Say, Cheese! The Best Parmesan Cheeses Reviewed (Store-Bought)

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Parmesan Cheese – a Versatile Ingredient

Do you know that you can make your favorite dish using the best parmesan cheese? Parmesan is a versatile ingredient that many cooks use because it helps in enhancing the flavor of different dishes.

Additionally, you can use parmesan from a bottle, whole parmesan cheese, or shredded cheese. We have curated a list of the best types of parmesan cheeses to guide you in choosing the best. Keep reading to learn more.

Grated parmesan cheese

Our Top-Rated Pick.

Different kinds of parmesan are in the market, and selecting the best can be challenging. For that reason, what is the best parmesan cheese? The answer to this question is always to consider the best brand.

Our best choice is No products found. because it is a high-quality product that contains cow’s milk, salt, and rennet. It has a unique flavor without additives.

In addition, the presence of calcium, vitamins, and proteins in this cheese makes it suitable for all users. It also has a unique flavor without additives. You don’t want to miss this essential ingredient in your kitchen if you want to add flavor to your dishes. 

A List of Our Favorites

Product NameBest for Case
No products found.Best overall
No products found.Best for flavor
Kraft Parmesan Grated Cheese (8 oz Shaker)Best versatile cheese
Milano's Parmesan Cheese Jars, Imported Grated, 8 OunceBest grated cheese
Asiago Cheese, Approx. 8oz wedgeBest binding agent
Italian Pecorino Romano (1 Pound)Best for value
Italian Grana Padano Cheese, 2 PoundBest traditional cheese
Andrew & Everett Hormone Free Grated Parmesan Cheese, 7 oz containerBest hormone-free cheese
Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio (3 Year Aged) - Pound Cut (1 pound)Best fruity cheese
Consorzio Vacche Rosse - Parmigiano Reggiano PDO Red Cows - Seasoned 40 Months - 2,2 lbs (1 Kg)Best for calcium and amino acids
Asiago Cheese, approx. 8oz wedge
Italian Grana Padano Cheese, 2 Pound
Product name
Asiago Cheese, approx. 8oz wedge
Italian Grana Padano Cheese, 2 Pound
Price
$6.89
$33.98
Asiago Cheese, approx. 8oz wedge
Product name
Asiago Cheese, approx. 8oz wedge
Price
$6.89
Buy Now
Italian Grana Padano Cheese, 2 Pound
Product name
Italian Grana Padano Cheese, 2 Pound
Price
$33.98
Buy Now

Store-Bought Parmesan Cheese for you to Try

No products found.: Best Overall

No products found.

About 

If you are looking for a highly nourishing, easy-to-digest, and lactose-free cheese, look no further because igourmet Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese is the best parmesan cheese brand for you to try. This fantastic cheese is popular in Italy, and many people use it worldwide.

In addition, this cheese comes from unpasteurized cow’s milk and has the distinct flavor of a natural product. Its high protein, vitamin, calcium, and mineral content makes it appropriate for all uses and all ages.

Furthermore, the cheese creates a tasty appetizer when you use it with walnuts or jam and honey. Grating it is an excellent complement to pasta and risotto, a flavor enhancer for soup, and a delicious topping for vegetable au gratin.

This cheese is a key element in many sauces and meat mixes for cooking meatballs and meatloaf. So next time you have a house party, consider using Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Brand: igourmet

Item form: Cut cheese

Weight: 32 ounces (907.1 grams)

Variety: Italian cheese

Pros

  • The cheese is easy to digest.

Cons

  • It can be deficient in some nutty tastes.

Key Features

  • It contains unpasteurized cow’s milk, rennet, and salt.
  • It is lactose-free.
  • It has a sweet and nutty flavor.

No products found.: Best for Flavor

No products found.

About

If you plan to buy a piece of pre-shredded cheese, this product from Kirkland is an excellent choice. Additionally, It’s worth noting that the Kirkland Signature Aged Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese is authentic parmesan cheese that is simply in shred form for distribution and comes from Italy after being aged for almost 24 months.

