Mozzarella is a great cheese and is loved by many for being mild, stringy, and chewy. It doesn’t have a strong taste, melts easily, and has a stretchy pull. If you want to substitute mozzarella cheese in any recipe, it is natural that you look for the same characteristics of taste, smell, and texture.
Provolone, Oaxaca, burrata, white cheddar, ricotta, gouda, feta and even fontina are some of the best mozzarella cheese substitutes. Of course, it all depends on your preference and the kind of recipe you are making.
There are some other types of cheese that you can use instead of mozzarella. It is preferable that you use a cheese with mild taste like mozzarella. You can choose on the basis of the kind of taste and texture you want.
I will list the different types of cheese along with their taste and textures and let you decide what you think is the type of cheese you’d like to use instead of mozzarella.
Quick Peek: Mozzarella Cheese
Before we get into the substitutes you can use for mozzarella cheese, let’s explore a bit about this cheese to learn its taste, texture, health benefits and some more relevant things. Let’s get into it, shall we?
What Is Mozzarella Cheese?
We all know and love mozzarella cheese. It originated in southern Italy where it was first made with the milk of Italian water buffalos. However, mozzarella is also prepared using cow’s and sheep milk these days.
This soft cheese classifies as curd cheese, is white and has a soft. You can easily slice it and even gently tear it apart with your hands. Mozzarella is a rindless milky cheese and is quite versatile.
Mozzarella cheese is also not aged like most cheeses but is eaten fresh. In fact, fresh mozzarella is usually consumed within hours.
It is also easy to make the process to make this curd cheese is called pasta filata. To make mozzarella, milk is heated with curdled using citric acid. Then, rennet is added and after the cheese curds are stretched until they get the distinct stringy texture.
Once the curds becomes stringy and stretchy, the cheese is shaped into smalls ovalene balls. The mozzarella cheese balls are dropped in cold water to firm and then in salt water. The fresh mozzarella cheese is ready for use after that.
Describing Mozzarella Cheese: Flavor And Texture
Mozzarella cheese is not aged and hence it doesn’t taste strong or pungent like other traditional cheeses. Instead, mozzarella cheese has a mild and milky taste.
The creamy delicate flavor makes it a great addition to many dishes like pastas, pizza, salads, and lasagna.
Mozzarella cheese is known for its stringy and stretchy texture. The texture of mozzarella cheese can be described as velvety smooth an gooey.
It also known to be melty and hence is a great cheese for lasagna and pasta. It adds a rich and creamy taste to the dish.
Types Of Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella does have a few types and I feel like you should know about them. Here are the different types of mozzarella.
- Mozzarella Di Bufala – Mozzarella di Bufala is a common type of mozzarella that translates to “buffalo mozzarella.” It is the most common type of mozzarella.
- Fresh Mozzarella – Another common type of mozzarella that you’ll find is fresh mozzarella. It has mild taste and you can add it to an array of dishes.
- Low-Moisture Mozzarella – Low-moisture mozzarella is made with skimmed milk and is denser and a bit stronger. Low-moisture mozzarella is a great option for pizza.
- Mozzarella Fior Di Latte – Mozzarella Fior di Latte is the type of mozzarella made with cow’s milk. The milk can be raw, pasteurized, or unpasteurized.
- Mozzarella Affumicata – This type of mozzarella in not that popular but is still a great one. It is smoked mozzarella, has a very creamy taste and a high moisture-content.
Uses Of Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is a versatile cheese and finds uses in many dishes. You can add mozzarella cheese to pizza, salads, pasta, lasagna.
You can also serve mozzarella with meats and seafood. Mozzarella also melts perfectly in dishes like risotto, frittata, cream sauce.
People also eat mozzarella sticks and fried mozzarella cheese sticks as snacks. People also don’t shy away from eating fresh mozzarella as it is, drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoning and paired with the perfect wine.
Mozzarella Cheese On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Yes, mozzarella cheese is quite delicious but you must not sleep on its health benefits and believe me, it does have some good ones.
As I said, mozzarella is a curd cheese which mean it has bacteria cultures of Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum. This makes this cheese a great source of probiotics.
Thus, mozzarella is good for your gut health as well as your immune system. These bacteria also attribute towards a better respiratory and heart health. It regulates your blood pressure and is known to reduce cholesterol levels.
Mozzarella is also low in fat and calories. Being a dairy product, it is rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins B2, B3, and B7 (riboflavin, niacin, and biotin).
Why Use A Substitute For Mozzarella Cheese?
Although mozzarella is a great and delicious cheese, it is always nice to know what you can use instead of it.
Sometimes you need a sharper cheese with the same melting properties. You can also look for alternatives in case you don’t find the cheese your were looking for.
