When it comes to Parmesan cheese, many people wonder whether it is made from cow’s milk or sheep’s milk. Let’s explore the origin of this beloved cheese and find out which animal plays a role in its production.

The History of Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano Reggiano, has a rich history that dates back over 800 years. It originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is one of the most famous and highly regarded cheeses in the world.

The Production Process

To make Parmesan cheese, fresh milk is used. Traditionally, cow’s milk has been the primary source for this cheese. The high-quality cow’s milk from local farms is collected and carefully processed to create the distinctive flavor and texture that Parmesan is known for.

However, there are also versions of Parmesan cheese that are made using sheep’s milk. This variation is known as Pecorino Romano, which has a slightly different taste compared to its cow’s milk counterpart.

Parmesan vs. Pecorino Romano


  • Made from cow’s milk
  • Hard texture
  • Nutty and savory flavor
  • Aged for at least 12 months
  • Used in various dishes like pasta, risotto, and salads

Pecorino Romano:

  • Made from sheep’s milk
  • Firm texture
  • Salty and sharp flavor
  • Aged for at least 8 months
  • Often grated over pasta dishes and soups

The Authentic Parmigiano Reggiano

It is important to note that the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is made exclusively from cow’s milk. The strict regulations and guidelines set by the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano ensure that only the highest quality cow’s milk can be used.


In conclusion, while Parmesan cheese is traditionally made from cow’s milk, there is also a variation called Pecorino Romano that uses sheep’s milk. Both cheeses have their unique characteristics and are cherished by cheese lovers worldwide. So, whether you prefer the nutty flavor of Parmesan or the sharpness of Pecorino Romano, you can enjoy the distinct taste of these delicious cheeses.