Brand: Kirkland Signature

Item form: Shred

Weight: 16 ounces (453.5 grams)

Variety: Reggiano

Pros

  • It adds extra flavor to your meals.

Cons

  • It is expensive.

Key Features

  • It is an import from Italy.
  • It’s 24 months old.
  • It is already in shred form.

Kraft Parmesan Grated Cheese (8 oz Shaker): Best Versatile Grated Cheese

About

If you want to give your pasta, seafood, salads, pizzas, or more a bold taste, you should consider using Kraft Parmesan Grated Cheese. It is a good parmesan cheese that enhances your favorite dishes and saves you significant prep time for grating it in the kitchen.

Whatever the occasion, this cheese will improve your favorite dishes with a beautiful nutty and salty flavor.

To enhance flavor, sprinkle the parmesan cheese over your pasta meals or include it in your favorite chicken parmesan dish. Moreover, this cheese is in an easy-to-use 8-ounce (226.7 grams) shaker container. After opening it, remember to put it in the refrigerator.

Brand: Kraft

Item form: Grated

Weight: 8 ounces (226.7 grams)

Variety: Parmesan

Pros

  • It has a flavor lop cup to keep the cheese fresh.

Cons

  • It tends to clump.

Key Features

  • It comes from premium quality milk.
  • It takes an aging process of 6 months.

Milano's Parmesan Cheese Jars, Imported Grated, 8 Ounce: Best Grated Cheese

About

If you’re looking for a good sprinkled or grated parmesan, Milano’s Parmesan Cheese is an excellent option. Its family manufacturer in New Jersey prepares its parmesan from pure cow’s milk. 

In addition, this cheese is gluten-free and contains no fillers. It also includes maize flour, cellulose to avoid clumping, and potassium sorbate to preserve taste. Also, it is mature cheese because it takes ten months to mature.

Furthermore, some long-time customers believe this cheese’s quality has worsened in recent years and lacks flavor compared to other grated cheeses. The cheese can clump like a block of most grated hard cheese, so break it down before shaking some off.

Brand: Milano’s 

Item form: Grated

Weight: 8 ounces (226.7 grams)

Pros

  • It enhances the taste of your food.

Cons

  • It lacks flavor when you compare it to other hard-grated cheeses.
  • It is susceptible to clumping.

Key Features

  • It contains cellulose and potassium sorbate.
  • It has a shaker top jar.
  • It is free of fillers.
  • It is gluten-free.
  • It comes from pure cow’s milk.

Asiago Cheese, Approx. 8oz wedge: Best Binding Agent

About

Asiago cheese is another excellent parmesan choice that, in many ways, resembles Parmigiano-Reggiano. Both come from cow’s milk in Italy, even in similar regions.

Additionally, it has a semi-soft texture and does not have strict regulations regarding the DOP standards. Therefore it makes this cheese more accessible and affordable.

Brand: BelGioioso

Weight: 8 ounces (226.7 grams)

Variety: Asiago

Item form: Wedge

Pros

  • It is easy to find.

Key Features

  • It is somewhat soft and creamy.
  • It does not have strict restrictions in terms of the DOP standard. 
  • It is semi-soft.
  • It comes from cow’s milk in Italy.
  • It has no gluten.

Italian Pecorino Romano (1 Pound): Best for Value

About

Italian Pecorino Romano cheese is more similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano than grated parmesan. The texture, aging process, and rind are identical to Parmigiano-Reggiano.

One significant difference is that this cheese comes from sheep rather than cow’s milk; this can be a massive benefit for people allergic to cow’s milk. 

Furthermore, this cheese comes from the Italian provinces of Sardinia, Lazio, and Tuscany, not the usual Northern regions for acquiring authentic parmesan cheese. 

In addition to that, the usage of sheep’s milk during preparation gives it a bold appearance. You will also notice a minor color difference between white cheese and a dark rind. It is easy to find and should be accessible at most local delis.

Brand: Carmen & Lola Eat Espana!

