Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan Cheese – How to Substitute

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Your recipe calls for parmesan cheese, and you suddenly realize that you’re out of it. Can you use mozzarella instead of parmesan cheese as a substitute? Well, that depends! Join us as we explore the differences between these two popular types of cheese, and also, how you might go about substituting one for the other when you’re in a pickle. Ready? Then, let’s go.

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Can You Use Mozzarella Instead Of Parmesan Cheese – How To Substitute

Table of Contents

Can I Substitute Mozzarella For Parmesan?

Yes, you can replace parmesan cheese with mozzarella cheese in most instances. But the outcome won’t be the same.

Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese are very different, though the two are often associated with Italian cuisine. We’ll go into the differences between them in detail later in this post! But for now, it is important to note that the two function very differently in recipes. 

One of them, gooey mozzarella cheese, melts into a delicious and stringy-like texture. The bite is chewy and thick, and the flavor profile is milky and mild. 

Not so with parmesan cheese. This cheese is best shredded over top of dishes that have already been simmered, baked, or stewed. It is often added as a final touch, but occasionally, as an integral part of the entree. It has a salty and savory taste, one that is uniquely identifiable and specific to parmesan cheese.

Thus, mozzarella and parmesan, though associated with Italian fare, are distinctly different in their taste, texture, and overall utilization. 

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan Cheese

Can You Swap Parmesan For Mozzarella?

We’ve already assessed whether or not you can replace parmesan cheese with mozzarella. But can you switch parmesan cheese for mozzarella? 

Truth be told, this swap will be a bit more difficult. 

As you’ll discover later, parmesan cheese is hard cheese produced from cow’s milk to deliver a salty and savory flavor. Because the cheese is firm and lacking moisture, it typically doesn’t provide the stretch, chew, and uniformity that mozzarella cheese offers. It melts differently and won’t often work well on items like pizza or in lasagna when used by itself as a substitution. 

Can I Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan?

Using both mozzarella cheese and parmesan together is the name of the game if you want the tasty benefits of both. this is often done, such as in this baked ziti recipe.

But if you can’t do that, know that using one over the other will yield a very different taste. 

Parmesan cheese has a strong flavor that will be missed if you substitute it with mild and milky mozzarella. Still, if you don’t mind the absence of that nutty traditional parmesan flavor, you might take a liking to the texture and flavor that mozzarella brings to your dish, albeit it is very different. 

Is Parmesan and Mozzarella the Same?

Parm and mozzarella aren’t the same whatsoever. And though you may use mozzarella cheese instead of parmesan in many instances, know that making this swap could mean losing the original essence of the dish you are preparing.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the differences between parmesan cheese and mozzarella to understand why this might be the case.

The Differences Between Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese

When it comes to parmesan vs mozzarella, there really is no comparison.

The two cheeses are nothing alike, except for the fact that they are both white in color (kind of)! The two offer a very different textures and the overall flavor profile of each is distinct and distinguishable. The following are the notable differences between the two cheeses.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese notable for its aging process and signature nutty flavor. This popular cheese is great for accompanying foods that have already been cooked. It is often added as an afterthought to provide identifiable flavor to meals without overpowering the dish. 

Parmesan cheese is known to be a bit salty and does have the ability to melt, contrary to belief. Even so, it doesn’t melt in the same way that mozzarella cheese does. Instead, it has the propensity to burn. it also won’t have the same chewy mouthfeel that mozzarella lovers know and love.

Therefore, parmesan cheese would never make a great substitute for mozzarella on pizza, though the two cheeses may be combined for such a dish. 

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Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese, on the other hand, is a soft cheese that comes fresh, shredded, or on a block. This cheese is defined as a soft cheese and has a tangier flavor than parmesan. Mozzarella is mild and milky, and melts like a dream. Its gooey composition stretches when melted, providing a satisfying and mouthwatering visual experience when heavily sprinkled and melted over pizza and lasagna. 

Still, because of its tame flavor, mozzarella doesn’t offer the same unique nutty and salty palate that is uniquely associated with Italian pasta dishes. It is for this reason that people often love combining mozzarella and parmesan in order to reap the benefits of both.

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Is Mozzarella Healthier Than Parmesan?

With all this talk about substituting mozzarella for parmesan, you may wonder which wins out in terms of health. Depending on your health restrictions, you may find one better than the other.

For example, mozzarella is going to have more cholesterol than parmesan, but both are high in saturated fat. Moreover, parmesan has a significantly higher amount of iron in the cheese than mozzarella. It also packs more thiamin and pantothenic acid, which can be good for maintaining energy levels and healthy skin.

