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Manchego Cheese Substitute: 8 Options with similar Flavor.

Below, you’ll find a Manchego cheese substitute list. The Manchego cheese taste is unrivaled. You’ll be surprised to see that plenty of alternatives have a similar punch of flavor.

If you’re throwing together a charcuterie board and don’t have Manchego cheese on hand, these alternatives below will make a great substitute for Manchego cheese. It’s the perfect accent to cured meats, nuts, and figs. You will also love using it in baked dishes like mac and cheese.

block of manchego cheese wrapped in plastic

What Is Manchego Cheese?

Manchego cheese, also known as queso Manchego, is a cheese that originates in La Mancha, Spain. This Spanish cheese is a semi-soft variety from pasteurized sheep’s milk. Manchego is under the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) regulations. That means it must be made in La Mancha using Mancha sheep’s milk.

Most versions of this nutty, aromatic cheese come from pasteurized milk. Yet, farm-made varieties are not uncommonly to be made from unpasteurized milk. The appearance of Manchego is distinct. This is due to the crosshatching on the exterior left by woven grass molds. The exterior of this sheep’s milk cheese shouldn’t be consumed, and it’s best left cut off.

Types of Manchego Cheese

There are many types of Manchego cheese; what differentiates each is the flavor and how long they are aged. The available varieties include Fresco, Semi Curado, Curado, and Viejo.

Fresco is a fresh cheese with a subtle, sweet taste. Semi Curado and Curado are both semi-hard cheeses, though each offers a much different flavor. Semi Curado is aged up to three months and provides a fruity, grassy taste.

Curado ages for 3-6 months and is sweet and nutty. Viejo, the final variety, is firm and ages for up to two years. This variety is a hard cheese with a crumbly texture, much different from the younger varieties. It offers the sweetest flavor out of all the available types.

cutting board with sliced manchego cheese

Best Manchego Cheese Substitutes

1. Monterey Jack Cheese

Monterey jack cheese is not from sheep’s milk; it is cow’s milk cheese. This semi-firm cheese originates in Mexico and America. Monterey makes a good substitute for Manchego due to its buttery taste and subtle flavor, along with its similar light-yellow color.

This cheese is easy to find in grocery stores. Plus, it works well as melted cheese or sliced on a charcuterie plate. Monterey Jack sometimes has an edible rind. Most blocks of this cheese in grocery stores have no rind whatsoever, though.

Its buttery texture makes it easy to slice through and convenient to use in place of Manchego. Use it in any capacity that you would use queso Manchego.

This cheese is a tasty alternative to Manchego and offers a similar mild, buttery taste. It is versatile in its uses, and you can use it for any dish that calls for Manchego.

While it does have a similar flavor profile, this swap also provides a slight tanginess. This will create a subtle flavor difference.

Cooking Tip:
Use a 1:1 ratio to replace Manchego with Monterey.

2. Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano is a hard Italian cheese with a crumbly texture and salty taste. This cheese’s flavor is much different from Manchego’s. Yet, it’s an excellent cheese to cut for a cheese platter or melt over a pasta dish. You can also use it melted or sliced for a cheeseboard.

When using Pecorino, you can expect a smokey, sharp flavor. Its complex taste makes it a great cheese to pair with bread or crackers. This cheese works well for melting, too. This makes it an excellent replacement for many dishes.

Use Pecorino Romano as a replacement for Viejo Manchego cheese for its texture.

This cheese is delicious and offers a complex flavor that amps up any recipe. The consistency is similar to that of aged Manchego cheese.

Pecorino and Manchego have very different tastes. So, the flavor difference will be noticeable in recipes. It’s also very salty in uncooked and baked dishes, which may turn off some people.

Cooking Tip:
Start with ¾ the required amount of pecorino if cooking with it, then add more if needed. Consider leaving additional sources of salt out of recipes to avoid an overly salty dish.

3. Muenster Cheese

Muenster cheese can work as an alternative to Manchego. This is despite having a different taste and texture. Like Manchego, this American soft cheese works excellently for melting.

You can also slice it up and serve it with crackers, but expect the flavor difference to be noticeable.

There are wide varieties of Muenster. Some offer a subtle flavor, while others have a sharp test like cheddar.

It also provides an intense aroma, especially once it ages. Use this replacement for grilled cheese sandwiches, paninis, and pizza.

This swap is easily found in local grocery stores. It provides an excellent melty consistency when heated.

Muenster has a much different flavor from Manchego. This leaves a noticeable taste difference in dishes.

Cooking Tip:
Use a 1:1 ratio to replace Manchego with Muenster cheese.

4. Asiago Cheese

Asiago cheese is another Italian cheese with a smooth, crumbly, and hard texture. The aged version of this cheese has a much different flavor than Manchego offers.

Asiago Pressato (made with pasteurized whole cow’s milk) is cheese only aged for about a month. It provides a mild flavor that is similar to fresh Manchego cheese.

Both these versions will provide a sharp taste and strong aroma. These things might be off-putting in specific recipes.

This versatile cheese works well for melting, slicing, and grating.That said, it can replace manchego cheese in a pinch.

Use Asiago for Italian recipes like tomato-based sauces, and cheese plates. You can also add it as a garnish to soups.

Asiago is a versatile cheese with many uses, not just in Italian recipes. It provides a full-flavored milky taste without breaking the bank.

This cheese has a much different flavor than Manchego. Using this creates a noticeable difference in taste.

Cooking Tip:
Start with ¾ the amount required for cooked recipes, then adjust as needed.

