Best Parmesan Rind Substitute (Alternative and Replacement)

If you love Italian cuisine, then you know that Parmesan is an indispensable ingredient in many dishes that are hard to resist, especially pasta and soups.

Have you ever wondered what the rind is for after you grate the Parmesan cheese?

Although many people throw it away, they don’t actually know that they can use it for certain dishes.

We know it can be tough, but after cooking, many would be surprised by the taste and texture.

Fortunately, some great substitutes for Parmesan rinds can become integral to many of your recipes.

Whether vegan, lactose intolerant, or just looking for a different flavor profile, these substitutes will help you achieve the same taste and texture as Parmesan rind.

Let’s get started!

What is Parmesan Rind?

The Parmesan rind is the outer layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that was usually thought to be removed before use because it is inedible.

However, top craftsmen have discovered that this very layer is a valuable ingredient and that they can use it for some recipes.

That hard and protective layer is darker in color, thicker than parmesan, and takes almost 12 months to mature.

Parmesan cheese develops an outer shell during cheese-making, known as a “rind” created by air-drying at a controlled temperature.

The peel has a full flavor and gives a special aroma to soups, stews, and sauces. During cooking, the Parmesan rind releases its aroma, which gives dishes a special flavor.

Apart from cooking, you can grate it and use it as a spice.

It is very popular in Italian cuisine and hard to find in some parts of the world. In that case, there are substitutes you can use instead.

Although Parmesan rind is a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, it can be difficult to find in some areas. Fortunately, several substitutes can be used instead.

In Which Dishes Can You Use Parmesan Rind?

These parmesan rinds are an underrated but incredibly useful ingredient that can transform a dish from ordinary to extraordinary.

It adds complexity and eliminates bitterness in dishes giving them a special taste.

To use it, you only need to add a slice or two to the pan while cooking or even cut them into smaller pieces before adding them to a broth or sauce.

You can use parmesan rind to enhance the flavor of many dishes, such as:

  • SOS for pasta
  • Risotto
  • Broth
  • Soups
  • Dips
  • Parmesan soup

Best of all, no special preparation is required; throw it into your dish whole or diced and let it simmer!

Let’s dive into the best parmesan rind alternatives you will like from now on.

Best Parmesan Rind Substitutes

If you don’t have parmesan cheese but want to make a delicious meal with a similar taste and texture, consider the following alternatives.

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese has been a popular ingredient in the Italian cuisine for centuries, which means it’s worth trying.

It is a soft and creamy cheese made from the whey left over from making other cheeses such as mozzarella or parmesan.

In addition to soups, ricotta is often used in dishes such as lasagna.

It has a very tempting taste as well as texture. It is an excellent base for soups and sauces in which parmesan rind is used. If you don’t have it right now, ricotta cheese is the right option.

Pecorino Cheese

One great substitute for Parmesan is Pecorino – a hard, salty, aged sheep’s milk cheese known for its aged, sharp flavors.

Its texture can vary from semi-soft to rock-hard, depending on how long you leave the cheese to stand.

It usually has a very thin, natural rind full of salty, sharp flavor and heady aroma.

It is a good substitute for parmesan rind in recipes such as risotto and soups.

The preparation is easy, all you have to do is add a spoonful of grated pecorino towards the end of cooking, which will amaze you.

If you want to keep this cheese fresh as long as possible, put it in a plastic container and put it in the fridge for a few days.

By the way, Pecorino Romano rind is slightly softer than Parmesan rind. Also, Pecorino Romano is saltier than Parmesan, so you may need to adjust the salt level in your recipe.

Not for vegetarians as it is made from sheep’s milk.

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a favorite among gourmets around the world.

This popular Greek cheese is made from cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk and is aged in brine, and is known for its irresistibly creamy texture.

Feta cheese is one of the most popular Greek cheeses, and for a good reason.

It is creamy, spicy, full of flavor, and best known as a table cheese, but its versatility has won the hearts of many so you can see it in many dishes.

