Is gorgonzola for vegetarian?

By definition, vegetarians shouldn’t have any kind of meat in the meal, which also includes the abstention of by-products made from the animal. While vegetarians (not vegan) are still allowed to eat the dairy product (e.g. milk and cheese) ever since the earliest dated of 7th century BCE, ironically, there is a concern of animal-derived rennet used in the making of traditional cheese in the last few decades.

So, what about gorgonzola? The original making of gorgonzola PDO does contain animal rennet in it, so it is technically not a vegetarian cheese. But nowadays, most of the gorgonzola-making factory are switching to the cheaper and more accessible microbial rennet, which is totally acceptable for the vegetarian. With that change however, it can hardly be called the original gorgonzola.

It’s also applied to the other cheeses made using the animal rennet. See below.

Animal rennet and non-vegetarian

Animal rennet is a crucial enzyme extracted from the animal stomach for the purpose of curdling milk. Traditionally, the stomach is commonly obtained from the unweaned lamb (for feta, pecorino romano, ricotta, and other sheep’s milk cheeses) and unweaned calf (for asiago, brie, camembert, cheddar, halloumi, fontina, Emmental, gorgonzola, Havarti, Monterey Jack, and other cow’s milk cheeses). 

It involved the slaughtering of the baby animals. Therefore, not only that it is a by-product from the animal (not vegetarian), but the cheese product itself is also not cruelty-free.

The reason for that is because weaned animals have significantly lesser of a particular enzyme present in the stomach as they stop drinking milk, so using the adult animal is far less efficient.

So, is it possible to make cheese without rennet or citric acid? Read the answer here.

Can I have gorgonzola as a vegetarian? If not, any alternatives?

This is Oregonzola, and is also suitable for vegetarian. It’s a new style of gorgonzola developed in the late 1990’s.

The easiest way is to stop-by your local cheese shop to look for the vegetarian-friendly gorgonzola if you can find any. Otherwise, you can always try to make your own vegetarian version of gorgonzola with vegetarian rennet, It’s not that hard, as you can see this mother-and-son team nailing the homemade gorgonzola watch here.

The picture on the right is the one excellent alternative cheese closest to the gorgonzola I found on Amazon, and it’s also vegetarian-friendly.

FODMAP Diet: Should I eat gorgonzola? Read this.


I have a background in biotechnology, and I love cats.

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