Romano Cheese Vs Parmesan: Key Differences

If you’ve ever wondered which one was better or just wanted to know the difference between Romano cheese vs Parmesan, this article is for you.

First and foremost: Romano cheese and Parmesan are hard, sharp-tasting cheeses of a milky origin.

 They are also both used as grating cheeses. But beyond that, they’re pretty different.

The significant difference between both pieces of cheese is that Parmesan is made from skimmed or partially skimmed cow’s milk, whereas Romano is made from sheep’s milk (or sometimes goat’s milk).

However, that’s not the only difference. We have reserved the best part of the debate below. So endeavor to read to the end.

What Is Romano Cheese?

It seems like everywhere you look, chefs are using Romano cheese. This famous cheese, also known as Pecorino Romano, is one of the oldest cheeses in the world. It’s made from sheep’s milk, and it’s a hard cheese that’s often granted.

Romano cheese is also similar to Parmesan cheese but is less nutty and has a more pronounced flavor that’s sharper and saltier.

The taste of a good Romano cheese is noticeably more potent than its cousin, the Parmesan, and it can be grated over pasta or used in sauces instead of Parmesan to add a punch of flavor.

Romano cheese is often used in recipes like chicken piccata (sometimes even in place of Parmesan). It also tastes great, sprinkled on baked eggplant or spaghetti squash.

Additionally, Romano is a good melting cheese, and it’s served with pasta, on pizza, or in soups. In the United States, Romano is often confused with the similarly named Parmesan cheese.

Although both are Italian cheeses used as grating cheeses, they differ in recipe and characteristics. Romano cheese has a sharper flavor and tends to be saltier than Parmesan.

See Also: Is Grana Padano Vegetarian?

What Is Parmesan Cheese?

The Italians have a king of all cheeses: Parmesan.

Parmesan is one of the most flavorful varieties of cheese in the world. It has a sharp, complex flavor and is very salty. It is made from cow’s milk. The milk is warmed to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in large copper vats.

Rennet, an enzyme mixture extracted from the stomachs of cows, is added to the milk to make it curdle. The curds are then separated from the whey and pressed into large wheels.

After this initial aging process, lasting anywhere from 12 months to three years, the cheese wheels are soaked in saltwater for about 20 days. They are sent for further aging before being grated and packaged for sale.

Parmesan’s taste comes from various factors contributing to its unique flavor profile. It has notes of nutty flavors like almond and hazelnut and fruity flavors like pineapple and banana. It also has hints of caramel or butterscotch due to its long aging process (upwards of three years).

Parmesan can be eaten on its own or used as an ingredient in melted dishes like sauce and soup recipes. It also pairs well with shepherd’s pie, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, omelets, casseroles, pizza, au gratins, soufflés, fondues, etc.

Parmesan is so versatile that you might run out of ideas on using them.

Romano Cheese Vs Parmesan: Key Differences

Romano and Parmesan Cheese may be similar in taste and appearance, but you’ll get glimpses of their fundamental differences when carefully examined.

Below is a table that demonstrates that!

Parameters Of Comparison Romano CheeseParmesan Cheese
OriginsItaly, in Sardinia, Lazio, and Tuscany (Province of Grosseto)Only in the “Reggiano” region of Italy.
Color It comes in a milky white appearance. Parmesan cheese is yellowish.
Texture  It has a hard grating-type texture.The texture is hard and granular.
FlavorSharper, saltier, and has a tangy flavor. Less salty, sharp, and fruity flavor.  
Production MethodIt is made mainly from sheep’s milk (ewe’s milk).It was produced with whole cream, grass-fed cow’s milk.
AgeAged for five to six months longerFor the Stravecchio type: 24–36 months For the Vecchio type: 18–24 But no parmesan is aged less than 12months

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is Romano Cheese Aged?

Romano cheese is a type of hard cheese. As with most hard cheeses, Romano will last longer than soft cheeses. The shelf life of Romano cheese depends on how it is stored.

Unopened, it can last up to 8 months if refrigerated.

Romano can also be frozen, but its quality will decrease if it is not consumed before the expiration date on the package.

After opening, you should use Romano within 10-15 days for maximum quality.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is one of the longest-lasting cheeses you can buy. If you purchase good quality parmesan and keep it refrigerated at all times, it will last about ten months past its expiration date. Unopened Parmesan can last up to 7 – 10 months. Meanwhile, opened Parmesan will probably last about 1 – 2 months.

Can I Substitute Romano Cheese For Parmesan?

Yes, you can substitute Romano cheese for Parmesan cheese. Both pieces of cheese have similarly sharp flavors and are used in the same ways in cooking and baking.

Romano is often grated over pasta dishes, soups, salads, egg dishes, and casseroles, while Parmesan is used similarly to top finished dishes.

What Cheese Is Closest To Parmesan?

The cheese that’s most similar to Parmesan is Grana Padano. It’s hard, granular cheese like Parmesan, and it’s often used in place of Parm.

Grana Padano is made from raw cow’s milk, like Parmesan, and ages for at least nine months—though usually closer to 20 months (again, just like Parmesan).

See Also: Best Substitutes For Cotija Cheese


If you’re a cheese lover, you’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve had to choose between Romano vs Parmesan.

You may not have realized it, but these two pieces of cheese are very different. At the same time, both are Italian cheeses –which you’ve seen in the above table.

They also taste and smell dramatically different, and one is not necessarily better than the other—it’s just about what flavors work best for the dish you’re preparing.