Top 7 Store-Bought Parmesan Cheeses for Exceptional Flavor

7 Best Store-Bought Parmesan Cheeses

Parmesan cheese is a versatile ingredient that can enhance a variety of dishes, including pasta, soup, salad, and pesto. The quality of the cheese plays a crucial role in determining the depth and richness of flavor it adds to dishes. When purchasing store-bought Parmesan cheese, it is important to choose a high-quality option that delivers the bold, tangy flavors you expect. In this article, we will explore the top recommendations for the best store-bought Parmesan cheese options available.

What is Parmesan cheese made from?

Parmesan cheese originated in Italy and has gained popularity around the world. The three main ingredients used to make Parmesan cheese are milk, salt, and rennet, an enzyme extracted from a calf’s stomach. It’s worth noting that because of the use of animal rennet, Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian. However, some variations of Parmesan can be made with plant-based rennet to accommodate different dietary preferences.
The intensity of the flavor of Parmesan cheese depends largely on the aging process. The longer the cheese is aged, the sharper the flavor and the more grainy the texture. To prevent caking, Parmesan cheese is sometimes made with cellulose powder, especially when sold in grated form.

How to choose the best parmesan cheese

When choosing the best Parmesan cheese in the store, there are several factors to consider to ensure you are purchasing a high-quality and flavorful option. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Age of the cheese

The age of Parmesan cheese indicates its flavor intensity and texture. Parmesan cheese can be aged from 10 to 36 months, with each aging period offering unique characteristics. Here’s a breakdown of the flavor profiles associated with different aging periods:

  • 10 months: Most store-bought Parmesan is aged for about 10 months, resulting in a mild, creamy flavor and aroma.
  • 12 months: Parmesan aged 12 months has a slightly tart flavor with milky notes. It has a smooth texture and a mild aroma.
  • 24 months: Parmesan aged for 24 months has a sweeter, fruitier flavor and aroma with increased acidity. It has a firm yet grainy texture.
  • 36 Months: Parmesan aged for 36 months is the strongest variety, with a spicy, nutty aroma and punch of flavor. It has a grainy and crunchy texture, often with crystallization on the cheese.

2. Grated or ungrated

Parmesan cheese is available in stores in both grated and whole forms. The choice between grated and whole cheese depends on personal preference and intended use.

  • Grated Parmesan: If you primarily use Parmesan cheese in its grated form, purchasing pre-grated options can be convenient. They often come in shaker containers for easy sprinkling. It’s worth noting, however, that grated parmesan can lose some of its flavor over time, so buying it in its whole form may preserve its flavor better.
  • Whole Parmesan: Buying a whole block of Parmesan cheese gives you more flexibility in how you use it. You can grate, slice, or flake the cheese to suit your culinary needs. Plus, serving a wedge of Parmesan on a cheese board adds an elegant touch to any gathering.

3. Authenticity Stickers

Parmesan cheese that complies with specific regulations and techniques carries a Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) label, also known as an authenticity label. This label indicates that the cheese comes from the designated region in Italy and guarantees an authentic, traditional taste and texture. While not all quality Parmesan cheeses have this sticker, it can be a helpful indicator when purchasing a wedge of Parmesan cheese.

The best store-bought Parmesan cheese

Now that we’ve explored the key factors to consider when buying Parmesan cheese, let’s delve into the top recommendations for the best store-bought options available:

1. Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

– Key Features: Mild parmesan with flavor lock cap, won’t clump, long shelf life.
– Check current price at Walmart
Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese is an excellent option to keep in your refrigerator because of its mild flavor and convenient packaging. The large container comes with a flavor-lock cap that preserves the flavor of the cheese during storage. This grated Parmesan is ideal for sprinkling on a variety of dishes and is great for family use as it offers a balanced flavor that is not overpowering.

2. Sartori Sarvecchio Parmesan Cheese Wedge

– Key Features: Aged for 20 months for a strong, tangy flavor, salty notes
– Check current price at Walmart
The Sartori Sarvecchio Parmesan Cheese Wedge is aged for 20 months, resulting in a strong, tangy flavor profile. It has a salty undertone that adds depth to dishes. This wedge cheese can be used in a variety of ways, whether grated, sliced or shaved. It pairs well with pasta, salads and charcuterie boards, making it a versatile option for culinary enthusiasts.

