5 Best Substitute For Pecorino Romano Cheese

Pecorino Romano Cheese Substitute

Pecorino Romano cheese, renowned for its sharp and salty character, hails from Italy, offering a distinctive flavor note to a plethora of dishes. It’s a sheep’s milk cheese, with its unique taste and texture due to a time-honored process of aging. While Pecorino Romano is cherished by gourmands globally, it’s not always accessible or suitable for everyone. It’s here that the magic of culinary substitution comes into play, opening doors to a world of alternatives that can cater to varied palates and dietary needs.

This article highlights the best substitutes for Pecorino Romano cheese, ranging from similar hard, Italian cheeses to a vegan-friendly alternative. When a recipe calls for Pecorino Romano, or you crave its specific flavor, these substitutes step up to the plate, ensuring your culinary endeavors remain unhampered. Whether you need to circumvent a shortage of Pecorino Romano in your local grocery store, or you’re looking to explore new flavor profiles, these alternatives offer exciting opportunities for your culinary explorations.

What is Pecorino Romano Cheese?

Pecorino Romano is an Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk, or “pecora” in Italian, hence the name. Its production is concentrated in Lazio, Sardinia, and the province of Grosseto in Tuscany. Characterized by its hard texture and salty, sharp flavor, Pecorino Romano is often used in Italian cuisine, gracing the tops of pasta dishes, incorporated into sauces, or shaved into salads. With its savory and distinct flavor profile, finding an adequate substitute can seem daunting, but several cheeses can provide a similar taste and texture.

Read More  5 Best Substitutes for Mushrooms

Substitutes on Standby for Pecorino Romano Cheese

Looking for a quick switch? Here’s a rundown of some fantastic alternatives:

  • Parmesan
  • Grana Padano
  • Asiago
  • Manchego
  • Nutritional Yeast

Each of these substitutes has its unique characteristics that make it a viable alternative to Pecorino Romano. Let’s dive deeper into each one.

Best Substitutes For Pecorino Romano Cheese

When it comes to substituting for Pecorino Romano, the secret lies in matching its unique combination of sharpness, saltiness, and hardness. Here, we’re going to explore the world of cheese and beyond, offering a selection of five candidates that can take up the mantle.


Parmigiano Reggiano, commonly known as Parmesan, is one of the most well-known substitutes for Pecorino Romano. Originating from the Parma region of Italy, Parmesan shares many characteristics with Pecorino Romano, including a hard texture and a sharp, salty flavor.

The cheese-making process of Parmesan involves the careful aging of cow’s milk for over two years, resulting in a complex flavor that’s both savory and slightly sweet. This combination allows it to mimic the robust flavor profile of Pecorino Romano. Parmesan’s texture is similarly hard and grainy, perfect for grating over dishes or incorporating into sauces.

Additionally, Parmesan is more widely available and might be a more economical choice for some consumers. If your dish requires a cheese with robust flavor and you cannot find Pecorino Romano, don’t hesitate to reach for Parmesan.

Grana Padano

Our next candidate is Grana Padano, another Italian cheese with a hard texture and complex flavor. Like Parmesan, Grana Padano is a product of cow’s milk, but its production is not as tightly controlled by regional restrictions, leading to some variations in taste and texture.

Read More  7 Best Substitute For Tomatoes

Grana Padano boasts a rich, savory flavor, with a slight hint of sweetness that can mimic the depth of Pecorino Romano. Its texture, while also hard and grainy, is slightly less crumbly than Pecorino Romano, leading to a different mouthfeel.

Despite these minor differences, Grana Padano still serves as an excellent substitute, particularly when grated over pasta dishes or mixed into sauces. Its slightly milder flavor can even be a benefit for those who find Pecorino Romano too overpowering.


Moving away from hard, crumbly cheeses, we turn to Asiago. This semi-hard cheese can be a delightful alternative to Pecorino Romano, especially when it’s aged, as it becomes harder and more crumbly.

Asiago is a cow’s milk cheese, characterized by its mild and slightly sweet flavor when young, but it develops a sharper, more savory note as it ages. This evolving flavor profile can provide a close approximation to the distinctive taste of Pecorino Romano.

The texture of Asiago can also vary with age, moving from creamy and smooth when young to hard and crumbly as it matures. A well-aged Asiago can mimic the hard, crumbly texture of Pecorino Romano, making it an attractive option for grating or shaving over dishes.


Turning to the world of Spanish cheeses, Manchego offers a delightful stand-in for Pecorino Romano. Made from the milk of Manchega sheep, Manchego carries a distinctive sharp and nutty flavor, quite akin to Pecorino Romano.

The texture of Manchego, depending on its age, ranges from soft to semi-hard. An aged Manchego will be harder and crumblier, offering a similar textural experience to Pecorino Romano.

Manchego’s rich flavor and varied texture make it an excellent choice for a range of dishes, whether it’s grated over pasta, incorporated into sauces, or used as a topping for salads. Its sheep’s milk origin might also make it a preferable choice for those seeking a closer match to Pecorino Romano’s distinct taste.

Read More  5 Best Substitute For Sea Bass

Nutritional Yeast

For a non-dairy alternative, nutritional yeast can step into the limelight. Known for its cheesy, umami flavor, nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of yeast that can be sprinkled onto dishes or incorporated into sauces.

While it lacks the textural complexity of Pecorino Romano, the flavor profile of nutritional yeast, with its cheesy, savory notes, can help mimic the depth of flavor found in Pecorino Romano. Nutritional yeast is a particularly good choice for vegans or those with lactose intolerance.

However, it’s worth noting that nutritional yeast won’t provide the same mouthfeel or visual appeal as grated or shaved cheese. But in terms of taste, it can still offer a decent approximation and also brings in a boost of nutrients, including B vitamins.

Substitutes for Pecorino Romano Cheese: Nutritional Profile

Let’s compare the nutritional profiles of these substitutes, per ¼ cup:

SubstituteGlutenCaloriesFat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Grana PadanoNo1107.5009
Nutritional YeastNo601748

In Conclusion: Embarking on a Cheesy Adventure

Finding a substitute for Pecorino Romano is not just about mimicking flavor and texture—it’s about discovering new ingredients and embarking on a culinary adventure. While Parmesan, Grana Padano, Asiago, and Manchego provide fantastic alternatives with similar flavor profiles and textures, nutritional yeast offers an exciting plant-based alternative. Remember, substitutions aren’t just about replacement—they’re about discovery and innovation. Happy cooking!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *