Substitutes For Parmesan Cheese In Alfredo – 11 Excellent Alternatives

Everyone knows how parmesan cheese seems to be the magic in alfredo. But when you run out of parmesan or can’t find it in the store closest to you, do you know any cheese substitutes that can save your alfredo sauce?

While cheese seems to be one readily available ingredient, your favorite cheese or the perfect cheese for a recipe may not always be available, like in the case of parmesan cheese for alfredo.

Knowing substitutes for your favorite ingredients will not only save you time, but it’ll also save your recipe. In this article, you’ll get to know a list of cheese substitutes that will work just like parmesan in alfredo sauce.

What is parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese is one of the most popular Italian cheeses. It sometimes goes by its Italian name Parmigiano Reggiano.

It is a hard cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Parmesan is a granular cheese with a salty taste.

It is readily available in grocery stores and supermarkets in wedge and pre-heated forms. In addition, as a type of hard cheese, parmesan is best used in its grated form as a topping for pasta and pizzas and a thickener for sauces.

What is alfredo sauce?

Alfredo is a creamy pasta sauce made from cream, milk, and cheese.

This sauce is named after a Roman chef, Alfredo di Lelio. Alfredo was first a comfort food for the chef’s pregnant wife, who was struggling to keep food down.

Alfredo sauce started as comfort food but is now a well-known dish. This sauce is unlike other sauces that use tomato as a base.

According to individual preferences, some people season their alfredo with garlic, pepper, parsley, and Italian seasoning.

In addition, alfredo sauce is mostly served with pasta. But you can also use it as a dip for vegetables and crackers, as a sauce for meatballs, pizza sauce substitute, as a marinade for pork loin or chicken, as salad dressing, and for casseroles.

Parmesan cheese substitutes for alfredo

1. Piave cheese

piave cheese - millenora

Piave is the closest cheese to parmesan, except that it is aged for only one year. It is cow’s milk cheese that works perfectly for any parmesan recipe, including alfredo.

This cheese is creamier and sweeter than parmesan. However, it works perfectly in a ratio of 1:1.

2. Asiago cheese

asiago cheese - millenora

Asiago cheese does not only thicken alfredo like parmesan, but it also has a similar sharp flavor.

This cheese is creamier and nuttier than parmesan cheese. However, you can be sure to get a very identical outcome if you substitute asiago cheese for parmesan in alfredo.

In addition, asiago cheese works perfectly well in any recipe that requires parmesan cheese. Use asiago cheese in your recipe in the same amount you’d use parmesan cheese.

3. Romano cheese

parmesan cheese substitute in alfredo sauce

Romano cheese makes the list of parmesan substitutes for alfredo. It has a similar nutty flavor but is saltier.

Moreover, romano cheese is just as hard as parmesan, thereby making its grated form a perfect ingredient for alfredo. Use romano cheese for alfredo in the same amount that you’d use parmesan.

4. Pecorino Romano cheese

pecorino romano - millenora

Do not confuse pecorino romano with romano cheese. The former is a more expensive Italian cheese and is made from sheep’s milk, unlike the latter, which may be made from sheep’s, goat’s, or cow’s milk.

It also has a similar flavor to parmesan but with more fat and salt content.

Therefore, if you’re using pecorino romano as a substitute for parmesan, you may want to use it in a reduced quantity, especially if you’re looking to reduce your fat and salt intake.

You can also replace parmesan with pecorino romano in a ratio of 1:1 by making necessary adjustments in ingredients that contain fat and salt.

5. Grana panado

grana panado - millenora

Grana panado is another excellent substitute for parmesan cheese when making alfredo. It is an Italian cow’s milk cheese that shares a lot of similarities with parmesan except that it is less salty and fatty.

Also, in terms of texture, grana panado is softer than parmesan cheese. So, you have to cook alfredo on low heat if you’re using grana panado instead of parmesan cheese.

6. Cheddar cheese

cheddar cheese parmesan substitute for alfredo - millenora

Cheddar cheese follows a similar preparation method as parmesan. It is smear-ripened with bacteria and comes out hard after aging.

Cheddar cheese may be used to replace parmesan because it is also a hard cheese. Use cheddar if you can get an aged version with a sharp taste.

7. Gruyere

gruyere cheese parmesan substitute for alfredo - millenora

Another less salty substitute for parmesan cheese for alfredo is gruyere. Moreover, gruyere is cheaper than parmesan and has a milder flavor, so it does not overpower your dish.

Gruyere cheese is a yellow cheese that matures within six months or more. Additionally, it is known for its small holes.

