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Difference between Parmesan and Pecorino

Cheese is obtained from the milk of animals like cow, buffalo, sheep etc. It is consumed throughout the world and comes in various shapes, sizes, textures and flavours. Parmesan and pecorino are two types of cheese that are obtained from the milk of cow and ewe respectively. They may look alike but are different from each other. Let us see how they differ from each other!


Parmesan is a cheese that is obtained from the cow's milk. It is a fruity flavoured cheese that is light yellow in colour and hard and grainy in texture. It is made by mixing fresh, raw cow's milk with the skimmed cow milk of the previous day. It is also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano.

It is sold at different stages of ripeness that may change its taste but the texture remains the same, hard and grainy. You can purchase it in two different forms: fresh and dehydrated or dried. The fresh form has the richest flavour. It can be used as a table cheese, shaved over salads and pastas and sprinkled on pizza. In Italy, it is often consumed as a dessert with fresh walnuts, figs and sweet red wine. In America, it is mostly used for grating on pizza, pasta and salads.


Pecorino is a type of cheese that is obtained from the ewe's milk. It is a popular cheese in Italy and around the world. It has a salty, nutty and buttery flavour and a crumbly texture. A variety of ingredients can be added to it like chili flakes, walnuts, peppercorns, truffles etc. Pecorino can be of four types which are as follows:

  • Pecorino Romano: It is a hard, salty cheese often used for grating. It is produced in Sardinia, Lozio and Grosseto.
  • Pecorino Sardo: It is a raw, hard cheese produced in Sardinia and is also known as fiore sardo. It is made from pasteurized milk of Sardinian sheep and has two versions: fresh (young) and mature (aged).
  • Pecorino Toscano: It is white or light yellow in colour, has a delicate fragrance and a soft or semi-firm consistency. It is produced in Southern Tuscany.
  • Pecorino Siciliano: It is an origin-protected cheese obtained from whole sheep's milk in Sicily, Italy. It is hard and cylindrical in shape.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between parmesan and pecorino are as follows:

Parmesan Pecorino
It is obtained from cow's milk. It is obtained from ewe's milk.
It is generally creamy white in colour. It is light yellow in colour.
It has a fruity flavour. It has a salty, nutty and buttery flavour.
It is hard and grainy in texture. It has a hard and crumbly texture.
It is generally hard. A fresher and younger pecorino is soft.
It is more expensive than pecorino. It is less expensive than parmesan.
Parmesan, which is known as Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced in Parma, Emilia, Reggio, Modena, Bologna and Mantova, Italy. It has four types that are produced in Sardinia, Grosseto, Lazio, Tuscany and Sicily, Italy.
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