Mozzarella cheese is a staple ingredient in many dishes, and well-known as one of the best cheeses for pasta, but what do you do if you don’t have any?
There are many great substitutes for mozzarella cheese that can be used in a variety of recipes. Discover some of the best substitutes for mozzarella cheese, so you can enjoy all your favorite dishes even if you don’t have mozzarella cheese on hand.
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What Makes A Perfect Substitute For Mozzarella Cheese?
When looking for the best substitute for mozzarella cheese, I think about why we enjoy using mozzarella to pick a cheese like mozzarella.
Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese with a mild, milky flavor and that slightly elastic texture which enhances the flavor of many salads and melts beautifully.
Which gives us the added unique flavor or delicious ooey gooey cheese stretch to mozzarella recipes like pizza, lasagna and chicken parmesan, food we all love.
What Is Mozzarella Cheese?
Where does mozzarella come from?
Mozzarella cheese is a semi-soft, white cheese which originates from Italy in the region of Campania. Mozzarella is traditionally made from the milk of water buffalo which is why it is also sometimes referred to this cheese as buffalo mozzarella. Today it is also commonly made from cow’s milk.
Mozzarella cheese has a smooth, slightly elastic texture with a mild and slightly tangy flavor. Mozzarella is often used in pizza, baked pasta and casserole recipes, caprese salad, lasagna, and other amazing Italian dishes.
It can also be enjoyed eaten on its own or with crackers as part of a cheese charchuterie board as a snack or appetizer.
What is Fresh Mozzarella?
What is the difference between fresh mozzarella and mozzarella?
Fresh mozzarella cheese is a soft, high-moisture cheese that is typically sold in a ball or log shapes. It has a mild, delicate flavor and a soft, creamy texture that is best eaten soon after it is made. Fresh Mozzarella is commonly used in salads, on sandwiches, or as a topping for pizza.
Mozzarella cheese is a semi-soft, low-moisture cheese that can be bought in blocks or shredded cheese . It has a mild, slightly tangy flavor and a firm texture that is easy to slice and shred.
Mozzarella cheese has a firmer texture and lower moisture content, while fresh mozzarella is soft and has a much higher moisture content. Which means that mozzarella will melt much better than fresh mozzarella. I have written an ultimate guide for the best cheese for melting which explains in more detail.
Fresh mozzarella is typically made from buffalo milk or cow’s milk that has not been pasteurized, while mozzarella cheese is often made from pasteurized milk.
What is Buffalo Mozzarella?
Buffalo mozzarella is a type of fresh mozzarella cheese from Italy that is made from the milk of domestic water buffalo and is also known as mozzarella di bufala in Italian.
It has a soft, delicate texture and a slightly tangy flavor. It is used in many Italian dishes, like salads on pizzas and pasta dishes.
Buffalo mozzarella production is regulated by law in Italy, and must be made from buffalo milk that has been sourced from specific regions.
While buffalo mozzarella is less common now than cow’s milk mozzarella, some consider it a delicacy that is available in specialty cheese shops or gourmet markets.
What is Mozzarella Cheese Most Often Used For?
Mozzarella is probably best known for its use on pizza and provides a creamy, mild flavor that pairs well with tomato sauce and other pizza toppings.
We love using mozzarella cheese in combination with cheddar to make amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta bakes, quesadillas, or as a filling for mozzarella cheese burgers.
Favourite Mozzarella Recipes!
- Cheesecake Factory Four Cheese Pasta
- Baked Ziti With Meatballs
- Caprese Pesto Salad
- Texas Sloppy Joes
- Pizza Poppers
- Cheese Stuffed Garlic Bread
The Best Substitutes For Mozzarella Cheese (Ranked)
1. Provolone Cheese
Provolone cheese has a similar texture and flavor but with a slightly more smoky tang to mozzarella cheese, that melts very well. It is a good substitute for mozzarella cheese on pizza, lasagna, chicken parmesan, deli sandwiches, and any dishes that call for melted mozzarella.
2. Mild Gouda
Mild gouda cheese has a nutty flavor and a firm texture that makes it a good substitute for mozzarella cheese in salads and sandwiches.
Mild gouda is a semi-hard young gouda cheese that is nutty and slightly sweet in flavor. It has a creamy texture and melts well, making it a good substitute for mozzarella in many dishes.
3. Cheddar or White Cheddar
Young cheddar has a mild but a more tangy flavor and creamy melting abilities that is a perfect substitute for mozzarella in pizza and many baked pasta dishes.
