The 13 Best Cheeses for Carbonara

Quick Answer

The best cheese for carbonara is Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s the classic choice, and its nutty flavour complements the creamy egg base used in carbonara. Pecorino Romano and Grana Padano are both popular alternatives, while Asiago can be used as a substitute if needed.

Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish known for its rich and creamy sauce, made from eggs, cheese, and cured pork.

While the traditional recipe calls for Pecorino Romano cheese, there are many different cheeses that can be used to make this dish even more delicious.

In this article, we will explore the best cheese for Carbonara, including 13 different types of cheese that can be used to elevate this beloved pasta dish to new heights of flavor.

Whether you’re a fan of sharp and tangy cheeses, or prefer something creamy and mild, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to discover the perfect cheese for your next Carbonara creation.

Creamy Carbonara

The 13 Best Cheeses for Carbonara

Carbonara is a classic Italian dish that relies heavily on the flavor of cheese.

Finding the right cheese can be tricky, so here are 13 cheeses that will give you the perfect carbonara:

1. Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmesan

Parmigiano-Reggiano, also known as “Parmesan”, is a hard, granular cheese that originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It is made from cow’s milk that is aged for at least 12 months, and often up to 36 months or more. The cheese has a pale yellow color, and a distinctive nutty, savory flavor that makes it a popular choice for grating over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Parmigiano-Reggiano is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its sharp and savory flavor profile, which adds depth and complexity to the dish. Its texture is also ideal for grating over pasta, as it creates a fine, powdery layer that melts beautifully into the sauce. In addition, Parmigiano-Reggiano is a versatile cheese that pairs well with a variety of other ingredients commonly used in Carbonara, such as bacon, eggs, and black pepper.

2. Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty cheese made from sheep’s milk, and it is one of the oldest and most famous cheeses in Italy. The cheese has been produced in the Lazio region of Italy for over 2,000 years and is still made using the traditional methods. Pecorino Romano has a pale yellow color, a sharp and salty flavor, and a crumbly texture that makes it perfect for grating over pasta.

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Why it is good for Carbonara

Pecorino Romano is the classic cheese used in Carbonara, and for good reason. Its salty, tangy flavor pairs perfectly with the rich and creamy sauce, and its crumbly texture creates a fine layer of cheese that melts into the pasta. Pecorino Romano also adds a distinct umami flavor to the dish that is hard to replicate with other cheeses.

3. Grana Padano

Grana Padano

Grana Padano is a hard, aged cheese made from cow’s milk that originated in the Po River Valley of Northern Italy. It is similar in appearance and flavor to Parmigiano-Reggiano, but is produced in a different region and with a slightly different aging process. Grana Padano has a pale yellow color, a sweet and nutty flavor, and a granular texture that makes it perfect for grating over pasta.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Grana Padano is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its rich, nutty flavor that complements the savory and salty elements of the dish. Its texture is also ideal for grating over pasta, as it creates a fine layer of cheese that melts beautifully into the sauce. Grana Padano is a versatile cheese that can be used in a variety of dishes, but it pairs particularly well with pasta and creamy sauces.

4. Asiago

Asiago

Asiago is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Veneto region of Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a smooth and creamy texture. Asiago can be found in two varieties: Asiago Pressato, which is aged for just a few weeks and has a mild, buttery flavor, and Asiago Stravecchio, which is aged for up to 18 months and has a sharper, more complex flavor.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Asiago is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its mild yet distinctive flavor that adds depth and richness to the dish. It has a creamy texture that melts beautifully into the sauce, and its subtle nutty notes complement the savory and salty flavors of the bacon or pancetta. Asiago is also a versatile cheese that can be used in a variety of dishes, making it a great addition to any cheese lover’s kitchen.

5. Gruyere

Gruyere

Gruyere is a semi-hard cheese that originated in Switzerland. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a rich and nutty flavor that becomes more complex as it ages. Gruyere has a smooth, creamy texture that makes it perfect for melting over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Gruyere is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its nutty and complex flavor that adds a unique twist to the dish. Its creamy texture melts beautifully into the sauce, creating a rich and luxurious texture. Gruyere also pairs well with a variety of other ingredients commonly used in Carbonara, such as eggs, black pepper, and bacon or pancetta.

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6. Fontina

Fontina Cheese
Source: castellocheese.com

Fontina is a semi-soft cheese that originated in the Aosta Valley region of Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a mild and nutty flavor. Fontina has a creamy and buttery texture that makes it ideal for melting over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Fontina is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its creamy texture and mild yet distinctive flavor. It melts beautifully into the sauce, creating a smooth and velvety texture that complements the other ingredients in the dish. Fontina also adds a subtle nutty flavor that enhances the overall taste of the Carbonara.

