Does grated parmesan cheese melt? (3 melting cheese types)

In this article, we are going to answer the question “Does grated parmesan cheese melt?” and discuss how grated parmesan cheese melts, the properties of parmesan cheese and what are other cheese types that melt. 

Does grated parmesan cheese melt?

Yes, grated parmesan cheese melts. However, it requires a higher temperature and a greater energy input to melt parmesan, due to its more rigid and dry structure (1, 2).

Grated parmesan acts as portioned parmesan and therefore also melts. However, the smaller size of the cheese pieces will favour heat transfer, facilitating the melting process (3).

Parmesan can be used as a topping in pizza or other baked dishes, in bakery products as filling and melted in sauces and salad dressings, due to its good melting properties and intense flavour (6).

How does grated parmesan cheese melt?

Parmesan cheese melts by the action of heat. At a temperature of 30 °C (86 °F), the cheese starts to soften and a fast melting can be observed after the temperature reaches 50 °C (122 °F). At this point, the cheese is significantly softer than at room temperature (1, 2).

However, the melting process of parmesan is slower and requires a greater amount of energy, when compared to other cheese types, such as mozzarella, Colby and cheddar. 

This can be explained by the composition of the parmesan, which has lower moisture content and a relatively lower amount of fat, and the structure of the proteins.

During the production of parmesan, the curd is cooked at higher temperatures than in the production of other cheese types, which leads to the lower moisture of the cheese mass. The water in the cheese composition acts as a lubricant and favours flow.

A higher fat content also favours flow and melting. Parmesan is produced with part-skim milk, resulting in a relatively lower fat content, thus reducing the melting property.

The high temperature of cooking in the production of parmesan results in the formation of a protein structure that is hard and stable.

The protein-protein interactions and water-protein interactions in the cheese structure will be weakened when a great amount of energy is applied, or higher temperatures are achieved (1, 2).

What are the properties of parmesan cheese?

Parmesan cheese is an Italian cheese that is allowed to ripen for a prolonged period of 6 to 18 months, although authentic Parmesan cheese sold in Italians must be aged for 10 months minimally (4).

During the ripening process, hydrolysis of proteins occurs, changing the amino acid distribution of the cheese. In addition, milk fats are broken down into free fatty acids and short-chained fatty acids, which characterise the sharp aroma and intense flavour of the parmesan cheese (1, 4).

The properties of the parmesan cheese are shown in the table below (1, 2):

pH 5.34
Moisture (%) 37.6
dry mass (%) 65.9
fat (%) 28.7
protein (%) 24.9
Salt (%) 2.4
aging time 6 to 36 months 
flavour nutty, musky, sharp, piquant

What are other cheese types that melt?

Other cheese types that melt are (1, 2, 5):

Mozzarella cheese: Mozzarella is produced by the stretching of the casein chains into a structure that allows good meltability and flow. High-moisture and high-fat mozzarella cheese types are softer and melt more easily. Mozzarella is not aged and has a mild flavour.

Due to its improved melting and flow properties, mozzarella is preferred as a topping for pizza and other dishes. However, it lacks flavour.

Colby and Cheddar: Colby and Cheddar are similar cheese types with a pH value of 5.4, fat content of 33 %, moisture content of 38 % and protein content of approximately 22 %.

The production process of these cheese types is similar, with the difference that when Colby is produced, whey is substituted by water in the washing process of the curd.

The melting processes of Colby and Cheddar are similar and involve fat liquefaction and protein aggregation, however, Cheddar requires more energy to melt than Colby. 

Raclette cheese: Raclette is a semi-hard cheese and has a pH of 5.35, similar to Parmesan. However, its moisture content is higher the dry mass is about 46 % and the fat content is 27 %. 

Raclette has good melting properties and requires greater energy to melt, when compared to mozzarella and lower energy when compared to parmesan, due to the intermediate moisture content.

Other FAQs about parmesan that you may be interested in.

Does parmesan cheese go bad?

How to keep parmesan cheese from moulding?


In this article, we answered the question “Does grated parmesan cheese melt?” and discussed how parmesan cheese melts, what are the properties of parmesan cheese and what are other cheese types that melt.

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