Best Cheese For Pesto Pasta

Best Cheese For Pesto Pasta

Pesto is an Italian sauce that is popular in many dishes including pasta. Cheese can be a great accompaniment to this dish, to provide a rich texture and enhance the flavour. Continue reading to find out the best cheese for pesto pasta.

Best Cheese for Pesto Pasta:

The best cheese for pesto pasta will be salty in flavour. This will help to break through the fats from the oils in the pesto. Additionally, a cheese that has good melting properties will be great in creating a rich and creamy sauce. Pesto often has a nutty flavour, therefore it is important to select cheese that compliments this flavour. The perfect cheese is Parmigiano Reggiano (aka parmesan), a dry cheese that is salty and rich in flavour.

Top 5 cheeses for pesto pasta are:

  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Mozzarella/ Bocconcini
  • Ricotta
  • Cream Cheese
  • Emmental

Parmigiano Reggiano is the best cheese for pesto pasta. Known for its dry, hard texture, this cheese is best for grating over pasta. It has a strong, salty flavour and will enhance the flavour of the pesto. Parmigiano Reggiano is a traditional cow milk cheese from Italy, making it the perfect accompaniment to Italian pesto.

Is Fresh Cheese Good for Pesto Pasta?

Another great cheese to match with pesto is bocconcini. Bocconcini is mini mozzarella balls, and therefore very similar flavours; produced in the Campania region of Italy. Made with either buffalo or cows milk, this salty cheese is creamy, rich, and perfect for melting. Its stringy texture once melted will add to the texture and create a dish with heaps of flavour. 

An alternative fresh cheese to use is ricotta. Ricotta may not be the best melting cheese, however, it will add to the texture and ensure your pesto pasta remains light, fresh and not too heavy, yet remaining full of flavour. Ricotta is also an Italian cheese, made with the whey from cow, goat, sheep or buffalo milk. This whey is the leftovers from the production of other cheeses. 

best cheese for pesto pasta
Ricotta is a great fresh cheese, a very light addition to your pesto pasta.


Products that ‘grow together, go together’. In this instance, pesto is made with Italian products, and Parmigiano Reggiano, bocconcini and ricotta are all made in Italy with Italian milk.

Cream Cheese:

Moving way from Italian cheese to cream cheese. This is also a great option for pesto pasta. Common brands such as Philadelphia are great cream cheese options to consider. These are readily available in supermarkets. Cream cheese is very creamy, has a mild flavour and will not overpower the pesto, however, enhance the texture.  


Last, but by no means least, Emmental. This is a cows milk cheese made in Switzerland. Known for its mild flavour and great melting properties, this is bound to be a great crowd-pleaser. Emmental has similar flavours to a classic cheddar, slightly sweet and buttery, complimenting the nutty flavour of the pesto. 


Cut the Emmental into small cubes or grate it to ensure it melts quickly and to prevent it from becoming heavy and clumpy.