Wondering which is the best substitute for mozzarella cheese? If you can’t get your hands on mozzarella then don’t give up hope on achieving the cheesy flavor and creamy texture that your meal deserves.
Let us introduce you to some of the best mozzarella cheese substitutes that will have your taste buds singing and even impress dinner guests!
What Is Mozzarella Cheese?
Mozzarella is a traditional Italian cheese made from cow’s milk or buffalo milk. The latter variant is known as buffalo mozzarella.
As a versatile cheese, mozzarella can be used in various dishes, from pizzas to salads, but it shines best when paired with fresh tomatoes in a classic Caprese salad.
This mild cheese has a unique, slightly tangy flavor and a soft, moist texture, which makes it perfect to be eaten fresh.
It’s the delicate balance of taste and texture that makes mozzarella a beloved ingredient in kitchens around the world.
Is Mozzarella Cheese Tasty?
Mozzarella cheese, particularly when fresh, is incredibly tasty. It is known for its mild flavor that doesn’t overpower but compliments other dish ingredients.
Fresh mozzarella cheese is especially appreciated for its creamy texture, which adds a delightful mouthfeel to salads, pizzas, and sandwiches.
While fresh mozzarella has a subtle taste, aged mozzarella can develop a stronger, more robust flavor profile. Despite its age, the allure of mozzarella comes from its smooth texture, milky flavor, and capacity to amplify the tastes of the dishes it’s combined with.
Is Mozzarella Cheese Good for Health?
Mozzarella cheese is considered good for health due to its rich nutritional profile. This is a crucial provider of protein and calcium, both of which are vital for maintaining peak health.
Phosphorus found in mozzarella contributes to the strength of bones and teeth. It can be integrated into various diets as a low-carb and low-calorie option without adding excessive calories.
Notably, mozzarella cheese contains probiotics that may boost your immune system.
Furthermore, it’s a good Biotin or Vitamin B7 source, which plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin. Nonetheless, as with any food item, it’s essential to consume it judiciously as part of a well-rounded diet.
15 Best Substitutes for Mozzarella
Regarding the best mozzarella substitutes, there’s a wide variety to choose from based on your culinary needs. Here are some options:
Provolone, a semi-hard Italian cheese, is often considered a good substitute for mozzarella cheese in various dishes. Its taste is similar to mozzarella, being sweet and rather mild, but it carries a stronger aroma, which can add a distinct flavor profile to your dishes.
The texture of provolone is smooth and gets stringy when melted, much like mozzarella, making it an excellent choice for dishes where you want that perfect cheese pull.
As an aged cheese, provolone cheese has a sharper and tangier taste compared to fresh mozzarella. This makes it suitable for a range of dishes, including pizzas, pasta, and cooked dishes such as lasagna, where its unique flavor can stand out.
However, the drawback of using provolone as a mozzarella substitute is that its stronger flavor might overpower milder ingredients in a dish. Therefore, consider the balance of flavors in your recipe before substituting mozzarella with provolone.
Cheddar cheese, particularly white cheddar, can serve as a mozzarella substitute in various cooked dishes. The taste of white cheddar is milder than aged cheddar, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a slightly less intense flavor.
Its semi-hard texture, however, differs from the soft and chewy or moderately firm nature of mozzarella.
Regarding suitability, white cheddar cheese can be used in various dishes that traditionally employ mozzarella. These include pizza, pasta, chicken parmesan, and lasagna, where the cheese’s unique attributes contribute to a distinct culinary experience.
While the versatility of white cheddar and cheese makes it a commendable mozzarella substitute, it does have its drawbacks.
It’s harder texture than mozzarella might provide a different mouthfeel some dishes require. Furthermore, its stronger flavor, especially in the case of aged cheddar, might align differently with everyone’s palate or the intended flavor profile of the dish.
Bel Paese is an Italian semi-soft cheese that is one of the best substitutes for mozzarella in various dishes. This cheese, made from cow’s milk, shares a similar mild buttery sweet flavor with mozzarella, making it an excellent choice for those craving a taste of Italy.
The texture of Bel Paese, slightly softer than mozzarella, lends itself well to salads, pastas, and even pizzas. However, its softer nature might provide a different, firmer bite than mozzarella in certain dishes.
Despite its versatility, it’s important to remember that substituting mozzarella with Bel Paese may slightly alter the traditional taste of certain Italian cheeses in recipes. However, it can still create a delightful culinary experience.
