The Seven Best Parmesan Cheese Substitutes

The Seven Best Parmesan Cheese Substitutes

I can’t eat pesto pasta without Parmesan cheese. The cheese simply makes the pasta a lot more delicious. I also know people who can’t touch their salads without parmesan cheese. My friend, for one, likes to add Parmesan cheese to meatballs.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use Parmesan cheese. But what if you don’t have this kind of cheese in your kitchen? What are the Parmesan cheese substitutes that you can turn to?

The Seven Best Parmesan Cheese SubstitutesWhat is Parmesan cheese?Is Parmesan cheese healthy?Top Parmesan cheese substitutesConclusion

What is Parmesan cheese?


You don’t need to be a cheese connoisseur to know what Parmesan cheese is. It is one of the more popular types of cheese, enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Also known as Parmigiano Reggiano, parmesan cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk.

Like Fontina cheese, it originated from Italy. The provinces of Parma, Bologna and Reggio Emilia are particularly noted for exporting parmesan.

This type of cheese is noted for its fruity and nutty taste. You’d know that the Parmesan cheese you are eating is inferior if it tastes bitter.

Is Parmesan cheese healthy?


Parmesan cheese does not only make pasta and salads more delicious. It is pretty nutritious too.

It is rich in calcium, which can promote good bone health. An ounce of this cheese provides more than 1/3 of your daily needs. It is also rich in vitamin D, which also helps achieve peak bone mass.

Parmesan cheese is also packed with protein. An ounce of Parmesan cheese has about 10 grams of protein. As you might have known by now, protein is needed for repairing and building muscles.

It also has high levels of vitamin A which is good for optimal eyesight.

But this is not to say that you should be overloading your food with Parmesan cheese. Too much of it can increase sodium levels in your body, which can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure.

Top Parmesan cheese substitutes

While Parmesan cheese is delicious and healthy, it doesn’t mean that it is irreplaceable. In fact, there are many cheese types that you can use in lieu of it.

Among the best substitutes for Parmesan cheese are:


Asiago cheese


This is one of the best substitutes for Parmesan because Asiago cheese is very versatile. Asiago cheese can be used for practically anything you’d use Parmesan cheese for.

You should know, though, that Asiago has a sweeter taste than Parmesan cheese. Still, you will realize that this cheese can replace Parmesan for almost all recipes.


Cotija cheese


Cotija cheese is also known as queso anejado. It originated from Mexico. Aged cotija cheese is hard and crumbly, just like Parmesan cheese. This similarity with Parmesan cheese has earned it the nickname “Parmesan of Mexico.”

This is a hard and white cheese known for its sharp and salty taste. It can be grated on salads, soups, and casseroles. In Mexico, this cheese is widely used in tacos, chili, and tostadas. In the US, many people use it on pasta in lieu of Parmesan. You can also use it in salads.


Romano cheese


Romano cheese is a lot sharper and saltier compared to Parmesan. But it also has that distinct nutty flavor that we all love about Parmesan. Italian Pecorino Romano cheese which is made from goat’s milk is expensive, but it is very flavorful. You can also settle for American-made Romano cheese, although I find its flavor paling in comparison to those made from Italy.


Grana Padano


Like Romano cheese, Grana Padano is made in Italy. It also has that nutty and strong flavor like Parmesan cheese. And just like Parmesan cheese, you can use it on salads and pasta. What I love about this type of cheese is that it is not as expensive as other imported hard cheeses.

Like Romano cheese, Grana Padano is made in Italy. It also has that nutty and strong flavor like Parmesan cheese. And just like Parmesan cheese, you can use it on salads and pasta. What I love about this type of cheese is that it is not as expensive as other imported hard cheeses.




Sapsago is a good alternative to Parmesan cheese especially if you want a low-fat replacement. Similar to Gruyere, it is made in Switzerland. It is colored green and made from skimmed cow’s milk. It has a pale lime color thanks to the addition of blue fenugreek. It has a pungent and spicy flavor.




Manchego is a Spanish cheese with a distinctive yellow color. The taste is nutty and fruity, which quite resembles that of Parmesan. But it is not as strong and salty as Parmesan, though.

You can use Manchego in salads in lieu of Parmesan cheese. I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes that use if in sandwiches and hand pies. It also works well with egg dishes.


Soy Parmesan


Finally, if you are looking for a non-dairy substitute for Parmesan cheese, then soy Parmesan cheese is the one you need. It is cholesterol free, with low amounts of fat. It’s a healthy Parmesan cheese substitute.


As you have learned, there are plenty of cheese types that you can use in lieu of Parmesan cheese. So if I were you, I would not be worried whenever I run out of Parmesan in the kitchen.

Did you learn anything from this article? If so, please share this on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s help other people learn the best replacements for Parmesan cheese.

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