If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese, you’re in the right place. Monterey Jack cheese and mozzarella cheese have similar qualities, but they are pretty different. Eager to know what those differences are? Join me as we compare and contrast Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese.
Table of Contents
- What Exactly is Monterey Jack Cheese?
- What Is the Definition of Mozzarella Cheese?
- Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella: What Is the Difference?
- Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella: Which One to Use?
- Can I Use Mozzarella Instead of Monterey Jack?
- Is It Possible to Combine Monterey Jack and Mozzarella Cheese?
- Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella: No Longer a Mystery!
What Exactly is Monterey Jack Cheese?
Monterey Jack cheese is a cheese that is associated with Spanish heritage. It is thought that Monterey Jack cheese originated among Spanish missionaries in Monterey, California, in the 1700s. It was referred to as “queso del pais” back then. Today, it is known as Monterey Jack, mainly for where it came from, but also “Jack” because of David Jack, who was thought to be the first to market the cheese outside of its local region.
In modern times, Monterey Jack cheese is noted for its good melting properties, edible rind, mild flavor, and creamy taste. Monterey Jack’s reliability is what makes it great to top pizzas, pasta, chicken, and more.
It’s even better cold!
Monterey Jack is also often blended with other cheeses and ingredients. For example, Colby Jack cheese is a blend of Colby cheese marbled with Monterey Jack. Meanwhile, “pepper jack” cheese is Monterey Jack cheese blended with spicy peppers for a uniquely delicious and punchy taste.
What Is the Definition of Mozzarella Cheese?
If you love cheese, you likely already know all the wonderful qualities of mozzarella cheese. But in case you don’t, allow me to get you up to speed!
Mozzarella cheese is a cheese long associated with Italian fare. It is often found paired with tomatoes and basil and is, in some countries, held to rigid guidelines to ensure the mozzarella is indeed authentic enough to bear the name.
In general, mozzarella cheese is a soft cheese with a mild flavor and springy texture. It can be considered cow’s milk cheese but can also be made from water buffalo milk (especially in Italy). Mozzarella can be sold as small balls or even as shredded cheese. It has only a slight aroma, if any, and is used in many recipes.
Culinary uses for mozzarella cheese include topping pizzas, pasta dishes, and casserole bakes. It can also be blended with other cheeses to add a gooey, stringy texture (though its flavor is relatively mild).
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella: What Is the Difference?
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella Taste
When asked, “What is the difference between Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese?” it is important first to note differences in taste. This is, arguably, one of the most defining ways in which mozzarella cheese and Monterey Jack are dissimilar.
Monterey Jack, otherwise known as “table cheese,” tastes mild, creamy, buttery, and slightly sweet. When combined with other cheeses or peppers, this otherwise mild flavor may take on notes that are a bit more bold.
Mozzarella cheese, on the other hand, is also mild, but in a different way. The mild flavor of mozzarella cheese isn’t as buttery as Monterey jack. In fact, it can be pretty bland. The excitement of mozzarella typically comes from its stretchiness, gooeyness, and overall very satisfying mouth-feel. Its neutral and very mild flavor goes great over meals that already pack a lot of flavor. Thus, sprinkling it over a robust dish with tons of tomato sauce and pungent herbs is where mozzarella cheese really shines.
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella Texture
In terms of texture, Monterey Jack and mozzarella are similar yet different.
Monterey Jack can be described as a cheese with a low melting point and high moisture. It melts like a dream and can often be found on top of gooey cheese enchiladas or sprinkled over Mexican refried beans. Monetary Jack is semi-hard cheese when unmelted and can be enjoyed as shredded cheese on salads, soups, and the like.
Mozzarella cheese also has a low melting point and is high in moisture. However, its consistency is very different from that of Monterey Jack. In fact, mozzarella cheese is known for having characteristics all its own!
Mozzarella cheese is known for being very stretchy and stringy. Melted mozzarella cheese will become gooey and stretchy, much to the delight of its consumers. Still, mozzarella cheese can be shredded and sold with some of the moisture removed. This makes it an easy cheese to sprinkle on top of salads and other entrees without too much ado.
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella Ingredients
Isn’t all cheese made from cow’s milk? Well, not exactly.
