Mozzarella Cheese Substitute

16 Delicious Mozzarella Substitutes Worth Trying

Salutations to all home chefs around the globe! Today, we’re checking out mozzarella substitutes, including other melty cheeses, vegan options, and homemade recipes. We’ve got it all covered!

The allure of mozzarella with its gooey, stretchy, milky, sweet texture is undeniable. It’s a culinary favorite, isn’t it? But sometimes luck isn’t in our favor. Perhaps we’re lacking this Italian cheese or opting to steer clear of dairy and animal-based ingredients.

So, what’s the game plan when a recipe craves this fabulous cheese, and it’s nowhere to be found? We don’t throw in the towel! Instead, we explore clever alternatives. Because, let’s be honest, what recipe doesn’t benefit from a touch of mozzarella or its substitutes? Let’s infuse creativity into our kitchen endeavors!

What is Mozzarella Cheese?

Mozzarella cheese holds importance in Italian cuisine, originating from Southern Italy and quickly becoming a staple nationwide. Its distinctive flavor and texture make it a crucial ingredient in various dishes.

Mozzarella cheese is famous for being soft and tender, and it also has fantastic melting qualities that bring a delightful stretch to dishes. Its role in classic Italian recipes contributes to the authenticity of these culinary traditions, emphasizing the importance of high-quality ingredients. When searching for mozzarella substitutes, make sure they match up in terms of taste, texture, and how well they melt.

Where Does Mozzarella Cheese Originate?

Mozzarella cheese traces its roots to southern Italy, specifically outside Naples, where it originated from buffalo milk. Initially, due to the absence of refrigeration, buffalo mozzarella had limited distribution beyond the region.

Over time, mozzarella production has expanded worldwide, with a shift towards using cow’s milk. The Mozzarella di Bufala Campana AOC, as a Protected Designation of Origin, ensures the safeguarding of cheese production through specific techniques and guidelines within the European Union.

The AOC designation specifically safeguards mozzarella cheese that originates from four Italian regions: Campania, Latium, Puglia, and Molise.

Fresh vs. Low-Moisture Mozzarella

Mozzarella cheese comes in two main types: fresh and low-moisture. Fresh mozzarella is slightly salty, creamy, and best eaten within seven days. It often comes in brine for added flavor and freshness, with around 50% moisture, making it watery when melted.

Low-moisture mozzarella is made by souring and carefully drying fresh mozzarella, resulting in a hard, salty block that’s easy to grate. Its extended shelf life makes it perfect for melting and browning in your preferred recipes.


Choosing Mozzarella Substitutes

When looking for a mozzarella substitute, think about your dish. Some cheeses work well for melting in cooked dishes, while others are better for cold salads. Consider options that melt like mozzarella for cooked dishes, and prioritize good flavor and texture for uncooked ones.


Provolone, an Italian semi-hard cheese, boasts a smooth texture and a buttery, sharp flavor, much like mozzarella. Its excellent melting quality makes it a superb substitute for melted cheese in various dishes.

Provolone Cheese - Mozzarella Substitute

Hailing from southern Italy, provolone is available in two varieties: dolce (sweet) and piccante (sharp). Opt for dolce provolone when swapping it for mozzarella, as it offers a milder flavor. Provolone shines as a pizza topping, melting into a gooey perfection that enhances different pizza flavors. It also elevates pasta dishes and lasagna, providing a subtly different yet authentically Italian taste.

Be aware that provolone can be saltier than mozzarella, so adjust your recipe for a well-balanced flavor.


Burrata is a velvety Italian cheese, different from traditional mozzarella but equally delicious. With a delicate outer skin of fresh mozzarella and a creamy center filled with a mix of fresh cream and Stracciatella, Burrata adds a luxurious touch to salads, pizzas, and pasta. Whether paired with tomatoes and basil or drizzled with olive oil, Burrata turns ordinary dishes into extraordinary delights.


Ricotta cheese is a soft, fresh option with a mild taste, making it a good substitute for mozzarella. It’s made from leftover whey and an acid like lemon juice, heated to form curds. Though it doesn’t melt like mozzarella, ricotta’s creamy texture works well in pasta, as a pizza topping, or in dishes like chicken parmesan for added richness.

