Is Gouda Cheese Vegetarian & Halal?

Trying to figure out if Gouda cheese is vegetarian and halal can sometimes be confusing.

Gouda, like any cheese, has many ingredients and some of them may not be vegetraian or halal.

To make sure you are only eating vegetarian cheese, I’ve looked into the ingredients and production processes of Gouda cheese.

And here’s what I found:

Gouda Cheese can be vegetarian if rennet is not derived from animal sources.

What Is Gouda Cheese?

Gouda cheese is a popular variety of cheese that originated from the Netherlands.

It is named after the city of Gouda in the South Holland province where it was historically traded.

Here are some key characteristics and facts about Gouda cheese:


  1. Texture: Gouda cheese has a rich, creamy, and slightly buttery texture. The texture can vary from semi-soft to hard, depending on the aging process.
  2. Flavor: The flavor of Gouda cheese is generally mild, sweet, and slightly nutty. As it ages, the flavor becomes more robust, intense, and complex, with older Gouda varieties exhibiting caramel and butterscotch notes.
  3. Color: The cheese has a characteristic pale yellow color, and it is often covered with a waxed rind, which can be red, yellow, or black, depending on the variety and aging process.
  4. Aging Process: Gouda cheese can be categorized based on its aging process into:
    • Young Gouda: Aged for 4 weeks to 3 months, it has a mild and creamy flavor.
    • Mature Gouda: Aged for 4 to 6 months, it develops a fuller flavor.
    • Aged Gouda: Aged for more than a year, it has a rich, caramel-like flavor and a hard texture.


  1. Milk: Traditionally, Gouda cheese is made from cow’s milk. However, variations made from goat’s or sheep’s milk are also available.
  2. Process: The production process involves curdling the milk with the addition of rennet, separating the curds from the whey, and then pressing the curds into round molds. The cheese is then brined to develop its flavor and rind.
  3. Rennet: The type of rennet used (animal, microbial, or vegetable) can influence whether the cheese is suitable for vegetarians or adheres to Halal or Kosher dietary laws.

Culinary Uses

  1. Pairings: Gouda cheese pairs well with a variety of foods, including fruits (like apples and grapes), nuts, and crackers. It also complements wines like Chardonnay and Merlot.
  2. Cooking: It melts well, making it a popular choice for dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and cheese sauces.

Nutritional Profile

Gouda cheese is a good source of calcium, protein, and vitamin B12.

However, it is also high in saturated fats and sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation.

Gouda Cheese Ingredients:

In general, Gouda Cheese is made with these ingredients:

  • Pasteurized Cow’S Milk.
  • Salt.
  • Cheese Starter.
  • Animal Rennet.
  • Annatto

Rennet is a key part of the cheesemaking process, it is an enzyme that is added to milk during the coagulation process to help separate the solid curds from the liquid whey.

Rennet is usually collected as a by-product of the slaughter of calves (stomach).

But there’s some great variety of microbial rennet from micro-organisms, which are not from animal sources.

Now, let’s go back to our main question “Is Gouda Cheese Vegetarian?”.

Is Gouda Cheese Vegetarian?

It depends. For Gouda Cheese to be vegetarian, rennet must be from plant based sources instead of animal by product.

More and more cheeses are now made with plant-based or microbial rennet.

Some examples of such rennets include cardoon thistle, nettles and artichoke

Here’s a list of the best vegetarian cheeses:

  • Cashel Blue Cheese (Made with pasteurised cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet an can be found here).
  • Shropshire Blue Cheese ( also suitable for vegetarians and can be found here).


Please note that on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our Web site.

We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product.

Gouda VS Cheddar

Gouda and cheddar are both types of cheese, but they have some differences in taste, texture, and appearance.

Gouda is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands and is named after the city of Gouda. It has a creamy and slightly sweet flavor and a smooth, slightly springy texture.

Gouda is characterized by sweeter and nuttier notes, while Cheddar contains a mix of butter and hazelnut flavors

Cheddar, on the other hand, is a hard cheese that originated in the English village of Cheddar. It has a sharp, tangy flavor and a firm, dense texture.

In terms of appearance, Gouda is often pale yellow in color, while cheddar can range from white to orange, depending on the addition of colorants.

Overall, the main difference between cheddar and gouda cheese is that cheddar is a harder cheese, while gouda is a semi-hard cheese.

Is Gouda Cheese Halal?

Gouda Cheese can be halal if it is made with microbial or vegetable rennet.

Gouda Cheese is made from cow’s milk, rennet, and cultures. The issue here is with rennet.

Rennet is produced in the stomachs of ruminant animals, such as cows, goats, and sheep.

In the past, rennet was extracted from the stomachs of slaughtered animals, but today, most rennet is produced using microbial fermentation.

So, if rennet is produced from animals in Halal-slaughtered cattle or made using microbial fermentation, then we can considered Gouda Cheese Halal.

In general, a product is halal or not depends on how it is made and what ingredients are used. If these ingredients are all derived from halal sources, then the product would be considered halal.

It is important to check the label or contact the manufacturer to confirm the ingredients and their sources.

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Gouda Cheese can be vegetarian if rennet is produced using microbial fermentation.

I am Jennifer, a fervent animal lover, and a dedicated vegan. Am the person behind the I offer insights, advice, and personal stories that have inspired many in their journey towards a plant-based lifestyle. My journey into veganism has also been coupled with a love for writing. I used this passion to share my vegan experiences, to educate others about the benefits of plant-based living, and to advocate for animal rights. Find out more about me on the about page.