16 Manchego Cheese Substitutes: Taste, Flavor & How To Use

If you’re looking for a substitute for Manchego cheese to complete your recipe, this article is for you.

Manchego is a white cheese made from sheep’s milk, and it’s a popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine. You can use this cheese to make different dishes such as quesadillas, tomato sauce, and even salads.

If you can’t find it or if you want a more affordable option, there are many types of cheeses you can use instead. Read on to discover everything you need to know about manchego cheese and its substitutes.

What is manchego cheese?

Manchego is a semi-hard, old sheep’s milk cheese from La Mancha, Spain. It has a slightly salty and nutty flavor, making it a great addition to many dishes.

Manchego cheese is traditionally made from raw sheep’s milk, but today most versions are pasteurized to make them more accessible to the American market.

The cheese comes in many shapes and sizes, but most commonly in wheels that weigh between 16 and 25 pounds each.

When melted, manchego has a smooth consistency that can be used in many recipes. You can also grate it and serve it as a snack or add it to salads and sandwiches. 

Manchego cheese substitute

1. Parmesan cheese

parmesan cheese - millenora

As an alternative to manchego, you can use Parmesan, which is a hard, dry Italian cow’s milk cheese. It has a strong flavor and melts well when baking or frying.

You can use it just like any other hard cow’s milk cheese, but it’s best to grate it over foods just before serving.

2. Pecorino Romano

pecorino romano cheese - millenora

If you don’t have Parmesan on hand, consider using pecorino romano instead. This variety of Italian cheese is similar to Parmesan but tends to be saltier and sharper in taste than the latter.

It pairs well with tomatoes and herbs like rosemary or thyme in salads and pasta similar dishes.

3. Ricotta Salata

ricotta salata as manchego cheese substitute - millenora

Ricotta Salata is fresh ricotta that has been salted, pressed, and left to age.

For an even closer substitute, try substituting this milky white cheese for manchego cheese in your dish. Ricotta Salata has a similar texture to manchego but is less salty and has a distinctively milky taste.

4. Cabrales cheese

cabrales cheese as substitute for manchego - millenora

Another option is to use Manchego’s cousin, Cabrales. This blue cheese has more of a pungent flavor than Manchego and is less creamy. However, the two are similar enough that you can use Cabrales in most recipes that call for manchego.

5. Asiago cheese

asiago cheese - millenora

Asiago cheese is a hard nutty-flavored Italian cheese. It comes from cow’s milk and has a mild flavor that goes well with olives and nuts. It also makes a good table cheese to serve with fruit or crackers.

You can use Asiago cheese as a substitute for manchego cheese in recipes that call for it. It has a stronger flavor than manchego, so use fewer Asiago in your recipe if you are substituting it for manchego.

6. Cheddar cheese

cheddar cheese as manchego substitute - millenora

If you’re looking for a milder flavor that won’t overpower your dish, try using cheddar instead. This cheese has a mild nutty flavor with hints of sweetness and saltiness that make it ideal for pairing with other foods.

Cheddar also melts well when baked or grilled, so it’s great for dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches or macaroni and cheese.

7. Gouda

gouda cheese - millenora

Gouda cheese comes from cow’s milk, and it originates in Holland centuries ago when Dutch farmers would store their milk in wooden buckets called “gouda.” This cheese has a mild flavor, but it also has a creamy consistency that makes it perfect for cooking.

You can use gouda instead of manchego cheese in recipes like pasta dishes, pizza toppings, and sandwiches like burgers and paninis.

8. Idiazabal

idiazabal cheese as manchego substitute - millenora

This cheese comes from sheep’s milk and has a mild, creamy flavor that pairs well with wine or beer. It also melts well, making it a good substitute for manchego on burgers, paninis, and other sandwiches.

9. Queso fresco

queso fresco - millenora

If you’re looking for a substitute for manchego cheese, another good option is queso fresco. It has a similar texture and flavor profile to manchego but is milder in taste (it doesn’t have the same sharpness).

