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Substitutes for Parmesan Rind

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Many people are yet to make the amazing discovery that, instead of throwing out the peels or rinds from your Parmesan cheese, you can make a fantastic flavor booster out of them, using them to add a kick to the flavors in your favorite recipes.

Typically containing all the flavors of the cheese itself, parmesan rinds serve to greatly enhance the umami and taste in sauce and soup recipes, if used appropriately. What happens, though, if this magic ingredient is out of your reach?

Fret not, as there are several options you can work with to replicate the creamy goodness of Parmesan rinds in your recipes. Conveniently, these options work the same way you would use Parmesan rinds in your recipes, and they are quite easy to slip into your recipes in their place, giving you the same flavorful goodness.

What is Parmesan Rind?

Substitutes for Parmesan Rind

Parmesan rinds are just what they sound like: the rind, which means the peel or skin off of a real Parmesan cheese round. Parmesans are pale yellow cheeses made from cows milk and possess a deep creamy flavor.

The parmesan rind is a covering of cheese that forms on the outside as it ages. This covering happens to have all of the cheeses flavor but is essentially inedible. It can be eaten technically, but the texture is difficult to deal with, and as such, it is best to cook with it to get the most taste out of it.

Any sauce or soup will benefit from the addition of a Parmesan rind. The rind will not melt, and it will, however, soften instead and sit in sauces or soups, adding extra umami and taste. Given that Parmesan is one of the most important ingredients in Italian cooking, it is not much of a surprise that the rinds perform particularly well in Italian dishes.

Uses of Parmesan Rind in Recipes

Substitutes for Parmesan Rind

Although many people would normally dispose of Parmesan rinds and go for the actual Parmesan cheese, a lot of cooks have been using it as a special magic ingredient to elevate the flavors in their recipes. Some people include it in their risotto, infuse it with olive oil for use as a tasty dipping sauce, or make a good old Parmigiano Reggiano broth with it.

Whatever you decide to use it for, parmesan rinds serve an excellent purpose of kicking up the flavors in recipes and are thus a delightful ingredient. The following are some recipes that use parmesan rinds:

  • Beef Ragu
  • Bolognese sauce
  • Italian chicken soup
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Winter minestrone
  • Parmesan broth with lemon, chicken, and spinach
  • Creamy Parmesan stock
  • Parmesan Risotto
  • Italian beef stew
  • White bean and Parmesan soup
  • Sunday Parmesan Marinara
  • Classic Ragu Alla Bolognese
  • Vegetable Parmesan stew
  • Spaghetti Meat Sauce
  • Vegetable minestrone
  • Basic Parmesan Pomodoro
  • Tomato sauce
  • Vegetarian white chili

Substitutes for Parmesan Rind

Parmesan rinds are particularly useful in several recipes for improving their overall flavor, and they are also very versatile and easy to store over long periods.

However, it might so happen that you run out of your magic taste booster one day. But, not to worry, there are loads of substitute options to pick from that can conveniently stand in your recipes to replicate the functions of parmesan rinds.

You could try experimenting with these options:

Grated Parmesan

Some argue that shredded Parmesan will not impart the same flavor intensity as the rind. However, you can successfully use freshly grated Parmesan if you cant find a parmesan rind or dont use enough Parmesan to have leftover rinds. Also, because this still involves the use of Parmesan, its many fans would gladly accept it in any form.

You might be wondering if this will change your mind about using the rind. This isnt the case because using rinds achieves the perfect taste and balance. So, use grated Parmesan instead of rinds the same way you would use them in soups and stews until they are finished cooking, and the resulting flavor is more intense and well-balanced.

Gruyere Rind

You definitely should not be throwing away the rinds of this costly cheese. It has a sweet taste with a salty undertone. It takes more than six months to manufacture this solid, pale yellow cheese, and the holes in it give it a gritty feel.

Gruyere cheese is a wonderful melting cheese with a dark brown hue commonly used in baking recipes. The rind of certain cheeses is not edible, but gruyere, like Parmesan, happens to be. This substitution can be used in soups, broths, and risottos.

Pecorino Romano Rind

When considering alternatives for parmesan rinds, pecorino usually comes to mind. Pecorino and Parmesan have comparable flavors and textures. Although extremely salty, it has a buttery, crisp, and nutty flavor. Pecorino is also further distinguished from Parmesan rinds because it is manufactured from sheep rather than cows milk.

