Best Cheese For Pasta

The Best Cheese for Pasta! Who doesn’t love a delicious recipe of pasta with cheese! It’s the ultimate comfort food that instantly makes us feel all warm, satisfied and so good inside.

With so many amazing pasta dishes, cheese sometimes is best used to simply add ricotta cheese to pasta sauce helping to create a smooth creamy texture.

While other cheese for pasta bake dishes like mozzarella cheese is the best cheese for pasta as a topping for that delicious gooey stringy texture. Some Italian pasta with cheese just needs a nutty salty flavor on top of pasta like parmesan cheese.


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It is important to choose a cheese that compliments the other ingredients in your pasta dish while satisfying any personal preferences we all have.

So I am going to provide you with some of the best options for cheeses including vegetarian cheese options to use in pasta dishes to help make your pasta recipes the best for you and your family.

Most of these types of cheeses for pasta should be easily found at your local grocery store.

The Best Cheese For Pasta

  1. Parmesan Cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Parmesan cheese on a wooden board.

Parmesan Cheese is a hard Italian cheese that has often been chosen as the best cheese in the world and I certainly think so as it is the most versatile best cheese in Italy as it relates to pasta dishes.

Parmesan cheese is the best grated cheese for pasta making it the best cheese for spaghetti. It adds a depth of rich nutty and slightly salty taste that can be a defining flavor of many pasta recipes like butter and cheese pasta.

I personally love parmesan cheese grated over any pasta just before serving like my cavatappi mac and cheese allowing it to melt slightly distributing its flavor all over the dish.

Parmesan cheese is the star feature in my Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta Recipe (Pasta al Limone)

I also love adding grated parmesan cheese to the pasta sauce while it cooks allowing it melt, blending in perfectly with the other flavours like my baked ravioli alfredo.

Parmesan is an excellent choice in any tomato-based pasta recipes like spaghetti bolognese, fettuccine alfredo, spaghetti carbonara, pasta primavera, baked ziti, four cheese pasta sauce recipe, lasagna and any pesto pasta.

Parmesan cheese is also often found in three cheese ravioli filling.

2. Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese on a wood board.

Mozzarella made from buffalo milk or cow’s milk is a soft Italian cheese for pasta with a mild, creamy flavor and a stretchy, melted texture that people want in certain types of pasta dishes.

Mozzarella is perhaps the best melting cheese for pasta, perfect for a stretchy cheese for pasta that have a lot of sauce or are baked. Great for pasta with cheese dishes like lasagna, chicken parmesan or the best cheese for baked ziti and many cheese bake pasta casserole dishes.

Another popular way to use mozzarella for a pasta is a pasta salad like my caprese pesto pasta salad.

Mozzarella is also great for pasta sauce with mozzarella cheese and can be melted into pasta sauce like a four cheese pasta sauce making it another versatile pasta cheese. Feel free to experiment to find your perfect mozzarella combination with pasta.

Mozzarella is great for three cheese ravioli filling as well, but don’t fret if you don’t have any, we have the best mozzarella cheese options to use as substitutes!

3. Ricotta Cheese

White bowl with ricotta cheese on a table.

Ricotta cheese made from cow or goats milk is a soft Italian cheese with a slightly sweet flavor and a creamy smooth spreadable texture that can add its rich creaminess to pasta sauces or a cheese pasta dish.

Ricotta is one of the best cheese to use for cheese filled pasta favourites like stuffed shells, cannelloni and manicotti and ravioli.

Ricotta cheese is one of cheeses used in many of the popular four cheese pasta dishes like my delicious cheesecake factory four cheese pasta copycat recipe.

Ricotta is also used to thicken up sauces and a perfect cheese to add a creaminess to sauce for rigatoni with sausage and ricotta or spinach and ricotta pasta. It also great mixed in with cheese and pasta recipes like lasagna or on top of my favorite baked cheese pasta recipe bake ziti.

4. Pecorino Romano Cheese

Bowl of grated pecorino romano cheese.

Pecorino Romano cheese made from sheep’s milk is another hard Italian cheese that has a very strong salty taste. It is the best cheese for carbonara and a favorite cheese used in Italian cuisine.

It is usually used as grated cheese sprinkled on top of pasta dishes like spaghetti alla carbonara.

Pecorino Romano is also used in Italian cheese sauce in classic dishes like spaghetti cacio e pepe a cheese and pepper pasta, spaghetti with pecorino romano and black pepper or used to make a creamy sauce in fettuccine alfredo with pecorino romano.

5. Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar Cheese block with slices on a wood cutting board.

Cheddar cheese is originally from England but is now one of the most popular cheeses in America. Cheddar adds a cream tangy flavor to baked cheese pasta recipes and most people have it available in their fridge.

White cheddar cheese with its sharper flavor is one of the best cheese for cheese sauce used in a variety of ways like a cheese garlic pasta sauce.

Cheddar also can be referred to as the best cheese sauce for Mac and Cheese as well.

Cheddar cheese can be easily grated and can be used in a pinch as a substitute in many pasta and cheese dishes especially any baked cheese pasta recipes like a baked tortellini alfredo.

