The parmesan cheese in pasta recipe is quite expensive.....do we have cheaper alternative??

Are there are cheddar cheese which can replace parmesan cheese?

  • 2
    and I heard that parmesan cannot compare with the real Italian one Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 5:12
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    Where can I bulk-buy cheap parmesan? covers the same territory as this question. My answer there should suit your needs: use grana padano, or romano or reggianito. There is ABSOLUTELY NO cheddar that will sub for parmagiano reggiano.
    – BobMcGee
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 5:36
  • I found a cheaper local store which offer "parmesan" cheese with much lower price. It is not Parmigiano Reggiano, but is acceptable because it has brand. In supermarket, it sells for 59.9 HKD for 250g. In this shop, it only require 47HKD for 250g. And it also offers 1kg package which priced at 135HKD. Commented Sep 10, 2011 at 16:13
  • Note: if you're looking for something that's not actually cheese (possibly vegan), try this question.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 20:18

5 Answers 5


Grana padano and pecorino romano are two other very savory, hard grating cheeses that work well on pasta. They taste a bit different than Parmigiano-Reggiano, but are quite good in their own right and often less expensive. You can also look at parmesan type cheeses that are not actually Parmigiano-Reggiano. For example, Whole Foods often has one from Argentina that offers a reasonable price/performance tradeoff. All of that said, in many people's opinion, nothing is really quite as delicious as true Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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    Parmesan is by definition not Parmigiano Reggiano...
    – nico
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 20:23
  • @nico What is the difference with Parmesan Cheese and what you called Parmigiano Reggiano? I've only seen Cheese named Parmesan in my local supermarket. It's the first time I've heard Parmigiano Reggiano. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 4:07
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    @gunbuster: Parmigiano Reggiano is a protected designation of origin. That means that only cheese produced in very specific parts of Italy (specifically a handful of cities in Northern Italy: Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantova) can be called "Parmigiano Reggiano". To have the mark it has to be produced following certain specific methods defined by law. Anything produced outside of these cities cannot (by law) be called Parmigiano Reggiano, so it is often called Parmesan.
    – nico
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 6:43
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    And, just to be clear, it is not just a matter of law, the taste (and, alas, the price) is actually different.
    – nico
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 6:45

Buy in bulk and save

"Expensive but going to be used in cooking anyway" cheeses such as Parmesan or blue varieties freeze extremely well

The do loose their presentation quality, but retain their taste, smell, and texture qualities

I have had good quality blue vein wheels in the freezer for over a year and they are still perfect (though not much left now :-[ )

Processes as required (crumb, grate, shave etc.), and then pack into air tight freezer bags, and boxed for protection

Also, restaurant food wholesalers sell bulk bags of pre-processed Parmesan which you can freeze as is. Typically 1Kg plastic zip-lock style bags. You can usually get a cash account with them for small purchases. They will often sell wheels in 1/4 or 1/2's too

  • I don't think I've ever seen reggiano available in bulk at a supermarket; where are you buying this?
    – Aaronut
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 18:24
  • @Aaronut You should buy cheese direct from a local cheese maker (many have Internet ordering) if you can. Our local cheese maker (Puhoi, no Internet?) makes a excellent Parmesan wheel 3+Kg. The excellent 9Kg Kapiti Parmesan at NZ$220 represents a 25% saving over the low end supermarket rubbish, and this is REALLY good cheese!
    – TFD
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 21:27
  • @Aaronut, try CostCo.
    – Ian
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 14:33

I think it's worth the money, but buy in bulk like from Costco or Wholesale. You can get a big block for about 20 bucks and it lasts a long time in the fridge.

Parmesan is rich in glutamates, the stuff that gives us the umami or meaty savoury taste. That's why we like it so much. If you want to replace it, try replacing it with another cheese that was mentioned, but beef up the umami with another source. Depending on what you are cooking, a glutamate rich food such as anchovies, mushrooms, marmite, MSG, soy sauce, sea kelp.... in small portions would do the trick and not effect the dish much.

You could also try nutritional yeast - its a vegan alternative for yeast. Its quite 'cheesy'.

All that said, its hard to pass up Parmesan (the real stuff). Its just one of those things its probably worth biting the bullet for. Also, the rind of the cheese going in chicken stock is indispensable!


Another option is to make your own Parmesan Cheese... not an immediate solution but it is interesting to do at least once. It isn't exactly difficult, but it does take a while to mature.

  • Very interesting - It's amazing what you can do at home that we've forgotten about in the past half century!
    – Brian
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 17:53
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    Parmigiano Reggiano is aged at least 12 months, although I don't think I've ever seen it aged less then 24. 36-40 months old Parmigiano is just sublime (but I wouldn't use it on pasta, would rather eat it by itself).
    – nico
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 20:29
  • I did say it would take "a while". The Parmesan is 'usable' at 6 months, but will continue to improve over time.
    – Cos Callis
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 20:42
  • You can buy cheese making kits that have everything you need to make your own Parmesan, the main ingredient "time" costs you nothing curdsandwhey.co.nz/product/…
    – TFD
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 21:15
  • I agree it is very interesting....but may not suitable to all people. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 4:23

oh goodness, never considered parmesan that way - but maybe another sharp Italian cheddar would be more to your liking? Try pecorino romano, or a sharp matured asiago or maybe an aged provolone if you can find a sharp one?

I tend to think if you got a better quality parmesan like Reggiano or Padano you may like it? it can be expensive though.

  • 1
    This doesn't really answer the question. The question is asking for cheaper alternative. The original poster never said they didn't like Parmesan cheese.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:37
  • Ross : substitution isn't an 'alternative'? It's a perfectly valid answer in my opinion. (better than the sawdust being sold as pre-grated 'parmesean' in the stores)
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:58
  • @Joe No, it fails to address the question because it's not about finding any alternative. The original poster is looking for a cheaper alternative for something he likes. He's not looking for something with a different flavour or a better flavour, especially not if it's expensive.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 19:54
  • @RossRidge : everyone's tastes are different. From the article I linked to : "n the most egregious case, a company called Castle Cheese Inc., whose products ... allegedly contained “no parmesan cheese” whatsoever, according to the FDA. Instead, the product was made up of a mix of Swiss, mozzarella, and white cheddar cheese, as well as a heaping dose of cellulose." How many people out there were fooled and/or preferred that to the real stuff? Often with ingredients, you just need to hit certain notes that could come from an alternate source.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 20:05
  • @Joe I don't see how your last comment addresses what I wrote before it, the OP's question or this answer. If you want to rant about the quality of cheese this isn't the place.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 20:11

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