Both are high in protein, calcium, calories, and as such, should be consumed in moderation.

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan in…

Now that you know that mozzarella can be substituted for parmesan in some cases, you may still have questions about its practical use when cooking. Never fear, because we’ve got answers!

Check out the following common dishes and how they fare when swapping mozzarella for parmesan.

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan in Pasta Sauce?

If you’re wondering, “can I use mozzarella instead of parmesan in pasta?“ the answer is yes–with caveats.

You can substitute mozzarella for parmesan in pasta sauce, but you will lose the signature flavor of the parmesan when you do so. Also, you’ll be adding a milkier and gooey texture to your pasta dishes that may make the sauce thicker and more substantial. It will also make the sauce stringy, similar to what you might expect from an uber-cheesy lasagna. Whether or not that’ll work will depend on what you’re making and your personal preference–to us, it sounds delish!

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan Cheese

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan in Pesto?

Mozzarella and parmesan cheese are different, and in pesto, these differences really stand out. You may be wondering, “Can you use mozzarella cheese in pesto instead of parmesan?” The answer to this is that you can, but the taste will be milder and won’t have the same taste as it would if you were using freshly grated or shredded parmesan. Having said that, it is still possible to achieve great pesto using mozzarella, but the flavor and texture might be in high contrast to what you’re used to.

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan Cheese

Can You Substitute Mozzarella For Parmesan in Alfredo?

Can you use mozzarella instead of parmesan in alfredo sauce? There are a few key factors to note if you do.

The first is consistency. Remember that mozzarella melts into thick, gooey, and delicious soft strings. This can be good for pizza, but it is not a key characteristic in alfredo. As such, you need to know that putting mozzarella in alfredo will lead to a stringier pasta dish. 

In addition, recall that substituting mozzarella for parm in alfredo will yield a mild and more savory taste than the salty, nutty taste that parmesan brings. And because parmesan is one of the key flavors in alfredo, leaving it out of this particular pasta dish is actually something that could radically affect the flavor profile.

All in all, replacing mozzarella and parmesan in this instance isn’t bad, per se, but it will take away the signature taste of alfredo. If this is okay with you, then cooking an alfredo dish with mozzarella instead of parmesan is a decent substitution –but only when you’re in a bind. 

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan Cheese

Can You Use Parmesan Cheese on Pizza Instead of Mozzarella?

You should not replace mozzarella with parmesan cheese on pizza as the two cheeses don’t function the same. 

To start, parmesan cheese has a stronger flavor that will overwhelm your pizza and cause it to taste overly salty. In addition, this well known cheese won’t melt the way that mozzarella does, but instead, may brown, crisp up, and become overly oily, especially when cooked at the high temperatures often required for cooking pizza. 

We recommend you use mozzarella instead of parm on pizza as doing so will yield a taste that is much more satisfying than you’d get from using solely parmesan. If you still want to give parm a go on your pizza, consider mixing it in with your mozzarella or sprinkling it on top of melted mozzarella once the pizza is finished. 

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan Cheese

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan in Carbonara?

Much like cooking an alfredo dish without parmesan, serving up carbonara with mozzarella instead of parmesan will yield a distinct difference in consistency and flavor. The dish will no longer hold the signature bold flavor of carbonara, but instead may taste more bland and milky, and will have a softer, stringier appearance. To avoid this, we’d recommend using the other better substitutes for parm in carbonara that we will reveal later on in this post. 

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Parmesan Cheese?

If you don’t have shredded parmesan cheese on hand, don’t assume that you have to use shredded mozzarella cheese in its place. There are other options you can use as a good substitute instead.

These include: 

Can You Use Mozzarella Instead of Parmesan Cheese? You Could But…

Mozzarella can be a good replacement for parmesan cheese if you must, but really, the two cheeses are very different.

They not only have a different texture but they also offer radically different flavors. As such, it is best to stick with cheeses whose flavor profiles more closely resemble that of parmesan, rather than substitute parm with mozzarella.

Still, there are instances when you might like mozzarella better than parmesan–such as in spaghetti or other saucy dishes–but this often comes down to personal preference. 

FAQs

Is parmesan and mozzarella the same?

Parmesan is a hard cheese and mozzarella is a soft cheese. The two cheeses differ greatly in terms of flavor profile. Therefore the two are not the same.

What cheese is closest to parmesan?

Pecorino Romano is often said to be the closest in taste to parmesan cheese. 

Which cheese is similar to mozzarella?

Provolone, Gouda, and Monterey jack are all cheeses that come close to the taste of mozzarella. But remember, each cheese is very different and will offer its own distinct and unique palate.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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