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Parmesan Cheese Substitutes

Look for these flavorful, hard cheeses at the cheese shop


Parmigiano-Reggiano is an amazing hard cheese to eat alone or grate over food, but if it's too expensive or simply not available at the store, there are other hard cheeses to try.

The cheeses below are similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, but have unique flavors and textures of their own.

1. Grana Padano

Grana Padano Italian Cheese. Photo by J. Meier
Grana Padano has the same granular, hard texture as Parmigiano-Reggiano but melts in the mouth once you take a bite. The flavor is nutty with hints of browned butter and has a sharp fruitiness balanced by a savory, salty finish.

2. BelGioioso American Grana

BelGioioso Parmesan Cheese. Photo by J. Meier
This American version of Parmigiano-Reggiano has a smooth, waxy texture and a sharp, nutty flavor.

3. Dry Jack

Vella Cheese Co. Dry Jack. Photo by J. Meier
Dry Jack is made by the Vella Cheese Co in Northern California. It begins as traditional Monterey Jack and is then aged another 7 - 10 months. Very hard, slightly sharp and pleasantly nutty it is a flavorful topping for salads and pasta.

4. Pecorino

Pecorino Romano. Photo by J. Meier
Pecorino is a type of Italian cheese always made from sheeps' milk. The flavor is sharp, nutty and herbaceous. It's also quite salty, so be careful about how much extra salt you add to whatever you're cooking. Different Types of Pecorino to Try:

5. Reggianito

Argentine Reggianito. Photo by J. Meier
Reggianito is made in Argentina and was developed by Italian farmers who migrated to Argentina and missed cheese from Italy. Reggianito has a smooth texture and although it is hard enough to grate, the texture can be slightly rubbery. The flavor is mild and fruity.

6. Cooking with Hard Cheese

Pesto Lasagna. Photo by J. Meier
There are many recipes that call for hard, grated cheese as an ingredient. Usually, recipes ask for Parmigiano-Reggiano, but more often than not you can substitute in another type of hard cheese and the dish will still turn out great.

Some Recipes to Try:

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