Can Parmesan Cheese Be Pasteurized?

Parmesan cheese is a popular Italian cheese beloved for its nutty and savory flavor. It is commonly used in pasta dishes, salads, and as a topping for various foods. However, when it comes to the question of whether Parmesan cheese can be pasteurized, there seems to be some confusion.

What is Pasteurization?

Pasteurization is a process that involves heating food at a specific temperature for a set period of time to kill harmful bacteria. This process helps to make food safer for consumption by reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

The Traditional Production of Parmesan Cheese

Traditionally, Parmesan cheese is made from raw cow’s milk. The raw milk is heated to around 33-35°C (91-95°F) and mixed with calf rennet, which helps coagulate the milk. After coagulation, the curds are cut into small pieces and cooked at a higher temperature.

After cooking, the curds are drained and placed into molds where they are pressed for several hours. The cheese wheels are then soaked in brine solution before being aged for an extended period of time, usually between 12 to 36 months.

Pasteurized Parmesan Cheese

While traditional Parmesan cheese is made from raw milk, it is also possible to find pasteurized versions of this popular cheese. Pasteurized Parmesan goes through the same aging process as traditional Parmesan but starts with milk that has been pasteurized.

The purpose behind pasteurizing the milk used in making Parmesan cheese is to eliminate potential harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or E.coli that may be present in raw milk.

Is Pasteurized Parmesan Cheese Safe?

Yes, pasteurized Parmesan cheese is safe to eat. The pasteurization process ensures that any harmful bacteria present in the milk are destroyed, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

The Impact on Flavor and Texture

Some people argue that pasteurization may affect the flavor and texture of Parmesan cheese. While there may be slight differences in taste between raw and pasteurized versions, many find it challenging to distinguish between the two.


In conclusion, Parmesan cheese can be made from both raw and pasteurized milk. While traditional Parmesan is made from raw milk, pasteurized versions are also available and are considered safe for consumption. Whether you choose raw or pasteurized Parmesan, both varieties offer the distinct nutty and savory flavors that make this cheese so popular.