What Cheese Does Olive Garden Use

What Cheese Does Olive Garden Use? Discover Their Signature

Last Updated on June 28, 2024 by Shari Mason

If you tried the mouthwatering delights of Olive Garden’s dishes, you might wonder about the secret behind that rich, creamy cheese sauce that graces many of their signature dishes. 

I recently had a chance to discover the cheesy secret behind Olive Garden’s dishes, and it’s not the everyday cheese you find in your fridge. So, what cheese does Olive Garden use?

Today, I’ll share what cheese Olive Garden uses that enhances its delectable meals.

What Cheese Does Olive Garden Use In Their Recipes?

Woman Grating a Cheese

Olive Garden uses Lotito Romano Cheese in its recipes. This cheese, made from sheep’s milk, provides a sharp and tangy taste that elevates the taste of their signature meals. 

The Lotito Romano Cheese is grated finely and often sprinkled generously over pasta dishes, soups, and salads, imparting a distinctive savory richness. 

“For less than the cost of a Big Mac, fries and a Coke, you can buy a loaf of fresh bread and some good cheese or roast beef, which you will enjoy much more.” 

Steve Albini, American Musician and Record Producer

This choice of cheese underscores Olive Garden’s commitment to delivering a delightful dining experience. It uses a simple yet flavorful ingredient that adds a touch of Italian authenticity to its recipes.

But what comprises the Crispy Chicken Fritta offered by Olive Garden?

Does Olive Garden Use Parmesan Cheese In Their Recipes?

Olive Garden incorporates Parmesan cheese in its recipes [1]. They offer patrons the option to request a freshly grated sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to be added to nearly any dish they serve. 

Parmesan cheese, renowned for its nutty and savory taste, perfectly enhances the Italian-inspired cuisine at the restaurant.

This option allows customers to customize their meals, enhancing the taste with a simple yet delicious addition. 

So, if you’re a Parmesan cheese fan, you can enjoy its delightful presence in many of Olive Garden’s delectable offerings.

But how many slices of cheese to use for a grilled cheese?

Which Cheese Does Olive Garden Grate Onto Its Food?

At Olive Garden, the cheese that takes center stage when it comes to grating onto their delectable dishes is Parmesan cheese. 

It’s a signature moment during your dining experience when your server skillfully wields a cheese grater, generously showering your plate with as much Parmesan as your taste buds desire. 

This finely grated Parmesan adds a delightful touch to various Olive Garden dishes, enhancing the flavors and providing that extra layer of savory goodness. 

What Sets Parmesan Cheese Apart From Romano Cheese?


Parmesan cheese is crafted from cow’s milk, resulting in a nutty and slightly sweet flavor profile. 

In contrast, Romano cheese is made from sheep’s milk, which imparts a saltier and sharper taste. 

This difference in milk source contributes to their unique flavors, making Parmesan ideal for its mild, sweet notes, while Romano is preferred for its bold, salty tang. 

Whether sprinkling them on pasta or salads, understanding these flavor distinctions allows you to choose the perfect cheese to complement your dish.

Which Cheese Packs A Stronger Flavor: Parmesan Or Romano?

Romano has a strong and bold flavor compared to Parmesan. 

This assertive flavor makes Pecorino Romano the ideal choice for traditional Roman dishes like pasta all’amatriciana, carbonara, and spaghetti cacio e pepe, where its robust taste can shine through.

“Olive Garden’s secret ingredient isn’t just love; it’s the delectable Lotito Romano cheese that adds that extra Italian magic to their dishes.”

Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

On the other hand, Parmesan offers a milder flavor. 

The reason behind this is its use of unpasteurized cow’s milk [2], which yields a more subtle taste than the more potent sheep’s milk used in Pecorino Romano. 

Also Read: Easy Ways To Make Cottage Cheese Taste Better


What is the brand of the cheese grater used at Olive Garden?

The brand of the cheese grater used at Olive Garden is Zyliss, often referred to as the “Ferrari of cheese graters.” 

This high-quality grater can effortlessly handle a block of hard Parmesan cheese, making the grating process smooth and efficient.

Which cheese is inside the tortellini served at Olive Garden?

The tortelloni served at Olive Garden contains Asiago cheese. 

These delicious pasta pouches are filled with Asiago cheese and baked in creamy homemade Alfredo sauce, featuring Italian cheeses and toasted breadcrumbs. 

What is the stuffing inside the cheese ravioli at Olive Garden?

The cheese ravioli at Olive Garden is filled with a delicious blend of Italian cheeses. 

These mouthwatering pasta parcels are served with your preference of either homemade marinara or meat sauce, and they are generously topped with melted mozzarella cheese, offering a delightful and cheesy Italian dining experience.

You might also like to read about the methods of heating up Olive Garden breadsticks here.

Is Parmesan or Romano cheese sharper?

Romano cheese is sharper than Parmesan cheese. 

Its unique flavor profile is defined by a saltier and more pronounced taste. It is a perfect selection for individuals who enjoy a more robust cheese flavor in their meals.

What cheese is similar to Romano cheese?

Cheeses similar to Romano cheese include Grana Padano and Asiago. These cheeses share some common characteristics, such as a hard texture and a savory, nutty flavor. 

Final Thoughts

During my recent visit to Olive Garden, I had the opportunity to explore the cheese choices that make their dishes truly exceptional. 

Firstly, Olive Garden uses Lotito Romano Cheese to impart a distinct Italian authenticity to their recipes, enhancing the flavors of their meals. 

If you’re a Parmesan lover, you’ll be pleased to know that Olive Garden offers freshly grated Parmesan cheese for that perfect finishing touch on almost any dish they serve.

Lastly, the distinction between Parmesan and Romano cheeses becomes evident as Parmesan offers a milder, nutty sweetness. At the same time, Romano stands out with a stronger, saltier flavor, making it ideal for certain Roman dishes.


Shari Mason

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *