Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian? (Well Explained)

Posted on

Can Vegetarian Eat Parmesan Cheese

Food FAQs


Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


This article may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

When many of us think of parmesan cheese, we think of the finely grated cheese we see in pizza parlors, but we don’t see it as a chunk of cheese.

As a vegetarian, you’re always watchful of what you eat, and you’re probably wondering if you can eat parmesan cheese. So, what is parmesan cheese, and where does it come from? Is parmesan cheese vegetarian?

Unfortunately, parmesan cheese is technically not vegetarian, and as a vegan, I’d advise you to avoid eating this cheese as it’s not meant for you.

In this article, you will understand why parmesan cheese is not vegan and other vegetarian-friendly cheese you should go for instead.

Let’s get started!

What Is Parmesan Cheese?

Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian

Parmesan is the generic name used in the US and outside Europe to describe domestic versions of the classical Italian hard cheese Parmigiano Reggiano, which has been made in central Italy for a while now.

Read Also: Is Edam Cheese Vegetarian?

Its name indicates the specific regions around Parmaand Reggio Emiliawhere it is made as it is an EU-protected designation. This means that the name Parmigiano Reggiano cannot be used for any other cheese.

Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian?

As I stated earlier, conventional parmesan cheese is NOT vegetarian; see below for the reasons why parmesan cheese is not considered vegetarian.

Why Is Parmesan Not Considered Vegetarian?

Parmesan cheeses are not vegan-friendly because the primary source of rennet used is from animals. It may not be suitable for meat-free dinners, all thanks to the inclusion of a stomach-turning ingredient called animal rennet, which is traditionally taken from the stomach of calves.

Parmesan and some other cheeses contain the stomach linen of young cattle who spend their entire short-lived lives in confinement before they are killed for veal.

What Cheeses Are Vegetarian?

Cheeses that are composed of plant-based ingredients like soybeans, cashew, coconut, and almonds are very suitable for vegetarians.

The most common vegan cheeses are cheddar, Gouda, parmesan, mozzarella, and cream cheese, which can all be found in their non-dairy forms.

How Do I Know If the Parmesan Cheese I’m Getting Is Vegetarian?

Here are guidelines to follow in determining if parmesan cheese is vegetarian or not:

See Also: Best Edam Cheese Substitutes

1. If it is imported, then it is most definitely not vegetarian because the European Union has imposed strict rules on what should be labeled as parmesan. Animal rennet has to be an active ingredient.

2. Parmesan cheese that comes in a bottle from grocery stores in the US may be vegetarian as it all depends on the source of rennets used if the source of the rennet used is not gotten from animals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does all parmesan have rennet?

Parmesan cheeses are originally not vegetarian, but many brands now in the US make use of vegetable rennetin place of calf lining, stating that the dairy industry is bad for both female cows and calves.

Is Kraft parmesan cheese vegetarian?

Also known as shredded parmesan cheese, kraft parmesan uses microbial elements but can also contain lipase (animal-derived).

So, when getting Kraft parmesan cheese, check the label for”lipase.” And if it contains lipase, it’s totally notsuitable for vegetarians.

Is grated parmesan cheese vegetarian?

Grated parmesan cheese is completely notvegan as it also contains animal rennets.

What is a vegetarian alternative to parmesan?

The good news is that there are also healthy alternatives that are purely vegetarian but may slightly differ from parmesan in taste, such as the following:

  • Violife vegan parmesan: This cheese is made with coconut oil and vitamin B12 and is 100% vegan as it is free from dairy, lactose, and soy.
  • Parma vegan parmesan cheese: It is very cost-effective as it is similar to the real parmesan in both taste and texture…but is made from vegan ingredients instead of animal rennets.

Others include; twineham grange Italian-style hard cheese, vbites dairy-free Italian hard style cheezly, dairy-free cashew grated cheese, Monterey jack cheese vegetarian asiago cheese, soy parmesan, nutritional yeast, and so on.

See Also: Best Provolone Cheese Substitutes


If you’re a vegetarian on a lookout for vegetarian cheeses, do not settle for parmesan as it is naturally non-vegetarian.

We advise you to do well in settling for other alternative cheeses from the ones mentioned above or do well to carry out more research as they’re tones of cheese with great benefits and taste, especially for vegetarians.


You might also like these recipes