Cheddar Cheese vs. Parmesan Cheese: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Aaron

When you’re cooking up some delicious macaroni and cheese, there’s nothing like the sharp, salty flavor of cheddar cheese.

But what about that Parmesan? What is it, exactly? And how does it compare to its cheddar counterpart? Read on to find out!

Origin and Features

Cheddar cheese is a cow’s milk cheese that originated in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. It has a relatively strong flavor and a slightly crumbly texture. Parmesan, on the other hand, is a hard, dry Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a rich and more complex flavor than cheddar and a slightly grainy texture similar to Romano cheese.

Cheddar cheese is typically orange in color, while Parmesan cheese is white or off-white. Cheddar cheese is also often sold in blocks, while Parmesan cheese is usually sold in wedges or shavings.

Typically, cheddar cheese is aged for about 2 to 12 months, while Parmesan cheese is aged for 12 months minimum.

How it’s Made

They are both made using rennet enzyme to curdle the milk. The curds are then molded, shaped, brined and aged. Cheddar has a process called “cheddaring”, where the water are added to reduce the acidity. Parmesan, specifically the Italian real parmesan production is strictly following the PDO rules by EU, which can only be made in a certain region of Italy. Parmesan also has an overall longer aging process than cheddar cheese. Each cheese wheel will be inspected, graded and fire-branded by inspectors from consortium to be called Parmigiano Reggiano.

Unlike Cheddar, real parmesan is only made with unpasteurized raw milk.

How to Use and Serve

Cheddar cheese can be served as part of a cheeseboard, or used in a variety of different dishes, like macaroni and cheese. Parmesan cheese is great for grating over pasta or salads. It can also be used in baking recipes.

Nutrition Facts

Both cheddar and Parmesan cheese are high in protein and calcium. Parmesan overall is healthier than cheddar, which according to the USDA data, parmesan has a slightly higher protein, potassium, sodium, cobalamin, and calcium. Parmesan also has lower saturated fat and cholesterol than cheddar. Cheddar has a higher Vitamin B6.


Both cheddar and Parmesan cheese contain higher amounts of histamine, which can trigger allergic reactions in some people. If you’re sensitive to histamines, it’s best to avoid eating these cheeses.

There is also a phenomenon called “parm rash” in cheesemonger circles, where prolonged contact with high histamine aged cheese.


Cheddar cheese is typically less expensive than Parmesan cheese. A block of cheddar in the US can be found for about $5-$25, while a wedge of Italian Parmesan will cost $15-$40. Read why parmesan is so expensive. So if you’re on a budget, cheddar is the better option!

Bottom line

In conclusion, cheddar and Parmesan are two very different kinds of cheese with unique flavors and textures.

Cheddar is great for dishes like macaroni and cheese, while Parmesan is perfect for adding flavor to Italian cuisine. They both have good nutritional value but contain histamine, so they may not be good for people with allergies.

And finally, cheddar is usually more affordable than Parmesan. So next time you’re at the store, be sure to pick up both of these delicious cheeses!


Can I substitute parmesan for cheddar?

Parmesan can be substituted for cheddar in most recipes, but the flavor will be different. Cheddar is better suited for dishes with a stronger flavor, while Parmesan is perfect for adding flavor to Italian cuisine.

Cheddar has a distinctive sharpness and nutty flavor that makes it great for dishes like macaroni & cheese or melted into nachos, but not so good in Italian sauces where the sharp edge of cheddar would overpower delicate flavors.

Parmesan on the other hand has a delicately rich flavor that goes well with tomatoes and basil in dishes like pasta or pizza.

Parmesan is an all-purpose Italian cheese while cheddar can be used for any recipe calling for “sharp” or extra flavorful cheese such as Monterey Jack, Colby, or Pepperjack.

Can I use cheddar instead of parmesan in Lasagna?

Parmesan has a more subtle flavor than cheddar and is often used in dishes where you want the cheese to be a background player rather than the star of the show.

Cheddar is a great substitute for Parmesan in dishes like lasagna where the cheese will be spread over other ingredients. In fact, some people actually prefer cheddar to parmesan because of its stronger flavor and tendency to melt better.

What’s more fattening cheddar or parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese is slightly more fattening than cheddar cheese. The data about showed that Parmesan cheese has a slightly higher calories than cheddar cheese. But as far as for the fat content, Parmesan has a lower fat content and saturated fat than cheddar.

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