9 Best Parmesan Cheese Substitutes

Parmesan is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. It’s packed with flavor and goes great on everything from pasta dishes to salads.

Parmesan cheese is a staple in Italian cooking. It’s used to make delicious dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and even macaroni and cheese! 

But there are times when we can’t eat it, like if we’re on a diet or have an allergy to dairy. Or maybe your grocery store doesn’t carry parmesan and you have no idea where else to look. So what do you do then?

Whatever the case, I want to help! I have put together this list of some great parmesan cheese substitutes so that everyone has access to delicious parmesan-style cheeses they can enjoy on their pasta dishes or salads without any problems at all.

What is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is a hard Italian cheese originally made from skimmed or partially skimmed cow’s milk. It ranges in texture from firm and crumbly to hard and brittle when aged. Parmesan cheese has a sharp, salty flavor which makes it good for enhancing the flavor of food without overpowering other ingredients.

Some common dishes that use Parmesan cheese are spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan, and Caesar salad.

9 Best Parmesan Cheese Substitutes

1. Piave

Piave is one of the closest Parmesan cheese substitutes. It has a clean sharpness and pairs well with any Italian dish.

Piave is a hard cheese with an ivory-yellow color and slightly sweet flavor. It has a creamy texture perfect for grating onto pasta dishes or salads and goes great with other ingredients like olives and tomatoes.

2. Granada Padano

Granada Padano is another hard, crumbly cheese that can be substituted into almost any recipe calling for Parmesan. It has a pale yellow color and a slightly grainy texture. It’s also a little less expensive than Parmesan.

Granada Padano is an Italian cheese with a mellow flavor that makes it perfect for grating on pasta dishes or salads. Its excellent taste and texture will make your dish feel like it was made in an Italian kitchen.

3. Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano is a hard sheep’s milk cheese that is saltier and funkier than Parmesan. It can be used as a substitute in any recipe where the Parmesan flavor is desired.

Pecorino Romano has a strong flavor which can be a little overpowering, so use it sparingly. ​It can be purchased pre-grated to save time and tastes delicious with pasta dishes.

It’s perfect for grating onto pasta dishes or salads. Try using Romano as a substitute for parmesan in dishes such as spaghetti, lasagna, and pizza.

4. Manchego

Manchego is a hard Spanish cheese that is often used in Italian cooking. It is a sheep’s milk cheese that has a slightly salty and nutty flavor.

Manchego can be substituted for Parmesan in any recipe and is perfect for grating onto pasta dishes or salads. It can be purchased pre-grated to save time.

5. Asiago Cheese

Asiago has a nutty, sweet flavor that works well in many Italian recipes. It’s important to note that it does have a slightly different texture than parmesan, but is a great substitution in recipes where the flavor of Parmesan is desired.

It’s perfect for grating over pasta dishes and salads. Asiago goes great with the same ingredients Parmesan does, like olives and tomatoes.

6. Reggianito

Reggianito is another great Parmesan cheese substitutes. It has a similar texture and flavor, but can be a little harder to find.

Reggianito is an Argentinean cheese that has a sharp, salty flavor. It’s perfect for grating over pasta dishes or salads and pairs well with other strong flavors like olives and tomatoes.

7. Dry Jack

Dry Jack has a bold flavor that will make your food delicious and addicting, and it can be used as a substitute for Parmesan in any recipe where the parmesan flavor is desired. While this cheese does have a pretty distinct texture, it’s worth trying!

Dry Jack is generally aged for 7 to 10 months, and the more mature it is, the stronger the flavor. This cheese is also delicious on salads, with fruit or pear slices, or on pasta dishes made with veggies.

8. Soy Parmesan

Soy Parmesan is popular vegan Parmesan cheese substitutes that work well in any recipe calling for the classic Italian cheese. It has an authentic flavor and consistency that can’t be found anywhere else.

Soy Parmesan can be made at home by blending soy sauce, nutritional yeast flakes, and garlic powder together until it reaches the desired consistency. You can use it in dishes like lasagna, pasta dishes, pizza, and more.

9. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavor to it with an added nutritional punch. If you like vegan cheeses and want to try something new, this is an excellent choice!

Nutritional yeast usually comes in flakes or powder form. It can be found in bulk at many health food stores. You may mix it into your meal while it’s cooking, or sprinkle it over pasta, meat, or veggies before eating for a light yet distinctive cheesy taste.

What Does Parmesan Cheese Taste Like?

Parmesan is a hard and dry cheese with a sweet, nutty flavor. It has a lovely, strong aroma that just makes you want to eat it.

Parmesan goes great on everything from pasta dishes to salads. Many people use parmesan cheese in place of cheddar or mozzarella because it has a much stronger flavor that goes great on anything.

Homemade Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Since Parmesan cheese is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine, there are many vegan recipes that call for a substitute. Nutritional yeast flakes are a great stand-in for Parmesan cheese and add a savory, cheesy flavor to dishes.

You can also add garlic powder and salt to taste. Another option is to make your own vegan Parmesan cheese using raw cashews


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spread the raw cashews out on a baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown.

3. Allow the cashews to cool a few minutes then add them to a blender along with the other ingredients and pulse for a minute or so. You don’t want it to be completely smooth, but you also don’t want big chunks of cashews left in there.

4. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Can You Eat Parmesan Cheese by Itself?

Parmesan cheese is typically eaten as a topping or an ingredient, not by itself. It has a very strong flavor and is often paired with other things like bread and pasta.

However, you can eat parmesan cheese by itself if you want. Some people recommend taking a bite of the cheese and then chasing it with water, bread, or grapefruit juice in order to get rid of the slightly bitter aftertaste that parmesan can sometimes have.

What Can I Do With Dried Parmesan Cheese?

If your parmesan cheese is dry and hard, you can still use it. You may want to grate the cheese first before using it as a topping or an ingredient.

Parmesan cheese that has turned dry after being stored too long can be broken into smaller pieces and then added to recipes like pasta dishes or sauces. It will melt easily if you stir the parmesan while cooking.

Place a paper towel in a plastic bag and chill it for a day. After that, take the towel away and store the cheese in a sealed bag. This should solve your problem.

Final Words

So hopefully now you have a better idea of what can be the best Parmesan cheese substitutes for your dietary needs and taste preferences. 

What’s your favorite substitute? Share with me down in the comments!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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