Have you heard of Red Leicester cheese, the robust and nutty-tasting cheese that’s renowned for its bright orange hue?
It can be used in various dishes, from macaroni and cheese to salads, or simply enjoyed as a snack.
But if you’ve ever been unable to find it in your local grocery store, how do you substitute it in a recipe?
While Red Leicester is quite unique, there are still some other cheeses that make great alternatives.
Knowing the best substitutes for Red Leicester will help take your cooking to flavorful new heights.
What’s Red Leicester Cheese?
Red Leicester cheese is a traditional English farmhouse cheese that has a unique flavor and an orange-red hue.
It is said to have originated in the midlands of England in the 19th century, with its name thought to derive from being pronounced similarly to Ruler Leicester, after whom it was supposedly named.
Red Leicester has a mellow yet slightly tangy taste and a slightly crumbly texture, making it perfect for slicing or grating over pasta and salads.
This cheese also pairs wonderfully with chicken recipes, as well as fruits like pears and apples.
To make the most of your Red Leicester experience, serve it at room temperature with freshly baked bread or crackers and chutney.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Red Leicester Cheese
If you’re looking for a cheese that has similar characteristics to red Leicester, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are five of the best substitutes for Red Leicester cheese.
1 – Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese is a hard, white, or yellow cheese that originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, England.
It has a slightly salty taste and a firm texture that makes it perfect for grating, melting, and cooking.
When used as a substitute for Red Leicester cheese, Cheddar cheese can usually be well-suited because of its relatively mild taste.
The sharpness and flavor of Red Leicester are often attributed to the annatto dye used to color the cheese – when substituting with Cheddar, this can be replaced with paprika which will still give an orange hue to your dish.
2 – White Cheddar Cheese
White Cheddar cheese is a mild, creamy cheese enjoyed by many.
It has a smooth texture with a slightly tangy and nutty flavor.
For old-school recipes or dishes that are traditionally made with Red Leicester cheese, substituting White Cheddar is an easy way to mix things up and add new flavors to your home meals.
This can make a huge difference in dishes like mac and cheese or Lasagne, and it’s especially quick to do when you don’t have access to more difficult-to-source cheeses.
With an extra depth of flavor from the Cheddar, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
3 – Gouda Cheese
Gouda is a Dutch cheese that is sure to please any palette.
Creamy and semi-hard, it derives its flavor from the combination of cow’s milk and the addition of salt.
Gouda has somewhat of a sweet taste, and after being heated, it acquires a nutty flavor making it even tastier.
With its semi-soft texture, Gouda cheese is excellent in sandwiches, with crackers, or can be melted over vegetables or toast.
You can also substitute Gouda for Red Leicester cheese without compromising much on taste.
In other words, if you don’t have Red Leicester on hand but need something with a similar flavor for your recipe, you could substitute Gouda in equal amounts and still excel in your cooking endeavors.
4 – Monterey Jack Cheese
Monterey Jack cheese is a well-known semi-soft white cheese with a mild, slightly tangy flavor and smooth texture.
It is often found in Mexican cuisine but can also be used to enhance the flavor of just about any dish.
Monterey Jack cheese makes a great substitute for Red Leicester cheese due to its faint hint of sharpness and creamy undertones that are similar to Cheddar yet simpler in flavor.
As substitutes for Red Leicester go, Monterey Jack lends itself beautifully to most dishes that call for it and will not take away from the overall taste.
5 – Gruyere Cheese
Gruyere cheese is an iconic Swiss cheese made famous for its distinctively creamy texture and earthy tones.
Originating from the small village of Gruyeres in Switzerland, this firm, yellow-hued cheese has a complex flavor that reveals light nutty notes with a hint of sweetness.
Its semi-soft exterior requires attention when slicing and grates nicely when used in cooking.
When substituting Gruyere for Red Leicester cheese, it’s important to remember that Gruyere adds more depth but also doesn’t bring as much color to dishes.
If you are looking for a similar appearance to Leicester, consider pairing Gruyere with a few slices of bell peppers to get a closer look at the traditional dish.
In conclusion, when you are looking for a substitute for Red Leicester cheese, there are several options that can work well.
Cheddar, White Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, and Gruyere all make good substitutes because of their mild flavor or earthy tones and creamy texture.
Consider which cheese best fits the dish you are making before substituting and make sure to add any additional elements, such as paprika or bell peppers, for a similar look.
With these delicious alternatives at your disposal, you can easily upgrade the classic dishes that call for Red Leicester cheese.