Emmental vs Swiss

Emmental cheese — also known as Emmenthaler, Emmenthal or Emmenthaler — is a Swiss cheese.

But a Swiss cheese is not necessarily an Emmental.

Confused? That’s OK. Here’s more on Swiss cheese and Emmental cheese:


There are generally considered to be three types of Swiss cheese — the American Swiss, Emmental and Gruyére. American Swiss is the most popular Swiss cheese type in the United States. The vast majority of American Swiss cheese produced in America comes from Brewster Cheese.


All kinds of Swiss cheese originated in Switzerland (of course!) but Emmental has been linked directly to the town on Emmentaler, Switzerland in the Emme valley in the Canton Bern.


Both cheeses are formed with naturally occurring holes (HINT: The size of the holes does not affect flavor!). Emmental is a semi-hard, yellow cheese. American Swiss is more pale and shiny.


Emmental has mild flavor that is slightly buttery — with some even saying fruity. American Swiss generally has a nutty flavor.


Emmental cheese melts easily, which makes it perfect for sauces. It also goes well with fruits and notes. American Swiss also melts easily but is used more often in sandwiches.


American Swiss is considered suitable for a lacto-vegetarian because it is made with milk. Emmental cheese made in the USA may also be suitable lacto-vegetarian diet if the enzyme (rennet) is not derived from animals. Traditional Emmental cheese is made in Europe and may be made with animal rennet, so it is not considered vegetarian-friendly.


When Emmental cheese is made, a small rind is produced. The cheese’s origin often is printed on the rind. American Swiss is processed in a way that does not produce a rind.


Entremont, a French company, is the world’s largest producer of Emmental cheese. American Swiss is made by many companies, but Brewster Cheese is the No. 1 producer in the United States.

Want more on Swiss cheese? Check out our recipes section or learn how Swiss cheese is made.