You can add it to many dishes, but it is a particularly favorite ingredient when grated on top of salads.

It can be an excellent topping for pizza and pasta dishes.

The resemblance to Parmesan rind is recognized in the fact that pieces of feta are put into soups and stews, giving it an incredible depth of flavor.

Roquefort cheese

Roquefort cheese is a really specific cheese because of its earthy, sharp, and salty taste.

It originates from Roquefort sur Soulzon, France, in the 14th century.

This cheese is made from sheep’s milk, and its rind is thick and edible, although sharp, but sweet. It can be reminiscent of parmesan crust.

It can be a good combination of sweet ingredients like honey, apples, or figs, so it is suitable for a snack or appetizer.

If you want to add more depth to pasta dishes or salads, try substituting parmesan rinds for slices of Roquefort cheese. You will surely like it.

Gruyere Rind

One of the delicious and readily available alternatives to Parmesan rind is gruyere cheese rind.

It’s a Swiss cow’s cheese rind whose texture is remarkably reminiscent of parmesan rind.

Instead of throwing cheese rinds in the trash, use them to flavor soups and stock. The same is true with this cheese.

While your soup or stock is simmering, the rinds of cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino will soften and give a special flavor to the dish.

Also, if the cheese tastes good sprinkled on top, it will taste good poured into the broth.

Its aroma and nutty, salty-sweet smooth taste adds depth to the dish. We believe that this cheese will bring something new to your table.

Cheddar Rind

Cheddar cheese is undoubtedly one of your most popular varieties of cheese, with its delicious, distinctive, nutty aroma reminiscent of the rind of Parmesan cheese.

You can eat it on its own because the taste is too good or add it to dishes during cooking or in salads.

It can range from mild to mature, allowing you to choose the one that suits you best. Considering that it can satisfy all tastes, it belongs to one of the most versatile cheeses.

Grated Romano cheese

Grated Romano cheese is harder than typical parmesan, so it’s crunchy.

But it tastes similar to Parmesan cheese.

It also has a slightly tangy flavor and is great with dishes like pasta and vegetables. It is also an excellent addition to soups.

If you can’t find grated Romano cheese at your regular grocery store, try looking in specialty stores. If you still can’t find it, replace it with a piece of parmesan rind.

Grana Padano Rind

Grana Padano cheese is a cow’s milk cheese but a little harder than Parmesan cheese.

The rind of Grana Padano cheese has a similar taste to the rind of Parmesan cheese, such as the same texture, chewiness, and toughness.

Grana Padano bark is perfect for dishes such as soups, stews, salads, and bean stews.

Its salty and nutty taste makes it an ideal addition to your meal.

Parmigiano rinds

Parmigiano rinds are a decent substitute for parmesan rinds. because you can use it in a similar way to parmesan rind.

It is generally served by slicing or dicing it.

Parmigiano rinds are great for soups or sauces.

You can buy in most stores or supermarkets with a larger selection of cheeses.

Also, check the Italian restaurants, because eating this cheese in such restaurants is possible.

Asiago Rind

Another cheese similar to Parmesan is Asiago cheese. This variety is produced from full-fat, pasteurized cow’s milk from cattle grazing in the Asiago Plateau regions.

It’s not quite as sweet as Parmesan, but its complex flavor makes it a good dish addition.

Asiago cheese is a bit more buttery, creamier, and nuttier than Parmesan but has a more pronounced and noticeable bitterness.

If it stays for a longer period of time. it will give the dish a huge nutty and smoky flavor.

Although it can be harder to eat, you can add it to sauces, stocks, and stews, much like parmesan rinds.

Manchego Rind

The rind of Manchego cheese can be very specific and challenging to eat because it has a chewy rind.

The taste is also unusual as it has a smoky and salty flavor with a unique fruity hint.

What distinguishes manchego from other cheeses is that the rind is inedible, but inside, you will discover an ivory interior with several small holes that are a real delicacy.