Gouda cheese, particularly young gouda, can be a delightful substitute for mozzarella in many dishes. Its smooth, creamy texture and mild flavor allow it to blend seamlessly into recipes that typically call for mozzarella.
This semi-hard cheese possesses a subtly sweet and buttery flavor that can enhance your preferred dishes uniquely. Although gouda’s flavor leans more towards nuttiness, it remains mild enough not to dominate other components.
It’s excellent in salads, sandwiches, and even pasta dishes where you might normally use mozzarella. Mild gouda’s distinct sweet flavor may not suit all palates or dishes.
Edam cheese, hailing from the Netherlands, is a versatile and delightful substitute for mozzarella in various dishes. Known for its distinct mild, smooth, and subtly nutty flavor, Edam provides a unique twist to recipes traditionally calling for mozzarella.
When young, its texture is elastic and supple, similar to mozzarella’s renowned springy and moist quality. As it ages, Edam becomes firmer, intensifying in taste and adding depth to your dishes.
It also shines in cold dishes like salads, where its slightly salty touch can balance sweet and tangy elements. However, using Edam instead of mozzarella may alter the final result of your dish, mostly due to its more pronounced flavor profile.
Mozzarella’s charm lies in its delicate, milky taste, allowing other ingredients to take center stage. With Edam’s nutty flavor, dishes might have a different, albeit delicious, taste.
Substituting mozzarella cheese with Fontina can be an interesting choice for any food connoisseur. Originating from Italy, just like Mozzarella, Fontina cheese has a subtle flavor that is slightly nutty and creamy.
Its taste is more complex than mozzarella’s mild and milky flavor. Regarding texture, Fontina is semi-soft and melts beautifully, similar to mozzarella.
Fontina is excellent for dishes that call for melted cheese, such as fondue, grilled cheese sandwiches, or pizza. It can also be used in casseroles, pasta dishes, and gourmet recipes where its unique flavor can shine.
However, when substituting mozzarella cheese with Fontina, one should be aware of its rich and robust flavor that might overpower delicate dishes. Also, it might provide a different stretchy consistency than Mozzarella cheese is known for in dishes like pizza.
Bocconcini cheese is often considered one of the best substitutes for mozzarella cheese when looking for a slightly different flavor profile.
This small, round Italian cheese has a slightly tangy flavor, subtly different from the milky richness of traditional mozzarella. The texture of bocconcini is firm yet delicate, somewhat similar to that of mozzarella, but with a little more springiness.
However, bocconcini might deliver a different creamy, gooey texture if used instead of mozzarella in recipes that require a high degree of meltability, like pizza or lasagna.
Monterey Jack, a semi-hard cheese, is often considered an alternative to mozzarella due to its comparable mild flavor and excellent melting properties.
Its taste is slightly richer, with a buttery profile that can be likened to a mild cheddar or Colby cheese.
In terms of texture, Monterey Jack is less moist than mozzarella, which can result in a crispier, somewhat greasier outcome when used in dishes like pizza or pasta.
While it’s an acceptable substitute in recipes requiring melted cheese, the difference in moisture content can alter the final product’s feel. It’s important to note that using Monterey Jack instead of mozzarella may produce a less creamy dish.
Havarti cheese, a Danish delight, is known for its semi-soft texture and creamy, buttery flavor that can vary from mild to sweet. It carries a pleasant, buttery aroma and can even be sharp in taste in stronger varieties, akin to Swiss-type cheeses.
This interior-ripened cheese, considered a luxury in the U.S., can sometimes have a hint of tanginess, adding depth to its overall profile.
As a substitute for mozzarella, Havarti brings a unique twist to dishes. Its creamy, smooth, and supple texture makes it an excellent choice for melting, similar to mozzarella. Hence, it works well in sandwiches, pizzas, and casseroles.
Havarti’s rich, buttery taste might dominate the dish, unlike the mild flavor of mozzarella, which could be a potential flaw if you’re looking for a subtle cheese flavor.
Moreover, the taste of Havarti can shift from sweeter to more bitter based on the aging duration of the cheese, which could influence the ultimate flavor of the meal.
With its mild taste and creamy texture, ricotta cheese is an interesting substitute for mozzarella cheese. Unlike mozzarella’s stretchy and stringy nature, ricotta cheese is soft and grainy, offering a unique mouthfeel.
It’s a versatile cheese that compliments a variety of dishes, especially Italian cuisine. You’ll find it shining in lasagna, manicotti, and even as a topping on pizza. However, substituting mozzarella cheese comes with a few drawbacks.