Item form: Wedge

Weight: 16 ounces (453.5 grams)

Variety: Romano

Pros

  • It is suitable for people allergic to cow’s milk since its source is sheep’s milk.
  • It is easy to find.

Cons

  • It can irritate some consumers because of the strong smell.

Key Features

  • It comes from sheep’s milk.
  • It has a hard texture.
  • Its aging process is between five to eight months.
  • It is a product of Agro-Romano, Italy.
  • It has a strong salty flavor and smell.

Italian Grana Padano Cheese, 2 Pound: Best Traditional Cheese

Amazon’s Best Choice for Italian Cheese

About 

Italian Grana Padano Cheese is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano; it is golden with a hard rind from cow’s milk. The main difference between Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano is that Grana Padano is not limited to only two regions of Italy. 

Moreover, the cheese aging process took almost 18 months before being imported from Italy. It is a grainy Italian hard cheese with a delicate and fragrant flavor.

This type of cheese has a sweet taste, costs less, and is easy to find. While it is not the same as Parmigiano-Reggiano regarding taste, it is the next best alternative.

Furthermore, this type of cheese is vacuum-sealed. Additionally, the Grana Padano cheese does not have strict regulations like other cheeses and comes from Northern Italy.

Brand: Alma Gourmet

Item form: Wedge

Weight: 32 ounces (907.1 grams)

Variety: Italian cheese

Pros

  • It is easier to find and costs less. 
  • Grana Padano is a little sweeter than most Parmesan cheeses.

Key Features

  • It has an aging process of almost 18 months.
  • Its origin is Italy.
  • It has a grainy texture.
  • It is delicate with a fragrant taste.
  • It has a hard rind.

Andrew & Everett Hormone Free Grated Parmesan Cheese, 7 oz container: Best Hormone-Free Cheese

About

Andrew & Everett Hormone-Free Grated Parmesan Cheese comes from the milk of free-range and grass-fed animals that are BST and rBGH hormone-free in the United States. It has no preservatives, fillers, or binders. However, it has cellulose that helps to avoid clumping. 

Moreover, this gluten-free cheese aging process is over 10 months and is suitable for vegetarian and meatless diets because the manufacturer used vegetable rennet to make it. This 7 ounces (198.4 grams) jar of cheese may arrive close to its “use by” date, and some people believe its flavor is bland.

Pros

  • It is suitable for vegetarians

Cons

  • Its flavor can be a little bland when you compare it to other US parmesan brands.

Key Features

  • Its aging process is over 10 months.
  • It is a hormone-free cheese.
  • The cheese comes from the milk of free-range and grass-fed animals. 
  • It is gluten-free.
  • It is free of filler, preservatives, or binders.
  • Despite being free of fillers and preservatives, it has cellulose.

Brand: Andrew & Everett

Item form: Grated

Weight: 7 ounces (198.4 grams)

Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio (3 Year Aged) - Pound Cut (1 pound): Best Fruity Cheese

About

Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio cheese is rich in crystals and deep golden. You should consider serving this cheese in pieces or as an appetizer because its flavor is fruity and rich with a slight salt tang.

Additionally, this cheese arrives cold. Some believe it lacks crystals and is more like a one-year-old parmesan than a three-year-old parmesan. The cheese aging process is 36 months.

Brand: Igourmet

Item form: Wedge

Weight: 16 ounces (453.5 grams)

Pros

  • It leaves your meals with a rich flavor.

Key Features

  • The cheese has a deeper, golden color with even more crunchy crystals.
  • It is an Italian parmesan.

Consorzio Vacche Rosse - Parmigiano Reggiano PDO Red Cows - Seasoned 40 Months - 2,2 lbs (1 Kg): Best for Calcium and Amino Acids

About

Consorzio Vacche Rosse Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese comes from the milk of Reggiana cattle, which are native to northern Italy and valuable for their milk in creating cheese. This 2.2-pound (997.9 grams) block of cheese is a fine, granular, sweet, flavorful cheese.

Furthermore, as the price reflects, this Italian parmesan aging process may take at least 40 to 48 months.

