Are you looking for a good substitute for Manchego cheese? Well how about 10 Manchego substitutes? Keep reading to see how to replace Manchego cheese in your favorite dishes!
Manchego is a traditional Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk. It has a rather complex flavor, distinct nutty, and smoky, with noticeably sweeter, caramel-like undertones emerging the more it ages.
Manchego’s texture largely depends on the length of aging. Fresh Manchego (Fresco), aged only a few weeks, is semi-soft and buttery, while aged Manchego (Viejo), aged over a year, is firm and somewhat crumbly. However, the most popular Manchego varieties are semi-hard (Semicurado and Curado), aged between 1 and 6 months.
Those are the Manchego varieties we’ll be looking to substitute in the article below.
What is a good substitute for Manchego cheese?
There are more than one good substitutes for Manchego cheese. These include:
- English Cheddar
- Asiago Cheese
- Comté Cheese
- Zamorano Cheese
- Chihuahua Cheese
- Muenster Cheese
- Pecorino Romano
- Aged Jack Cheese
- Tomme de Brebis
Each of these will be discussed below including recipes they work well in and conversion ratios for each.
Best Substitutes for Manchego Cheese
How well English Cheddar substitutes Manchego depends on how long it’s been aged. If you get your hands on young Cheddar cheese that’s been aged for no longer than 3 months, you’ve got a perfect substitute. While a hard cheese, young Cheddar retains some moisture and thus has a smooth, melt-y texture, with a milder, but distinctly nutty flavor. A good Manchego to young cheddar cheese conversion ratio is 1:1, but gradually decrease the amount the more the cheese has been aged, as it’ll get harder and sharper.
The great thing about Asiago is that you can find it in fresh, semi-aged, and aged varieties like Manchego. The semi-aged Asiago has a medium-firm texture and a creamy taste with a bit of nuttiness to it. It can substitute Manchego cheese both on charcuterie and cheese boards and in recipes requiring cooking. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio, unless you’ve got younger Asiago, which you’ll need a little more – around 1:1.3.
A semi-hard French cheese, Comté has a lot of similarities with Manchego, even though it’s made from cow’s milk. Its semi-hard texture and complex flavor with nutty and smoky elements, with fruity notes accounting for sweetness, stand as close to Manchego as it can get. Substitute Manchego cheese with Comté cheese at a 1:1 ratio.
Another Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, Zamorano, has a flavor profile similar to Manchego’s but is noticeably sharper and saltier, with a harder, more crumbly texture. As such, Zamorano is better used as a Manchego substitute in recipes requiring cooking in some way. But as long as you’re careful with the amount (use Zamorano at around 1:1.5 to Manchego) and the salt, it can definitely work.
Queso Chihuahua is a traditional Mexican cheese, which is actually considered to be a variant of English Cheddar cheese! The crucial difference is that while Cheddar is aged until firm and sharp, Chihuahua is traditionally semi-soft, with a mild creamy flavor. It might not be robust enough to act as a Manchego substitute cold, but adjust the ratio at 2:1 for cooking, and it’ll do wonders!
There are two Muenster cheeses: French and American. American has a soft texture and mild flavor, while French has a harder texture and smoky, nutty flavor. The French Muenster flavor profile works better but needs to be used a little more sparingly, at a ratio of 0.8 to 1. American Muenster can also work, especially when baked or grilled, but you’ll need a bit more, at a ratio of about 1.5 to 1.
Pecorino Romano is an Italian sheep’s milk cheese. Despite the similar base, it has a firmer texture and a more robust flavor than Manchego. The trick to substituting Manchego with Pecorino is knowing which recipes to use it for. It works best when grated with pasta, pizza, salads, and even steak. As long as the dish is strongly flavorful and won’t get overwhelmed, using Pecorino at a 1 to 2 ratio to Manchego will work great.
Similar to Pecorino Romano, Parmesan is a better substitute when used grated or shaved. Its robust, sharp, and distinctly nutty flavor can substitute for Manchego quite well in complex dishes like pasta, pizza, and soup. It melts well, so you can freely use it for recipes requiring baking or grilling. Just be careful with the amount as Parmesan cheese substitutes at a 1 to 2 ratio to Manchego, if not less.
Aged Jack Cheese
Aged Jack is a variety of Monterey Jack with a richer and nuttier flavor. Its texture is similar to that of Parmesan and Pecorino, so it’s best used either shredded or grated. Since its flavor is noticeably milder than other hard cheeses on this list, you will need to substitute Manchengo cheese to Aged Jack cheese at a ratio of 1:1.2. Read more about Monterey Jack substitutes here.
Tomme de Brebis
Tomme de Brebis is a French semi-soft cheese traditionally made from sheep’s milk – although cow milk and goat milk are common alternatives these days. It has a comparable flavor profile to Manchego, with noticeable nutty and grassy notes and a subtle caramel undertone. Despite the texture differences, it can substitute Manchego either cold or in complex recipes. The ratio of 1:1 works well, but you may prefer adding more Tomme de Brebis, as its flavor is overall milder than Manchego unless it’s been aged.
Common questions about substituting Manchego cheese
Is manchego cheese similar to parmesan?
While their flavors are very different, Manchego and Parmesan both have crumbly textures which make Parmesan a good sub for Manchego.
What does manchego cheese taste like?
Manchego cheese has a distinct complex, sharp, salty, nutty and smoky flavor with hints of sweetness. This fusion of different flavors makes it a interesting cheese to enjoy.