White cheddar usually aged longer has a much sharper tangy flavor than young cheddar or mozzarella, but it melts well and can be used on pizza or pasta dishes that call for melted mozzarella.
4. Monterey Jack
Monterey Jack cheese is a mild, semi-soft creamy flavor and smooth texture. It melts well and can be used as a substitute for mozzarella cheese in dishes where the cheese needs to be melted, such as pizza and chicken parmesan even lasagna.
5. Fontina Cheese
Fontina is a semi-soft cheese Italian cheese that is creamy and nutty buttery flavor with a smooth texture. It melts well and has a mild flavor that makes it a good substitute for mozzarella. When melted it adds a rich, savory flavor, making it a good choice for use in dishes pizza or a creamy pasta.
6. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is a soft, creamy cheese with a mild flavor and grainy texture. It can be used as a substitute for mozzarella cheese in lasagna and other pasta dishes, best used as a filling or topping as it does not melt like mozzarella.
7. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is a hard, crumbly cheese that is known for its sharp, nutty flavor often grated in pasta dishes. Combining parmesan with other cheeses like provolone or fontina can create a texture similar to mozzarella
8. Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is a salty and tangy cheese that is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. Feta cheese has a crumbly texture and does not melt as well as mozzarella, making it a better choice for use in dishes where the cheese is crumbled or used as a topping like in salads.
9. Havarti Cheese
Havarti cheese is a Danish cheese that has a buttery and creamy texture, and a mild, nutty flavor. With a semi-soft texture that melts well it is a good substitute for mozzarella in chicken parmesan but can be used on pizza and lasagna.
10. Oaxaca Cheese
Is named after the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where it originated and is made with the same Italian string cheese process that is used to make mozzarella. Making it a cheese similar to mozzarella in taste and texture great for melting recipes as a substitute for mozzarella.
11. Burrata Cheese
Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It has a creamy, buttery texture and a rich, tangy flavor that is similar to mozzarella. Burrata can be used in many of the same ways as mozzarella, such as in salads or even on pizza but will not melt the same way.
12. Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor with a semi-hard texture. It does not melt as well as mozzarella cheese, but it can be used in dishes where the cheese is melted for a more flavorful twist on pizza or lasagna, chicken parmesan, in a grilled cheese sandwich even a charcuterie board.
13. Asiago Cheese
Asiago cheese is a semi-hard Italian cheese that has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Fresh asiago is a younger cheese that is good for melting in sauces and ooey gooey pasta recipes. Aged asiago has a crumbly texture and does not melt well, used grated or crumbled on top of dishes.
14. Halloumi Cheese
Halloumi cheese popular in Cyprus has a unique texture that is firmer and saltier than mozzarella cheese. When heated, it does not melt making it a perfect choice for grilling or frying giving it a crispy texture great in salads.
15. Bocconcini Cheese
Bocconcini is a fresh Italian cheese that is made from cow’s milk with a mild slightly tangy flavor and a soft, creamy texture. Usually sold in small, bite-sized pieces and is commonly used in salads, sandwiches, pasta and pizza.
16. Jarlsberg Cheese
Jarlsberg cheese is delicious Norwegian cheese that is nutty and buttery in flavor, with a slightly sweet and fruity taste. While it doesn’t have the same stretchiness as mozzarella and it does melt as well but still can be used in pasta dishes.
I have added Jarslberg to the substitutes for mozzarella list not for a specific recipe but more as a flavorful substitute in a cheese platter or charcuterie board and stand alone snack with crackers.
Best Vegan Substitute for Mozzarella?
Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
Many companies now make vegan mozzarella cheese made from plant based ingredients that is specifically designed to melt and stretch like traditional mozzarella. Try these vegan mozzarella balls!
Best Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese Substitute?
Part-skim mozzarella cheese made from part-skim milk is a low-fat version of mozzarella cheese that has a similar texture and flavor profile for a healthier lower fat cheese.
What Italian Cheeses Are Similar To Mozzarella?
Soft creamy cheese that is similar to fresh mozarella but a softer creamier centre.
Semi-soft cheese made from cows milk with a similar texture to mozzarella but with a fimer more elastic texture and mild smoky flavor.
Semi-hard cheese made from cows milk with a similar texture to mozzarella but with a slightly firmer tangy consistency and sharp nutty flavor.
It is a creamy cheese made from shredded mozzarella and cream. It has a texture that is similar to burrata, with a soft, creamy center and a slightly firmer outer layer with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
What Is the Best Substitutes For Mozzarella on Pizza?