Cheddar cheese is one of the best cheese for Mac n Cheese, broccoli cheese pasta, cheddar cheese sauce pasta, cheese and bacon pasta dishes like cheesy broccoli chicken pasta bake with bacon and cheese ground beef pasta.

6. Gorgonzola Cheese

Piece of gorgonzola cheese on a bed of lettuce.

Gorgonzola Cheese is a soft Italian creamy blue cheese that at adds a tangy and sharp spicy savory flavor to a blue cheese pasta recipe.

With its distinct look gorgonzola adds a zest to blue cheese pasta recipes many people call decadent!

Gorgonzola is terrific in blue cheese in pasta recipes often used to make a creamy blue cheese sauce for pasta sauces in dishes like gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce, fettuccine with gorgonzola and broccoli, linguine with gorgonzola, walnuts, and arugula and penne with gorgonzola and spinach.

7. Feta Cheese

Feta cheese crumbled on a plate.

Feta Cheese made from goat and sheep milk is a famous Greek cheese that is a tangy salty cheese with a crumbly texture that turns soft not gooey when melted.

Most people know the baked feta pasta Tik Tok sensation that many have tried and raved about.

Feta is well known for Greek pasta salad, Mediterranean orzo pesto salad and even my Mediterranean pasta salad.

It is also terrific as a cheese filling in baked feta cheese pasta dishes like feta and spinach stuffed shells and tossed in with with cheese and tomato pasta with feta.

8. Asiago Cheese

Piece of asiago cheese on wood board.

Asiago cheese made from cows milk is a semi-hard Italian cheese similar to parmesan but with a nutty creamier taste that is great for melting into asiago cheese pasta.

Asiago can be grated or tossed in pasta adding a delicious depth of flavor to pasta dishes many people enjoy.

Asiago cheese is one the best cheese for marinara sauce recipes it is also used often in many three cheese sauce for pasta recipes.

Terrific in asiago and bacon carbonara, fusili with spinach and asiago cheese, asiago and broccoli penne, asiago and sun-dried tomato pasta and asiago and chicken alfredo.

9. Gouda Cheese or Smoked Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese with crackers on a wood chopping block.

Gouda cheese is a delicious addition to pasta dishes as it melts very well. Known for its nutty, smoky creamy flavor gouda often pairs well with a variety of pasta sauces and recipes.

Gouda or smoked gouda is one of the best cheese to use for macaroni and cheese giving it a savoury twist on a favorite called gouda mac n cheese.

Gouda and tomato pasta, gouda carbonara, gouda and brocolli pasta, pasta primavera with smoke gouda are amazing and really you can use gouda for a twist in many pasta and pasta casserole recipes.

10. Ricotta Salata Cheese

Ricotta Salatta  cheese sliced on a white plate.

Ricotta Salata cheese made from sheep’s milk is similar to ricotta but with a crumbly texture and a more tangy saltiness.

Is particularly great crumbled on top of pasta and cheese recipes using penne and rigatoni pasta. It also great in pasta recipes like spaghetti with Ricotta Salata and Lemon, Orecchiette with Broccoli and Ricotta Salata and Rigatoni with roasted tomatoes and ricotta salata.

11. Provolone Cheese

Provolone cheese cut into slices on parchment paper.

Provolone Cheese made from cows milk is a semi-hard Italian cheese it can be either sweet or spicy depending on age with a hint of nutty salty flavors.

Provolone cheese is an excellent substitute cheese used in many well known pasta dishes like provolone best ziti bake, provolone and broccoli alfredo, provolone and tomato pasta and provolone and pepperoni pasta.

Provolone cheese melts well perhaps the creamiest melting cheese and melting brings out more of it flavours making it ideal for pasta and pasta casserole dishes of all kinds.

This three cheese baked pasta is a delicious provolone pasta recipe!

12. Grana Padano Cheese

Granna padano cheese crumbled on a wood cutting board.

Grana Padano cheese made from cows milk is an another hard Italian cheese that has similar nutty flavor to parmesan. It is also usually cheaper than parmesan making it a great alternative to parmesan but milder and less crumbly.

It melts well when heated helping making it delicious such pasta recipes as in cacio e pepe, grana padano and tomato pasta, grana padano and pesto pasta, grana padano and mushroom pasta.

13. Swiss or Alpine Cheese (Gruyere and Emmental Cheese)

Closeup of Swiss cheese.

Swiss cheese or Alpine cheese with origins from the Swiss Alps are known for their nutty and slightly sweet and salty flavor making it a delicious and unique cheese for pasta dishes.

Alpine cheese like Gruyere cheese or Emmental cheese melt smoothly and can be used in pasta dishes to create a rich and flavorful creamy pasta sauce.

Swiss-style mac and cheese with gruyere cheese or creamy gruyere spaghetti adds its unique flavor and creamy texture that will satisfy your craving for warm cheese perfect for a comforting indulgent night at home.

14. Boursin Cheese

Boursin cheese pasta on a board.

Boursin cheese has a creamy and tangy flavor available in a variety of flavours that pairs well with many different types of Boursin cheese pasta, such as penne, fusilli, and linguine .

