8 Best Pepper Jack Cheese Substitutes

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Substitutes For Pepper Jack Cheese



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Pepper jack cheese is a type or variant of Monterey jack cheese that contains various kinds of spices, herbs, and even peppers incorporated into the cheese as it is forming.

Pepper jack cheese could require to be substituted for different reasons, and the good thing is that there are a few other kinds of cheese you can use to replace pepper jack cheese.

Some of the best pepper jack cheese substitutes include Gauda cheese, Havarti cheese, cheddar cheese, edam cheese, parmesan, etc.

In this article, you will get to understand what pepper jack cheese is and what you can use as an alternative whenever the need arises.

Let’s get started!

What Is Pepper Jack Cheese?

Pepper jack cheese is an almost soft kind of cheese with a simple texture and a highly spicy taste resulting from all the ingredients put together in the cheese.

This cheese is made with different ingredients such as sweet peppers, rosemary, habañero chilies, garlic, and spicy jalapeños. Pepper jack can melt easily, thanks to its high moisture content.

Pepper jack cheese can be substituted with American Cheddar, Havarti, and even other kinds of Monterey jack cheese.

Note that not all of these substitutes for pepper jack cheese will give the exact same taste and texture of pepper jack cheese.

That sald, below are the best alternatives to pepper jack cheese!

Best Pepper Jack Cheese Substitutes

1. Gouda cheese

Pepper Jack Cheese Substitutes

Gouda cheese, which was named after the town it originated from, is a kind of cheese that ranges from semi-hard to hard texture. It is aged for a length of time so that it can mature and develop its distinct taste. But it is always advisable to use a younger-aged gouda cheese.

This is because the younger version has a characteristic caramel-like taste that is somehow stronger than the taste of our pepper jack cheese. Gouda cheese acts best as a substitute in its younger form.

Mature gouda cheese is soaked in a salt solution and left to dry and age. This intensifies its sweetened taste even further, nullifying its similarity to the pepper jack cheese. Gouda cheese melts very well. It is a yellow cheese that is made out of cow’s milk.

2. Havarti cheese

Havarti cheese is a kind of cheese that originated from Denmark, and it is also made out of cow milk; due to its unique and distinct taste, it has become a highly sought-after commodity worldwide.

Although it is slightly creamier than pepper jack cheese, its semi-hard, sweet taste and springy nature make it a great substitute.

It is best to substitute pepper jack cheese with Havarti in recipes that require it to be grilled.

3. Cheddar cheese

This is another prevalent kind of cheese popularly used worldwide; it can be used in different methods.

It was first made in Cheddar, which is a village in England, it was made from cow’s milk, and has a pretty firm texture.

The taste and texture of cheddar cheese would vary depending on the age, a young cheddar would be mild and sweet, but an older Cheddar cheese is drier and would have a sharper taste in the mouth.

We advise that you only use cheddar cheese when no other options are left. Although it can be a good replacement for pepper jack cheeses, it is way too creamy. It will work best in baked recipes that would require cheese.

4. Gruyere Cheese

It becomes a semi-hard cheese when it has aged for some time. The gruyere cheese is in the same cheese category with the textural integrity that pepper jack cheese has; making it a fantastic substitute for pepper jack.

But then, gruyere cheese with no additives is somewhat saltier, with slightly sweet notes here and there, which makes it distinct from the general flavor of pepper jack cheese.

So, owing to this distinction in flavor, gruyere is best as a pepper jack alternative in cases where the taste of the cheese doesn’t need to be similar in any way. In such cases, the texture becomes the main focus.

5. Edam cheese

Edam cheese is a solid cheese that originated from northern Holland. It is packed in a cylindrical shape that is flat-ended and covered with a red wax coat.

Edam has a mild taste that can be salty or nutty and gets stronger in the mouth as the cheese ages.

It is a soft cheese due to its low-fat content – and because of its firm texture, you can slice the cheese without difficulty, and it can be eaten alone. For that reason, it is one of the closest cheese alternatives to pepper jack cheese.

You can serve the thin slices or the small chopped cubes of Edam cheese with baked parma ham and the parmesan croquettes. Combined, they would make the perfect finger food! It’s worth noting that Edam cheese is not vegetarian.

6. Parmesan cheese

There are many forms of Parmesan cheese out there, copies of the world acclaimed cheese, but they are not the original ones, so you should always be on the lookout for the perfect kind.

Parmesan cheese is one of the most suitable pepper jack cheese substitutes because it is firm and can easily be grated. 

But be careful though, do not go for the mature Parmesan cheeses as they have too much granular texture to a fault, which is not a characteristic of the pepper jack.

Instead, you should make provisions for a younger version of the Parmesan cheese.

7. Colby cheese

Colby is a semi-hard U.S. cheese made from cow milk that has undergone pasteurization. It is quite popular and can be used in a string of different cooking methods.

Its texture is soft with bright yellow color – and the taste is quite sweet but mild on the tongue.

Because they both taste considerably the same and can melt quite well, Colby cheese is considered an excellent substitute for pepper jack cheese.

8. Mozzarella cheese

This is another excellent option if you want to substitute pepper jack cheese in a recipe. It has the same melting qualities as a pepper jack, and the taste is variably mild; the flavor is also creamy.

It is wise for you to note, though, that the fresh mozzarella cheese releases a lot of water, so it is the low moisture version with a denser texture and a saltier taste that can work best as a substitute for pepper jack cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of cheese is pepper jack?

Pepper jack cheese is a kind of Monterey Jack cheese.

Why is pepper jack cheese so good?

Because the cheese has a very high moisture level and can melt pretty easily.

Does pepper jack melt well?

Absolutely! Pepper jack is quite popular for having the ability to melt extremely well.

Why is it called pepper jack cheese?

It is called pepper jack cheese because it is well-flavored with peppers, rosemary, habañero chilies, garlic, and spicy jalapeños. This is done to give it an extra kick when it is tasted.

What is Monterey Jack cheese used for?

Monterey Jack is an excellent choice for making toasted sandwiches and for topping soups or vegetable tarts, as the case may be. This cheese is also used to add richness in taste to baked pasta; and fold into a biscuit, scone, and bread dough.

How many calories are in a pepper jack cheese stick?

A stick of pepper jack cheese contains an average of 80 calories.


The distinct moisture level and taste of pepper jack cheese, which without a doubt is a favorite for many, may not be the best for some kinds of dishes.

When that becomes the case, finding a suitable substitute for pepper jack cheese that shares similar features would be the best option in those situations. So, it would be best to look for pepper jack cheese substitutes and keep them handy.

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