Milk Used to Make Mozzarella Cheese – Is It Cow’s Milk or Something Else?

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You may love cheese, but have you ever stopped to ponder the type of milk used to make mozzarella cheese? Topping pizza, pasta, and even salads, mozzarella cheese has many uses that have made it a favorite amongst people across the globe. So, what kind of milk is contained in mozzarella that makes it taste so great? We’ll answer that and more in today’s post.

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Milk Used To Make Mozzarella Cheese – Is It Cow’s Milk Or Something Else?

Table of Contents

What Kind of Milk Is Used to Make Real Mozzarella Cheese?

Whether you are eating homemade mozzarella cheese, fresh mozzarella, or shredded packaged mozzarella, know that most of it is made from cow’s milk. This is especially true in America.

However, there are some varieties of mozzarella that exist that utilize buffalo milk, sheep milk, and goat’s milk instead.

Buffalo, sheep, and goat milk mozzarella varieties are rare in the United States. When it comes to goat’s milk, the milk is usually combined with cow’s milk to produce the final product. Buffalo milk is also a common liquid used to yield mozzarella. However, it isn’t widely available in North America the way it is in Italy.

Milk Used to Make Mozzarella Cheese

Is Mozzarella Made From Raw Milk?

Mozzarella cheese is often best made from raw milk.

Though this isn’t a requirement, it will produce better and more creamy results than your typical pasteurized milk.

Having said that, using homogenized milk or ultra pasteurized milk should be avoided. These won’t work to produce the results you are looking for. Ultra pasteurized milk has been pasteurized at an ultra high temperature and is known as UHT milk. It lacks the ability to set into curds rendering it useless when you desire to make fresh mozzarella cheese.

Is Mozzarella Milk From Cows?

Yes, mozzarella milk tends to be from cows, but this isn’t always the case.

In some instances, sheep milk, goat, or buffalo milk is used to get the intended result.

If you plan to make mozzarella at home, chances are that you’ll be using cow’s milk. This is a perfectly viable option to get the results you need.

Know that when using cow’s milk, you will get much better results if you stick to raw non homogenized whole milk than with any other type.

If you must use homogenized milk, know that the curd will be weaker which can produce a lower quality mozzarella than raw milk would provide.

Milk Used To Make Mozzarella Cheese – Is It Cow’s Milk Or Something Else?

Is Mozzarella Made With Dairy?

Making mozzarella is possible without the use of dairy. However, most mozzarella will contain dairy in some form.

Whether cow’s milk, goat milk, sheep, or buffalo milk is used, dairy is often required to make mozzarella. This is also true for other mozzarella varieties including string cheese, shredded cheese, mozzarella sticks, and more.

Is Real Mozzarella Buffalo Milk?

That depends.

In the Italian traditional recipe, mozzarella is often made from buffalo milk. Still, American mozzarella cheese is almost exclusively derived from cow’s milk.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any authentic mozzarella cheeses made from cows in Italy. Still, Italian mozzarella differs in that it is usually made from the water buffalo of Campania where it may be referred to as Buffalo Mozzarella or “mozzarella di bufala”.

Can You Make Mozzarella Without Buffalo Milk?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to make mozzarella without buffalo milk. In fact, most mozzarella made in the United States is made from cow’s milk.

This is true whether you select a mozzarella ball, shredded mozzarella, or mozzarella cheese slices. Most mozzarella in the US will be made from cow’s milk unless of course, the packaging states otherwise.

Milk Used to Make Mozzarella Cheese

Is Mozzarella Made From Pasteurised Milk?

Yes, mozzarella can be made from pasteurized milk. Just remember that using the right milk is important when making mozzarella at home. This means that your mozzarella cheese shouldn’t be made with ultra pasteurized milk as this won’t produce desired results.

On top of this, make sure to read recipe notes given in a selected homemade mozzarella cheese recipe, as these may warn you to avoid other types of milk, such as homogenized milk, as well.

Great mozzarella cheese is typically made with fresh raw milk or unpasteurized. Still, you can skirt by using pasteurized milk that is whole, 2%, or even skim if you need to. Just know that the results may not be as good.

