sharp, or choose a younger cheese for a milder taste.
A lighter take on the pungent Gorgonzola, this cheese is also made from cow’s milk and is injected with mold culture. The cheese is pierced with long skewers to allow the oxygen to flow through. Because the texture is so thick, the air flow is not much, which results in light blue veins.
Gorgonzola Dolce is a lot more different than other blue cheeses: surprisingly, it’s a lot milder, and you can even sense some sweet undertones. It’s one of the top-notch choices if you despise blue cheese.
Bow down to Roquefort, the king of blue cheese coming from the far-flung southern of France. Thanks to the use of sheep milk, Roquefort possesses a rich and intricate flavor. It also matures much faster than the other blues, only after 2-3 months.
With a moist and crumbly texture, this food whose name starts with “R” stands in for blue cheese in recipes like roast potatoes, salads, and soups. Whatever it is, Roquefort never fails to delight any epicure.
Nothing screams blue cheese more than Maytag, a traditional, homemade cheese invented by two microbiologists at Iowa State University. Maytag has graced the flavor of many of your favorite dishes – cheesecake, coleslaw, and soup.
How does Maytag cheese resemble the original blue cheese? It’s sharp, but it does not live up to the extent of its antecedent. Plus, there’s a smidgen of citrus in every bite of Maytag.
From afar, Stilton is like beautiful blocks of marble that have been crafted by an unknown artisan. To cater to your needs, Stilton is classified into two variants: blue, which is injected with the blue mold, and white, which is not.
Blue Stilton impersonates blue cheese well, especially if you serve it with some fine wine or champagne. Really, it’s hard to tell these two apart unless you have a very keen nose.
Next in line from the blue family is Danablu, short for “Danish blue cheese.” Danablu is sometimes regarded as a rip-off version of Roquefort, as the two share quite similar traits: the same white color, friable texture, sharp, and salty taste.
If Roquefort can replace bleu cheese, why can’t Danablu? In Danish, people like to have Danablu with pastries. Crumbs of Danablu can be seen on some types of salad and fruit servings as well.
Bleu d’Auvergne, which means “blue of Auvergne” in English, is a type of blue cheese that you will hate at first, but soon it will grow on you. It is made from cow milk, and the finished product is usually served alongside fruits and salad.
Unlike blue cheese, this one is cultured with Penicillium glaucum. This mold culture has a different taste and somewhat milder, resembling the smoky scent of roasted hazelnuts.
To prepare Bleu d’Auvergne, you’ll need a cheese slicer of high quality to slice the cheese evenly. Due to its texture, you might encounter a slight difficulty if you’re not equipped with the right tool. So don’t forget to take this into consideration.
Well, it is not really blue cheese, but… it is. The rind of Monte Enebro is made from blue mold, so it counts. While the outer part smells funky, the interior has a sweet, creamy mouthfeel that holds over in your palate. Try some Monte Enebro, and you will definitely regret not knowing about it sooner.
Monte Enebro is a good choice for newbies who are still new to blue cheese. If you want it to play the part for blue cheese, use the mature cheese. As it becomes ripe, the taste and the flavor will strengthen, and the flavor will linger in your palate for days.
Non-Blue Substitutes For Blue Cheese
If you can’t stand the overpowering smell of blue cheese, or perhaps you run out of it unexpectedly, no need to feel blue. These are some common alternatives that you may consider trying.
Feta is a type of cheese made from sheep’s milk alone or combined with goat’s milk. The former version is slightly tart while the latter version with goat’s milk is milder. For this reason, it is quite similar to blue cheese, minus the stinking scent.
Another noticeable difference is that feta does not have mold in it, which is easy on the eye. If you put the texture into perspective, they are nearly the same, except that blue cheese appears to be a bit tender.
It’s worth knowing that this cheese is stored in brine (8-10% salinity), which explains feta cheese’s distinctive taste. It’s okay to use feta in place of blue cheese in salad, sandwich, or even sauce (since it is soft and easy to melt).