Ricotta doesn’t melt as well as mozzarella, so you won’t get that gooey, stretchy quality that mozzarella is known for, particularly in hot dishes like pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Parmesan cheese, when used as a substitute for mozzarella, brings a different dynamic to the table. It has a hard, grainy texture and a robust, nutty flavor that is more intense than mozzarella’s mild and creamy flavor.
Parmesan can be an excellent addition to pasta dishes, risottos, soups, and salads where its strong flavor can shine through. However, it doesn’t melt as smoothly as mozzarella, which could be a drawback in dishes like pizza or lasagna that call for a silky, gooey cheese.
It’s also saltier, so it’s important to adjust the seasoning of your dish accordingly. While Parmesan can’t perfectly replicate the characteristics of mozzarella, it can still offer a unique and delicious twist to many recipes.
Due to its distinctive taste and texture, Swiss cheese is a viable mozzarella cheese substitute in various culinary applications. While Swiss cheese has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, it differs from mozzarella’s mild, milky taste.
Its semi-hard texture also contrasts with the softness of low-moisture mozzarella. Despite these differences, Swiss cheese can be used effectively in hot and cold dishes.
It’s particularly enjoyable when cubed in a Caprese salad, offering an extra flavor kick.
However, while substituting, one must remember that Swiss cheese might provide a different creamy consistency and cheese pull characteristic of mozzarella, especially in recipes like spinach dip and pizza.
Oaxaca cheese, often hailed as a Mexican cheese, boasts a mild, almost buttery flavor with a hint of saltiness. Its texture is creamy and stringy, much like Italian mozzarella, making it an excellent candidate for melted cheese dishes.
The delicate flavor of this semi-soft cheese enhances the taste of various culinary creations without overpowering them.
It’s particularly well-suited for quesadillas, enchiladas, and other traditional Mexican dishes that call for a mellow, melting cheese.
When used as a substitute for mozzarella, one should note its slightly different texture and more pronounced buttery flavor. While these characteristics are generally appreciated, they might only sometimes align with dishes that require mozzarella’s specific taste and texture.
Burrata cheese, a fresh Italian cheese, is a wonderful option to substitute mozzarella. Its tender and smooth texture ensures a delectably creamy interior while preserving a firm exterior.
The taste of burrata is rich, buttery, and slightly sweet, which often surpasses the milder flavor of mozzarella. It’s ideal for dishes that require a decadent touch, such as salads, pasta, or simply spread on a piece of crusty bread.
One must be mindful when using burrata in place of mozzarella. Due to its creamy interior it may not hold up well under high heat, making it less suitable for dishes like pizza or lasagna where mozzarella is traditionally used.
With its crumbly texture and tangy flavor, Feta cheese provides a unique substitute to the smoother and milder mozzarella. Its robust taste adds a unique twist to dishes traditionally prepared with mozzarella, such as pizzas, pastas, and salads.
This Greek cheese is especially good for enhancing Mediterranean-inspired recipes, where its salty profile complements the flavors of olive oil, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.
When used as a substitute for mozzarella, it’s important to note that feta cheese won’t melt in the same creamy way due to its lower moisture content. Therefore, there may be better choices for dishes like lasagna or Caprese salad, where mozzarella’s gooey, melty aspect is integral.
Cottage cheese, with its mild flavor and creamy texture, can substitute for mozzarella cheese in certain dishes. The subtle taste of cottage cheese allows it to easily blend with other ingredients without overpowering them.
Its texture, however, is where the difference lies. Unlike melted mozzarella’s stringy and stretchy quality, cottage cheese has a lumpy consistency that doesn’t melt as smoothly.
This makes it an excellent choice for dishes like lasagna, stuffed shells, or even as a pizza topping, where the cheese is part of a larger flavor profile rather than the star of the show.
Cottage cheese may not hit the mark if you seek the classic pull-apart effect mozzarella offers, particularly in dishes like Caprese salad or Margherita pizza.
Curd cheese is a versatile alternative to mozzarella cheese, bringing unique characteristics to any dish. It has a fresh, mild taste and is less tangy than mozzarella.
The texture of curd cheese is soft yet slightly crumbly, unlike the stretchy nature of mozzarella. This can enhance dishes like salads, sandwiches, and even desserts, adding a creamy yet light touch.
However, curd cheese might perform better than mozzarella due to its lower melting point when it comes to dishes where the cheese needs to melt, like pizza or lasagna. This could result in a less gooey texture, impacting the overall experience.