How to Make Mozzarella Cheese

Ready to produce a homemade mozzarella cheese that will be hard not to be eaten immediately? Thought so!

With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up stringy, gooey, and delicious mozzarella right from the comfort of your own home.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the details.

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon of fresh unpasteurized milk (if able- otherwise use whole milk, skim milk, 2%, or pasteurized. Try to avoid homogenized or ultra pasteurized milk for this, though. If you can’t find non homogenized milk, the recipe may not turn out as creamy as you may hope.)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid (or ⅜ teaspoon of lemon juice if you must)
  • 1 cup of water (for dissolving citric acid)
  • 0.01 ounce rennet tablet or liquid rennet
  • 4 tablespoons of water (for dissolving rennet)
  • Non-iodized salt (otherwise known as “cheese salt” or kosher salt)
  • Food thermometer (essential for beginners)
Milk Used To Make Mozzarella Cheese – Is It Cow’s Milk Or Something Else?


  1. To begin, sprinkle citric acid into the water in a small bowl until it is well dissolved.
  2. Do the same with your rennet and the designated amount of water in a different small bowl.
  3. Pour the milk you’re using into a large pot. Add to the milk your citric acid and water mixture.
  4. Cut on the stove and heat the milk over medium heat. Stir gently and constantly until the mixture reaches 90°F (as measured with a food thermometer). As soon as the milk reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the heat.
  5. Now, add your rennet mixture and water mixture to the warmed milk and citric acid in the pot. Slowly stir and cover the pot. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  6. After 5 minutes have passed, you’ll notice that the milk has become thick enough to slice through. If you find that you are able to slice through it in a straight line, then you are likely ready to move on to the next phase. If not, wait some time, at least another 5 minutes, before trying to slice it again.
  7. Now, it is time to prepare the curds. To do this, cut your thickened milk into rectangles or squares similar to a grid. Make sure the cuts are deep enough to reach the bottom of the pot.
  8. After you’ve cut the curds, heat them over medium heat, stirring slowly. Do not stop stirring! As you do, do your best not to break up the curds too much.
  9. Once they reach 106°F, you will remove the pot from the heat. You’ll notice the curds have toughened quite a bit. This is a good thing.
  10. After the pot has been removed from the stove, continue to stir your mixture. Do this, slowly, for about 5 minutes. You’ll notice that the curds have started to separate from the whey.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cheese curds from the pot. Drain it into a large strainer lined with cheesecloth. Allow the curds to drain into a bowl for around 5 minutes. Keep the whey for other uses including the following steps in this recipe.
  12. Grab a big bowl and place in it either hot water or the whey you just saved from the curds. Make sure the whey is at least 170F before using. Place the curds inside either the hot water or warm whey. You may divide the curds in half to do this if need be.
  13. Keep the curds in the hot water or whey for a few minutes to allow the mozzarella to take shape. The cheese will look stretchy like melted cheese. This is the beginning of fresh mozzarella!
  14. Remove the mozzarella from the hot water (with gloves). Add salt and begin to stretch and form the curds. It will look like taffy, which is what you want.
  15. Continue to stretch and fold the curds until they become firm and shiny. This usually occurs within 3-7 folds. Be careful not to overwork them.
  16. Roll the stretched and folded curds into mozzarella balls and cool them rapidly.
  17. Serve the final cheese to be eaten immediately or store in the fridge in its whey in an airtight container for up to one week. Let it come to room temperature for a few hours before enjoying.

Also, feel free to freeze your fresh homemade mozzarella for up to 6 months.

What Kind of Milk Is Used to Make Mozzarella Cheese? It Varies!

Ultimately, the kind of milk used to make mozzarella cheese varies greatly. In the United States, the most common type of milk to use is cow’s milk. Still, buffalo milk, goat milk, and even sheep’s milk are used for the production of mozzarella in other countries.

We hope this answers the question!


Is mozzarella made with dairy?

Yes, unless otherwise stated, mozzarella cheese is made with dairy.

What is true mozzarella made of?

That depends on what you mean by “true”. If you are referring to mozzarella made in Italy, you will likely find mozzarella made either from Buffalo milk or cow’s milk, depending on where you are and what’s available. 

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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