Parmesan cheese is a beloved ingredient in many dishes, but what do you do when your Parmesan cheese has become hard and difficult to use? Don’t worry, there are simple methods you can try to soften old Parmesan cheese and bring it back to its original texture. In this article, we will explore these methods and help you make the most of your cheese.

Why Does Parmesan Cheese Get Hard?

Parmesan cheese is known for its hard texture, but over time it can become even harder and difficult to grate or slice. This happens due to moisture loss and exposure to air. When the cheese is exposed to air, it gradually dries out, resulting in a harder texture.

Method 1: Grating or Shredding

One way to soften old Parmesan cheese is by grating or shredding it. The process of grating or shredding breaks down the cheese into smaller pieces, which makes it easier for the moisture in the air to penetrate and soften it.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Take your block of old Parmesan cheese.
  2. Use a box grater or a food processor with a grating attachment.
  3. Grate or shred the cheese using the fine side of the grater or shredder.
  4. Continue until you have grated or shredded enough cheese for your recipe.

This method not only softens the cheese but also makes it easier to incorporate into your dishes.

Method 2: Wrapping in Damp Cloth

Another effective method for softening old Parmesan cheese is by wrapping it in a damp cloth. The dampness from the cloth helps rehydrate the dry outer layer of the cheese, making it softer and more pliable.

Follow these steps to soften your cheese using this method:

  1. Moisten a clean cloth with water.
  2. Wrap the cloth around the block of Parmesan cheese.
  3. Place the wrapped cheese in a plastic bag or container.
  4. Leave it undisturbed for several hours or overnight.

After the designated time, remove the cloth and check the texture of your cheese. It should be noticeably softer and easier to use.

Method 3: Microwaving

If you need to soften your Parmesan cheese quickly, you can use a microwave. However, be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive heat can cause the cheese to melt instead of just softening it.

  1. Cut your Parmesan cheese into smaller chunks or slices.
  2. Place them on a microwave-safe plate or dish.
  3. Microwave on low power for short intervals (10-15 seconds) at a time.
  4. Check the texture after each interval.

Repeat these steps until your cheese reaches the desired level of softness. Remember to monitor closely to prevent melting.


Don’t let old, hard Parmesan cheese go to waste. With these simple methods, you can soften it and bring it back to life.

Whether you choose to grate or shred it, wrap it in a damp cloth, or use a microwave, you now have the knowledge and tools to restore your Parmesan cheese to its original texture. So go ahead and enjoy all those delicious recipes that call for this flavorful ingredient!