Is There a Non-dairy Substitute for Mozzarella Cheese?
When it comes to finding non-dairy mozzarella substitutes, several great options are available. The following are some options:
Chao Creamer Plant-Based Shreds
These non-dairy cheese shreds are made from fermented tofu and coconut oil, providing a rich, creamy flavor that mimics traditional mozzarella. It melts well, making it a perfect substitute for mozzarella in pizza, pasta, and salads.
Forager Vegan and Dairy-Free Cheese Shreds
Made from cashews and cultures, these vegan cheese shreds have a tangy flavor reminiscent of mozzarella. They can be used in various dishes, including lasagna, stuffed shells, or even sprinkled over roasted vegetables.
Miyoko’s Liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella
This innovative, liquid vegan cheese becomes a stretchy, melty delight when heated. The taste is slightly tangy, similar to traditional mozzarella. It’s great for pizza but can also be used in baked pasta dishes or caprese salad.
An interesting take on vegan cheese chickpea cheese has a mild, nutty flavor. Its soft and crumbly texture makes it a good mozzarella cheese substitute in salads, sandwiches, and light pasta dishes.
Rice Starch Cheese
This is a great option for those who want to avoid nuts and soy. Rice starch cheese has a mild, neutral flavor and melts well, making it a versatile substitute for mozzarella in dishes like pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, and casseroles.
Cashew cheese has a rich, creamy flavor that often resembles traditional dairy cheeses’ taste. It can be used in various dishes where you’d typically use mozzarella, such as pizza, lasagna, or atop a hearty salad.
What Can I Pair With Mozzarella?
Here are some delightful ways you can pair mozzarella:
- Wine Pairing: Light white wines and rosé are often enjoyed with mozzarella. Specific varieties like Sauvignon Blanc or Italian Greco di Tufo are excellent choices.
- Fresh Produce: Mozzarella pairs wonderfully with fresh, crisp vegetables and fruits. Consider sliced tomatoes, peaches, radishes, cucumbers, plums, nectarines, zucchini, snap peas, and cantaloupe.
- Italian Dishes: Mozzarella is a staple in many Italian dishes. It’s a must-have on pizzas and works well in lasagna and other baked pasta dishes.
- Flavor Pairings: Enhance the taste of Fresh Mozzarella with additions like basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Elevate your regular grilled cheese sandwich by using mozzarella. Its mild flavor and excellent melting quality make it a perfect choice.
- Cheese Sauce: A creamy mozzarella cheese sauce can be a great addition to pasta dishes, vegetables, and meats.
- Side Dishes for Mozzarella Sticks: If you enjoy mozzarella in stick form, consider pairing them with marinara sauce, pesto sauce, chicken nuggets, pizza bagels, potato rosti, and garlic bread.
- Salads: A fresh, crisp salad can balance the richness of mozzarella. A simple garden salad with mixed greens and tomatoes would be great.
What Is the Best Way to Store Fresh Mozzarella?
Here’s a guide on the best way to store fresh mozzarella:
- Refrigerate it: Fresh mozzarella should be stored in the refrigerator immediately. It’s best placed on the middle shelf where temperatures are most stable.
- Use the original brine: If the mozzarella came in a water or brine solution, keep it in this liquid. This aids in preserving its freshness and taste.
- Wrap in plastic: If you don’t have the original brine, wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap. This prevents air from reaching the cheese and helps to prolong its life.
- Eat quickly: Mozzarella is best consumed the same day it’s purchased, but if stored properly, it can last up to 5 days in the fridge.
- Freeze Fresh Mozzarella: If you want to extend the life of your mozzarella, you can choose to freeze it. Freezing fresh mozzarella can extend its life up to months. However, freezing may change the texture and taste of the cheese.
- Check for mold: Fresh mozzarella should last 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. However, always check for mold before consuming. If you spot any mold, it’s best not to eat the cheese.
Substitute for Mozzarella
Mozzarella is a versatile, delicious cheese that can be enjoyed in many ways. However, great mozzarella substitutes are available for those looking to try something different or avoid dairy products.
From chickpea cheese to plant-based options, a mozzarella alternative exists for everyone’s taste and dietary needs. From the mild gouda to the distinctive chickpea cheese, each variety possesses its unique taste and texture, capable of adding an exquisite touch to any meal.
Feel free to experiment and find your favorite alternative to traditional mozzarella cheese. And if you’re sticking with mozzarella, pair it well and store it properly for the best experience.