3. BelGioioso Parmesan Cheese Wedge

– Key Features: Aged for 10 months, sweet and nutty flavor, creamy texture.
– Check current price at Walmart
The BelGioioso Parmesan Cheese Wedge is aged for 10 months, producing a cheese with a sweet and nutty flavor profile. It has a creamy texture that enhances the overall dining experience. This cheese wedge is a great addition to pasta dishes, risottos and soups, providing a delightful balance of flavors.

4. Trader Joe’s Parmesan Cheese Wedge

– Key Features: Aged 18 months, rich and robust flavor, versatile use.
– Check current price at Walmart
Trader Joe’s Parmesan Cheese Wedge is aged for 18 months, resulting in a rich and robust flavor profile. It offers versatility in use, whether grated over pasta or shaved on top of salads. This cheese has a tang that adds a delicious kick to any dish.

5. Cello Parmesan Cheese Wedge

– Key Features: Aged for 24 months, fruity and nutty flavor, crumbly texture.
– Check current price at Walmart
The Cello Parmesan Cheese Wedge is aged for 24 months, which intensifies its flavors. It has a fruity and nutty flavor with a crumbly texture that makes it an excellent choice for grating over pasta or salads. This cheese adds a distinctive character to any dish it accompanies.

6. Stella Parmesan Cheese Wedge

– Key features: Aged 10 months, Rich and nutty flavor, Versatile use.
– Check current price at Walmart
The Stella Parmesan Cheese Wedge is aged for 10 months, resulting in a cheese with a rich and nutty flavor profile. It offers versatility in use, whether grated or sliced. This cheese pairs well with a variety of dishes, from pasta to soups, and adds a savory touch to recipes.

7. Organic Valley Parmesan Cheese Wedge

– Key Features: Organic, Aged 12 months, Bold and tangy flavor, Smooth texture.
– Check current price at Walmart
The Organic Valley Parmesan Cheese Wedge is an organic option aged for 12 months. It features a bold and tangy flavor with a smooth texture. This cheese is a great addition to pasta dishes, risottos, and salads, providing a robust flavor that enhances the overall meal.

Bottom line

Choosing the best store-bought Parmesan cheese involves considering factors such as the age of the cheese, whether or not it is grated, and the presence of an authenticity seal. Recommended options, including Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese, Sartori Sarvecchio Parmesan Cheese Wedge, BelGioioso Parmesan Cheese Wedge, Trader Joe’s Parmesan Cheese Wedge, Cello Parmesan Cheese Wedge, Stella Parmesan Cheese Wedge, and Organic Valley Parmesan Cheese Wedge, offer a range of flavors and textures to suit different tastes and culinary needs. By choosing a quality Parmesan cheese, you can easily enhance the flavor and depth of your favorite dishes.


How long does store-bought Parmesan cheese last?

Store-bought Parmesan cheese can last for several months when properly stored. It is recommended to check the expiration date on the package for specific guidelines. Grated Parmesan tends to have a shorter shelf life than whole wheels.

Can I freeze store-bought Parmesan?

Yes, you can freeze Parmesan cheese to extend its shelf life. It is best to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Thaw the cheese in the refrigerator before using.

Is store-bought Parmesan cheese vegetarian-friendly?

Most store-bought Parmesan cheeses are not vegetarian-friendly because they contain animal rennet, an enzyme derived from a calf’s stomach. However, some varieties of Parmesan cheese are made with vegetable rennet, making them suitable for vegetarians. It is advisable to check the packaging or product information to determine if the cheese is vegetarian friendly.

Can I use store-bought Parmesan cheese as a substitute for other types of cheese?

Store-bought Parmesan cheese has a distinct flavor and texture that may not be suitable as a direct substitute for all types of cheese. However, it can be grated or shredded and used as a topping or ingredient in a variety of dishes to add a rich and tangy flavor.

Can I use store-bought grated Parmesan cheese in recipes that call for freshly grated Parmesan cheese?

Store-bought grated Parmesan cheese can be used in recipes that call for freshly grated Parmesan cheese. However, it is important to note that the texture and flavor of pre-grated cheese may be slightly different from freshly grated cheese. If possible, consider grating the cheese from a wedge for optimal flavor and texture.

Are all store-bought Parmesan cheeses equally authentic?

Not all store-bought Parmesan cheese is the same. Look for the Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) label on the package, which assures that the cheese is made in a specific region of Italy according to specific regulations and techniques. While the DOP label is a helpful indicator, it is not the sole determinant of quality Parmesan cheese. Consider factors such as age, taste and texture when choosing an authentic tasting option.