This substitute will give you the same thickness as parmesan when you substitute it in a ratio of 1:1.

8. Mozzarella

mozzarella cheese parmesan substitute for alfredo - millenora

Not many chefs like to go this way, but the soft texture of mozzarella can still work perfectly as a parmesan cheese substitute for alfredo.

Mozzarella is creamier and a better option for a less-fat diet. And you can make the substitution in a ratio of 1:1 for a creamier consistency.

However, mozzarella doesn’t melt well like parmesan, so it may give you a lighter sauce. Keep this tip in mind: you can achieve a parmesan consistency by stirring the sauce constantly until the cheese melts completely.

9. Dry jack

dry jack cheese parmesan substitute for alfredo - millenora

Dry jack can be substituted for parmesan in a ratio of 1:1. It is a very hard cheese that develops a more intense flavor with age.

Just like parmesan, it has a nutty flavor but tastes more mildly. To achieve the parmesan taste, add more of this cheese.

10. Nutritional yeast

nutritional yeast - millenora

Nutritional yeast is not only nutritious but also gives meals a cheesy taste. You can use it in all the ways you use Parmesan cheese to make creamy dishes.

But because it has a more intense flavor, a substitution ratio of 1:1 will be too much.

Additionally, nutritional yeast is a good option for people who are lactose intolerant. It is also low in sodium and fat.

11. A non-cheesy vegan substitute

Many vegans have given up on alfredo because of cheese – a dairy product that is a core ingredient in the sauce. However, you don’t have to. Cheese serves as a thickener for alfredo.

There are vegan substitutes that can help thicken alfredo since the cheesy taste is not necessary for a vegan diet. Some of them are boiled unsalted cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, cornstarch, and salt.

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until you have a smooth mixture. Afterward, cook it on medium heat with lemon juice and any other seasoning you like. Cook the sauce until you have your desired thickness.

Why do you need parmesan cheese for alfredo sauce?

Parmesan cheese acts as a thickener for alfredo while it makes it a creamy and tasty cheesy sauce.

Can you make alfredo sauce without cheese?

Yes, you can. Alfredo sauce without cheese is preferred by vegans because cheese is a dairy product.

You can make alfredo without cheese with a slurry mixture of cornstarch and water. Stir in the mixture and allow it to cook until you have the thickness you want.

Additionally, you can make a dairy-free alfredo with cashew cream and coconut milk. Another option for cheese-free alfredo is vegetable broth.

Does parmesan cheese make alfredo sauce go bad?

Parmesan cheese may shorten the lifespan of alfredo because it is a dairy product. And meals made with dairy do not keep for long.

How to make alfredo sauce

This recipe makes 10 cups of alfredo sauce:


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups of cream cheese
  • 7 cups of grated cheese
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 10 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper


  • Place a clean saucepan on medium heat
  • Pour in the cream cheese and allow it to melt
  • After, whisk in the butter, salt, garlic, and pepper
  • Bring it to a boil and allow it to thicken
  • Afterward, whisk in the cheese and allow it to cook until it has melted perfectly
  • Allow it to cook until the sauce is smooth and creamy


How long can alfredo sauce last?

How long alfredo lasts depends on the method of preparation and storage.

An unopened jar of store-bought alfredo will last up to its best-by date and up to three weeks beyond the date.

An open jar of alfredo and homemade alfredo will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator.

How do you know alfredo sauce has gone bad?

When alfredo goes bad, it’ll look, smell and taste different from what it was like when you first made it.

Alfredo that has gone off may have visible mold growth, discoloration, an off smell, and an off taste.

Can you refrigerate alfredo sauce?

Yes, you can. Refrigerate leftovers of homemade alfredo in airtight jars. You can also refrigerate open jars of store-bought alfredo to keep the sauce for a few more days.

Is alfredo gluten-free?

If the alfredo sauce does not contain flour, then it is gluten-free. Naturally, the main ingredients in alfredo are milk, cream, and cheese, but some people love to thicken it with flour.


If you are an unrepentant parmesan lover, it can be very disheartening to find out that you’re out of supply. Because of unforeseen circumstances, knowing and having parmesan cheese substitutes for alfredo sauce is handy.

Moreover, you can have substitutes just in case you want a slightly different flavor or to try something new. If you’re eating vegan, you don’t have to give up on alfredo sauce. Try out the vegan option.

Thanks for reading.

I hope you found this article resourceful. If you’re eating gluten-free, find out if parmesan cheese is safe for you.