When it comes to Italian cheeses, Pecorino and Parmesan are two popular choices that often get compared. While both cheeses have their unique characteristics, they do share some similarities.

In this article, we will delve into the question – Is Pecorino cheese like Parmesan? Let’s find out!

The Origins

Pecorino and Parmesan both hail from Italy and have a rich history that dates back centuries. Pecorino is an Italian sheep’s milk cheese that originated in Sardinia, but is now made in several regions across the country. Parmesan, on the other hand, is a hard cow’s milk cheese that comes from the Parma region of Italy.

The Production Process

While both cheeses go through a similar production process involving curdling, molding, and aging, there are some key differences. Pecorino is made exclusively from sheep’s milk, while Parmesan is made from cow’s milk. This distinction gives each cheese its own distinct flavor profile.


  • Made from 100% sheep’s milk
  • Has a rich and tangy flavor
  • Comes in different varieties such as Pecorino Romano and Pecorino Toscano
  • Aged for varying periods depending on the type of Pecorino


  • Made from cow’s milk (preferably unpasteurized)
  • Has a nutty and savory taste
  • Aged for at least 12 months (some varieties aged up to 36 months)
  • Known for its granular texture and strong aroma

Uses in Cooking

Pecorino and Parmesan are both versatile cheeses that can be used in various culinary preparations. They are commonly used as table cheeses, grated over pasta dishes, risottos, and salads. However, due to their distinct flavors, they can lend different characteristics to a dish.

Pecorino brings a robust and tangy flavor to dishes. Its saltiness pairs well with pasta dishes, especially those with tomato-based sauces. It is also an excellent addition to cheese boards and pairs nicely with honey or fruit preserves.

Parmesan, with its nutty taste and granular texture, is often used as a finishing touch on pasta dishes or soups. It melts beautifully, making it ideal for gratins and adding richness to sauces like Alfredo.

The Verdict

So, is Pecorino cheese like Parmesan? While they both fall into the category of hard Italian cheeses and share some similarities in terms of production process and usage in cooking, they do have distinct flavors that set them apart.

Pecorino offers a tangy richness from sheep’s milk, while Parmesan brings a nutty savory taste from cow’s milk. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on personal preference and the desired flavor profile for your dish.

In conclusion, Pecorino cheese may not be exactly like Parmesan, but it certainly holds its own place in the world of Italian cheeses. Whether you’re a fan of Pecorino or Parmesan (or both!), these cheeses add depth and flavor to countless recipes that make them beloved by food enthusiasts around the globe.