Its creamy soft texture similar to cream cheese making it melt easily which makes it a great alternative to traditional cream or cream cheese sauces in savoury Boursin cheese pasta recipes.

Boursin cheese was used in another must try viral Tik Tok pasta dish my easy boursin Tik Tok pasta recipe with its delicious creamy sauce.

15. Brie Cheese

Brie cheese on a wooden board.

Brie cheese is a soft cheese made from either cow or goats milk, is the best known French cheese also known as the Queen of Cheese. Often compared to camembert though it is milder with a creamy slightly nutty flavor.

With its rich and creamy texture brie (be sure to remove the rind) can be baked until the middle is melting and oozing adding a depth of flavour to your brie cheese pasta dishes.

Brie is terrific in brie spaghetti, baked brie pasta, brie bacon and basil pasta and penne with creamy brie and tomatoes.

16. Goat Cheese

Goat cheese on a wooden board.

Goat cheese has a tangy and slightly tart flavor that can add a unique and delicious taste to pasta or used to create a smooth creamy velvety sauce for pasta.

Goat cheese pairs well with a variety of pasta shapes and sauces to make the best goat cheese pasta. Baked goat cheese pasta is an incredible creamy dish that is similar to baked feta cheese pasta.

If you enjoy the taste of goat cheese it is a great way to add some variety to your pasta dishes!

What other cheese are good for pasta?

Cottage cheese is also good used as a cheese filling for pasta or great in a baked cottage cheese pasta its also known for being a healthier less fat cheese substitute.

Cream cheese is often the best cheese for creamy pasta used often in cream cheese pasta sauce.

Fontina cheese similar to mozzarella but with a rich creamy more intense flavor is also one of best melting cheese for pasta. Fontina is not always available so we recommended you can achieve similar results with emmental, gruyere, parmesan, havarti and mozzarella cheeses.

Burrata cheese is a soft fresh Italian cheese usually made to be eaten within a couple of days is similar to mozzarella as the outer shell is made from mozzarella. While the filing is made from cheese curds soaked in cream which is why burrata cheese pasta dishes are often decadent!

Havarti cheese is a creamy sweet slightly acidic cheese known for a creamy havarti cheese pasta sauce it also melts beautifully in pasta casseroles.

What Are The Best Vegetarian Cheese For Pasta?

17. Tofu Cheese

Tofu cheese on a wooden board.

Tofu cheese is made from the curds of soy milk and it can have a soft or firm tofu texture which enables it to crumble much like feta cheese. Making tofu the best vegan cheese for Mac and Cheese like this tofu mac and cheese and almost any pasta cheese recipe.

18. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast on a wooden board.

Nutritional Yeast has a pleasant tangy nutty cheesy flavour making it another great vegan alternative to traditional cheese and adds a deliciously creamy and savory flavor to pasta dishes.

It is the perfect vegan substitute for parmesan cheese in any pasta dish but usually requires less than half the amount you would normally use for parmesan cheese. Perfect in this vegan cacao e pepe dish!

What other vegan cheese to use in pasta?

The most common types of vegan cheeses usually made from plant-based proteins and fats are cheddar, gouda, parmesan, mozzarella, and cream cheese that can be found in non-dairy forms for use pasta.

Vegan Almond parmesan is a sprinkable vegan cheese used as a healthy topping for pasta. 

What are the best italian cheeses for pasta?

Parmesan is the best Italian cheese for pasta along with mozzarella cheese the best melting cheese for pasta, ricotta cheese, pecorino romano cheese, gorgonzola cheese, asiago cheese, ricotta salata cheese, provolone cheese and grana padano cheese.

What is the best cheese for Mac N Cheese?

Many of the best melting cheese would be great in macaroni and cheese adding their different unique flavours. We feel cheddar cheese is the best cheese for Mac n Cheese pasta recipes.

What is the best substitutes for parmesan cheese in pasta?

Pecorino Romano and grana padano are the two most traditional hard Italian cheese substitutes for parmesan cheese. Feta cheese, cheddar cheese and ricotta salata can all be crumbled and used similarly to parmesan on pasta.

Nutritional Yeast flakes is the best vegan substitute for parmesan that can be sprinkled on pasta much the same as parmesan cheese.

Which cheese makes the best garnish for pasta?

Whether it is spaghetti or Mac n cheese you can’t go wrong with garnishing pasta with parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese or mozzarella cheese.

Sometimes, all you need is a big bowl of al dente pasta, drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of hard cheese such as parmagiano reggiano for the ultimate comfort food. I hope these options were helpful for you in your pasta cooking adventures and please drop me a comment below to let me know which is your favorite cheese for pasta!!

If you’re looking for a few delicious pasta recipes, try these!
Baked Ravioli Alfredo is a quick and easy weeknight dinner with a creamy cheese sauce made with heavy cream.

Equally delicious is my Tortellini Alfredo if you like Alfredo sauce without heavy cream.

Other recipes you might enjoy

One Comment

  1. Wow this best cheese for pasta article is so informative I did not know about some of these cheese choices for pasta! Going to try some of these, really well done thanks!!

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