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Easy Swaps: 5 Best Substitutes for Romano Cheese

If you’re a culinary enthusiast or simply someone who loves to experiment in the kitchen, the rich, sharp taste of Romano cheese is likely familiar to you. With its place in countless pasta, salad, and soup recipes, Romano’s distinct flavor plays an essential role in many beloved dishes.

But there are times when you may run out of Romano cheese and need a suitable substitute. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from.In this article, we’ll be discussing the five best substitutes for Romano cheese that you can easily find in your pantry or local grocery store.

5 Best Substitutes for Romano Cheese

1 – Parmesan Cheese

If Romano cheese is the king of sharpness, then Parmesan is a close cousin that reigns alongside it on the throne of hard cheeses. Its nutty and salty notes distinguish it, adding a complex depth to dishes and a creamy texture that enhances without overpowering.

Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, is aged for two years, allowing it to solidify to a granular texture that melts beautifully in the mouth.

It boasts a granular feel, with a crumbly consistency that’s still firm. The flavor is sweet, salty, and tangy, with a hint of nuts.

Of course, Parmesan shines in classics like spaghetti carbonara and eggplant parmesan. However, its versatility also extends to enriching the flavor of soups, salads, and even popcorn.

Substitution Tips: For substitute purposes, Parmesan can stand in for Romano at a one-to-one ratio, ensuring that balance in your recipes is maintained.

Parmesan is a worthwhile ally in your culinary endeavors, with a flavor profile that complements dishes across the culinary spectrum.

2 – Pecorino Romano

Sharing half its name with its esteemed relative, Pecorino Romano hails from the same bespoke region in Italy and boasts its distinct piquant flavor that is sure to invoke feelings of authenticity in your Italian dishes.

Like Romano cheese itself, Pecorino is made from sheep’s milk, which contributes to its specific sharpness and tang.

It presents a hard, grainy texture that’s both sweet and savory, with that requisite sharpness that adds depth and complexity.

Pecorino Romano is an essential topping for pasta, but its bold flavor also works well in salad dressings, soups, and stews.

Substitution Tips: When replacing Romano with Pecorino, a 1-to-1 ratio is generally suitable. However, be mindful of the dominant tang in Pecorino, which might require slight adjustments in the overall salt content of your dish.

For dishes that call for a bold bite, Pecorino Romano is an excellent choice, enriching flavors with an Italian flair that cannot be ignored.

3 – Grana Padano

Hailing from the Po River Valley in northern Italy, Grana Padano offers a velvety texture and a slightly milder flavor profile, making it an approachable alternative to Romano cheese that still packs a punch of taste.

This cheese shares a similar aging process to Parmesan, which reflects in its texture and taste.

It has a pliable texture with a subtle tang and is less crumbly than Parmesan but still provides a satisfying crunch.

Grana Padano stands out in risottos, omelets, and a myriad of Italian savory tarts.

Substitution Tips: With a slightly less intense flavor profile, you might consider using a tad more Grana Padano than Romano in a recipe, perhaps in a 1.5-to-1 ratio.

For a more approachable tang that still defines its own character, Grana Padano’s creamy texture and slightly milder profile make it a versatile player in the kitchen.

4 – Asiago Cheese

A staple of the Italian and Swiss palette, Asiago’s medium-hard texture and versatile taste profile offer a unique flexibility that can smoothly integrate into a broad range of cuisines.

Asiago’s production is traditional yet diverse, resulting in a variety of flavors and textures suitable for various purposes.

It comes in various stages of aging, with flavors ranging from mild and buttery when fresh to sharp and nutty when aged.

Fresh Asiago is ideal for melting over pizza or in sandwiches, while the sharp, aged variety can bring a punch to pastas, casseroles, and salads.

Substitution Tips: The substitution depends on the specific type of Asiago you’re using, but a one-to-one ratio is generally a good starting point. Adjust according to your personal tastes and the recipe’s requirements.

With its diverse nature, Asiago offers a broader palette for cooks to explore, providing milder options or sharper notes as needed in a variety of recipes.

5 – Manchego Cheese

Traveling to the Iberian Peninsula, Manchego cheese from Spain offers a slightly nuttier taste and a rich, earthy aroma that can add a pleasant Mediterranean touch to your cooking.

Crafted from the milk of Manchega sheep, this cheese has a distinct nutrient profile and is often used in diabetic menus.

Manchego’s texture can range from firm to somewhat crumbly, with deep nutty notes and a slight tang that make it a good substitute for Romano.

It pairs wonderfully with fruits like quince and figs, as well as in salads and tapas.

Substitution Tips: Since Manchego’s flavor is not as intense as Romano’s, you may wish to use a bit more to achieve the desired impact, in a ratio of 1.5-to-1 or according to your taste preference.

Manchego’s unique Spanish influence can introduce an exciting twist to your recipes, making it a noteworthy contender when exploring substitutes for Romano cheese.


In conclusion, while Romano cheese holds a distinctive flavor profile, it is by no means irreplaceable. These five alternatives provide varying degrees of sharpness and tang that can enhance dishes in the same way as Romano.

Depending on your personal tastes and recipe requirements, any one of these substitutes can fill in for Romano cheese without compromising on taste or texture. So next time you’re preparing an Italian-inspired meal, keep these options in mind and experiment with different flavor profiles to elevate your cooking.