The Best Ways to Use Leftover Parmesan Rinds

updated Mar 5, 2024
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overhead shot of an assortment of parmesan rinds.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik

Picture this, you’ve just grated a cheesy shower of Parm over a lovely plate of pasta or perhaps a Caesar salad and realize you’ve gotten to the end of the wedge. Don’t be tempted to chuck that tough sliver of rind into the garbage, it’s got a lot left to offer. 

Parmesan rinds are the hardened outer edges of the wheel, which (in the case of real deal Parmigiano Reggiano) can be identified by the stamped-on lettering. The rind of Parmesan cheese is a natural part of the cheese-making process. It doesn’t contain any wax or other sealants. It’s just the edge of the cheese that dries out and hardens over time. While the rind is technically edible, its toughened texture makes it difficult to slice or grate. However, you can still extract the umami-forward flavor from this often overlooked bit of desiccated cheese.

What to Do With Parmesan Rinds

Parmesan rinds are a great addition to dishes that cook low and slow and have some excess liquid for rinds to steep in. The rind will slowly hydrate and become more pliable as it cooks, but won’t go as far as to fall apart. Remove the rind before serving, as you would a bay leaf or sachet of woody herbs.

  • Soups and stocks. Throw a chunk of rind into a batch of stock or a pot of soup. They can even stand on their own as a base for a flavorful Parmesan stock!
  • Beans and grains. Try adding one to a batch of dried beans or even risotto, for a boost of cheesy, savory, umami flavor.
  • Sauces. Parmesan rinds are a great addition to your favorite marinara or other big batch pasta sauces.

Where to Buy Parmesan Rinds

If you don’t have any leftover rinds handy, you can often find them sold at the deli or cheese counter of your local grocery store or cheese shop. Anywhere they are cutting smaller pieces of Parmesan from a large wheel, rinds may be for sale. That said, you can build your own back stock by saving yours at home.

How to Store Parmesan Rinds

Parmesan rinds will last for a few months in a zipper-lock bag in the fridge, but my preference is to keep them in the freezer (in a zipper-lock freezer bag) where they will last practically indefinitely. Don’t worry about thawing them before use, just toss them right into the pot!