Is Parmesan Cheese Halal or Haram in Islam? 

If you have guests over for dinner, you’ll definitely go out of your way to prepare them a meal that they’ll enjoy and that everyone will like.

It can sometimes be challenging to have people among your guests who avoid certain foods for health reasons, personal beliefs, or religious restrictions.

Then we try to choose foods most people eat, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, or pasta.

You might have thought you were safe with cheese, but that’s not entirely true.

You may be surprised by the fact that some types of cheese are not suitable for all kinds of diets.

If you eat according to the principles of halal nutrition or know someone who follows this diet prescribed by Islamic law, you may have once wondered whether parmesan cheese is halal or haram in Islam.

In the following lines, we will try to answer this question and clarify all doubts regarding the halal status of this cheese.

Is Parmesan Cheese Halal or Haram? 

The most straightforward answer to whether parmesan cheese is halal or haram in Islam is that this cheese is halal if made from halal ingredients and is haram if made from haram ingredients.

It may sound confusing to you, so we will do our best to explain this rule.

As you probably already know, halal and haram are Arabic words that refer to what is permissible and forbidden for Muslims according to religious law.

In Islam, halal refers to everything that Muslims are permitted to do. In contrast, haram refers to everything considered illegal and forbidden that Muslims are not allowed to do.

When it comes to food, certain foods are haram, while all other foods are halal.

Also, halal food must not come into contact with haram food during the production or packaging process because, in that case, it becomes prohibited.

For this reason, halal food in restaurants is prepared using special equipment and usually in a separate kitchen from the one where haram food is prepared.

Also, in the production facilities of factories, places where halal food is produced are separated from areas where haram food is made to prevent the possibility of cross-contamination.

The list of haram foods includes some types of meat, such as pork, meat derived from carnivorous animals, and meat derived from birds of prey.

Also, all vermin, vultures, and animals living in water and on land are considered haram.

It should be noted that all by-products of prohibited animals are haram for Muslims.

All intoxicating substances, including alcohol, are haram for Muslims.

Also, Muslims must not eat food containing blood or any food contaminated with haram ingredients.

The list of permitted or halal animals includes most animals raised on farms, such as cows, chickens, turkeys, and many others.

However, even these animals are not allowed to be eaten under Islamic law unless raised and slaughtered according to halal principles.

Animals must be raised in humane conditions, fed natural food, and ritually slaughtered to be considered halal.

It further applies to all by-products of these animals, which must also be of halal origin to be permissible and legal for Muslims.

What Is Parmesan Cheese and How Is It Made? 

Parmesan cheese is a type of aged cheese that comes from a region in Italy and is considered a delicious specialty all over the world that can be consumed alone or combined with various dishes such as pasta and other specialties.

This dairy product is salty, has a very sharp and specific taste, and usually takes at least a year to make.

As a rule, Parmesan cheese is made from whole cow’s milk, which is combined with skimmed milk.

This combination is heated according to the traditional recipe in copper barrels, and ingredients such as rennet and whey are added.

Rennet is the ingredient that depends on whether parmesan cheese will be considered halal or haram according to Islamic law.

In the traditional sense, rennet is an enzyme that can be found naturally in the stomach of various mammals, primarily young.

This kind of rennet is generally considered haram unless it comes from a permitted animal and is obtained according to the halal procedure.

However, this is not the only rennet that exists.

In recent times, alternatives to rennet of animal origin are increasingly being used.

Instead, plant-based rennet or microbial rennet is used.

These types of rennet are halal, so all products containing this ingredient are also halal.

What Kinds of Parmesan Cheese Are Halal? 

If parmesan cheese is made with vegetable or microbial rennet, it is considered halal because these types of rennet are also halal.

Of course, the condition is that the cheese does not contain any other haram ingredients.

If a rennet of animal origin is used to make parmesan cheese, it is first necessary to determine from which animal the rennet comes.

If the rennet is obtained from the stomach of a cow or other halal animal, and if that animal was raised and slaughtered by the rules of the Islamic faith, most Islamic scholars consider that rennet to be considered halal.

Therefore, Parmesan cheese, which includes rennet, is also halal.

However, some Islamic schools of thought do not agree with this and consider that any rennet of animal origin is haram and that, therefore, parmesan cheese made with the help of that rennet is also haram.

If this topic confuses you, it is best to consult your religious leader and ask for clarification.

Also, a good method is to look for halal-certified parmesan cheese in the store.

Halal certification organizations worldwide have great authority when it comes to assessing the halal status of food, so when you see a product labeled as halal, you can be sure that it complies with the principles of the Islamic faith.

What Kinds of Parmesan Cheese Are Haram? 

If parmesan cheese is made in the traditional way, it usually contains a rennet of animal origin.

Such parmesan cheese is haram in most cases.

If rennet comes from a pig, it is haram because Muslims consider pigs forbidden and impure.

Therefore, parmesan cheese containing pork rennet is also haram.

On the other hand, if the rennet comes from a permissible animal, but it was not raised and slaughtered according to halal rules, that rennet is also haram.

