U.S. Dairy Products > Cheese > Cheese Categories

Hard Cheeses

Varieties include:hard cheeses

  • Asiago
  • Parmesan
  • Romano
  • Pepato  

Manufacturing Process

The manufacture of hard cheeses is unique in a number of ways. The curd is cut much smaller, the size of a kernel of wheat, versus the size of an unshelled peanut for cheddar. It is also cooked at a higher temperature than other cheeses. This results in a drier curd. The curd is pressed and either brined or dry salted. It is turned regularly and rubbed with vegetable oil.  


Hard cheeses generally have longer shelf lives due to their low-moisture content. Ideal for grating. Freshly grated hard cheeses incorporate well into soups, sauces, stuffings, fillings and bread crumbs. Their low-moisture content makes them excellent in baked goods. These cheeses brown quickly on direct heat applications.  

Key Applications

Hard cheeses are used as ingredients in a wide variety of food applications, including appetizers, breads, dressings, soups, pasta dishes, salads, rice, potato or vegetable dishes. They are also used for their more intense cheese flavor in applications such as chips, popcorn, crackers, dips and sauces.  

Marketing Advantages

Longer shelf life. Rich in calcium, which facilitates positioning in the "nutrition marketing segment." Strong consumer recognition. Italian-style appeal and quality image.  

Key Benefits in Foodservice and Prepared Foods

Intense cheese flavors. Easily grated and used in soups, sauces, pasta and pizza toppers, salads and more.