Please note that with all of these substitutes for specific recipes provided, a more complete descriptions of types of cheese are available in the ranked list of best mozzarella substitutes above!
With it’s similar flavor and a gooey stretchy texture perfect for melting as a topping on pizza!
Monterey Jack Cheese
Has a mild flavor with creamy texture that pairs well with tomato sauce, perfect for melting on pizza!
Has a sharper flavor that creates a gooey texture when melted making it perfect on top of pizza. Also great to use in combination with other cheeses!
Mild Gouda Cheese:
Has more of a nutty flavor but creates a creamy melt that pairs well with tomato sauce, great for a unique gourmet flavor on pizza!
With its similar taste and texture to mozzarella when melted it is a good substitute on pizza!
Has a buttery creamy nutty flavor with an elastic texture when melted that is great on pizza!
What Is the Best Substitutes for Mozzarella on Lasagna?
Similar flavor that melts well though with a bit firmer texture that will give your lasagna a great unique twist!
Ricotta is a classic ingredient in lasagna with a mild flavor and creamy texture that pairs very well with tomato sauce.
With a nutty granular texture is a good delicious texture on top or mixed with other cheeses on lasagna!
Also with a nutty but more complex flavor it is a good substitute on lasagna or used in combination with other cheese for a more rich unique flavor!
Mild Gouda Cheese
With a creamy texture and nutty flavor it can add a depth of flavor to any lasagna recipe!
What Is the Best Substitutes for Mozzarella in Salad?
With a tangy, salty flavor and crumbly texture feta pairs very well with salad greens and vegetables, especially in Greek and Mediterranean salads!
Has a similar creamy texture with soft center that pairs well with arugula and tomatoes and other green salads adding richness and depth!
With a mild and slightly sweet flavor and creamy texture, its a good substitute adding a light and fresh taste to your salad!
With a mild slightly salty flavor and firm texture that can be fried or grilled that pairs well with salads adding a crispy savoury texture!
Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
A vegan mozzarella product designed to have a similar taste and texture with is a great vegan substitute for mozzarella in all salads.
What Is the Best Substitutes for Mozzarella in Caprese Salad?
Fresh Italian cheese with a similar soft creamy center needed in classic caprese salad that pairs well with tomatoes and basil!
Smaller bite size version of mozzarella with a mild creamy flavor perfect for caprese salad!
With it’s. mild slightly sweet flavor and creamy texture that pairs well with tomatoes and basil in caprese salad!
When grilled or fried this salty cheeses texture becomes crispy which gives it a unique substitute for mozzarella in caprese salad!
Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
These plant based options have a similar texture to mozzarella making them a good vegan substitute in caprese salad!
What Is the Best Substitutes for Mozzarella In Pasta?
With is creamy texture and mild slightly sweet flavor it is a great substitute in many pasta dishes!
With a mild slightly tangy flavor it is a terrific substitute for mozzarella in pasta recipes!
With a nutty salty flavor it can add a depth of flavor as a substitute in many pasta dishes on its own or in combination with other cheeses like gouda!
Cheddar Cheese or White Cheddar
Adding a more tangy taste but with a creamy melted texture cheddar is a great substitute on pasta dishes!
Adding a creamy texture slightly sweet nutty flavor it pairs very well with pasta dishes like a gouda Mac ‘n Cheese!
A good melting creamy cheese with a mild nutty flavor that adds its rich creaminess to pasta dishes like a fettuccine Alfredo!
What Is the Best Substitutes for Mozzarella In Chicken Parmesan?
With it’s mild tangy flavor provolone pairs so well chicken parmesan adding rich flavor and gooey texture.
Monterey Jack Cheese
Delivers its mild creamy flavor as a delicious substitute in chicken parmesan!
It can add a depth of nutty salty flavor to chicken parmesan that can be used with other cheeses to help it melt!
Mild Gouda Cheese
Gouda pairs very well with chicken parmesan adding a richer cheesy flavor!
Providing a buttery flavor and a creamy texture that can complement the other flavors in chicken parmesan very well!
For a twist of flavor try the nutty swiss cheese on chicken parmesan that some enjoy better than mozzarella.
White Cheddar Cheese
Adding a bit more tangy flavour white cheddar pairs well with the flavors of chicken parmesan.
Best Substitute for Mozzarella that melt well?
Semi-hard cheese that has a mild flavor and melts well.
Monterey Jack Cheese
Semi-soft cheese with a mild, creamy flavor that melts easily.
Mild tangy flavour with a creamy texture when melted.
Mild Gouda Cheese
Semi-hard cheese with a rich, buttery flavor that melts well.
