9 Best Kefalotyri Cheese Substitutes

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The best Kefalotyri Cheese Substitutes are Romano Cheese, Parmesan, Halloumi, Graviera Cheese, Kasseri Cheese, Pecorino Cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, Aged Gruyere, and Nutritional Yeast.

While trying some Mediterranean recipes, I encountered the challenge of not finding Kefalotyri Cheese, a must-have for many dishes. Seeing others online struggling to locate it, I decided to try suitable substitutes. After some trial and error, I found alternatives that capture Kefalotyri’s unique flavor and texture. 

This search for substitutes motivated me to share my discoveries, helping fellow cooks handle the kitchen hurdles when this specific cheese is MIA.

What Is Kefalotyri Cheese?

Kefalotyri cheese is a traditional Greek cheese with a rich history and distinctive characteristics. It is made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk, contributing to its unique flavor profile. The cheese is known for its hard texture and is typically aged, resulting in a firm consistency that makes it suitable for grating or slicing.

The flavor of Kefalotyri is both sharp and nutty, with a touch of saltiness that adds depth to various dishes. This cheese is a staple in Greek cuisine, often used in traditional and modern recipes. Its versatility allows it to be employed in various applications, including grilling, baking, and as a key ingredient in iconic Greek dishes like saganaki and moussaka.

Kefalotyri cheese holds cultural significance in Greek households and is frequently enjoyed in celebrations and family gatherings. Its robust flavor and ability to complement various ingredients make it a sought-after cheese in Mediterranean cuisine, adding a distinctive Greek touch to many dishes. Whether grated over pasta, melted into a savory casserole, or enjoyed on its own, Kefalotyri cheese is a flavorful and essential component of Greek gastronomy.

What Is a Substitute for Kefalotyri Cheese?

1. Romano Cheese 

Romano cheese serves as an excellent Kefalotyri cheese substitute in various recipes. Both are hard cheeses, sharing a sharp, nutty profile with hints of spice and tanginess. Romano pairs seamlessly with meat dishes, pasta, and pizza. 

In most recipes, you can easily substitute Kefalotyri cheese with an equal amount of Romano cheese. However, be cautious regarding dishes like saganaki or grilling, as Romano’s harder texture doesn’t melt as smoothly.

2. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese proves to be an excellent Kefalotyri cheese substitute, much like Romano cheese. With its nutty, salty flavor and firm texture, Parmesan blends seamlessly into various dishes. It melts beautifully and complements meats and veggies just like Kefalotyri. 

This cheese is convenient for Moussaka or other baked recipes, and the bonus is that Parmesan is more readily available in most stores. Feel free to substitute Kefalotyri with an equal amount of Parmesan in recipes, especially in pasta, baking, or grating over dishes.

3. Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi Cheese - Kefalotyri Cheese Substitutes

Halloumi cheese, another Greek option, is a versatile substitute for Kefalotyri cheese in many recipes. While sharing Kefalotyri’s salty richness, Halloumi brings a creamier texture to the table. 

Halloumi shines in dishes like Saganaki or fried cheese, ideal for grilling, offering a unique twist compared to other alternatives. You can easily swap Kefalotyri in most recipes with an equal amount of Halloumi due to their similar flavor profile and texture. Remember the saltiness difference and adjust seasoning accordingly to match Kefalotyri’s distinct taste.

4. Graviera Cheese 

Graviera cheese emerges as a compelling Kefalotyri cheese replacement, offering a nutty and salty profile that excels in grilling and grating. Graviera develops a spicier kick as it ages, resembling Kefalotyri’s flavor. Its versatility makes it ideal for various Kefalotyri recipes, whether Saganaki, pasta, or gratins. 

A simple swap is possible, replacing Graviera with equal measures of Kefalotyri in all recipes. However, be mindful that less mature Graviera may have a milder saltiness, requiring adjustments in seasoning to achieve the desired flavors.

5. Kasseri Cheese

Kasseri cheese, crafted from sheep’s milk, is a nutty and salty replacement for Kefalotyri cheese with subtle notes of sweetness. It seamlessly integrates into most Kefalotyri cheese recipes, such as saganaki or moussaka. 

