6 Best Substitutes For Parmesan Cheese In Alfredo Sauce

Best Substitutes For Parmesan Cheese

Alfredo sauce is an Italian sauce served with fettuccine noodles. This sauce is predominantly referred to as a “small slice of heaven” due to its thick, rich, and creamy flavor, derived from parmesan cheese and garlic. But what if you run out of parmesan cheese?

Since parmesan cheese is an integral part of Alfredo sauce, can you replace or find its substitute? Well, it is challenging but possible. We tried a few alternatives, and we believe that Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, etc., might be able to replicate the taste of Parmesan.

We shall explain how to use these substitutes to recreate the same texture and taste as that of parmesan cheese in Alfredo sauce.


Best Substitutes For Parmesan Cheese In Alfredo Sauce

When it comes to substitutes for parmesan cheese, especially for Alfredo sauce, you must find something that tastes similar and can create the exact thick consistency. We kept this factor in mind while researching for this. Go through every option before you make the final call.

1. Mozzarella 


Initially, we were completely against mozzarella cheese instead of Parmesan in Alfredo sauce. But we did a few experiments, and we were happy with the results.

Let us understand the varying tastes of both kinds of cheese. Parmesan has a gritty and hard texture with a nutty taste. On the other hand, mozzarella has an elastic texture with a sour taste.

Even though these cheeses are apples and oranges in terms of taste, you can recreate the taste by following this recipe.

Heat the butter in a large pan over low heat. Pop in some garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Once they turn brown, pour in whole milk along with chopped parsley, mushrooms, vegetables, or chicken. Let it simmer for 10 minutes till the sauce reduces by half.

Add your mozzarella cheese along with black pepper and sauce. The secret lies in the stirring technique. If you want the same consistency as parmesan cheese, it is best to stir constantly till the cheese is melted completely. Toss in your cooked pasta and serve hot!

Hence, you can substitute parmesan cheese for mozzarella as far as you are paying attention to the seasoning as well as your stirring techniques.


2. Pecorino Romano 

Pecorino Romano 

Pecorino Romano cheese comes from the Italian sheep’s milk cheese family known as Pecorino. The word Pecorino is derived from “Pecora,” which is Italian for sheep.

This cheese is indispensable as far as Italian cooking is concerned. It is white in color and mostly used for grating. Even though it has a crumbly texture, you can prepare Alfredo sauce with it.

Take a saucepan and add butter and cream to it. Heat it till both the ingredients are melted. Remove the saucepan from the stove and add your cheese. Stir till it is melted and blended.

Season it with black pepper and salt. Add your pasta along with the cream sauce. This will give you the necessary consistency.


3. Parmigiano-Reggiano


Parmigiano-Reggiano is referred to as the “King of Cheeses” by the Italians. It is a dry and hard cheese made from skimmed or partially skimmed cow’s milk. It has a pale-golden rind with a sharp flavor.

It has a complex flavor along with a granular texture.

It must be noted that Parmigiano-Reggiano is nothing but the Italian word for Parmesan. But, several U.S. markets market it as authentic even though it is just an imitation.

The difference lies in the aging timelines. Parmigiano-Reggiano is aged for 1-3 years, while Parmesan cheese is aged for less than 10 months.

Nonetheless, you can use this cheese instead of your regular Parmesan while making Alfredo sauce. You can look for the words “made in Itlay” to locate authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Take a skillet and place it over medium heat. Melt butter and add flour. Stir constantly before adding garlic.

Pour in milk and heavy cream. Stir till the mixture thickens.

Remove the pan from the heat and add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stir it for a few seconds and place it over low heat. Cover with a lid and stir at regular intervals. Toss in the pasta and stir again.


4. Gruyère 


Gruyère is obtained from whole cow’s milk. It has a yellow color with a firm texture. It is aged for more than six months, giving it a creamy, rich, salty, and nutty taste. This type of cheese has small holes, making it easier to distinguish.

The flavor of Gruyère is very similar to Parmesan, making it easier for you to substitute it.

Take a medium saucepan and melt butter over medium heat. Add cream and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic along with Gruyère cheese, salt, and pepper. Whisk over the heat and add the pasta.

This process will give you the necessary thickness and creaminess in the Alfredo sauce pasta without using parmesan cheese.


5. Grana Padano

Grana Padano

Grana Padano comes from northern Itlay. This type of cheese is very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano in terms of taste and texture.

It has a crumbly texture with a nutty taste. 

You can easily substitute parmesan cheese with Grana Padano by following this recipe.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and fry till it turns golden. Add flour and whisk it constantly for a few minutes.

Lower the heat and add milk and cream. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes, and then add Grana Padano. Whisk it well till the mixture thickens. Toss in your pasta and mix it well.

6. Piave Cheese 

Generally referred to as Parmesan’s cousin, Oiave cheese is an Italian cow’s milk cheese that is aged for 12 months. This cheese has a rich taste, due to which it can be substituted for parmesan cheese in several recipes, including Alfredo sauce.

This hard and cooked curd cheese has a dense texture without open holes. Its creamy and sweet taste makes it easier to incorporate into varying recipes.

While the color of the pate is white, it turns straw-colored with maturity. On the other hand, the rind becomes hard and brown with aging.

The recipe remains the same. Melt some butter in a saucepan along with cream, garlic cloves, and Piave cheese. Warm over medium heat for 6-7 minutes before tossing your pasta.

How to Make Alfredo Sauce without Parmesan Cheese? (Vegan Substitute) 

For all the vegans out there, you need not worry about missing out on the richness of Alfredo sauce. Even for the people who aren’t able to find any cheese, you can make Alfredo sauce without Parmesan or any sort of cheese by Parmesan this recipe:

  • Boil one cup of raw cashews for 10 minutes. Drain and let it cool.
  • Toss it in the food processor with one cup of nut milk till the mixture gets smooth.
  • Take a non-stick skillet and add olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and sauté till it turns brown.
  • Add flour and whisk till all the ingredients are blended.
  • Once it is mixed, add the cashew cream along with salt and pepper. If you want something exactly like Alfredo sauce, you can also add nutmeg.
  • Let it simmer for some time.
  • Once the sauce is prepared, toss in the pasta and top it off with some parsley.

Not only is this recipe easy to follow, but it will give you something exactly similar to Alfredo sauce without any cheeses or dairy. 



1. How can I thicken Alfredo sauce without Parmesan?

If you want to enjoy thick Parmesan Alfredo sauce without adding any Parmesan, you can do this by using cornstarch. Start by mixing the cornstarch with some cold water. Blend well till it becomes slurry. Whisk it over medium heat in a pan till you get your desired thickness.


2. What Italian cheese is similar to Parmesan?

Several Italian cheeses lParmesanrino Romano, Grana Padano, and Parmigiano Reggiano are similar to Parmesan. Not only do they have a hard texture, but they also have a nutty taste, making it easier to substitute for Parmesan.



It is said Parmesanshouldn’t mess with the authentic Alfredo sauce recipe. But what’s the harm in looking for substitutes if the original ingredients like Parmesan cheese aren’t available?

We have also mentioned a dairy-free recipe for all our vegan readers, apart from the cheese substitutes. Season it well and embrace the warmth that Alfredo sauce pasta offers!

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