It’s no secret that cheese is one of the most popular food additions, and mozzarella is a particular favorite. Loved by most people, mozzarella often adds an extra dimension to almost any recipe.
But, there are some scenarios that prevent the use of mozzarella when the recipe calls for it. So today we’re going to cover the best options we have in those cases.
What are the best mozzarella substitutes ?
Depending on the recipe, some mozzarella alternatives are Provolone, Cheddar and White Cheddar, Alpine Style, Gouda, Edam, Pepato, Romano, Parmesan, Asiago, Jack Cheese, Cotija, Havarti, Swiss cheese, Pepperjack, Jarlsberg, Ricotta, and Feta.
The main things any mozzarella substitute are that it must be cow’s milk (some exceptions apply), it must have a very mild flavor, and it must melt very well.
There are countless amounts of recipes that either require mozzarella or would simply be better with its addition.
Whether this type of cheese doesn’t go down well for you, or you simply can’t get your hands on mozzarella, here are some of the best possible mozzarella alternatives for you to try out.
What can be used instead of mozzarella cheese?
While fresh and store-bought mozzarella has different properties, they are both commonly used in various dishes. Store-bought mozzarella is pale in color, somewhat soft, and has a mild flavor.
Fresh mozzarella is a softer whole milk version of mozzarella, and is generally packed in water or whey.
There are countless amount of cheese types, and it can become tricky to figure out which would be compatible with each meal.
In finding great alternatives, one must consider the requirements that the particular recipe calls for. Some recipes require a soft and textured cheese, while others simply require cheese that melts well.
While dishes like salads and entrées might fit an alternative like Burrata, there are many other kinds of cheese that do well with recipes requiring heat.
For dairy-free alternatives to authentic mozzarella, you could use Daiya, Violife, Follow Your Heart, and Trader Joes. The texture, moisture content, and how it responds to heat will determine the best alternative choice for your recipe.
While ideal mozzarella alternatives include Queso Oaxaca, Bel Paese, and Caciocavallo, these are not as commonly found. For those who are looking for some more accessible dairy cheese alternatives, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s check out which dairy mozzarella alternatives are best for some of the most classic and popular cheesy dishes.
Read also : 6 Awesome Gouda Substitutes
Substitute for mozzarella in a pizza
While mozzarella is certainly the most classic cheese to use on a pizza, there are plenty of mozzarella alternatives that one could use to get that beautifully bubbling cheesy draping over your crust. These cheeses have a great flavor and melt quite well.
Keep in mind that some of them are on this list due to meltability, others due to flavor, and others simply because of texture. It’s up to you which way you’d like to take your pizza, but changing the cheese definitely changes the flavor. You may even like it more.
Provolone. This cheese has quite a similar taste to mozzarella and is possibly the most popular option when trying to imitate mozzarella with an alternative. The taste is slightly stronger, and it melts well-becoming stretchy and stringy.
Cheddar is a semi-hard cheese that is naturally pale in color, often made golden yellow with the inclusion of annatto, an almost undetectable vegetable coloring. Cheddar which is younger in age has a rich, nutty taste and a firm texture which becomes more crumbly as it ages. While the flavor will certainly be great, it won’t produce the same stringy pizza slice pulls due to a low elasticity.
Alpine style is a semi-hard cheese that has a leaner, nutty, and earthy flavor undertone. It originates from France and Switzerland and includes variations such as Swiss cheese and Gruyere.
Gouda is a common favorite due to its rich, buttery, and somewhat sweet taste. It’s semi-hard, creamy, and smooth as it’s made with whole milk, and is generally identified by its classic red wax coating.
Edam is a semi-hard cheese that has quite a light and subtle flavor with a hint of nutty undertones. It’s made with partially skimmed milk and is smooth yet firm in texture.
Pepato is a hard cheese that has a tangy, peppery taste. It’s hearty and strong and has quite an intense presence in dishes. This cheese is traditionally covered with whole peppercorns for that extra kick of flavor.
Romano is a hard cheese and is the most intense tasting cheese out of all hard cheese varieties. It has a sharp, pungent yet enjoyable flavor. If you’re looking for something that packs a powerful cheesy punch, consider trying out Romano.
Parmesan is a favorite in many dishes, often sprinkled over meals to add that extra something special. This hard cheese has a buttery, sweet flavor that intensifies as it ages. This flavor profile is well complemented by its nutty undertones and granular texture.
Asiago is a sharp, rich flavored Italian-style hard cheese. Its hardness enables the great potential for grating and topping, which is ideal for pizza.
Dry Jack is a more aged version of Asiago and grates well. This hard cheese usually takes several months to several years to age, it’s typically pale yellow, and has a mild flavor, which is complemented by an aged nutty undertone. You can also try Monterey Jack for a subtle melt over your pizzas.
