The Best Simple Pecorino Substitutes

Looking for an alternative to Pecorino Cheese? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple Pecorino Substitutes both dairy and dairy-free.

What is Pecorino Cheese?

Parmesan is a hard Italian cheese made from sheeps milk. It has an incredibly deeply savoury cheesey flavour with a sharp acidic tang.

The Best Pecorino Substitutes – Dairy

1. Parmesan

Parmesan is very similar in style to pecorino but it’s made from cows milk and had a saltier, more savoury flavour that is less acidic. Texturally they are the same so it’s an easy substitute.

2. Halloumi

While the texture of halloumi is softer and less crumbly, it provides a similar substance and salty kick to pecorino and can be grated over dishes in a similar way.

3. Feta

Feta is saltier and won’t melt as well as pecorino – but will give an intense boost of flavour so will be better than no cheese.

4. Goats Cheese

Fresh goats cheese is tangier, creamier and less salty than pecorino but will add some cheesy goodness. Goats cheese won’t melt in the same way as pecorino so may not be great in cooked dishes.

5. Cheddar

Cheddar isn’t as hard or flavour packed as pecorino – but finely grated it will still give a pleasant cheesy flavour. And it will melt well for cooked dishes.

6. Ricotta Salata

Salted ricotta is saltier and less complex than pecorino so it’s won’t add the same depth of flavour. But it will be better than nothing.

The Best Dairy-Free Pecorino Substitutes

1. Brazil Nuts

Can be grated with a miroplane to make a dust that looks a lot like pecorino. I also make a sprinkle I call Brazil Nut ‘Parmesan’ which is delicious sprinkled any where you’d normally grate over some pecorino.

2. Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Aren’t as salty as pecorino but they do add a similar hit of deeply savoury umami flavours.

3. Olives

If you’re looking for a salty burst of flavour, a handful of olives is a good best dairy-free and vegan alternative to parmesan.

4. Sun Dried Tomatoes

A similar idea to olives, sun dried tomatoes are bursting with flavour and will add a little sweetness to your dish instead of a salt hit.

5. Salted Roast Almonds

For texture and salty hit roast almonds will take your dish in a different direction but it won’t be lacking in flavour or crunch.

6. Sea Salt Flakes

Another option to replace the salty hit from pecorino is to sprinkle your dish with sea salt flakes. It won’t provide the same visuals or substance as greated or shaved cheese but you will appreciate the salty flavour explosions.

7. Capers

Work in a similar way to olives. Salted capers will be the best choice although capers in vinegar are better than nothing.

8. Toasted Breadcrumbs

In Italy toasted breadcrumbs – called ‘pan gratato’ are also known as poor mans pecorino. They are great for adding crunch and visual interest when sprinkled over pasta.

How to Store Pecorino

Pecorino can be stored for months in the refrigerator. I generally ignore the best before date and eat it even weeks after it is out of date. As long as there’s no mold growing on it. Pecorino can be frozen although there’s generally no need because it lasts so long in the fridge.

Pecorino Cheese Goes with…

  • Basil & Pecorino
  • Lemon & Pecorino
  • Broad Beans (Fava Beans) & Pecorino
  • Prosuitto & Pecorino
  • Tomato & Pecorino
  • Olives & Pecorino

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x