Brand: Consorzio Vacche Rosse

Item form: Wedge

Weight: 32.5 ounces (921.3 grams)

Variety: Reggiano

Flavor: Honey

Pros 

  • It enhances the flavor of the food.

Cons

  • It is expensive. The price reflects both the maturity and cost of imports.

Key Features

  • It has a fine granular texture.
  • The cheese comes from Reggiana cattle milk.
  • It is an Italian Parmesan.
  • The shipment is directly from Italy.
  • The aging process is from 40 to 48 months.
  • It has a sweet and rich flavor.

How We Tested the Products

We tested our products based on the nutritional content, the aging process, flavor, texture, the smell of the cheese, the brand, and the difference between Italian and US parmesan cheeses. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Parmesan Cheeses

What Is the Best Substitute for Parmesan Cheese?

Pecorino Romano is the best substitute for parmesan cheese and has a similar texture to parmesan, making it ideal for grating onto salads or pasta. One significant difference is that Pecorino Romano comes from sheep rather than cow’s milk. It can be a huge benefit for people allergic to cow’s milk.

Furthermore, the flavor profile is where we most clearly compare the two. Pecorino Romano is a little bit tangier and saltier than Parmigiano-Reggiano.

What Is the Best Way to Store Parmesan Cheese?

It is very important to know how to store cheese before buying it. Since there are various ways to store parmesan, the simplest way is to place it in a zipper bag, press all the air out, and zip it up; alternatively, use plastic wrap. 

When exposed to air, the parmesan turns white, and its rind thickens. You can wrap the parmesan cheese in moist cheesecloth and plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight to avoid exposing it to air.

Are There Different Types of Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan is available in different kinds, including

  1. Asiago.
  2. Grana Padano.
  3. Pecorino Romano.
  4. Parmigiano Reggiano.

What Is in Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese contains cow or sheep’s milk, animal rennet, and salt, hard rind. It also has a granular texture with the ability to grate easily.

Parmesan cheese on the table

Where Is Parmesan Made?

The production of the original Parmigiano Reggiano comes from two different regions in Italy: Parma and Reggio Emilia.

Is Kraft Parmesan Cheese Real?

The answer is no. According to the FDA, real parmesan cheese should come from whole, skimmed, cream, or reconstructed dry milk.

On the other hand, Kraft parmesan features parmesan cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), potassium sorbate to protect flavor, and cellulose powder to prevent caking. The production of Kraft Parmesan cheese was to imitate Italian Parmesan cheese. 

For How Long Is Parmesan Aged?

For parmesan cheese to mature, it takes a minimum aging process of 12 months and a maximum of three years.

What Should I Look For in Parmesan Cheese?

To ensure you obtain authentic parmesan, look for the genuine Parmigiano Reggiano label on the rind. If it does not have a stamp, the hard cheese is either an imitation or was not made following PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) guidelines. 

Additionally, a PDO label indicates the production of a certain food in a unique manner in a specific region.

Nutritional Value

Regarding nutritional value, American parmesan often has more salt than hard cheeses from Italy. Their smaller size and larger surface area allow them to take in salt more quickly than Italian wheels, which may be up to three times bigger.

The sodium%DV (% Daily Value) in one ounce ( 28.3 grams) of Italian parmesan is around 18% and consists of the following:

Fiber : 0% 

Sugar: 0%

Protein: 0.38 ounces (11 grams)

Carbs: 0.03 ounces (1 gram)

Fat: 0.28 ounces (8 grams)

Saturated fat: 0.17 ounces (5 grams)

Furthermore, Italian parmesan also consists of the following:

  • 31% of our calcium DV.
  • 20% of phosphorus DV.
  • 11% of vitamin B12 %DV.

Using Parmesan Rinds

The second thing to consider before purchasing parmesan cheese is its use.

You don’t have to throw away parmesan rinds. It will form when the cheese matures. While it is edible, its hardness makes it difficult to consume, but you can still use it in cooking because it has a real cheese flavor.