7. Taleggio

Taleggio

Taleggio is a semi-soft cheese that originated in the Lombardy region of Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a strong and pungent flavor that becomes more pronounced as it ages. Taleggio has a creamy and slightly sticky texture that makes it perfect for melting over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Taleggio is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its bold and complex flavor that adds a unique twist to the dish. Its creamy texture melts beautifully into the sauce, creating a rich and velvety texture that complements the other ingredients in the dish. Taleggio also pairs well with a variety of other flavors commonly used in Carbonara, such as garlic, thyme, and sage.

8. Ricotta Salata

Ricotta Salata

Ricotta Salata is a firm, salty cheese that originated in Italy. It is made from the whey that is left over from the production of other cheeses, and is pressed and aged to create a dense and crumbly texture. Ricotta Salata has a white color, a mild and slightly tangy flavor, and a firm texture that makes it perfect for grating over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Ricotta Salata is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its salty and tangy flavor that adds a unique twist to the dish. Its firm texture allows it to be grated or shaved over the top of the pasta, creating a flavorful and textural contrast to the creamy sauce. Ricotta Salata also pairs well with a variety of other ingredients commonly used in Carbonara, such as peas, lemon zest, and parsley.

9. Caciocavallo

Caciocavallo Cheese

Caciocavallo is a semi-hard cheese that originated in Southern Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a mild and slightly tangy flavor that becomes more complex as it ages. Caciocavallo has a smooth and creamy texture that makes it perfect for melting over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Caciocavallo is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its mild yet distinctive flavor that adds depth and richness to the dish. Its creamy texture melts beautifully into the sauce, creating a smooth and velvety texture that complements the other ingredients in the dish. Caciocavallo also pairs well with a variety of other flavors commonly used in Carbonara, such as garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes.

10. Provolone

Provolone

Provolone is a semi-hard cheese that originated in Southern Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a mild and slightly tangy flavor that becomes more pronounced as it ages. Provolone has a smooth and creamy texture that makes it ideal for melting over pasta dishes.

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Why it is good for Carbonara

Provolone is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its mild and creamy flavor that complements the other ingredients in the dish. Its smooth texture melts beautifully into the sauce, creating a rich and velvety texture that enhances the overall taste of the Carbonara. Provolone also pairs well with a variety of other flavors commonly used in Carbonara, such as garlic, black pepper, and parsley.

11. Asiago

Asiago

Asiago is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Veneto region of Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that becomes more complex as it ages. Asiago has a smooth and creamy texture that makes it ideal for melting over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Asiago is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its nutty and slightly sweet flavor that adds depth and richness to the dish. Its smooth texture melts beautifully into the sauce, creating a creamy and velvety texture that complements the other ingredients in the dish. Asiago also pairs well with a variety of other flavors commonly used in Carbonara, such as black pepper, garlic, and parsley.

12. Gorgonzola

Gorgonzola

Gorgonzola is a blue-veined cheese that originated in the Lombardy region of Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale white or blue-gray color, with a creamy and tangy flavor that becomes more pronounced as it ages. Gorgonzola has a crumbly texture that makes it perfect for mixing into pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Gorgonzola is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its tangy and slightly pungent flavor that adds a unique twist to the dish. Its crumbly texture allows it to be mixed into the pasta, creating a flavorful and textural contrast to the creamy sauce. Gorgonzola also pairs well with a variety of other ingredients commonly used in Carbonara, such as walnuts, mushrooms, and spinach.

13. Scamorza

Scamorza Cheese

Scamorza is a semi-soft cheese that originated in Southern Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pale yellow color, with a mild and slightly smoky flavor that becomes more pronounced as it ages. Scamorza has a firm and elastic texture that makes it ideal for melting over pasta dishes.

Why it is good for Carbonara

Scamorza is an excellent cheese for Carbonara because of its mild and slightly smoky flavor that complements the other ingredients in the dish. Its firm texture allows it to be melted over the pasta, creating a rich and velvety texture that enhances the overall taste of the Carbonara. Scamorza also pairs well with a variety of other flavors commonly used in Carbonara, such as black pepper, garlic, and parsley.

Creamy Carbonara

The 13 Best Cheeses for Carbonara

Looking for the best cheese for Carbonara? Look no further! In this article, we've compiled a list of the 13 best cheeses for Carbonara, along with detailed descriptions of their flavors, textures, and origins. From classic Parmigiano-Reggiano to tangy Gorgonzola, we've got you covered with all the information you need to select the perfect cheese to take your Carbonara to the next level.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Cheese
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 388 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Grana Padano
  • Asiago
  • Gruyere
  • Fontina
  • Taleggio
  • Ricotta Salata
  • Caciocavallo
  • Provolone
  • Asiago
  • Gorgonzola
  • Scamorza

Instructions
 

  • Select your favorite cheese from this article.
  • Prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  • Prep a cheesy carbonara with any of these cheeses in 30 minutes or less.