What’s the Closest Cheese to Parmesan?

When it comes to Italian cuisine, Parmesan cheese is a staple ingredient. Its rich and nutty flavor adds depth to pasta dishes, salads, and even soups.

But what if you find yourself without Parmesan cheese in your pantry? Don’t worry! There are several cheeses that can be a great substitute for Parmesan, each with its own unique characteristics.

Romano Cheese

If you’re looking for a cheese that closely resembles Parmesan in taste and texture, Romano cheese is your best bet. Made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and cow’s milk, Romano cheese has a sharp and salty flavor profile that is quite similar to Parmesan. Its hard texture makes it perfect for grating over pasta dishes or salads.

Grana Padano

Another excellent alternative to Parmesan is Grana Padano. This Italian cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a slightly milder flavor compared to Parmesan.

However, it still boasts the characteristic nuttiness that makes Parmesan so distinctive. Grana Padano can be grated or shaved and is often used as a topping for risottos or roasted vegetables.

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano is yet another fantastic substitute for Parmesan cheese. As the name suggests, this Italian cheese is made from sheep’s milk.

It has a salty and tangy taste, with hints of fruitiness. Pecorino Romano works well when grated over pasta dishes or incorporated into sauces.


If you’re looking for a non-Italian option as an alternative to Parmesan, Gouda can be an interesting choice. This Dutch cheese is known for its creamy and buttery flavor. While it may not have the same sharpness as Parmesan, its melt-in-your-mouth texture and nutty undertones can still elevate your dishes.


Asiago cheese is a versatile Italian cheese that can be used as a substitute for Parmesan. It comes in two varieties: fresh and aged.

The fresh version has a mild and creamy flavor, while the aged version has a sharper taste similar to Parmesan. Both types can be grated or shaved over pasta, salads, or soups.

In Conclusion

While nothing quite matches the distinct flavor of Parmesan cheese, there are several alternatives that come close enough to satisfy your cravings. Whether you choose Romano, Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano, Gouda, or Asiago, you’ll find a delicious substitute that can add depth and complexity to your favorite recipes.