Provolone vs. Parmesan: Which Cheese is Better?

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Aaron

Parmesan and provolone are two of the most popular types of cheese. They both have a rich flavor and a creamy texture, but there are some key differences between them.

In this blog post, we will compare these two cheeses and help you decide which one is better for your needs.

The Characteristic

Parmesan is a hard, dry cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It has a nutty flavor and a crumbly texture. Parmesan is usually aged for at least 12 months, which gives it its distinctive flavor and aroma.

Provolone is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a sharp flavor and a smooth texture. Provencal is usually aged for at least 4 months. There is a younger version called dolce and an older version called piccante.

Provolone has a sharper flavor than parmesan and is also chewier.

The two cheeses are quite different in terms of color. Parmesan is pale yellow-brown, while provolone is straw or off-white.

The History and Origin

Both of them are Italian cheese. Parmesan originated in the Parma region of Italy. It was first mentioned in a document from the 13th century (1). Provolone, on the other hand, is believed to have originated in Naples.

The Production

Parmesan and provolone are produced similarly. The milk is heated and then curdled using rennet. Starter whey is added. The curds are then cut into small pieces and compacted into a thick mass.

Provolone has an additional step of pasta filata, which means “stretched curd”. Where hot water is added and the curds are stretched. The reason why provolone appears to be more chewy and spongy.

Then, the cheese curds are shaped and pressed, later brined for hours. Parmesan is usually aged for at least 12 months, while provolone is aged for at least four months.

The Serve and Use

Parmesan and provolone are both versatile cheeses that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Parmesan is a great option for grating over pasta dishes or salads. It can also be used in savory pies, casseroles, and soups.

Provolone is perfect for melting into sauces or using as a filling for sandwiches and calzones. It can also be added to pizzas or tacos.

Provolone can hardly be grated, more often shredding. You will normally see provolone is added to mozzarella in pizza to complement the mild taste by adding a bit more piquant flavor.

The price

Parmesan and provolone both cost more or less $20 per pound.

The Verdict

Parmesan and provolone are both great cheeses, but they have different strengths. Parmesan is a nutty, flavorful cheese that has a crumbly texture. It’s perfect for pasta dishes, risotto, and pizza. Provolone is a sharp-tasting cheese that has a smooth texture. It’s perfect for pizza, salads, and sandwiches.


Is parmesan the same as provolone?

No, they are two different types of cheese. Parmesan is made from cow’s milk and has a nutty flavor, while provolone is also made from cow’s milk but has a sharp flavor.

Which one is better for grating?

Parmesan is the better option for grating, as it has a crumbly texture. Provolone is not ideal for grating as it is more likely to shred.

Can I substitute parmesan for provolone?

Yes, Parmesan can be substituted for provolone in most dishes. But the flavor might turn out milder.

Do provolone and parmesan cheese go together?

Yes, provolone and Parmesan are a great combination. The sharpness of the provolone is balanced by the nutty flavor of the Parmesan.

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