In addition to that, cooking will just cause the rind to soften rather than melt it. You may cook it with herbs to create a parmesan broth or use it in sauces, risotto, or soups. You can also keep the rinds in the freezer to last for months.

Vegan/ Vegetarian Parmesan

The third thing to consider before purchasing parmesan cheese is whether it suits vegetarians. Although it is possible to get parmesan without animal rennet, in the European Union, it is not legal to call it parmesan because it does not come from a calf rennet.

Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, and Pecorino Romano cheeses

Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard cheese; its popular name is “The King of Cheeses.”

In addition, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese comes from pure and unpasteurized cow’s milk from a herd fed on grass. This diet produces more flavored milk. The lack of pasteurization leaves the microbes that add flavor to the milk.

Also, this kind of cheese must mature for at least a year, ideally three or more. Italian parmesan with the label “Vecchio” has to have an aging process of 18 and 24 months, while parmesan with the name “Stravecchio” means it took two to three years.

Currently, there are about 490 dairies in Italy that make Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The production of a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel requires 600 liters (158.5 gallons) of milk. The wheel weighs at least 60 pounds (27.2 kilograms).

The milk blends with the starter culture to initiate curdling after skimming. On top of that, the mixture agitates to let some moisture evaporate before adding animal-origin rennet to aid in different curd formations.

After that, there is the salt formation and salt bath immersion for flavor and preservation. A PDO Parmigiano Reggiano can not contain any other ingredients.

Right after the salt bath, the cheese stays on a rack in an environment that regulates the temperature to mature. As the cheese ages, it produces lactic acid, which causes the proteins to bind together and drive out the moisture. When these proteins break down into amino acids, they add a nutty flavor to the cheese.

Furthermore, the lipids break down into free fatty acids, which provide the cheese taste, and esters, which give the cheese fruitiness with the cheese’s natural alcohol.

Moreover, the crunchy crystals you find in hard Italian cheeses are also the result of chemical processes. These crystals are the amino acids tyrosine, which looks like crystals, and leucine, as bigger white crystals or pearls.

Once a Parmigiano Reggiano matures, it undergoes inspection, and if it passes, the printing of the name of the cheese, the year of manufacture, and the PDO seal on the rind take place.

Furthermore, the maturing process for Parmigiano Reggiano alone takes 24 months. Also, unpasteurized milk cheese arrives in the United States if it is over 60 days old.

For Grana Padano, parmesan, like Parmigiano Reggiano, originates from cow’s milk and only matures for nine months. Grana Padano likewise comes in a much larger production area; it has a less intense taste and is sweeter than Parmigiano Reggiano. It is also less expensive.

To top it all off, Pecorino Romano is a sheep’s milk cheese that matures for five to eight months in Sardinia, Lazio, or Grosseto, Tuscany. Pecorino Romano has a sharper taste, acidity, and saltiness than Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s also lighter in color, with a black rind.

Variation Between US and Italian Parmesan Cheese

Regarding the difference between Italian and US parmesan cheese, we frequently refer to any hard-grated cheese as parmesan. According to the FDA, hard cheese must not originate in Italy to be called parmesan. In the US, people make parmesan using fresh whole milk, cream, skim milk, or even reconstituted dry milk.

Additionally, the cheese must be easy to grate, have a brittle, hard rind, and have a granular texture. Both the US and Italy can either produce it. However, within the European Union, parmesan is a little more complicated.

Moreover, various kinds of cheese (and other foods) have ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ or PDO status under European law. This statement means that the manufacturers of these cheeses must adhere to stringent standards regarding manufacturing, age, and geographical restrictions.

It is essential to know that purchasing Italian parmesan entails paying a premium because the cheese must come from Italy. Unfortunately, this means that Italian parmesan is a higher-priced commodity that will not fit everyone’s budget.

Finely grated parmesan cheese

A Final Word

With all the information from this article about parmesan cheese, we hope you find it useful to help you choose the best cheese, such as No products found. it is easy to digest, has a unique flavor and lactose-free. 

However, you can still choose your favorite parmesan cheese from our list, whether you want it in a wedge, grated, or block form.

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