7 Best Parmesan Cheese Substitutes

Parmesan Cheese
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Cheese is the most staple ingredient that we all have in our fridge. Just sprinkle some cheese on top of your meal and you’ll get an even tastier dish.

Whether you are eating pasta, pizza or any other meal, by adding extra cheese you’ll make the perfect meal. Melted, dry, hard, in all shapes and sizes, cheese can make everyone happy. Actually, Parmesan cheese is one of the most common ones that is used in many recipes.

There are plenty of ways that you combine its taste with many recipes and the results will be a mouthwatering dish. However, what if you are out of Parmesan and the recipe requires, is there something else that you can use? Is there a substitute for Parmesan cheese?

Can I substitute Parmesan cheese? Of course, you can. There are other cheese types that actually can save your recipes like Piave, Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, Asiago Cheese, Manchego, Dry Jack and Reggianito.

Also, read below to find out what type of cheese can substitute Parmesan in an alfredo sauce and also Parmesan cheese meatballs.

Parmesan Cheese and Its Use:  

This is a dry, hard cheese which is made in the Parma region of Italy. This Italian speciality actually gives fine touch to every meal. Whether it’s pasta, pizza or any other type of meal, it gives a unique flavour. It is actually expensive because it usually takes 18 to 36 months for the cheese to age so it can be used.

This is the reason why there are only a small number of cheese producers that actually make Parmesan cheese and the reason why it is expensive. You can easily find it in stores but the price is always higher than on the other types of cheese.

Use Parmesan cheese on the pasta or as an appetizer. It is also very popular among people as a snack or with crackers. In most of the recipes that we watch online, we can spot that most of them are using Parmesan cheese for melting as well. Another use is with mashed potatoes, shepherd’s pie,  mac and cheese, casserole or many other recipes. 

Parmesan Cheese Substitutes

No need to worry if you are out of Parmesan cheese or simply it’s too expensive for you to buy. I have the perfect alternatives that easily adapt in your recipe as well as bring out the same taste that Parmesan cheese has.

1. Piave

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This Italian cow’s milk cheese that is the closest to Parmesan cheese is the most common substitute there is. This cheese is only aged 12 months, unlike the Parmesan which is 18-36 months.

The taste and its rich taste are less developed. This type of cheese is creamier and is tad sweeter. Use this cheese to replace Parmesan on top of roasted vegetables, toasts and pastas

2. Pecorino Romano

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When you are out of Parmesan, Pecorino Romano is actually one of the substitutes that you’ll reach out first. This type of cheese is made from sheep’s milk and contains more fat than the cow’s milk.

Pecorino is a type of cheese that is sharper and way more saltier than the Parmesan. So make sure when using Pecorino not to put too much, because the saltiness can affect the taste of the dish that you are making.

3. Grana Padano

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As Romano cheese, Granada Padano is also made in Italy. Also, this type of cheese has to be made in a certain region of Italy, which makes it more affordable and more producers can make this cheese.

Grana Padano is also made from cow’s milk and has a milder taste, i.e. is not that salty. It has a nutty flavour which is very similar to Parmesan but less crumbly. Because of its softness, this cheese is actually easier to combine in sauces instead of pastas, but it works both ways. 

4. Asiago Cheese

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Asiago is a type of cheese that can be used in practically everything that initially requires Parmesan. It’s a type of cheese also made from cow’s milk and its flavour resembles Parmesan cheese but nuttier and creamier.

When it is aged, 9 months and more it actually develops a sharper flavour. This type of cheese can be used on pasta, pizza, salad or it can be eaten alone.

5. Manchego 

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This is a Spanish cheese with a very distinctive yellow colour. Firm cheese that is actually made in La Mancha is actually aged between 60 days and two years.

This type of cheese is made from the milk of a Manchega sheep and has nutty and fruity flavour that is similar to Parmesan. Manchego works well with many recipes that require Parmesan and also fits well with egg dishes.

6. Dry Jack 

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This is a very hard and sharp cheese with a pleasant nutty flavour. This cheese is usually aged 7 to 10 months and the older it is the more intense the flavour is.

This is a good substitute for Parmesan cheese as a snack and is usually served with wine or pasta. Also, Dry Jack fits well in salads as well.

7. Reggianito

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Another cheese made from cow’s milk, which it usually takes about 6 months to be made. This is a cheese made in Argentina by Italian farmer who actually migrated there.

This is a smaller-sized wheel in which the cheese is made, whereas in Italy the Parmesan cheese is actually made in very large drums. This cheese has a smooth texture and mild fruity taste.

Parmesan cheese vegan substitute

Parmesan cheese is something that can be turned vegan as well. I’ll provide you with a recipe for the best home-made vegan substitute with only 4 ingredients. This vegan Parmesan is very delicious and it actually tastes very similar like the original version.

Also, if you are avoiding animal rennet, dairy-free or just want to try something else this is the recipe that you need.  It’s not very expensive to make it at home and it only takes 5 minutes.

All you need is:

  • 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews.
  • 4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder

After gathering all the necessary ingredients, mix them all together and put them all in a blender or a food processor so they can blend and mix all together. After the texture is done, you can serve it immediately after making it. Make sure to blend to the right amount. 

Additional tips:

  • To make the taste of Parmesan, even more, tastier you can add any species, fresh or dry herbs by your own choosing. 
  • Also, if you’d like you can add roasted nuts instead of raw
  • A very important tip to know is that you shouldn’t over blend the mixture, because the texture will get buttery instead of cheesy. 
  • You can use this vegan Parmesan to make vegan pesto, vegan pasta or pizza.
  • If you have leftovers, just put them in a container in the fridge where they can last up to several weeks. 

Parmesan cheese substitute for alfredo sauce

You are in the middle of making alfredo cheese, but you have no Parmesan cheese? Don’t worry I got the best substitutes that can help you save your sauce.

  • Gruyere cheese is one of the substitutes that actually works perfectly in alfredo sauce. It’ll take a little bit longer to cook than the Parmesan cheese, but the taste is nutty and ultra-creamy. This type of cheese actually gives a sophisticated touch to the recipe. 
  • Mozzarella is the other option. Shredded and added over to the sauce will make it even tastier. Mozzarella will bring you sauce to the next level and will save your dish. 

Substitute for parmesan cheese in meatballs

As I previously mentioned Pecorino Romano and Parmesan are very similar and they can be a substitute for each other in many recipes. This also works with the meatball recipe that uses Parmesan cheese.

Using ⅓ less cheese in the recipe, because the Pecorino Romano is saltier and has a distinct nutty flavour. This way you’ll get the perfect meatball dish.

Related questions:

Can you eat Parmesan cheese by itself?

Of course, you can. The Italians will advise you to eat the hardened outer layer of the cheese. This is the part that is usually left behind, but the producers of this cheese also say that this is the nutritious part of the cheese.  

What can I do with dried parmesan cheese?

No worries if your Parmesan is dry and it is difficult to grate. All you have to do is put a paper towel, place in a plastic bag and leave it to chill for a day. After this, remove the towel and store the cheese in a bag. This would do the trick.

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