As feta cheese is quite delicate, you might want to know how to extend its shelf-life. And while many still argue if it’s ideal to freeze feta cheese, simply storing it in a brine solution in the fridge usually is enough to do the trick.
As the name implies, goat cheese is made entirely from goat’s milk. People say that goat cheese is the long lost brother of feta because the two have a lot in common. Both have crumbly to spreadable texture, but goat cheese is not as strong as feta concerning the taste.
If you are not a fan of blue cheese, goat cheese is your best choice. It complements many scrumptious dishes, including sandwiches, grain bowls, salad, and pizzas.
There’s no need to say much about cheddar, a big name in the cheese industry. Cheddar can be served with sandwiches. macaroni, or meat. It has a firm texture, not as fragile as the other types.
Despite having a sharp kick, cheddar’s taste pales in comparison to that of blue cheese. Go for the aged and high-quality cheddar cheese if you want to increase the sharpness; usually, cheddar reaches maturity after a year.
How can I fail to mention Queso Fresco, a delicacy originating from Mexico? It is made from cow’s milk, sometimes with goat milk. Although it is regarded as fresh cheese, it has got a sour, salty kick that reminds you of blue cheese because it is acidified.
Due to its soft and creamy texture, Queso Fresco is sprinkled on a variety of Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, antojitos, and black beans. When heated, Queso Fresco does not melt, it becomes soft and chewy. For this feature, Queso Fresco is included in tacos and burritos’ fillings.
Who would have thought this classic American dressing can replace blue cheese? The sauce is made from buttermilk, onions, salt, black pepper, and sour cream, with different kinds of herbs and spices.
Although ranch dressing might look like a huge indulgence, it’s actually healthy enough to be a part of paleo-friendly dishes for vegetarians. Thanks to this, you’ll never have to worry that your diet meals might become bland and boring.
Even though the dressing’s main ingredient is mayo sauce, its underlying tartness is a far cry from blue cheese. Plus, it’s a dressing, so the texture may not suit your preferences.
It seems like the substitutes I mentioned do not do the job well, or only to a certain extent. So, what now? I’d like to suggest some variants of blue cheese – don’t panic yet, these three types of cheese have very blue in it, and it is the best solution to your problem.
And the takeaway point is pretty obvious. The blue substitutes will do the job better, as they all belong to the blue cheese family, after all. The non-blue substitutes work fine, too, so long as you are not too finicky with your food.
Health Benefits Of Blue Cheese
Another reason that makes it challenging to find a substitute for blue cheese is the nutrition concern. Leaving the nasty smell aside, blue cheese is packed with a tremendous amount of calcium, which helps benefit your bones and teeth. Other nutrients found in an ounce of blue cheese include:
- Calories: 100
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 8 grams
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Sodium: 380 mg — 16% of the RDI
- Calcium: 33% of the RDI
Be alert that going-to-be mothers should not consume blue cheese. Most blue cheese use pasteurized milk, which contains a detrimental bacteria named listeria. Listeria poses a great risk to the baby’s health and, in some unfortunate cases, it is the culprit of miscarriage.
Further Information On Blue Cheese And Its Substitutes
One thing that makes the blue cheese become a delicacy is undoubtedly the blue mold. It is perfectly safe to eat, so you should not worry if you end up having a little too much. And here goes another frequently asked question: does blue cheese ever go bad, or they just get older and older?
And the answer is yes, blue cheese does have an expiration. It’s hard to tell when, as blue cheese during its prime has already given off a putrid smell. So, what are the visible red flags that show your blue cheese is no longer good?
On the surface of spoiled blue cheese, it’s easy to spot those fuzzy spots in white, green, or pink. Plus, if the cheese smells way too heavy, like ammonia, you may want to discard it immediately.
That’s all about blue cheese and its replacements. I’m sure that you are now tempted to try some blue cheese, aren’t you? In case you have found a better substitute, don’t be hesitant to comment below for me and other readers to see. What’s more fun than getting experimental with blue cheese, right?