Monterey Jack Cheese

Monterey Jack cheese, a semi-hard cheese hailing from California, is renowned for its mild flavor, making it a top choice as a mozzarella substitute.

Sometimes, Monterey Jack includes peppers and spices, creating a variation known as pepper jack. However, it’s not recommended as a mozzarella substitute unless you prefer a spicy flavor that complements your dish.

Monterey Jack’s versatility and subtly sweet taste make it perfect for melting in dishes like pizza and lasagna, giving a similar look to mozzarella.

Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese, hailing from Switzerland, is also known as the Alpine style. With its nutty flavor, it’s a versatile choice for various dishes. Jarlsberg, a popular semi-hard Swiss cheese, works well as a mozzarella substitute, melting nicely and adding a subtle flavor. Whether cubed in a caprese salad or grated into sauces, Swiss cheese is a tasty option to replace mozzarella in both hot and cold dishes.

Feta Cheese

When melted cheese isn’t necessary in your dish, consider feta as an alternative to mozzarella. Feta offers a salty and tangy flavor commonly used in Mediterranean dishes. Its crumbly texture makes it ideal for dishes where you want to crumble the cheese, such as a Greek salad.


Scamorza is an excellent mozzarella substitute from southern Italy. Similar in texture and appearance, it’s a popular choice in Italian cuisine. This semi-soft cheese has a mild, slightly tangy flavor, perfect for many dishes.

Notably shaped like a pear from aging, scamorza comes in white and smoked varieties, offering a unique flavor twist as a mozzarella replacement. It melts beautifully, making it fantastic for dishes like pizza or pasta bakes. The smoked version, scamorza affumicata, adds a lovely smokiness, making it an exciting change from traditional mozzarella.

Edam Cheese

Edam cheese, originally from the Netherlands, is a firm, pale yellow cheese perfect for slicing and sandwiches. With its mild, nutty flavor that’s slightly sweet and salty, Edam’s smooth and creamy texture makes it great for crackers and dips.

Distinctive with its reddish-orange wax coating, Edam is protected from drying out and has a beautiful glossy appearance. Sold in pre-sliced wedges or rounds, it’s a versatile choice. Substitute Edam cheese for mozzarella in equal amounts, adjusting for your preferred creaminess. Edam, whether sliced or melted, adds a touch of Dutch perfection to your dishes.

Fontina Cheese

Fontina cheese, originating from northwestern Italy, is a delightful alternative to traditional Mozzarella. It adds a unique and delicious flavor to your dishes with its creamy texture and mild, nutty taste. Perfect for melting, Fontina is an excellent choice for recipes that need the smooth consistency of Mozzarella.

Oaxaca Cheese

Hailing from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, Oaxaca cheese provides a unique and flavorful alternative to Mozzarella. Renowned for its excellent melting properties, it’s a fantastic choice for recipes needing Mozzarella’s smooth, gooey texture.

With its mild, slightly savory taste, Oaxaca cheese adds a subtle twist to your dishes. For excellent meltability and a touch of Mexican flair, consider it as a delightful alternative to traditional Mozzarella.

Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese, a Dutch variety with a history dating back to the 12th century, takes its name from the city of Gouda in the Netherlands—a significant center for cheese production in the past. Gouda cheese is usually made from cow’s milk but can also be from goat’s or sheep’s milk. Featuring a yellowish-brown rind and a creamy interior, Gouda has a mild, sweet flavor with subtle notes of butterscotch and nuts. Widely used in dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese, Gouda also serves as a delightful standalone snack.

White Cheddar Cheese

White cheddar makes an excellent substitute for mozzarella due to its impressive meltability and enticing “cheese pull.” The aging process intensifies the flavor and crumbliness of white cheddar, making young white cheddar preferable for mozzarella substitutions.

White cheddar, from England, is naturally white. Yellow cheddar gets its color from annatto, a natural coloring. Both have the same taste, so you can choose based on how you want your dish to look.

White cheddar is good for grilled cheese and flatbreads. It’s a tasty substitute for mozzarella in dishes like chicken parmesan because of its strong flavor and melting quality.

Chechil Cheese 

Chechil cheese stands out with its long, braided strings, resembling shoelaces. Known for its fun presentation and chewy texture, it’s great for snacking or garnishing dishes. With a mild, slightly salty taste, Chechil adds a playful twist to your creations—an enjoyable alternative to traditional Mozzarella.