Semi-soft cheese with a nutty, buttery flavor that melts easily.
Mexican cheese that has a stringy, stretchy texture when melted
Mozzarella Substitues for the Gourmet Cheese Lover!
Jarlsberg is a semi-hard cheese with a nutty, sweet flavor that is a great substitute for mozzarella in a cheese or charcuterie board or on its own as a snack.
Burrata made from mozzarella and cream that adds a rich tangy flavor as a substitute for mozzarella!
Adds a rich creamy nutty flavor as a substitute for mozzarella!
Similar in texture and flavor with a slightly more tangy smoky flavor that makes it a great substitute for mozzarella!
Boconccini vs Mozzarella?
Bocconcini is smaller and rounder about the size of a small cherry tomato. Mozzarella has a larger more oblong shape.
While both are soft and creamy bocconcini has a firmer texture and slightly more rubbery than fresh mozzarella.
Bocconcini is less tangy with a more mild creamier flavor than mozzarella.
Bocconcini is used in salads, pizza and appetizers while mozzarella is used in pizza, lasagna, caprese salad and chicken parmesan.
What Mexican Cheese Is a Good Substitute For Mozzarella?
Oaxaca cheese is a Mexican cheese that is a good when you need to substitute mozzarella cheese. Oaxaca is a semi-soft cheese with a mild, buttery flavor and a stringy, elastic texture very similar to mozzarella. Making it a perfect melting Mexican cheese substitute for mozzarella in dishes like quesadillas, enchiladas, pasta dishes, pizza and tacos.
Oaxaca Cheese vs Mozzarella Cheese?
What is the difference between Oaxaca cheese and mozzarella cheese? Oaxaca cheese is a Mexican cheese while mozzarella is an Italian cheese.
Oaxaca cheese has a stringy elastic texture much like string cheese with a mild creamy slight tang flavor. While mozzarella can also be stringy but with a soft tender texture that has a milky slightly sweet flavor.
Oaxaca cheese has a low melting point used in Mexican cuisine such as quesadillas or enchiladas while mozzarella has a higher melting point that is great for pizza, lasagna and even salads.
Is Mozzarella a soft cheese?
Mozzarella is considered a soft cheese though not as soft as fresh mozzarella which is very soft with a high moisture content, making it creamy and slightly tangy great for salads but not great for melting.
Mozzarella can become slightly firmer with age, but it’s still considered a soft cheese. The texture and consistency of mozzarella as described above make it an excellent choice for melting on pizzas, lasagnas, and other Italian dishes.
Can I freeze Fresh Mozzarella?
You can freeze fresh mozzarella, but it’s not recommended as it can affect the texture and flavor of the cheese. Freezing can cause the cheese to become more crumbly and dry, losing some of its fresh, creamy flavor it is known for.
If you do decide to freeze fresh mozzarella, it’s best to do so in a sealed container or freezer bag removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Thaw it slowly in the refrigerator, though the texture and flavor of the cheese may be altered after freezing.
Can I freeze mozzarella?
Mozzarella can be stored in the freezer but be aware it can lose its texture and become crumbly. Mozzarella cheese can be wrapped in individual sizes you wish to freeze using aluminum foil then placed in a freezer bag. If wrapped properly it will keep for 3 months.
How long does Mozzarella Cheese last?
The shelf life of mozzarella cheese depends on whether it’s fresh or aged, and how it is stored.
Fresh mozzarella has a much shorter shelf life than aged mozzarella. It is best to consume within 3 to 7 days of purchase, although it may last up to ten days if it’s kept in the original brine or water packaging and refrigerated properly.
Shredded mozzarella can last up to 3 and a half months in the refrigerator if it has not been opened. If opened it can last 2 weeks to 1 month in the fridge if resealed tightly.
Block mozzarella can also last up to 3 and a half months in the refrigerator unopened. It will last 2 weeks to 1 month after it has been opened if wrapped tightly in a cheese storage bag or baking paper as an alternative. Try not use use a plastic wrap as it will help to create mold.
How do I know if mozzarella cheese has gone bad?
If you find mold or discoloring on mozzarella cheese or it tastes or smells sour then it has turned and gone bad. Best to dispose of the cheese. If it is dried out and hardened time to throw the cheese out.
There are a variety of substitutes for mozzarella cheese that can be used in recipes ranging from pizza and lasagna to salads and sandwiches.
I hope that you found this post helpful and you have any other suggestions or ideas for alternatives to mozzarella in recipes, please comment below!