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The Best Substitutes For Grana Padano Cheese

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

If you’re at all familiar with the delights of Italian cuisine, then you should definitely be familiar with the incredible Padano Cheese. Somewhat similar to Parmesan, this cheese is favored thanks to its crumbly texture, and complex taste palette.

The Best Substitutes For Grana Padano Cheese

You’ll often find this cheese being used as a garnish, where it is grated on top of dishes, or in some dishes, it’ll be incorporated into the cooking process, such as a risotto.

However, what should you do if you go to make a dish, and it turns out that you’ve completely run out of this cheese? Or even worse, if the local grocery store simply doesn’t stock any?

If you need some of the best Grana Padano cheese substitutes, then this guide is here to help you discover the right one for you and your cooking.

What Is Grana Padano Cheese?

One of Italy’s finest exports, Grana Padano cheese is a favorite among people all over the world and is characterized not only by its famous crumbly texture but also by the nutty and cheesy taste it brings to each dish too, which is all down to the fact that it is made by using raw cow’s milk.

If you’ve ever been to Italy, or have eaten at a high-class Italian restaurant, then you will have likely eaten Grana Padano, which is often used as a table cheese, or is grated over the top of dishes before eating.

It is also used in a number of key Italian recipes too, such as pancetta carbonara, as well as risotto alla Milanese.

This cheese has been a mainstay produce of Northern Italy for a millennium now, and its name translated literally means “The grainy cheese from Pianura Padana”.

Grana Padano is always an excellent addition to any Italian mealtime, but if you can’t manage to find any locally to you, there are plenty of alternatives that you can choose from instead!

Grana Padano Substitutes

If you’re looking to enhance your dish with some of that rich cheesiness that Grana Padano finds, then you might worry that nothing will compare if you’re unable to find any. 

Thankfully, these alternatives will help to replace the Grana Padano-shaped hole you have in your cooking, without compromising on any of the flavors! So, let’s take a look at what you can use.

1. Parmesan

The Best Substitutes For Grana Padano Cheese

Of course, the go-to substitution for Grana Padano will always be Parmesan cheese.

Not only is this Italian cheese extremely versatile, being able to be used in a wide variety of dishes, but it’s also delicious too, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on that great taste.

The texture of this cheese is also incredibly similar to Grana Padano, with its crumbly texture making it excellent for grating on the top of dishes before serving.

Plus the sharp flavor it provides means that you’ll almost definitely forget about Grana Padano ever being involved!

Much like Grana Padano, Parmesan cheese is made using unpasteurized milk, although Parmesan cheese is typically aged for 18 months, instead of Grana Padano’s 9 months.

This is what helps to give Parmesan that distinctive flavor profile that has helped it to become one of the most popular cheeses in the world.

So, whether it’s to garnish a salad, to use in a risotto, or to add on top of a pizza, Parmesan is a more than worthy substitute for Grana Padano!

2. Aged Asiago Cheese

The Best Substitutes For Grana Padano Cheese

Another excellent choice of substitute for Grana Padano cheese is Aged Asiago cheese. This cheese is characterized by its nutty taste and firm texture, which is produced in the alpine regions of Italy.

This cheese is another one of the varieties that can be grated over the top of dishes, which is exactly why so many people use it in lieu of Grana Padano.

The production and aging of this cheese help to provide it with a tangy and sharp nutty flavor, so it might differ from Grana Padano in that context, but it’s still incredibly delicious and will be sure to help elevate the taste of your dish.

If you plan on using Aged Asiago cheese in your dishes in place of Grana Padano, then you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right one. You’ll want to find a cheese that has been aged for at least 18 months, as anything less than this won’t quite have the desired flavors.

3. Pecorino Romano

The Best Substitutes For Grana Padano Cheese

If you’re looking for a cheese with a strong flavor to help replace the missing Grana Padano from your Italian cooking, then Pecorino Romano is an excellent option to help do so.

Aged for between 9 months and 2 years, the result is a cheese with an especially strong flavor and salty undertones, as well as a crumbly texture that is similar to Grana Padano, meaning that you can use it in all the same ways.

Originating in the capital, Rome, this cheese is one of the oldest cheeses produced in Italy, and what better way to honor its heritage in Italian cooking than to use it in your dishes at home!

The key difference between this cheese and Grana Padano is that Pecorino Romano is made using sheep’s milk instead of cow’s milk, which is what helps to provide that slight saltiness.

4. Dry Jack Cheese

The Best Substitutes For Grana Padano Cheese

This cheese is produced in an especially unique way, at first the milk is curdled, before being pressed, which helps to remove the whey from the cheese altogether.

As a result, the cheese is both dry and nutty, with a firm and crumbly texture that often draws comparisons to Grana Padano.

Unlike Grana Padano though, this cheese is not Italian and was made by Swiss Immigrants who had emigrated to the United States back in the 19th century, where it has been produced ever since.

Although it might not be as popular as some of the other alternatives for Grana Padano, especially given its lack of Italian heritage, it still makes for a great substitution should the need arise!

5. Piave Cheese

The Best Substitutes For Grana Padano Cheese

A product of ancient Rome, this cow’s milk cheese is known for its nutty and sweet flavor, which is why so many people decide to use it in their cooking.

Aged for anywhere between 10 months and 2 years, this cheese can be shredded over pasta dishes, which is why you might want to use it instead of Grana Padano!

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide to the best substitutes for Grana Padano has been able to help you find one that suits your needs and tastes. Enjoy!

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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