Manchego cheese is one of the most popular cheeses in Spain. It is also known as ‘queso manchego’ and has a distinct nutty and salty flavor that sets it apart from other cheeses.
It is made from sheep’s milk and is traditionally served with quince paste. However, despite its popularity, it can sometimes be difficult to find in grocery stores around the states.
Therefore, this article is going to provide you with a list of some of the best substitutes for Manchego cheese that you can find!
What Is Manchego Cheese?
Manchego cheese is a very popular Spanish cheese that comes from the milk of the Manchego sheep.
It is a semi-hard cheese with a relatively intense taste that is a combination of salty, sweet, zesty, and nutty flavors. As the cheese matures the flavors become shaper, and the texture becomes flaky and granular.
The flavor is quite distinctive, so it can be tricky to find a substitute. Despite this, we’ve found some that resembles it the most.
1. Pecorino Romano
Pecorino Romano is also a cheese derived from sheep’s milk. It comes from Italy and has a similar taste to Manchego as it is relatively nutty, and tangy.
While its texture isn’t as dry as Manchego, its flavor can be slightly more intense, so it is recommended that you use less in your recipe than you would Manchego.
Asiago is another Italian cheese, but unlike Manchego and Pecorino, it is made from cow’s milk.
However, it still carries a resemblance to Manchego in its intense, nutty flavor. You must ensure to purchase the aged variety of this cheese, as younger versions tend to be in the semi-soft form.
While it can be difficult to locate Asiago cheese in regular grocery stores, you may be able to find it in any specialty cheese stores, or a delicatessen nearby.
3. Monterey Jack
If you’re looking for a replacement for Manchego cheese that is very affordable, then Monterey Jack is a good option.
It is a semi-hard cheese with a slightly creamy consistency. It has a very similar taste and texture profile to cheddar.
While it doesn’t have that exact nutty, intense flavor, it still works as a great replacement when using it with other foods.
It is a superb cheese for melting!
4. English Cheddar
Cheddar is another cheap alternative to Manchego that is very widely available in all supermarkets across the country.
In order to match its flavor as close as possible to Manchego, be sure to purchase the mature variations, as the flavor of cheddar becomes more intense the older it is.
You’ll be able to find versions labeled ‘mature’, or ‘extra mature’ cheddar, for more of an intense flavor.
Mozzarella is another widely available cheese that you won’t have trouble locating in any grocery store.
It is made from buffalo and cow’s milk and has similar melting properties to Manchego, making it a good substitute if that is what you are using it for.
While Mozzarella is a popular cheese for slicing up and putting into sandwiches, it is not recommended you do this if you are using it as a replacement for Manchego, as its taste is much milder.
This French cheese comes from cow’s milk and has a very similar flavor profile to Manchego. It shares the same nutty and earthy taste, but it is slightly creamier, so it would lend itself well to recipes that require melted cheese.
Comte is also another widely available cheese that you can find in supermarkets, which is why it’s been included in this list.
Another cheese that is very easy to find in supermarkets all over the United States is Parmesan.
It has a very intense, salty flavor with nutty undertones that make it a great substitute for Manchego cheese.
However, the saltiness can be more intense than Manchego, so it is best to adopt the ‘less is more’ approach when using this cheese, otherwise, you could end up with a very salty, unbalanced meal.
Zamorano is a pressed Spanish cheese that has a very similar crumbly texture and intense taste to Manchego cheese.
However, it can sometimes be difficult to find in grocery stores, so it is best to check any specialty cheese stores around you.
9. Muenster Cheese
Muenster cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk.
Its taste is considered slightly blander than Manchego cheese, but it has wonderful melting qualities, so if you’re in need of a Manchego substitute when it comes to melting, then Muenster cheese is a great option.
It tastes delicious on pizzas, and with macaroni, as well as on burgers and sandwiches.
It is pale yellow in color, with an orange rind that is added while it is being made.
Fun Facts About Manchego Cheese
Now that you’re aware of the different cheeses that work as substitutes for Manchego, below are some extra fun facts about this cheese that you may not know about!
There are four variations of this cheese: fresco, semicurado, curado, and viejo. As this cheese ages, the flavors intensify and deepen, making it more of a strong cheese.
Manchego cheese is also very high in protein, as it contains around 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. This is actually a higher amount of protein than is found in many kinds of meat.
In Spain, where this cheese originates, it is often served as a tapa, with some Spanish ham (see also ‘7 Substitutes For Capicola Ham You Should Try!‘), and olives, and occasionally drizzled with some olive oil.
Manchego is also relatively low in lactose, which makes it a good option for those who are lactose intolerant but still love the taste of cheese.
This cheese originates from La Mancha in Central Spain, which is also the home of Don Quixote, a famous character from a popular novel by Miguel de Cervantes. This novel is occasionally studied in schools across Spain.
Manchego cheese also has a high nutritional profile. Aside from being high in protein, it is very high in calcium and vitamins A, D, and E.
Because of this, it is recommended that seniors include Manchego cheese in their diet. It works well at reducing bone calcium loss, and it is easier to digest than milk, due to its low lactose content.
Manchego cheese is one of the most popular cheeses from Spain, and it is available in many stores across the United States.
It has a relatively intense taste, that is salty with nutty undertones, and this taste only intensifies as the cheese matures.
While it is one of the most available Spanish cheeses, it can sometimes be difficult to find in stores across the country, so it is important to be aware of what other cheeses can work well as a substitute for it.
The trick is to find a cheese with a similar consistency and flavor profile as Manchego. Therefore, cheeses with an intense flavor, and crumbly profile are the best ones to go for, as the mimic Manchego closely.
However, if you need a Manchego substitute for melting purposes, then a soft cheese would work well, as long as it has an intense flavor.
We hope this article has provided you with a good amount of information on Manchego cheese substitutes.
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