Renowned for its perfect melting qualities, Kasseri offers a milder flavor, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a less intense alternative. A straightforward substitution can replace Kefalotyri with equal amounts of Kasseri cheese. However, be aware that Kasseri is softer and more buttery than Kefalotyri’s firmer texture. Adjust expectations accordingly.

6. Pecorino Cheese 

Pecorino cheese - Kefalotyri Cheese Substitutes

Pecorino cheese, akin to Romano, proves to be an excellent spicy and readily available alternative for Kefalotyri recipes. With a savory flavor profile, Pecorino enhances meat and veggie dishes, pasta, and gratings over various dishes. 

While it may not fry or grill as smoothly as Kefalotyri, a 1:1 substitution in most cooking recipes works seamlessly. Pecorino uses its distinctive flavor to elevate your dishes, whether seeking a zesty kick or a convenient swap.

7. Parmigiano Reggiano 

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese - Kefalotyri Cheese Substitutes

Parmigiano Reggiano, a hard, nutty, and salty cheese, offers an excellent Kefalotyri cheese alternative, especially when sprinkled on dishes. While it may not be the best choice for grilling due to its quick melting nature, it shines in pasta and baked recipes. 

Like Parmesan, you can seamlessly replace Kefalotyri with equal amounts of Parmigiano Reggiano. Expect some flavor nuances in the recipe, but rest assured, your dishes will remain equally delectable with this tasty substitution.

8. Aged Gruyere

Aged Gruyere cheese, renowned for its wonderful melting capabilities and nutty, rich flavor, is an excellent substitute for Kefalotyri cheese, particularly in baked or meat-based recipes. The older and more mature the Gruyere, the closer it comes to matching Kefalotyri’s texture and tangy flavor. 

You can use nearly the same amount of aged Gruyere as Kefalotyri in your recipes. However, bear in mind that variations in the texture and flavor of the final dish will occur based on the degree of aging in the Gruyere cheese.

9. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast - Kefalotyri Cheese Substitutes

Nutritional yeast is an excellent alternative to Kefalotyri cheese, particularly for vegans and those with lactose intolerance, offering a similar flavor profile. Nutritional yeast can enhance Greek veggie recipes like spanakopita, whether sprinkled on or incorporated into a nut-based paste. 

However, it may not be suitable for grilling or saganaki recipes due to its unique properties. To achieve the right flavors, use half the amount of nutritional yeast as you would with cheese in your recipes. Adjust to taste by sprinkling over your dish and adding more as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kefalotyri the Same as Halloumi? 

No, Kefalotyri is not the same as Halloumi. While both are Greek cheeses, they differ in flavor, texture, and intended use. Kefalotyri is a hard, aged cheese with a sharp and nutty taste, commonly grated or sliced for various dishes. On the other hand, Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese known for its unique ability to withstand high heat, making it suitable for grilling or frying without melting. The two cheeses serve different culinary purposes and have their distinct characteristics.

What is Kefalotyri Cheese Used For?

Kefalotyri cheese is commonly used in Greek cuisine for its versatile applications. Its hard texture allows for grating or slicing, making it a popular choice to enhance the flavor of various dishes. Kefalotyri is often grated over pasta, salads, or meat dishes, and it is a key ingredient in traditional Greek recipes such as moussaka and saganaki. The cheese’s sharp and nutty profile adds depth to a wide range of savory dishes, making it a versatile and essential component in Mediterranean cooking.

Does Kefalotyri Cheese Melt?

Yes, Kefalotyri cheese does melt, but its melting characteristics can vary. Kefalotyri has a hard texture, and when exposed to heat, it softens and melts to some extent. However, it may not melt uniformly or as easily as softer cheeses. The melting properties make Kefalotyri suitable for certain dishes like baked casseroles or moussaka, whose distinct flavor and texture contribute to the overall dish.


I hope this quick guide helps you find a good replacement for Kefalotyri in your recipes. 

If you have your own substitutes or cooking tips, feel free to share them! 

Don’t hesitate to pass this article on to your family and friends who enjoy cheesy Greek dishes.

About Cynthia

Cynthia Odenu-Odenu is the founder of Cyanne Eats. She is an avid baker and cook of delicious delicacies. She uses this blog to share her love for different cuisines.

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