Best Mozzarella Substitutes For Pizza, Pasta, Lasagna & Salads
Ciao to all home chefs everywhere! Today, we’re talking mozzarella substitutes, from other melty, rich, velvety cheeses to non-dairy alternatives to mozzarella (i.e. vegan substitutes) and homemade recipes—yes, they are all here!
We all love mozza and its gooey, stretchy, milky, sweet, and unctuous texture. We can’t get enough of it, right? Well, sometimes, our luck runs out! We don’t have the Italian cheese around or we don’t eat dairy or animal-based ingredients.
So, what can we do when the recipe calls for this fab cheese but we don’t have it? Of course, we don’t give in! We find other ways around it! After all, what recipe isn’t better with mozzarella? Or its substitutions?
20+ Mozzarella Substitutes for You, Gourmet Lover!
If you can’t get your hands on some mozzarella to complete your dish, or if you’d rather find a vegan alternative, there are plenty of mozzarella substitutes for you to try! Whether we’re talking store-bought mozzarella or fresh mozzarella, there are two attributes to replicate with a replacement:
The Mild, Sweet Flavor
Both store-bought and fresh mozza are soft, sweet, milky, creamy, and rich, and they melt into velvety goodness. Fresh mozzarella is packed in liquid while store-bought is more solid. But they are both made from cow’s milk and have a delicate, milky flavor.
The Ability to Melt
If we’re talking recipes that don’t require heat, the melting part is not mandatory. The texture, the moisture, and the flavor are to be considered there. However, when it comes to cooked recipes, that melty, oozing, gooey goodness is a must! Here are some of the best alternatives for mozzarella cheese that work both in cold and heated recipes.
Top 5 Mozzarella Substitutes: The Most Versatile Choices
Provolone is similar to mozzarella when it comes to taste. They are both sweet and rather mild. However, Provolone packs a stronger aroma, so make sure not to overwhelm the other ingredients by using too much. In terms of texture, no worries here: Provolone is stretchy and stringy, just like the real deal.
The best solution when you don’t have fresh mozza: burrata. It’s creamy; it’s delicate; it’s moist and juicy; it’s ever so milky and sweet. You can eat it as it is or add it to cooked dishes to melt away. It will remain creamy and stringy but on the liquid side, rather than the grilled, crispy side.
Yet another stretched, curd cheese made from cow’s milk, just like mozzarella. Scamorza, if you have it, has a semi-hard consistency and low moisture, resembling store-bought mozzarella, rather than the fresh version. It melts nicely, but it will add a sharper flavor.
Oaxaca, a Mexican cheese, is very close to mozzarella, just a little more buttery and rich. It can melt and create a lovely bubbly, rich, fatty, crispy crust, with a stringy, gooey side to it, just like mozzarella.
5. Young Gouda
Sweet and delicate in flavor, albeit rather nutty, young gouda melts easily and can be sliced. It creates a stringy, melty goodness when cooked, and it doesn’t overpower other ingredients when added fresh.
You’ve been asking about these alternatives for mozzarella!
Can you substitute cheddar for mozzarella?
Yes! Especially white cheddar because it’s milder. Now, cheddar is a semi-hard cheese, even the youngest versions of it. When aged, it has a rich, nutty aroma and a crumbly flavor, resembling Parmesan. It can work just as well. But white, young cheddar will be better. The flavor won’t be so pungent, and the texture will be elastic and stringy.
Can you use Monterey Jack cheese instead of mozzarella?
We all know this American staple cheese. It’s mild, and it has a light taste, which makes it a good candidate to replace mozzarella. It also has a good melting consistency. The only different thing: Monterey Jack is richer, fattier, and less moist than mozzarella. Hence, you’ll get a crustier, greasier pizza, pasta, or lasagna dish.
What can you replace mozzarella with when making pizza?
Mozzarella is what makes pizza great! That bubbly, hot, rich, melting cheesy draping all over the crust… yum! There’s no pizza without it! So, when it comes to alternatives, look for cheeses that provide the same texture. Keep in mind some of them will add a different flavor profile. Who knows? Maybe you’ll like them even more!
1. Provolone can imitate mozza
Provolone is the best choice, both in flavor and when it comes to its rich, gooey texture. It’s rather sweet, but it will give the pizza a stronger flavor.
2. Cheddar can be a good alternative
Yes, you can add cheddar as a topping on pizza. It won’t have the same elasticity as mozzarella, but it will be plenty stringy.
3. Gouda can make a good mozzarella substitute for pizza
Rich, buttery, and slightly sweet, gouda can be smooth and creamy enough to coat your pizza with a bubbly, melty crust.
4. Alpine-Style cheeses are fine options
Alpine-style cheeses such as Swiss or Gruyere are semi-hard types of cheeses. They are rich, fatty, and unctuous, but rather lean, compared to other hard cheeses. They are, however, nutty, earthy, and pungent compared to mozzarella. But on pizza, they can work as subs.
5. Pecorino Romano is intense but can work
Pecorino Romano, a hard cheese, has a very intense flavor. Sharp and pungent, with a strong punch, it will change the profile flavor of your pie. But it can work.