5. Zamorano Cheese

Zamorano cheese is the best substitute for manchego cheese, even if it is crumbly. It’s a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk in Zamora with a flavor close to Manchego.

This cheese lasts for about six months and provides a sweet, nutty flavor to dishes. It also has a similar appearance with a light yellow color and crosshatching on the exterior. Unlike Manchego, you can eat the outside of this cheese as it has an edible rind.

This cheese option melts well, and you can eat them sliced. Use Zamorano cheese in place of Manchego in any recipe. Remember that this cheese is much saltier. You will want to use a smaller quantity and adjust any other salt in the recipe to avoid an overly salty taste.

Zamorano cheese has a similar taste and appearance to Manchego. It is versatile, and you can include it in all recipes that call for Manchego.

A sliced Zamorano cheese offers a different consistency than Manchego.

Cooking Tip:
Start with ½ the amount required in the recipe and add more as needed.

6. Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a hard English cheese with a mild to sharp taste depending on how long it ages. A younger cheddar will have a more similar appearance and taste to Manchego. Cheddar provides a similar buttery, creamy flavor and a light yellow color when it is aged less.

Initially, this cheese was only produced in England. Now it is cultivated worldwide, making it easily accessible at stores. When choosing a cheddar to replace Manchego, consider its age. Also, look for labeling which includes the word mild for a better chance of a flavor match.

This is another cheese option that works well cooked and sliced. You can use cheddar for most recipes that call for Manchego. Remember that there will be a flavor difference, especially if a sharp version is used.

Use cheddar for cooked recipes and alongside nuts and fruit.

Cheddar is affordable and comes in wide varieties, from mild to sharp. This allows individuals to purchase a block according to their tastebuds.

If using aged English cheddar cheese, the flavor and color will differ from Manchego.

Cooking Tip:
Use a 1:1 ratio when using young cheddar cheese as an alternative.

7. Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese is an excellent replacement for Manchego cheese. This is especially true if you want a mild taste that blends well with other cheeses or other flavors. This cheese is a semi-soft cheese from Italy. It has no rind and provides a creamy, milky consistency and taste.

Different varieties are available, though they all offer a similar subtle flavor. Fresh mozzarella or mozzarella balls are ideal for serving in a salad or cheeseboard. Low-moisture mozzarella is excellent for adding a melty consistency to cooked foods.

Mozzarella is versatile and can be served sliced or cooked into a pizza or a casserole. It has a mild flavor that bodes well with various seasonings and ingredients.

This cheese swap does not provide the same flavor as Manchego and is much softer.

Cooking Tip:
Start with a 1:1 ratio of mozzarella cheese and add more if necessary.

cutting board with sliced mozzarella

8. Cashew Cheese

This option is made from blended soaked cashews, water, and spices. It also has nutritional yeast that gives it a cheesy flavor.

This cheese provides a nutty, salty taste to dishes and has a sauce-like consistency. While it does share some flavor notes, there will be a noticeable difference in taste and texture. You can serve this cheese in a bowl on a cheeseboard.

This cheese replacement also works well in mac and cheese and casseroles. While it does have its recipe limitations, it is still a good alternative for those who can’t eat dairy.

Cashew cheese offers a creamy consistency and nutty taste like Manchego. It is an excellent dairy-free alternative to Manchego for people with dietary restrictions.

The uses for cashew cheese are much more limited than for Manchego cheese. The flavor is also noticeably different.

Cooking Tip:
Use a 1:1 ratio when alternating cashew cheese with Manchego cheese.

Related Questions

What Are Manchego Cheese Uses?

Manchego cheese uses vary. It can be a cheese option on a charcuterie board. Or a compliment to Spanish ham on a tapas plate with olives. You can also use it to create a tasty mac and cheese recipe or even in sandwiches. This cheese is delicious in slices or as a melty cheese.

What cheese is Similar to Manchego?

Yes, Zamorano cheese has a similar Manchego cheese taste. Many alternatives also offer a similar gooey texture and buttery taste. You can use cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, or Pecorino as replacements in most recipes. Each provides a different flavor, though they are both delicious.

How Does Manchego Cheese Taste?

Manchego cheese has a creamy and mild flavor that is also sweet with fruitiness. It is well-loved for its buttery texture and buttery flavor. You’ll notice a nutty flavor with a light sheep’s milk aftertaste when you eat Manchego cheese. This becomes more noticeable when you have an aged variety. With such a complex taste, it’s easy to see why many love eating Manchego.

Is Manchego Similar to Cheddar?

Yes and no. Manchego and cheddar melt similarly when you use them in cooking. They both offer a buttery flavor. Yet, their extra flavor notes are different. This causes a noticeable taste difference between them. Cheddar cheese also provides a bolder flavor than Manchego.

Can You Substitute Parmesan for Manchego?

Yes, you can substitute parmesan for Manchego. Like Manchego, parmesan provides a nutty, fruity taste in recipes. Parmesan also works well as melting cheese. But, you should use a high-quality version for this to occur without clumping.


If Manchego cheese is out of budget, the above choices are excellent alternatives. The same goes if you cannot find it at the local grocery store.

From this Manchego cheese substitute list, Zamorano cheese is the top choice. It has the closest flavor to Manchego. Besides Zamorano, Monterey Jack is an excellent replacement for specific purposes. It works well in charcuterie boards and cooked recipes.

If none of the options above are available, Tomme de Brebis and French cheese are viable choices. Chihuahua cheese, a Mexican melting cheese, will also work well as an alternative.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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