Substitute for Parmesan Cheese

7 Substitutes for Parmesan Cheese That Could Save Your Recipes

Parmesan cheese is one of the best and reliable cheeses that you can ever use in your recipes. It’s usually made in Italy with unpasteurized cow’s milk, and only a few producers make it.

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It also requires a lot of time as it takes about 18 to 36 months for parmesan cheese to be ready for use.

Now, time is money, which accounts for why parmesan cheese is more expensive than most types of cheese available in the market.

That’s why most people turn to affordable substitutes for parmesan cheese that provide similar flavors and textures.

However, not all kinds of cheeses can deliver the exact results you would achieve with real parmesan cheese.

So, if you are looking for cheaper options to substitute parmesan cheese in your recipes and still get excellent results, you should consider these alternatives:

7 Substitutes for Parmesan Cheese

Substitute for Parmesan Cheese

Grana Padano

Like parmesan cheese, Grana Padano is a high-quality cheese made in Italy. It provides a nutty and robust flavor to various dishes, making them more delicious.

Most chefs prefer Grana Padano to other parmesan cheese substitutes as it’s more affordable but still delivers perfect results.

You can use it on any recipe that requires parmesan cheese, including pasta, salad, sauces, and desserts.

Cotija Cheese

If you are looking for a parmesan cheese substitute that will provide an umami flavor, Cotija cheese is your go-to option.

Aged for up to 12 months, this cheese has a sharp, salty flavor that can help you make mouthwatering salads, pasta, casseroles, and soups.

Cotija cheese delivers almost the same results as parmesan cheese. In fact, Mexicans have labeled it the parmesan of Mexico.


This cow’s milk cheese has two main varieties, including ‘Asiago Presseto’ and ‘Asiago d’allevo .’ Both are excellent substitutes for parmesan cheese.

Asiago cheese is sweeter and creamier than parmesan cheese. However, when used in pizzas, salads, and pasta, it tastes like parmesan cheese with a moister and softer texture. It also tastes great when eaten alone.

In most recipes, you can substitute Asiago cheese for parmesan cheese, but it’s not an excellent option for sandwiches due to its softer texture.

Dry Jack

Dry Jack starts as Monterey Jack until it hardens at the age of 7 to 10 months.

It has a hard texture, sharper and pleasantly nutty, just as the parmesan cheese. The older the age, the sharper the flavor.

It was created hard to withstand the hot summer in ancient times when iceboxes were rare.

You can use this cheese for charcuterie foods and almost all the other dishes that require parmesan cheese.

This cheese has a significantly different taste, which is earthy with some notes of grass and hay. But it still provides incredible results.


Reggianito is actually cow’s milk cheese made for 6 months. It was first prepared in Argentina as a substitute to Parmigiano Reggiano by an Italian farmer.

Due to its salty taste and granular texture, you can swap this cheese with parmesan in equal quantities. It has a smooth rubbery texture, but it is hard enough to grate without problems.

You’ll benefit more when using Reggianito cheese since it’s far much affordable than parmesan cheese.

In Spanish, Reggianito may refer to smaller wheels of cheese, while in Italy, it is made in huge drums.


If you run out of parmesan cheese but still have pecorino, you don’t need to worry. It’s among the first-choice substitute for parmesan.

It contains higher fat content since it uses sheep’s milk and has a sharper and saltier flavor compared to parmesan cheese.

Therefore, when using pecorino as a substitute for parmesan cheese, use it in lower amounts. Using equal amounts to those of parmesan will ruin your favorite food due to its saltiness.


Are you looking for a more pocket-friendly substitute for parmesan cheese? The Manchego cheese is a perfect match for your needs.

Made from Manchego sheep’s milk, this cheese has a fruity and nutty flavor similar to parmesan cheese taste.

Manchego cheese works well with a wide range of recipes that require parmesan cheese. It also suits the egg dishes well.

What’s fascinating about this cheese is that, unlike other types, it is easily found in local stores and supermarkets.


Why is Parmesan Cheese So Expensive? 

Parmesan cheese is expensive due to its scarcity and rich flavors. The Italian cheese uses unpasteurized milk, which is naturally skimmed and pumped into copper-lined containers.

The copper-lined containers distribute heat equally and add copper to the milk during the heating process.

After heating, the heated milk mix is stored in round stainless steel and stored for several months.

This long production process makes parmesan cheese to be one of the priciest cheeses in the world.

Moreover, parmesan cheese production requires a bacteria that grows only in a few areas in Italy. This means that it’s impossible to manufacture the cheese in other places.

Can I Replace Parmesan Cheese with Mozzarella?

No, you cannot replace parmesan cheese with mozzarella as these cheeses have different flavors and moisture content.

Moreover, mozzarella has a bland flavor compared to parmesan cheese, and using it in the same amount will give you a weak flavor.

But if you don’t have any other type of cheese left in your pantry, you can still use mozzarella, especially if you are not after the parmesan cheese’ concentrated flavor.

Which is the Best Substitute for Parmesan in Meatballs?

The best substitute for parmesan in meatballs is Pecorino Romano cheese. It has a sharp and salty taste that matches the parmesans robust flavor.

If you can get Italian Pecorino Romano cheese made from goat’s milk, it will make a perfect choice since it’s more flavorful than American-made Romano cheese.

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If you want to prepare a recipe that calls for parmesan cheese and realize that you don’t have it in your kitchen, you shouldn’t panic as it’s easy to go around it.

As you have discovered in this article, there are plenty of parmesan substitutes that still deliver great results when used on various recipes.

Don’t hesitate to use any of the above parmesan cheese alternatives, provided it suits your needs and taste.

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