In the case of mozzarella cheese, it can be made from water buffalo or cow’s milk. Monetary Jack, on the other hand, is always made with raw or pasteurized cow’s milk.
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella Cheese Color
In general, Monterey Jack, in its true form, will have a pale yellow color. In fact, it can sometimes appear close to white.
Mozzarella cheese, on the other hand, is a very light shade. In most cases, it is stark white, which makes it easily identifiable compared to other cheese types.
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella Nutrition
When it comes to the nutritional profile of Monterey Jack vs. mozzarella cheese, mozzarella cheese wins out.
Mozzarella cheese is healthier in terms of calories and fat content. Mozzarella cheese only contains around 85 calories per ounce, whereas Monterey Jack contains a slightly higher amount (around 105 calories). The fat content in Monterey Jack is higher as well, especially when compared to low-fat mozzarella cheese options.
So, is Monterey Jack cheese unhealthy? Not necessarily. Like everything else, if it is consumed in moderation, it actually packs quite a few health benefits. Among these are plenty of calcium for good bone health, Vitamin A, good fats, and protein.
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella: Which One to Use?
Now that you know the differences and similarities between Monterey jack and mozzarella, you likely want to know which to use and when. I’ve got you covered, whether you want to use Mozzarella vs. Monterey Jack for tortilla soup or Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella for pizza.
In all honesty, you could swap one for another with only slight differences in taste and texture. However, if you want to stay true to the traditional use of each of these cheeses in a recipe, you can use the following guidelines to help you:
Traditional Monterey jack cheese usage:
- Blanco Queso
Traditional mozzarella cheese usage:
- Garlic bread
Can I Use Mozzarella Instead of Monterey Jack?
If you’re wondering if you can substitute these two popular cheeses for one another, the answer is a resounding yes!
However, you’ll need to take note of a few things before determining whether or not either works as a good substitute for what you’re making.
Is Monterey Jack the Same as Mozzarella?
Remember that Monterey jack cheese will have a taste and texture similar to that of white cheddar rather than mozzarella. You won’t get the same mild, milky flavor associated with mozzarella if you use Monterey in its place.
Also, Monterey jack cheese is aged longer than mozzarella cheese, meaning the same melty goodness you get from mozzarella may be a bit different than the melted results you get from Monterey Jack.
So, is Monterey jack similar to mozzarella? Kind of. But be careful to adjust your expectations when swapping one for another. Though the two are somewhat similar, they will still yield quite different results.
Can I Use Mozzarella Instead of Monterey Jack and Vice Versa?
Yes, you can use mozzarella cheese instead of Monterey Jack, but the results will be different. This is especially true if you swap mozzarella for Monterey Jack shredded cheese. Still, the swap can be made if you’re in a real pinch and don’t have anything else. Just know that putting mozzarella on a dish calling for Monterey Jack will make it blander while swirling mozzarella out for Monterey Jack will make the plate punchier, slightly bitter, and more flavorful.
Yes, you absolutely can mix Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese. Have you ever tried a mozzarella Monterey jack pizza? If not, you’re missing out! These are truly two of the best flavor combinations, in our humble opinion. Give it a try and see how you like it!
Is It Possible to Combine Monterey Jack and Mozzarella Cheese?
Yes and no! Monterey Jack cheese is similar to mozzarella in terms of color and general use, but the two are actually very different. From taste, texture, ingredients, nutritional profile, and more, there are plenty of characteristics that set these two very popular cheeses apart from one another.
Monterey Jack vs. Mozzarella: No Longer a Mystery!
Remember that Monterey jack and mozzarella cheeses are similar but different. In a pinch, you can substitute one for another, but mozzarella cheese will always be gooier, meltier, and more bland. Monterey Jack adds flavor and punch to your meal but does not have a thick and stringy texture. All in all, the two are both delicious and popular cheeses that are worthy of trying out!
Which of the two is your favorite? See you next time!
Is Monterey Jack cheese like mozzarella cheese?
In some ways, yes, but there are many ways in which these two differ.
Can you mix Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese?
Yes, you can! In fact, the two together make a delicious combination for pizzas and casseroles.