Cotija is a hard Hispanic-style cheese and is typically shredded or grated over meals. This cheese can take your pizza in a whole new direction, and you may be surprised at how its unique flavor elevates your dish.
White Cheddar. This cheese has a stronger flavor as opposed to mozzarella and melts extremely quickly. It’s a great replacement for mozzarella, as it results in a stronger tang and creamier consistency.
Substitute for mozzarella in lasagna
When it comes to lasagna, the most important factor in choosing a mozzarella alternative is its goldenly grilled cheesy topping. The elasticity of the cheese does not need to be as high, as lasagna will set and need to be cut.
Havarti is a semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk and has a subtly sweet taste with a springy texture. It’s quite versatile, and can be sliced, grated, or melted, which is ideal for lasagna.
Mild Gouda is particularly good in lasagna, as its buttery sweet flavor. Gouda’s creamy and smooth texture makes it suitable for lasagna, and it melts really well.
Cheddar. Due to the low elasticity of cheddar, it sets well after being melted in lasagna. This allows for nice neat cuts of lasagna, and the color of this cheese creates a lovely golden molten crust over your dish.
Edam is a dense, springy cheese which has nearly identical properties when compared to Gouda. However, it has a sweet and creamy flavor with undertones of hazelnut and soft butter. If you use complementary herbs within your lasagna, this could amount to a rather exquisite and flavorful meal.
Substitute for mozzarella in salads or entrees
You may find yourself faced with the need to improvise for a salad or entree. Here the needs are different, we’re not talking about melting points and stringiness.
No, here we need either very plain, mild cheese that mimics mozzarella very well, or a nicely flavored one that still gives us that fresh vibe. So here are the best substitutes for mozzarella in salads or entrees, or just when it’s needed cold.
Feta. Feta is very flavorful, yes, but it’s every bit as fresh and light as mozzarella. Especially if you need to replace fresh mozzarella packed in whey.
Feta goes great in a caprese salad if you have no mozzarella, and if used in a regular salad it will crumble and coat the entire thing.
Mild Gouda or Edam. We’ve lumped these two together, as they’re both mild and may go well in a salad or an entree where you need to let other ingredients shine. You need young Gouda or Edam, and make sure they’re not smoked.
Provolone. You ay want to swap mozzarella for provolone, since it’s the most similar cheese. Granted, it’s similar to regular mozzarella, not the fresh kind but it’s still the closest.
It’s soft, but still has a bit of a bite to it, and it’s definitely mild enough to not overpower the salad or entree.
Substitute for mozzarella cheese in chicken parmesan
Chicken parmesan requires a rather specific flavor palette. While it’s highly plausible to use any of the already listed types of cheese in your dish instead of mozzarella, there are a few types of cheese that would be better suited to the flavor profile of the dish.
Swiss cheese. The nutty and semi-sweet flavor of this cheese goes well within the chicken parmesan recipe and compliments the neighboring ingredients within the dish. It has more flavor than mozzarella and melts into a creamy consistency.
Pepperjack. While this cheese has a slightly spicy flavor, it pairs well with the recipe. This cheese melts well and becomes stretchy. But, it has a much higher oil and moisture content as opposed to mozzarella, often making pizzas and lasagnas greasy.
So, Pepperjack would be ideal for a chicken parmesan recipe. Some extra moisture always goes well with chicken, which tends to dry out easily.
Jarlsberg. Although this is often mistaken for Swiss cheese due to similar appearance, Jarlsberg is quite special. This buttery, mild and sweet cheese melts well into a thick and creamy consistency. It’s soft and rich in texture and resembles the same color as Swiss cheese.
Ricotta. While this cheese does not melt well to form a gorgeous cheesy crust, it does become extremely soft and turns into a creamy consistency that closely resembles a white sauce. This creamy texture goes well in chicken parmesan, and it has a mild and semi-sweet taste.
Generally speaking, any mild cheese would work, as long as the cheese melts well or incorporates into your recipe as it’s supposed to. It should be noted that despite the fact that all of the cheese discussed can be used as alternatives to mozzarella, they are still unique.
You should research and check the storage requirements, handling, and lifespan of the cheese you are interested in trying out before purchasing them. Don’t forget that you can create your own cheesy mix up with these too.
There are plenty of mozzarella alternatives to try out. Realizing that you don’t have the correct cheese for your planned recipe could initially be seen as being in quite a pickle.
But, it’s more of an opportunity to try out new ideas and flavor combinations. While this list is a guide as to which cheeses work best as an alternative to mozzarella, this is simply the beginning of all your cheesy endeavors.
If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.