Queso fresco is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Spain. Its name translates as “fresh cheese,” and it’s typically served as an appetizer or side dish with crusty bread.

10. Brie cheese

brie cheese as manchego substitute - millenora

Brie is an excellent substitute for manchego because both kinds of cheese have similar flavors and textures. However, brie tends to have more moisture than manchego — so if you’re looking for something drier, this cheese is not for you.

11. Feta

feta - millenora

Feta is a white sheep’s milk cheese with a tangy flavor and a crumbly texture that makes it perfect for salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. It also pairs well with other foods like roasted vegetables and salads alike.

12. Mozzarella

mozzarella cheese - millenora

Mozzarella is an Italian buffalo’s milk cheese that has a mild taste and soft texture. It comes in many varieties depending on the aging duration and how much moisture it contains (low-moisture mozzarella is firmer than high-moisture mozzarella).

You can use mozzarella in pasta and pizzas as well as omelets or frittatas (egg dishes). It melts quickly without becoming greasy, so it’s also great on sandwiches.

13. Monterey Jack

monterey jack manchego cheese substitute - millenora

Monterey Jack is a mild, semi-hard cow’s milk cheese with a buttery flavor and a pale-yellow color. It’s an excellent choice for cheese boards, grilled cheese sandwiches, and even salads.

If you cannot find manchego or don’t want to pay the high price tag, you can also use Monterey jack cheese. It has a similar texture and flavor profile and will work well in recipes that call for manchego.

14. Fontina

fontina cheese manchego substitute - millenora

Fontina is a semi-soft Italian cheese with a sweet flavor similar to manchego but milder. This cheese works well with poultry dishes because it melts nicely without becoming greasy like some other cheeses.

15. Comté Cheese

comte cheese - millenora

Comté is one of the oldest known cheeses; it has been produced for at least 800 years. This type of cheese is a semi-hard cheese that comes from the Franche-Comté region of France and Switzerland (hence its name).

If you don’t have access to Manchego cheese, Comté cheese is a good substitute. It has a milder flavor, so you want to use more than what the recipe specifies for Manchego.

16.  Butter

block of butter - millenora

If you don’t have any of the above substitutes, try butter. You can use butter instead of manchego in any recipe that calls for melted cheese.

For example, you can use it in place of manchego when making quesadillas or mix it into your favorite pasta sauce to add some richness to the dish.

Why does manchego cheese need substitutes?


The price of manchego is higher than some types of cheeses. Because of this, some people often choose to substitute it with cheaper ones like cheddar or mozzarella to save money.


Manchego cheese is not available in some areas, so people in these areas will need a substitute to complete their recipe.


Some people prefer the taste of other types of cheeses over manchego, so they may decide to use a substitute instead.


Can you substitute parmesan cheese for manchego cheese?

Yes, you can. One common substitute for manchego cheese is parmesan cheese. The two have similar flavors, so you can use them interchangeably in many recipes.

Parmesan also melts easily, making it an ideal substitute for manchego in sauces or other dishes that call for melted manchego.

Is asiago cheese the same thing as manchego cheese?

No, it is not. Asiago and manchego are very similar in appearance and texture, but asiago has a much stronger taste than manchego. Asiago is an Italian cow’s milk cheese that has a mild flavor with a pale yellow color.

How do you use manchego cheese?

You can use manchego cheese as a topping for salads and vegetable dishes. You can also use it as an appetizer with fresh fruit and crackers, add to quiches or frittata, or add to soups and sauces.

Can you refrigerate manchego cheese?

Yes, you can. If you don’t want to eat all of your manchego at once, store it in an airtight container, and then place the container in the refrigerator.

Be sure to let it thaw at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving, so its full flavor will develop.


Manchego cheese is one of the most popular and oldest cheeses in Spain. It has a nutty flavor that goes well with salads, pasta dishes, soups, and sandwiches.

If you can’t find manchego cheese at your local grocery store or if you want a more affordable option, try the above substitutes. The flavor of your dish will be slightly different, but still delicious.

Up your cheese game with these 11 parmesan substitutes for Alfredo sauce.

Thanks for reading.