Substitute For Mozzarella – Best And Worst

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We’re all guilty of forgetting to add that one crucial ingredient to the shopping list – so if you find yourself looking for a substitute for mozzarella, you’re not in unchartered territory.

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We’ll begin by looking at other cheeses to use in place of mozzarella. From there, we’ll look at substitutes suitable for those with dietary restrictions as well as which substitutes work best with certain foods. So, lets get started!

Margherita pizza using a substitute for mozzarella

An Introduction to Mozzarella

An ideal choice for Philly cheesesteaks or Chicago and Detroit deep dishes alike, mozzarella is a popular cheese with several wonderfully-unique qualities.

Originally came from Southern Italy, the cheese is traditionally made using Italian buffalo milk, though most mozzarellas are now made of cow’s milk (or bison’s milk if you’re lucky!).

Fresh mozzarella is generally creamy white in color and has a very unique consistency, with a mild taste. Its most often used in different pizzas, pasta dishes, and bruschetta.

Top 3 Best Cheeses To Substitute Mozzarella

1) Burrata

Another Italian cheese, burrata is made with cows milk and is a ‘cheese dumpling’ of sorts. The outer layer (made of a mozzarella-like cheese) is soft and mild. It wraps around a mixture of cream and curds and works like a little pouch pinched together to hold it all in. Burrata is incredibly similar to mozzarella – specifically its outer layer. It is slightly softer and is a little more flavorful than mozzarella, but not enough to be noticeably not-mozzarella.

2) Queso Oaxaca

Queso Oaxaca is a wonderful cheese from – you guessed it – Oaxaca, Mexico. A traditional ingredient of the iconic tlayuda, Oaxacan cheese is stretchy, stringy, and delicious. It has the flavor profile of Monterey Jack with the texture of mozzarella, and a slight richness that the Italian cheese just can’t achieve.

3) Havarti

Another world cheese, Havarti is a Danish semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk. It resembles mild goudas and cheddars, but also bears some similarities with mozzarella – particularly in terms of taste post-melting texture.

tomato mozzarella basil salad

Which Cheeses Can I Use Instead Of Mozzarella?

  • Can I substitute cheddar for mozzarella?
    • Cheddar is one of the best mozzarella substitutes – in part for its similarity to mozzarella, but mostly for its convienience! This widely available cheese works best as a mozzarella substitute when younger versions are used. It will remain stringy when melted and will have a pleasant, mild flavor.
  • Can I use feta instead of mozzarella?
    • While feta also has a unique texture, it’s miles away from mozzarella. This cheese has numerous differences; taste, texture, melted consistency – you name it! For this reason, it’s best to avoid when looking for mozzarella substitutes.
  • Can I substitute Monterey Jack for mozzarella?
    • Wondering if you can substitute Jack cheese for mozzarella? If you don’t mind some minor differences, then absolutely! This staple American cheese has a mild taste with an excellent melting consistency. The one difference is that Monterey Jack is richer than mozzarella, which might leave you with a greasy pizza.
  • Can you use pepper Jack instead of mozzarella?
    • Pepper jack is too different to properly imitate mozzarella in most cases. However, if you were planning to add peppers to your dish anyways, it might be worth a go! Just keep in mind that like regular Jack cheese, it will be a tad richer.
  • Can fontina cheese substitute for mozzarella?
    • Although fontina tends to be a little on the tangier side (yum), milder fontinas are viable for substituting mozzarella. If you’re okay with a slightly nutty aftertaste and a less stringy melt, fontina might be a good substitute for you.
  • Can I use Havarti instead of mozzarella?
    • Havarti cheese is an excellent mozzarella substitute – like mozzarella, it is a softer cheese with a mild, sweet taste. It also has the *PERFECT* stringy texture to imitate mozzarella!
  • Can I use Gruyere instead of mozzarella?
    • Many consider Gruyere to be too different to accurately imitate mozzarella. Its hard, dry, and strong in flavor – all the things that mozzarella isn’t.
Different cheeses to substitute for mozzarella

Mozzarella Substitutions

Healthy Substitute For Mozzarella Cheese

While mozzarella is already a pretty healthy cheese, cottage cheese has the added benefit of being keto-friendly. It also happens to be an excellent alternative to mozzarella! This is because it has a mozzarella-adjacent taste and texture, despite not melting quite the same.

Non-Dairy Substitute For Mozzarella Cheese

Whether you’re looking for a vegan substitute for mozzarella cheese or you’re lactose intolerant, there’s something out there for you!

For example, Daiya – a brand geared towards dairy-free, vegan, and allergen-free alternative foods – has a whole array of mozzarella products. From mozzarella shreds and slices to cheese sticks, there’s always something for your cooking needs. Miyoko’s Creamery is also renowned for having a section dedicated to excellent mozzarella imitations – all of which are vegan!

Making Your Own Mozzarella

If you have the time, consider making your own mozzarella at home! Its quick and much easier than you may first have thought. If you don’t want the hassle of using rennet, that’s not a problem either!

Mozzarella Substitution In Different Foods

How To Substitute For Mozzarella Cheese In Lasagna

Best Cheese Choices

When it comes to mozzarella, Havarti is one of the absolute best substitutes to use. This is no different when it comes to making a delicious lasagna – grate or slice Havarti before adding to your lasagna for a wonderful, m mozzarella-like melt.

If you don’t have any Havarti to hand, try fontina! It makes a good mozzarella alternative when used in a lasagna as the other flavors in the dish work to disguise its nuttier profile. If you plan to use fontina, make sure to use a younger cheese! It may also help to actually get a lower quality cheese in this case; this is because traditional, well-made fontina has a much stringer flavor. If you still find it to be too distinct, mix it with some mild cheddar.

Can I Use Monterey Jack Instead Of Mozzarella For Lasagna?

Monterey Jack is a great mozzarella alternative, but because of it’s heightened fat content, it might result in a greasier dish when used in a lasagna. Again, avoid this by mixing it with some mild cheddar before cooking – you should get something a little more similar to mozzarella.

pizza with gooey mozzarella

Substitutes For Mozzarella On Pizza

Can I Use Cheddar Instead Of Mozzarella In Pizza?

While it will look and feel slightly different, mild cheddar is a good alternative to mozzarella for pizzas. The taste will also be a touch more noticeable, but it certainly works!

Can I Use Feta Instead Of Mozzarella On Pizza?

In general, feta cheese isn’t a great mozzarella substitute. Its crumbly texture keeps it from melting well and its sally, tangy flavor will instantly give it away. Avoid using feta instead of mozzarella on pizzas and other dishes alike!

Homemade substitute for mozzarella on a skewer with fresh cherry tomatoes

Mozzarella Alternatives – Which Is Best?

With a myriad of possible reasons to use mozzarella substitutes, what is best truly depends on your desires.

Supposing that you want a keto-friendly mozzarella replacement, cottage cheese is an excellent choice.

If you’re looking for dairy-free cheese, a vegan cashew-milk imitation may be more suited to your needs!

Just trying to replace missing mozzarella? Oaxaca cheese, burrata and Havarti are probably the closest you can get in taste and texture.

In the case that none are available though, cheddar will do!

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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