I’d say keeping a few cards up your sleeve won’t hurt anyone. So, let’s have a look at some of the best substitutes for mozzarella cheese.
Another thing when it comes to cheeses is that they contain lactose (because milk, duh!). Mozzarella cheese contains an average of 3-4% of lactose.
The amount of lactose depends on the different kinds of cheese, types of milk used, processing methods, as well as aging time. This makes every cheese have a different lactose percentage.
So, if you’re lactose intolerant, you might want to use a substitute that has a lower percentage of that. This is another reason to look for a mozzarella cheese substitute.
Other Food Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Manchego Cheese Substitutes You Can Try
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- Best Ricotta Cheese Substitutes In Lasagna
- Best Oaxaca Cheese Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Pepper Jack Cheese Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Neufchatel Cheese Substitutes That Taste The Same
- Best Gruyere Cheese Substitutes That You Can Try
10 Best Mozzarella Cheese Substitutes
Mentioned below are the few different types of cheeses that you can use instead of mozzarella. Have a look at our picks.
If you’re looking for cheese that is identical to mozzarella in terms of taste and texture then, provolone cheese is the perfect option. It is milder in taste than mozzarella but has a stronger aroma.
Provolone cheese is made with cow’s milk and is also a curd cheese. It tastes creamy with semi-hard consistency. To be specific, provolone dolce is perfect for the swap as it isn’t aged and has the delicate flavor we’re looking for.
It melts perfectly and actually is more stringy than mozzarella. It goes great on pizzas. Provolone also has a 0 – 2.1% of lactose on an average, which is lesser than mozzarella. So, if you are out of mozzarella and somehow have provolone, you can use it without a doubt.
Another mozzarella doppelgänger is Scamorza, a stretchy curd cheese with a semi-hard consistency. This cheese is made from cow’s milk and will give you the beautiful mozzarella-like melt.
The difference here is that Scamorza is actually an aged cheese and is sharper in taste. This is a great addition if you want a sharper flavor with the melty and rich taste.
If you are looking from the lactose perspective, Scamorza might not be your preferred cheese. This is because Scamorza has about 4 – 4.7% of lactose, much higher than mozzarella.
Burrata is mozzarella’s sibling in a way that it’s curd cheese and is eaten fresh. Just like mozzarella, it is made with both water buffalo’s and cow’s milk. It is also eaten fresh and is served in little cheese pearls.
The catch here is that burrata is not a great ‘melter’ like its sibling. When sliced, you’ll find that burrata is filled with mozzarella curds mixed together with cream.
This make burrata the creamier one. So, you can’t use burrata as a mozzarella substitute where you want the cheese to melt. But burrata will make a great substitute in salads or you can eat it drizzled with olive oil and seasoning for the creamy and rich taste.
Another thing about burrata is that it has a lot more lactose content that mozzarella, about 5 – 6%. So this might not be the right pick for a lactose intolerant.
Caciocavallo might be a less heard of cheese. It is also stretchy curd cheese from South Italy like mozzarella made with cow’s milk. Young caciocavallo has that mild and milky taste you’re looking for.
Its taste and texture resemble provolone thus you can use it in pizza, pasta, and salads. These similarities make it a great mozzarella substitute. It also has only 0.5% of lactose. Another great reason for it to be a mozzarella substitute.
Oaxaca cheese is like the friend you tell to copy your homework but not make it too obvious. It can be used instead of mozzarella cheese as they have identical taste and texture.
Oaxaco is a Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk that is also white with a semi-hard consistency. It wouldn’t be that wrong to call it “Mexico’s mozzarella.”
This Mexican cheese is mild and melts pretty easily. It is also stringy like mozzarella, which is one thing people look for when substituting mozzarella cheese. It also can be used in different ways.
Oaxaca cheese is also low on the lactose level with just 0.5 – 1%, much lesser than mozzarella. So, this also serves a good lactose based mozzarella substitute.
6. White Cheddar
This is not a sister to mozzarella but is among the popular kids. White cheddar is a flavorful cousin to mozzarella. You can use mild white cheddar to resemble mozzarella’s no-flavor-like taste.
It also melts quickly like mozzarella and is stretchy. But beware, it burns quickly too. The great part about white cheddar is its accessibility. It can be found easily and can be used in any recipe.
White cheddar is also a great lactose based mozzarella substitute as it has about 0 – 2.1% of lactose amount.
In terms of flavor, ricotta can also be used instead of mozzarella. It has a mild flavor with a hint of sweet notes and a soft and creamy texture. But if you are looking to check all the boxes then, that isn’t going to happen.
Ricotta doesn’t melt quickly. Instead, it softens and becomes creamier. Thus, it isn’t stretchy so, don’t expect the Instagram-worthy cheese pull.
