How many calories in 1 4 cup grated Parmesan cheese?

When looking at the calorie content of any food, it’s important to consider the serving size. Parmesan cheese is a flavorful hard cheese that can add a delicious umami flavor to many dishes when used in moderation. Knowing approximately how many calories are in a typical serving of grated Parmesan can help you make informed choices when building nutritious meals.

Quick Answer

There are about 130 calories in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Serving Size Matters

To accurately calculate the calories, it’s essential to pay attention to the specified serving size. In this case, we are looking at a 1/4 cup measurement of grated Parmesan. Using a measuring cup to gauge an exact 1/4 cup portion will provide the most precision when tracking calories for nutritional goals.

If you use a heavier hand and add more than a 1/4 cup to your pasta or salad, you may end up consuming additional calories. On the flip side, a light sprinkling that’s less than 1/4 cup will have slightly fewer calories. Portion size makes a significant difference in the calorie totals for dense, flavorful foods like Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts for Grated Parmesan Cheese

To determine how many calories are in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan, we can examine the nutrition facts panel for a typical brand. Looking at a 100 gram serving, Parmesan cheese provides around:

  • 410 calories
  • 25 grams of fat
  • 65 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 1,820 milligrams of sodium
  • 41 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of carbohydrates

Knowing these nutrition stats for a 100 gram portion allows us to calculate the calories for a smaller 1/4 cup serving:

  • There are approximately 32 grams in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
  • Given there are 410 calories per 100 grams
  • We can determine there are about 130 calories in 1/4 cup

Calorie Differences in Various Cheeses

While Parmesan is packed with flavor, it’s also higher in calories and fat compared to many other varieties of cheese. Here is a look at how the calories in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan compares to other popular cheese choices:

Cheese Type Calories per 1/4 Cup
Parmesan 130
Cheddar 113
Mozzarella 108
Swiss 104
Feta 99
Goat 75

As you can see, Parmesan has more calories per serving compared to other popular cheese varieties. Cheddar and mozzarella are lower but still have a similar calorie count in a 1/4 cup. Cheese like feta, goat, and Swiss provide closer to 100 calories per serving.

Calorie Differences in Grated vs. Shredded Cheese

You may also be wondering how the calories in grated Parmesan compare to shredded Parmesan. When a harder cheese like Parmesan is shredded instead of grated, does it impact the calories?

The calories should be very similar between grated and shredded Parmesan. One factor that can slightly change the calorie content is the density. Grated Parmesan has a finer, fluffier texture with more air incorporated. Shredded Parmesan can sometimes be slightly more dense and tightly packed.

But the differences in density between grated and shredded Parmesan are usually negligible. Overall both shredded and grated Parmesan will have around 130 calories for a 1/4 cup serving.

Variables Impacting Calories

There are a few factors that can slightly impact the calorie content in Parmesan cheese:

  • Age of cheese – Older Parmesan that has been aged for a longer time is lower in moisture and slightly higher in calories
  • Fat content – Some specialty Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan may have a wider range of fat percentage
  • Grating method – Whether grated by hand or electric grater
  • Exact measurement – Slight natural variations in a 1/4 cup measurement

However, these variables are small and the differences in calories per serving would be nominal. In most cases, 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan will provide around 130 calories for the average brand and preparation method.

Weight Watching Tips

To keep your calories in check when using Parmesan cheese:

  • Measure out a precise 1/4 cup serving instead of eyeballing a portion
  • Use a lighter hand if sprinkling on top of soups or salads
  • Look for reduced-fat Parmesan options to cut some calories
  • Substitute Parmesan with lower-calorie cheeses like goat cheese in some recipes
  • Boost flavor with a dash of Parmesan so you can use less cheese overall

With some simple strategies, it’s definitely possible to enjoy the delicious flavor of Parmesan cheese while still being mindful of your calorie goals.

Benefits of Parmesan Cheese

While Parmesan is higher in calories and fat compared to some other cheeses, it also provides some important nutrients and potential health benefits:

  • Protein – Excellent source of filling protein to help keep you satisfied. About 10 grams protein per 1/4 cup.
  • Calcium – Provides a good amount of calcium for strong bones. About 200mg per serving.
  • Phosphorus – Contains phosphorus which supports energy production.
  • Vitamin A – Provides vitamin A for immune function and eye health.
  • Vitamin B12 – A source of vitamin B12 for red blood cell formation and nerve function.
  • Conjugated linoleic acid – Contains CLA, an antioxidant that may offer some anti-cancer effects.

The high concentration of nutrients like protein, calcium, and vitamins make Parmesan an excellent food to include as part of a healthy diet. Moderating portion sizes is key to keeping calories in check.

Uses for Parmesan Cheese

Here are some of the most delicious ways to use Parmesan cheese while keeping calories under control:

On Pastas and Grains

A light sprinkling of Parmesan can add a flavor punch to all kinds of pasta dishes, risottos, polenta, and gnocchi. This allows you to use less cheese than you would in a heavier grated topping.

On Pizzas

A little Parmesan can go a long way on pizza. Grate some over margherita or vegetable pizzas instead of higher-calorie mozzarella for a flavor boost.

In Soups

Add some grated Parmesan to minestrone, tomato soup, or brothy soups. The cheese will melt into the soup to add a savory richness.

On Vegetables

Lightly coat roasted, sauteed, or steamed veggies with a little Parmesan at the end. It will add a nice crunch and salty accent.

On Salads

Instead of full-fat Caesar dressing, sprinkle a touch of grated Parmesan over lighter green salads.

In Eggs

Add a tablespoon of Parmesan into your morning omelet or scrambled eggs for a flavor and protein boost.

Low-Calorie Substitutes

To further reduce the calories in recipes that call for Parmesan, consider using one of these lower-calorie subs:

  • Reduced-fat Parmesan
  • Light laughing cow cheese wedges
  • Fat-free feta
  • Nutritional yeast flakes
  • Low sodium salt
  • Lemon zest
  • Herbs like parsley, basil, oregano

While they may not mimic the exact flavor, these options can allow you to cut back on calories without losing too much of the cheesy taste.

Weight Loss Tips

Here are some healthy tips for using Parmesan cheese as part of a weight loss diet:

  • Measure 1/4 cup portions carefully using measuring cups
  • Track calories accurately when meal planning
  • Limit higher-calorie foods elsewhere in your daily diet to balance out calories
  • Substitute Parmesan with lower-fat cheeses in recipes when possible
  • Increase exercise to burn extra calories consumed
  • Eat mindfully and slowly
  • Pair Parmesan with non-starchy veggies, greens, lean protein for nutrient-dense meals

With some mindfulness, portion control, and smart substitutions, it’s certainly possible to lose weight while still enjoying Parmesan cheese in moderation.


Parmesan cheese provides robust flavor that can enhance many savory dishes. While higher in calories and fat than some varieties, Parmesan offers important nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin A. Paying attention to portion sizes and using Parmesan sparingly is the best approach to keeping calories in check. Measuring out a true 1/4 cup serving yields around 130 calories for this flavorful and beloved cheese.

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