It’s good to know that you can use leftover manchego skin to flavor tomato sauce, vegetable soup, bean casserole, soup, or risotto.

So you have a lot of options!

Soy Parmesan – Great Vegan Choice

If you’re vegan and looking for a substitute for Parmesan cheese, you’ll love Soy Parmesan.

Soy Parmesan doesn’t have a rind, so you’ll have to use the cheese itself.

It has a slightly sweet and nutty taste, making it an excellent alternative to Parmesan cheese. Plus, it has a rich and creamy texture.

The best dishes in combination with soy parmesan are:

  • Soup
  • Dip for breadsticks
  • Salad
  • Stew
  • Pizza

Also, adjust your seasonings according to your taste, especially the salt.

Sapsago Cheese

Another great alternative to parmesan cheese is sapsago cheese.

It’s not really for cooking the crust because it doesn’t have a dominant sweet taste.

Sapsago is a traditional cheese produced in the canton of Glarus in Switzerland.

It is made from skimmed cow’s milk and a special type of plant, blue fenugreek, also called blue melilot.

Either way, the cheese is aromatic and will certainly spice up your food.

It’s best to mix it with a certain dish or sprinkle a little on top of a dish. It has a rather sharp taste with a sweet note.

It combines perfectly with other flavors and aromas when added to dishes.

Epoisses Rind

Epoisses de Bourgogne AOC has a creamy sharp, and meaty taste, similar to the first washed rind cheeses dating back to 90 AD.

This special type of cheese has a very mild and subtle taste.

It even has a slightly sour and dominant nutty smell.

It’s not easily accessible, so this may still be your last option. But that doesn’t mean the cheese isn’t worth tasting.

It belongs to the category of washed rind, which is why it is a very specific type of cheese. that’s why it’s harder to find.

Let’s summarize…

If you want to choose an adequate substitute for Parmesan rind, Pecorino Romano rind, Gruyere rind, and Grana Padano rind offer a similar flavor profile and that distinctive aroma.

However, if you want a taste similar to what a Parmesan rind would provide, and the texture is not an issue, you can use freshly grated Parmesan.

Soy Parmesan is the best choice for a vegan diet, although it lacks the complexity of fatty foods.

For a fuller flavor, choose the rind of cheddar, asiago, and manchego that has been left for longer, while sapsago can bring a very interesting sharp note to a cooked dish or salad.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a fan of cheese in general, you’ll probably like everyone on our list. Especially when it comes to parmesan cheese.

We’ve brought you the best options if you can’t easily find parmesan rinds in stores or restaurants.

From these cheeses we have recommended, you can make a very tasty dish you will not regret because it is a different cheese.

The taste is excellent and will not disappoint you even if you eat it alone or in combination with other dishes.

Enjoy your new meal!


Why isn’t parmesan a common vegan dish?

Rennet, an enzyme found in a goat’s or calf’s stomach lining, is used to make Parmesan cheese, so cheeses like Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, Manchego, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, and other cheeses that use it are not strictly vegetarian.

Luckily, we’ve brought you some vegan options that replace animal products.

How long can Parmesan rinds last?

Parmesan rinds can last indefinitely and provide a dominant flavor to stock, soup, stew, or risotto; they can even be made into an umami-rich stew that can be served as a main course without the flavor spoiling at all if the cheese has been standing for a long time.

Can you reuse Parmesan rinds?

Dicing Parmesan rinds and adding them to soups, stews, and soups is the most traditional way to reuse them.

The cheese will soften and release its flavor due to the heat, making it even better than grated.

How to remove the parmesan crust?

You can easily remove the parmesan rinds with a vegetable peeler.

Start at one end of the cheese and peel until the rind is gone.

Cut them with a sharp knife if you can’t cut them all off.

Another way to remove the rind from cheese is to hold it under cold, running water.

The crust should slide right off after a few seconds.

We must admit that this method works best with softer cheeses like mozzarella and minster, but you can try it with parmesan as well.

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