Dubliner Cheese vs. Parmesan Cheese

Dubliner and Parmesan are both hard, aged cheeses with devoted followings.

Dubliner Cheese vs. Parmesan Cheese

But how exactly do these two popular cheeses compare when it comes to taste, texture, uses, nutrition and more?

A Close Look at Dubliner Cheese

Dubliner is an Irish cheese made from cow's milk and aged for at least 12 months. First created in County Cork in the 1990s, Dubliner aims to combine the sharp, tangy qualities of aged Cheddar with the sweet, nutty flavors of Parmesan.

With its pale yellow color and firm, crumbly texture, a block of Dubliner may remind you of Cheddar at first glance. But one bite reveals a more complex, well-rounded flavor profile.

Taste and Texture

The taste of Dubliner cheese evolves as you eat it. Your first impression may be a mildly sharp tang, quickly giving way to a nutty sweetness and finishing with pleasant butter and caramel notes.

Dubliner tends to be less sharp than aged Cheddar, while offering a similar buttery quality. Tiny white specks of calcium lactate crystals contribute a satisfying crunch. The texture becomes increasingly crumbly with age.

Uses in Cooking

With its diverse range of flavors, Dubliner lends itself well to cooking. Its firm texture holds up nicely when baked, fried or grilled. The rich, buttery notes also make Dubliner an excellent melting cheese.

You'll often find it on cheeseboards or eaten out of hand, but don't hesitate to incorporate Dubliner into recipes. It shines when breaded and fried for snacks or croquettes, baked into bread, stirred into mac and cheese or potato dishes, or tossed with pasta.

For an authentic Irish flavor, try making some Dubliner and stout fondue or baking it into Irish soda bread. Its versatility also allows Dubliner to stand in for Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda and other hard cheeses in your favorite dishes.

Key Takeaway: Dubliner cheese combines the sharpness of aged Cheddar with Parmesan's sweet nuttiness, making it excellent for cooking, snacking and cheese boards.

All About Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan comes from the Parmigiano-Reggiano region of Italy and must adhere to strict production standards to bear the name. This hard Italian cheese is made from partially skimmed, raw cow's milk and aged for at least 12 months.

Thanks to its rich umami flavor, Parmesan cheese ranks among the world's most popular. Whether freshly grated over pasta or served in chunks alongside charcuterie, Parmesan commands attention.

Complex Flavor and Texture

Even foodies struggle to adequately describe the taste of Parmesan cheese. At once sweet, salty, tangy and savory, it offers an unparalleled depth of flavor.

The texture also evolves from slightly crumbly to a completely brittle crunch with long aging times. Parmesan is also studded with tiny, crunchy tyrosine crystals that provide a pleasing contrast to the smooth dairy flavors.

The King of Italian Cheeses

In Italian cuisine, Parmesan reigns supreme. From risottos to roasted veggies, few Italian dishes don't benefit from a dusting, shower or snowfall of freshly grated Parmesan.

Of course, Parmesan shines brightest when coating fresh pappardelle or fettuccine pasta. Italians also enjoy Parmesan by itself or with balsamic vinegar and wine. For the true Parmigiano-Reggiano experience, look for large chunks with the hard, craggy rind still attached.

While primarily consumed as a finishing cheese, Parmesan also works well in recipes. Add it to soups, tarts, grilled cheese sandwiches or anywhere you want a boost of rich, nutty flavor and savory depth. Just beware of overcooking - too much heat can make Parmesan tough and rubbery.

The Issue of Imitators

Parmesan's popularity has led to many imitators, so check labels carefully. Cheeses made outside the designated Italian regions cannot use the Parmigiano-Reggiano name. Many brands use vague names like "Parmesan cheese" or "Parmesan-style."

For authenticity, look for the round Parmigiano-Reggiano stamps on the rind. Better yet, buy chunks with the rind still attached instead of pre-grated, as the Italian government protects whole wheels more strictly.

Pre-grated Parmesan and Parmesan-style cheeses use lower quality milk and less aging. Many even contain additives like cellulose powder to prevent clumping. For the true, incomparable Parmesan experience, skip the green can.

Key Takeaway: Genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano offers an unrivaled depth of sweet, nutty umami flavor and brittle texture perfect for finishing pastas or eating with wine and bread.

Buttery, sweet, mildly sharpVery sweet, very savory, slightly tangy
Hard, crumblyHard, brittle
Excellent for cooking/meltingBest raw/freshly grated
12+ months aging12+ months aging
Cow's milkCow's milk

Dubliner vs. Parmesan: Key Differences

While both aged cow's milk cheeses, Dubliner and Parmesan do have distinct differences when it comes to taste and best uses:

  • Flavor: Dubliner starts sharp, transitions to nutty and finishes sweet and buttery. Parmesan is instantly sweet and umami-rich, with a hint of tang.
  • Texture: Aged Dubliner develops a crumbly texture studded with little white crystals. Parmesan becomes ultra hard and brittle, shattering when a wedge is struck.
  • Best Uses: Thanks to its well-rounded flavor and good melting properties, Dubliner excels in cooked dishes like pizza, pasta bakes and panini. Parmesan is best consumed raw to highlight its depth of flavor.
  • Aging Time: Dubliner ages for a minimum of 12 months while the aging time for true Parmesan counts in years not months. This results in an intensely concentrated, complex flavor.
  • Milk Source: Ireland's cool climate and rolling green pastures lend Dubliner a softer, sweeter quality compared to Parmesan made from the milk of Italian cows dining on grass and hay.
  • Regulation: As a newer cheese, Dubliner production isn't protected or regulated. Parmesan must come from specific areas of Italy and meet stringent standards to use the Parmigiano-Reggiano name.


Is Dubliner cheese better than Parmesan?

Which is "better" comes down to personal preference! Dubliner and Parmesan both offer wonderful eating experiences thanks to their well-balanced flavors and satisfying textures. Parmesan gains extra depth from its long aging time.

Is Dubliner cheese similar to Parmesan?

While both are hard, aged cow's milk cheeses, Dubliner has a softer, sweeter quality more akin to Gouda or aged Cheddar. Parmesan is intensely savory and nutty with slight tang while Dubliner starts out tangy then turns sweet.

What cheese is most like Parmesan?

No cheese perfectly replicates complex, umami-rich Parmesan. Grana Padano comes closest as a less expensive Italian alternative. Aged Asiago and Romano also offer a similar sharp nuttiness but lack Parmesan's sweetness. Some tangy aged Cheddars remind people of younger Parmesan.

Can you replace Parmesan with Dubliner?

Dubliner makes an excellent substitute in cooked recipes calling for Parmesan thanks to its well-rounded flavor and good melting ability. However, it lacks the ultra savory, brittle texture crucial for raw applications like finishing pasta or salad tossing.

Is Dubliner cheese healthy?

As a full-fat hard cheese, Dubliner offers a good source of protein and important vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin A. However, it is high in saturated fat and sodium so moderation is key, especially for those with high blood pressure or cholesterol concerns.


Dubliner and Parmesan may seem similar at first glance but offer quite different tasting experiences. While both deliver rich, satisfying flavor and texture, Dubliner tends towards mild and buttery while Parmesan is intensely savory, sweet and tangy.

When cooking, Dubliner melts and incorporates beautifully into dishes like omelets, baked pastas, grilled cheese, and more.

For the true Parmesan experience though, you can't beat thinly sliced wedges with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar alongside crusty bread.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!