6. Use Edam cheese instead of the milky Italian cheese!
Not too hard, but not as soft as mozzarella, Edam has a subtle, light aroma. With a firm texture, Edam remains smooth and elastic and has a milky aroma with nutty undertones.
7. Cotija can be grated over pizza
This Mexican hard cheese is grated all over dishes. It will add another flavor to your pizza, but it can work.
8. So can non-matured Asiago!
Asiago is Italian, just like mozzarella. But it’s rich, sharp, and intense in flavor. And it’s a hard cheese. Yes, it can be grated on your pizza, but it won’t have the same melty, stringy effect.
9. Do you have Pepato around? Use it as a pizza topping!
You can add Pepato as a pizza topping. It’s tangy and somewhat peppery; it’s intense and hearty, and it will not go unnoticed. But it can work.
10. Dry Jack is pretty mild and can do the trick!
Another hard cheese that grates and melts well. It has a subtle flavor and nuttiness to it.
11. Do you have Caciocavallo? Because it’ll do!
Similar to Provolone, this Italian cheese is great in salads, but it will work wonders as a pizza topping. If you have it, that is!
What to use instead of mozzarella in your pasta dishes?
Any type of grated cheese works well in pasta. If it tends to melt a little, even better. Still, here are what we consider to be good mozzarella substitutes for pasta:
1. Add Provolone to replicate the stretchy texture
An Italian relative of mozzarella, grated Provolone will add some richness and richness to pasta. It will melt a little and it will keep a certain bite. You’ll love it.
2. Parmiggiano Reggiano is a great option to add flavor
Grated parmesan, as in Parmigiano grattugiato, works perfectly in every type of pasta, be it with tomato sauce, pesto, veggies, meats or seafood, all-cheeses, or funghi porcini. You will not regret using it in mozzarella’s place.
3. Pecorino Romano works in pasta as well
With a sharp, tangy flavor, Pecorino Romano can be grated on top of your pasta, just like Parmigiano or mozzarella. Compared to mozzarella, which is sweet and rather moist, Pecorino is pungent, aromatic, and dry.
4. Mild gouda or young cheddar can replicate mozzarella in pasta dishes
It won’t overpower the dish. It can be grated on top or added to the sauce. It will melt and add richness and sweetness to your pasta.
Try these substitutes for mozzarella in your lasagna!
Why do we add mozzarella to lasagna? Because we expect it to wonderfully and deliciously bubble into a golden cheesy topping! That grilled cheese is an important detail in lasagna. In terms of elasticity, it’s OK if the replacement cheese isn’t so stringy, since lasagna needs to be cut into pieces for serving.
1. Cheddar is a good mozzarella substitute for lasagna
Here it comes again! Cheddar is a good choice, in this case. It’s not as elastic, but it’s rich and fatty, and it will melt into a golden, decadent crust. Mamma mia!
2. Mild gouda is as well
Young gouda is ideal in lasagna. It’s rich and fatty, creamy and smooth, and it will bubble like crazy. Its sweet flavor will not ruin the recipe.
3. Edam cheese can be added to lasagna
It’s dense; it’s sweet; it’s mild; it’s stringy and elastic. It’s creamy and smooth, with a hint of butter and hazelnuts. Imagine it on top of your lasagna. You’re welcome!
4. Havarti cheese is one of the best mozzarella substitutes in lasagna
If you have it around, use it! This semi-soft cow’s milk cheese is sweet and delicate and has a stringy texture. Slice it, melt it, or grate it—either way, it’ll be fabulous in lasagna.
5. Mexican cheese/Oaxaca resembles mozzarella
This semi-hard cheese is very similar to mozzarella. It’s ideal in melting dishes, creating a bubbly crust.
6. Try Fontina cheese instead of mozza
When it melts, Fontina becomes creamy. The great thing about it on top of your lasagna: it will melt right away. It can add a slightly nutty aroma, but it will work just fine.
No need for it to melt, bubble, string, and melt away. What you need here is a soft, mild, sweet, milky, light cheese with a fresh vibe to it. Here are some mozzarella alternatives that mimic some of its characteristics:
1. Feta cheese can be used instead of mozzarella in salads
It kinda works and kinda doesn’t. It works since it pairs great with greens, veggies, and salads. It kinda doesn’t since it’s salty and has a different flavor.
2. Provolone cheese can be added to entrees
Provolone is soft but has a bite to it. It can replace regular mozzarella, but not the fresh type. It will be mild and sweet, never overpowering the dish.
3. Edam and mild gouda make good replacements
Young gouda and Edam are mild enough to replace mozzarella (not the fresh kind, in whey) in salads and entrees. They can let other ingredients shine, although they will not be mozzarella.
4. Ricotta cheese can mimic mozzarella
It’s milky, fresh, moist, sweet, and rich. Ricotta, while with a different texture (rather crumbly and soft), can stand in for its Italian cousin. Mozzarella who?
5. Young cheddar can be added to Caprese salad
You can slice it; it has a delicate, sweet aroma, and it will not overwhelm your salad.