Pecorino is a firm cheese with spaghetti, casserole, and bread recipes. The rind can be used in place of parmesan rinds in virtually any recipe that calls for it. Pecorino is highly salty, and as such, the entire recipe should be regulated to manage the salt content throughout the preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is Parmesan not vegetarian?

Rennet, an enzyme found in the stomach lining of a goat or calf, is used to make Parmesan cheese. Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, Manchego, Gorgonzola, Gruyre, and other cheeses that use it are not exactly vegetarian.

How long do Parmesan rinds last?

Parmesan rinds can last indefinitely and make excellent stock, soup, stew, or risotto enhancers; they may even be made into an umami-rich broth that can be served as a main course.

Can you reuse a Parmesan rind?

Cutting parmesan rinds into cubes and adding them to soups, broths, and soups is the most traditional technique to reuse them. The cheese will soften and release its flavor due to the heat, making it even more powerful than simply grated.


Parmesan rinds have been discovered to be more than just the disposable skins of parmesan cheeses; they can do a world of good for your recipes, enhancing their flavors so amazingly. However, it is also a good idea to be familiar with substitute options if you need them.

Whether you unintentionally disposed of the rinds when your parmesan cheese was completed, or you would rather not buy store-bought options, theres no need to worry. One or more of our recommended parmesan rind substitutes should work fine for you in a pinch.


What can I use if I don’t have Parmesan rind?

While an Asiago rind made the soup taste unappealingly gamey, tasters agreed that rinds from both Pecorino Romano and Gruyère added a savory flavor comparable to that of the Parmesan rind. If you don’t have a rind, any one of these cheeses is also an acceptable substitute.

What flavor does Parmesan rind add?

Plop the rinds into your next tomato sauce, ragù, or soup and let it simmer. Remove whatever is left of the rind just before serving. It will add a salty flavor and thicken everything up.

What is a Parmesan rind made of?

For those who might be new to the Parmesan rind cooking game (thinking that’s just about everyone), here the secret: Unlike many other cheeses, Parmesan does not have any wax or other additives in its rind. It is literally just the aged and hardened exterior of the cheese that has been washed in salt brine.

How to make Parmesan rind?

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place rind on the baking sheet.
Cook for 5-6 minutes depends on how tick rind is.
Cut into the smaller pieces when it comes straight from the oven.
Another option is to cut into the smaller pieces, let it cool and ground in small food processor or in a spice grinder.

What is the closest cheese to Parmesan?

Asiago cheese is closest to Parmesan, but this cheese is actually a bit sweeter. It’s a semi-hard yet smooth cheese with a slightly nutty flavor. Asiago offers a mild sharpness that doesn’t overwhelm, but rather accents a mellow vegetable or meat dish.

What do Italians do with Parmesan rind?

Sauces: The flavor of Italian pasta sauces, such as a classic red sauce or a bolognese, can benefit from Parmesan rinds. Add the rinds to the tomato sauce as it simmers to impart a cheesy flavor without having to add grated cheese. You can use the sauce for lasagna or other pastas, like spaghetti or rigatoni.

Can I buy Parmesan rinds?

Kimberly, the editor I would start off by checking at your local cheese counter or grocery store — anywhere they carve up big wheels of Parmesan to sell in smaller pieces. They may sell you the rinds at a reduced rate. You can also check Italian restaurants, although restaurants often save rinds for stock themselves.

Why add Parmesan rind to soup?

Though the Parmesan rind won’t melt entirely, it will get super soft and break down. This not only infuses your broth with a powerful kick of umami, according to Marc, it’ll also thicken the broth considerably, giving your soup a rich robust flavor that’s impossible to resist.

How much of Parmesan is the rind?

Look for the rind line, which is often quite obvious once you deliberately look for it – usually about half a centimeter (or a quarter inch) in from the edge, though this can vary depending on age and how the cheese was stored.

What is the crunchy stuff in Parmesan?

These crunchy pieces are often mistaken for flakes of salt or taken as a sign that the cheese is drying out, but they are actually little bits of the amino acid tyrosine, and they appear in the cheese as a result of aging. Casein, the main protein in milk, is composed of several amino acids, including tyrosine.

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