Parmesan Cheese 

Parmesan can replace mozzarella in some dishes, but it’s crumbly and has a stronger taste. It doesn’t create a cheese pull and melts into a pool. For better texture, mix it with other cheeses like Provolone, using half the amount due to its robust flavor.

Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi cheese doesn’t melt like mozzarella, making it less common as a substitute. However, it’s excellent for grilled or fried dishes. Keep in mind that it’s firmer and saltier. Avoid overcooking to prevent it from turning rubbery. Halloumi has a strong flavor, so start with half the amount of mozzarella in your recipe and adjust as needed for taste.

Cotija Cheese

Cotija cheese is hard, crumbly, and salty, different from mozzarella. It’s versatile for salads or as a pizza topping. Use less Cotija than mozzarella due to its robust flavor, starting with half the amount. For melted cheese recipes, mix Cotija with melty cheese for better flavor and texture.

Dairy-Free Mozzarella Cheese Substitutes

Looking for a vegan or non-dairy alternative to Mozzarella with a melty texture can be tricky. While there are acceptable commercial vegan mozzarella options, here are some creative substitutes:


Though it won’t melt like Mozzarella, hummus provides substance and a delicious nutty flavor. A hummus dollop on freshly baked pizza can be a tasty alternative.

Dairy-Free Pesto

Dairy-free pesto won’t melt like Mozzarella, but, like hummus, it adds flavor and freshness, making it a great alternative.

Brazil Nuts

Grated Brazil nuts resemble grated Mozzarella and can be used in pasta dishes or as a sprinkle similar to Parmesan.


For a salty burst of flavor, a handful of olives is a great dairy-free and vegan substitute for Mozzarella.

Salted Roast Almonds

Roasted almonds contribute texture and a salty taste, offering a different direction but not lacking in flavor or crunch.

Sea Salt Flakes

While not providing the same visuals or substance as melted cheese, sprinkling sea salt flakes on your dish offers salty flavor explosions.


Similar to olives, capers work well as a salty burst of flavor, with salted capers being the preferable choice.

How to Pick the Right Mozzarella Substitute?

To choose the best mozzarella substitute, consider these factors:

Dish Compatibility

    • Evaluate the dish you’re making and choose a substitute that complements it.
    • Different alternatives work well in specific dishes; for instance, provolone for pizza or feta for salads.
    • Ensure the substitute blends harmoniously with other ingredients.

Flavor Profile

    • Mozzarella has a mild taste that enhances without overpowering. Choose substitutes with a similar mildness.
    • Provolone or Monterey Jack are good options for maintaining a gentle flavor that complements various dishes.

Texture and Melting Properties

    • Consider the texture and melting properties of the substitute.
    • Mozzarella is known for its smooth, stretchy texture when melted.
    • Decide whether you want the cheese to maintain its shape or melt into a creamy consistency.
    • For good melting ability, consider options like Monterey Jack or white Cheddar.

Consider these factors to discover a mozzarella substitute that complements your dish while replicating the desired flavor and texture.

See Also – Best Curd Substitutes for Your Cooking Needs


What Italian cheeses resemble mozzarella?

Bel Paese is the closest Italian cheese to mozzarella, with a mild, buttery taste. It melts well and works as a substitute in lasagna and on pizza. Fontina is another similar option. Burrata, a mozzarella shell with cream and cheese curds, is a tasty substitute, perfect over greens with olive oil and balsamic glaze.

Which cheeses have a melting consistency similar to mozzarella?

Provolone, Gouda, and Monterey Jack melt like mozzarella, getting creamy and stretchy. Choose semi-soft cheeses for that mozzarella-like melt.

Why does mozzarella need to be kept in water?

Mozzarella is kept in water to stay fresh, maintain texture, and enhance flavor. The water, often a salt solution, prevents it from becoming rubbery and acts as a natural preservative, extending its shelf life.

What makes mozzarella different from other cheeses?

What sets mozzarella apart is its use of buffalo milk, a short aging period that gives it a stretchy texture, and a higher moisture content than many other cheeses. These factors contribute to its soft and delectable nature.

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