Parmesan cheese is a popular cheese variety that is widely used in various dishes, especially Italian cuisine. However, many people are often confused about its distinct smell.

Is Parmesan cheese supposed to stink? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question.

What Is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard and granular cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in Italy and has been produced for over 800 years. Parmesan cheese is known for its sharp taste and distinctive aroma.

Does Parmesan Cheese Stink?

Yes, Parmesan cheese has a strong smell that can be described as pungent and nutty. The smell is caused by the presence of butyric acid, which is a natural compound found in aged cheeses like Parmesan.

However, it’s important to note that not all Parmesan cheeses are supposed to stink. The intensity of the smell can vary depending on factors such as the age of the cheese and how it was stored.

Age of the Cheese

The longer the aging process, the stronger the smell of Parmesan cheese will be. Freshly grated or shaved Parmesan may not have a strong odor because it hasn’t had enough time to develop its distinctive aroma. Generally, younger Parmesans are less pungent than older ones.


How you store your Parmesan cheese can also affect its smell. If you keep it in an airtight container in the fridge, it should have a milder odor than if you leave it out on a plate at room temperature.

The Benefits of Eating Parmesan Cheese

Despite its strong smell, Parmesan cheese has numerous health benefits that make it a popular choice for many people.

  • High in protein: Parmesan cheese is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body.
  • Rich in calcium: Parmesan cheese is a great way to add calcium to your diet, which is important for strong bones and teeth.
  • Low in lactose: Parmesan cheese is low in lactose, making it an excellent choice for people who are lactose intolerant.

In Conclusion

So, is Parmesan cheese supposed to stink? Yes, it can have a strong aroma due to the presence of butyric acid.

However, not all Parmesans will have the same level of pungency. The smell can vary depending on factors such as the age of the cheese and how it was stored.

Despite its distinct odor, Parmesan cheese has many health benefits that make it a worthwhile addition to your diet. So go ahead and enjoy this delicious and nutritious cheese!