6. Even Halloumi can be used in salads to mimic mozzarella
Halloumi will remain firm and elastic, but will not melt and get stringy when cooked. It can, however, be added to appetizers and salads instead of mozzarella. They are both sweet and rich, so you can try the swap.
7. Cottage cheese is a sweet, milky choice in appetizers
In terms of flavor and taste, mozzarella and cottage cheese are both creamy, milky-fresh, and sweet. In terms of consistency, they are both rich and unctuous. But when it comes to texture, cottage cheese has lumps of cheese mixed with moist cream, compared to mozza, which is pressed and has a harder consistency. Still, cottage cheese can replace mozzarella, if necessary.
8. Bel Paese is a good solution for salads that mention mozzarella
Bel Paese is rather soft and has a milky, buttery aroma. It can melt in cooked dishes, but it can be eaten fresh in salads, as well.
9. Crescenza and Stracchino are two Italian cheeses similar to mozzarella
Stracchino is like mozzarella’s sister. They are similar in terms of texture, both creamy and soft. They are also sweet and fresh, so you can swap them. Crescenza has a similar taste and consistency as stracchino, but it’s lower in fat content.
What can you use instead of mozzarella in chicken parmesan?
Chicken parm, another American classic that requires a hint of mozza. Any type of the aforementioned cheeses will do. But some of them can really hit the spot. Here’s what to use as a mozzarella replacement in chicken a la Parmigiana:
1. Any type of young Swiss cheese will do!
Delicately sweet and with a nutty flavor, Swiss cheese will melt into a creamy, rich consistency. While it will add more depth and aroma to the dish, it will go perfectly with the recipe and not overwhelm it.
2. Ricotta can complete chicken parm
While you wouldn’t think of it because it doesn’t bubble, nor does it create a cheesy crust, ricotta is a good choice. It will turn soft, gooey, and ever-so-creamy, adding a sweet aroma to your chicken parmesan.
3. You can sprinkle Pepperjack to this rich recipe
Pepperjack will melt away into a stretchy, golden, crusty, gooey, rich goodness. Pepperjack has more moisture and fat than mozzarella, but, somehow, in chicken parm, you won’t be bothered by that. The moisture will keep the chicken plump, and the fatty content pairs great with the tangy tomato sauce.
4. Jarlsberg can make a good alternative
Jarlsberg is mild, sweet, but thick, creamy, and buttery, especially when melted. So it’s a great addition to chicken parm.
5. Pecorino Romano will add richness and flavor
Pecorino Romano is a hard cheese. Made from sheep’s milk, this type of cheese will enrich the flavor of the chicken parm. You’ll like it.
You don’t have to let go of bubbly lasagna, grilled cheese sandwiches alongside your tomato soup, or rich, decadent pasta with melty, stringy mozzarella on top if you are vegan. You can still find tasteful and similar vegan alternatives to mozzarella!
1. Tofu is a good vegan alternative to mozzarella
Tofu is a good vegan substitute for mozzarella. Maybe you won’t be getting the same melty, bubbly crust, but you’ll get the flavor. Choosing non-salted tofu over brined will really help your dish. And if you want more non-dairy substitutes for mozzarella, discover how to make your own vegan melty cheese at home. What do you think about a DIY mozzarella recipe?
2. How to make mozzarella at home with vegan ingredients
You can try this DIY mozzarella at home! It’s completely vegan. It will taste so much like the original. And it will melt into cheesy goodness, just like mozza. For this homemade mozzarella recipe you need:
- 1 cup of raw cashew nuts
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 8 tablespoons of tapioca starch
- 1 tablespoon of salt
You need to bring water to the boil and soak the cashews in it. Letting them soak up the water for at least one hour will make your cheese softer and the nuts easily absorbed. After that, drain them and blend them with the water quantity mentioned above (not the water used for soaking) and the other ingredients.
Mix thoroughly and keep scraping the sides. You’ll get a liquid, watery mixture. Pour the content into a saucepan and bring the heat to medium. Make sure to stir since the mix will get clumpy in a couple of minutes.
Continue stirring until the liquid will turn stretchy, gooey, silky-smooth, and thick. When this happens, remove it from the heat source. Use it immediately or store it in the fridge. Extra info: when stored in the fridge, the vegan cheese will be less stringy and melty. This vegan mozzarella is ideal as a pizza or pasta topping. It can also be used in chicken parm and any other recipe requiring mozzarella.
- Nonfat or part-skim variants of mozzarella can work. If you want to cut down on saturated fats, which mozza packs a little, you can go for a healthier version. Switching to nonfat mozzarella made from skim milk can be a good option. And yes, you can always use light mozzarella in recipes that call for the usual type of the Italian cheese.
- Tofu is another healthier option for mozzarella. You can always mix the two, to get less fat and a similar nutritional profile.
Mozzarella is one of the most popular cheeses out there. Be it fresh or dry, mozza can be added to any dish! Still, you have to agree with us: there are so many mozzarella substitutes you can try, if necessary.