Ricotta falls in the gray area when it comes to average lactose amount as it ranges from 0.2 – 5.1%. So you might want to consider this factor before you use ricotta as a substitute.
8. Young Gouda
When not gracing our charcuterie boards, gouda can be used as a substitute for mozzarella cheese in many recipes. It has a mild but nutty flavor.
You shouldn’t be fooled by its looks. It looks hard and difficult to melt but metals pretty quickly. It also doesn’t burn, unlike white cheddar. If you want its flavor as indistinct as possible, I would suggest you use mild gouda.
Young gouda is a promising mozzarella substitute if you just consider the lactose percentage. It has just 0 – 0.2% of average lactose percentage which is very low, making it the perfect cheese for a person with lactose intolerance.
Feta doesn’t resemble mozzarella cheese in taste or texture. But it makes the cut as it can be used as a healthier alternative to mozzarella cheese.
Feta is not mild in taste. It actually has a pretty in-your-face approach when it comes to taste. So, you should use it in a 2:1 ratio when using it to substitute mozzarella. It also has a crumbly texture and doesn’t melt quickly. It is perfect for dishes that have a longer cooking time.
Talking about feta, it has a higher amount of average lactose. To be specific, it contains 4.1% of the average lactose amount. So, you might want to ease on the feta if you’re not have the lactose metabolism.
Fontina also has a mild but distinct flavor. It is sweet and nutty and goes well with different dishes. It melts quickly but isn’t stretchy.
It, like some other cheeses on the list, becomes creamy and softens when melted. It can be used as a last resort if you don’t have any other kind of cheese and fontina is all you have.
Fontina also has lesser lactose percentage than mozzarella. It has just 2% as compared to mozzarella’s 3 – 4%. So, it’s still an option you can consider.
What Substitute Of Mozzarella Cheese Is Best For?
Mozzarella cheese is a fan favorite when it comes to cheese. It is used in a lot of dishes as fillings as well as toppings. It is great as a pizza topping, in between lasagna sheets, pearls on top of salads, and as a great binder for grilled cheese. I cannot complete the list without mentioning mozzarella cheese sticks.
1. Making Pizzas
If you like the stringy cheese pull in your pizza then, provolone and Mexican cheese are the obvious options.
But if you like a bit of flavorful pizza with nutty notes and creamy texture, you can use gouda. You can also use white cheddar cheese, which is strong and creamy but also stretchy and strong.
2. Making Lasagnas
For lasagnas, a creamy cheese would be ideal than a stretchy one. So, swiss cheese goes great with lasagnas. It is sweet and nutty and its creamy texture makes the lasagna more delicious.
White cheddar is also a great option and adds a similar punch. It has a creamy and stretchy texture giving it the best of both.
3. Making Salads
Mozzarella pearls are a great addition to any salad, but when you have none, you can use provolone. Its slightly strong taste will only elevate the taste of the entree.
Another great and healthy option would be using feta cheese. It is strong, crumbly, and healthy. It adds great texture to the salads.
You can also give a creamy and nutty flavor to your salad by topping it with generous shavings of gouda cheese (mild, of course!).
4. Making Pasta
Pasta and lasagna have the same criteria for cheese; it should rather be creamy than stretchy. A great cheese that goes with pasta is white cheddar. As you may have noted, it is really versatile.
Another cheese that makes for a flavorful and creamy pasta is gouda. It goes great with baked mac and cheese.
Fontina is also a good choice for pasta and baked mac and cheese. You can enjoy its strong and nutty flavor and creamy texture.
5. Making Cheese Sticks
As cheese sticks need gooey and stringy cheese, provolone and Mexican cheese are both great options for it. They both are very similar to mozzarella and will make equally delicious and stretchy fried cheese sticks.
6. Making Grilled Cheese
You can use a combination of many kinds of cheese when making grilled cheese. You can combine soft and creamy cheese with a stretchy and gooey one. You can use provolone, Mexican cheese, and gouda. You can also combine these with some types of hard cheese like cheddar to make it balanced.
The recipe decides the best-suited cheese for it. You can understand the texture and flavor of the recipe and decide what kind of cheese would go with it.
I hope this helped you a bit. Now, go on and make a delicious and cheesy recipe. Also, let me know which mozzarella substitute is your choice in the comments. Happy reading!
How To Substitute The Above Mentioned Ingredients For Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese Substitutes
- White Cheddar
- Young Gouda
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best mozzarella substitute?
Provolone is one of the best mozzarella substitute in terms of taste and texture.
What is the best mozzarella substitute to use in salads?
Burrata is a great mozzarella substitute to use in salads or eat fresh because it has a creamy and milk taste with a soft and smooth texture.
What Mexican cheese is a great substitute for mozzarella cheese?
Oaxaca is a great Mexican cheese that also makes a great substitute for mozzarella cheese