That’s why parmesan cheese made with the help of that rennet is haram.

What is very important to point out when talking about this topic is that information about the origin of all the ingredients of a product is often not available to consumers.

When you buy parmesan cheese in the store, it can easily happen that the label does not indicate whether the rennet is of animal origin or not.

Also, even when it is pointed out that animal rennet has been used, it may happen that the package does not say from which animal it was obtained and whether the animal is from a halal source.

Of course, you can get some of this information directly from the manufacturer.

However, if the information on the origin of rennet is not available to you, most Islamic authorities agree that you should refrain from consuming these products, just in case.

Islamic law recognizes a particular category of products that are neither halal nor haram but are considered “questionable,” religious teachings recommend that Muslim believers avoid such products to avoid accidentally sinning by eating something that is not permitted.

In the Muslim world, knowingly eating haram food is considered one of the greatest sins and is only allowed in emergencies.

Is It Possible to Make Parmesan Cheese without Rennet? 

Some Muslims question whether it is possible to make parmesan cheese that does not contain rennet at all.

However, although some manufacturers claim otherwise, the truth is that rennet is a necessary ingredient of all hard cheeses, including parmesan cheese.

If the cheese does not contain rennet at all, we cannot speak of real parmesan cheese but of some kind of substitute for this product.

The modern market recognizes the needs of different social groups, so today, many cheese substitutes do not contain milk because they are, for example, intended for vegans.

Therefore, such products are made entirely from plants and are also halal.

However, if you want real parmesan cheese, you will have to choose an option with some kind of rennet.

Many types of parmesan cheese on the market are acceptable for people on a halal diet.

Choose parmesan cheese marked as halal certified or acceptable for vegetarians because it does not contain a rennet of animal origin.

Also, you can contact the manufacturer and inquire about the origin of all ingredients.

If the rennet used is of plant origin or microbial, that cheese can be considered permissible, i.e., halal.

You can also consume that cheese if the rennet is of animal origin but comes from a permitted animal and a halal source.

Suppose you cannot determine the origin of the ingredients.

In that case, Islamic scholars advise you to refrain from buying and consuming the particular cheese and choose another product that you are sure is halal.

Does Parmesan Cheese Contain Alcohol? 

A question that can sometimes be heard among Muslims and many other people who try to avoid alcohol is whether parmesan cheese contains alcohol.

This question may sound strange to you, and you may be wondering where the alcohol in cheese comes from in the first place.

However, some types of cheese, just like many other foods, contain small amounts of alcohol.

Making parmesan cheese involves a fermentation process during which lactose is broken down into alcohol and lactic acid.

It is important to understand that the amount of alcohol produced this way is not significant.

On the contrary, it is tiny amounts, on average around 0.3% alcohol by volume.

This alcohol is not enough to affect the smell or taste of parmesan cheese and cannot cause intoxication and a change of consciousness.

Therefore, the alcohol in Parmesan cheese cannot be considered a reason for this cheese being haram.

In Which Dishes Is Parmesan Cheese Most Often Used? 

Parmesan cheese is considered one of the most popular cheeses in the world and is widely used in Italian cuisine and in many other dishes that are prepared and consumed worldwide.

When parmesan cheese is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is pasta, but that’s not the only dish that this cheese with a specific and unforgettable taste fits perfectly.

Regarding pasta, parmesan cheese can be an ingredient in almost any dish, from spaghetti to ravioli and lasagna.

Another Italian specialty is often made with parmesan cheese, and that is pizza.

Parmesan cheese is often combined with other cheeses or alone as a pizza topping.

Also, parmesan cheese is a common ingredient in salads because it gives them a unique texture and refined and specific taste.

This aged cheese goes well with many fresh vegetables, especially radicchio, tomatoes, and arugula.

Even ordinary sandwiches can get a specific flavor note with parmesan cheese.

It will fit best in different combinations if you grate it on a sandwich.

Maybe you didn’t know, but Italians like to put parmesan cheese in various soups and stews, as well as in meat dishes and many types of vegetables.

There is almost no food that cannot be combined or upgraded with this specific cheese.


The question is often whether parmesan cheese is halal or haram and what factors influence it.

Although there are different recipes for preparing parmesan cheese, traditional recipes involve a few common ingredients and a precisely defined production process.

All the ingredients that parmesan cheese includes are halal, except for rennet, which can be halal or haram, depending on its origin.

If rennet is of animal origin, it generally comes from a pig, cow, goat, or sheep.

While pork rennet is always haram, others can be halal, but only if they come from an animal reared according to halal procedures.

Also, rennet can be microbial or vegetable.

In those cases, it is halal, so the parmesan cheese made from it is also halal.

Although parmesan cheese contains a small amount of alcohol created as a result of milk fermentation, this amount is insufficient to affect this product’s halal status.

To conclude, it is essential to point out that the safest way to choose halal parmesan cheese is to buy and consume cheese that has an official confirmation in the form of a halal certificate.

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