Mozzarella is one of the most popular cheeses for many Italian dishes. The semi-soft texture allows for great versatility. For instance, mozzarella melts easily as you bake a lasagna, stays stretchy for pizza-lovers and is a soft addition to a salad.
The subtle, creamy taste blends well in so many recipes. Mozzarella is perfect for adding just a touch of flavor without overpowering the other tastes in your dish.
But what if you run out of mozzarella cheese? Or what if you want to mix up your recipe a bit? In this article you will find mozzarella cheese substitutes that can add flavor, alter the texture, or match mozzarella closely.
Related Article: Can you freeze mozzarella cheese?
5 Recommended Mozzarella Cheese Substitute
Our 5 recommended substitution for mozzarella cheese:
- Provolone cheese
- White cheddar
- Swiss cheese
- Jarlsberg cheese
- Ricotta cheese
Provolone Cheese as a Mozzarella Substitute:
Provolone cheese is a favorite mozzarella cheese substitute, even though the two flavors do not match perfectly. It is a nice change of pace and adds flavor to your recipe.
Mozzarella cheese can be served fresh or slightly aged, while provolone is always aged (for more information on Provolone, check out our guide here). Provolone is sweet and buttery, but also a bit tangy. Younger provolone (aged less than 4 months) is a bit milder and sweeter than older provolone.
Because of the stronger taste of provolone, it is best used as a substitute for ‘aged mozzarella’, which has been aged for 2-4 weeks. This mozzarella has less moisture, a more developed flavor, and a bit of sourness.
Fresh mozzarella is creamy and milky, but rather bland. Substituting provolone for fresh mozzarella can add a more distinct flavor to the recipe than originally intended.
Nutritionally, provolone and mozzarella are very similar, and they are both considered to be healthy cheeses.
Provolone does contain 40 mg more of calcium and has 250 IU of Vitamin A, while mozzarella has only 200 IU.
However, provolone is higher in sodium, containing 98 mg versus mozzarella’s 85 mg.
Provolone cheese is an excellent mozzarella substitute when making pizza. It is stringy and stretchy. Because this is a very popular texture for pizza cheese, many people favor this substitution.
When you make a 12” pizza, you can use 6 slices of provolone cheese instead of about 4.5 slices of mozzarella.
White Cheddar as a Cheese Similar to Mozzarella:
Much like provolone, white cheddar cheese is more flavorful than mozzarella. Nonetheless, many people enjoy the extra kick, and the texture makes it an ideal mozzarella substitute.
Like mozzarella cheese, white cheddar is creamy and gooey. It is not as elastic as mozzarella, and it is much harder than mozzarella, but they both melt easily.
Cheddar cheese has been aged for months, like provolone. Therefore, it does have a much sharper flavor than mozzarella cheese. You may find that you have created a new, unique recipe with the added flavor of cheddar.
White cheddar has over 100 more calories and 29 mg more of cholesterol than mozzarella, and their sodium levels are almost identical.
On the upside, white cheddar has 3 g of protein, weighing in at 25 g.
Cheddar cheese is an excellent option for chicken parmesan. Although mozzarella is the most widely used, white cheddar is also quite popular. The sharp flavor compliments red sauce nicely and adds to the flavor profile.
If you are making 8 chicken breasts, you can mix ¾ cup of parmesan cheese with ¼ cup of cheddar, instead of ½ cup of parmesan with 4 cups of mozzarella.
Many people enjoy the extra flavor of Swiss cheese, and its texture makes it a great mozzarella substitute.
Swiss cheese has a more buttery and nutty flavor than mozzarella. Your dish may not taste the same when you use this substitute, but the extra flavor adds a new layer to your recipe.
The texture of Swiss cheese aligns well with that of mozzarella. They are both creamy and stretchy, so your meals will feel the same despite the flavor differences.
Both cheeses melt in the same way, which makes them easy to substitute. You don’t have to worry about adjusting the cooking time to prevent burning the cheese or ending up with cheese that is still stiff.
Swiss cheese is great as a nutrient-rich mozzarella cheese substitute. It contains significantly more calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
Each cheese includes many vitamins. Swiss includes a great deal of Vitamin B12, while mozzarella contains much more Vitamin D.
When we look at the detrimental health components, we see that Swiss is lower in sugar, but mozzarella is lower in sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol.
Swiss cheese is a unique, but delicious, addition to lasagna. The flavor of Swiss is best when used alongside mozzarella. If, for instance, you begin mixing ingredients and realize you don’t have enough mozzarella, top it off with Swiss!
The two cheeses together taste sweet and nutty, and they melt perfectly as you bake your dish.
If you are making 12 servings of lasagna, combine 8 oz of Swiss cheese with ½ cup mozzarella.
Jarlsberg is perfect if you are looking for a more nutrient-rich mozzarella cheese substitute.
The flavor of Jarlsberg cheese is similar to mozzarella. They are both sweet and buttery – not as sharp as our previous options. Jarlsberg has a hint of a nutty flavor as well.
Jarlsberg is a semi-soft cheese. Like mozzarella, it melts very easily and is stretchy
Jarlsberg cheese and mozzarella cheese are very similar in terms of calories, fat, cholesterol, protein, and carbohydrates per slice.
Jarlsberg does have more nutrients than mozzarella. Jarlsberg has 54 mg more of potassium and almost 40 mg more of calcium.
However, Jarlsberg has 110 mg of sodium, while mozzarella has only 85 mg.
Here, we find the first cheese that is a delicious substitute for salads. It is pleasantly soft to off-seat the crunchy greens in your salad, and its mild taste won’t overpower your meal. You will simply notice a bit of a milky and salty taste.
When you make 6 servings of salad, use 2 cups of Jarlsberg cheese instead of 1.5 cups of mozzarella.
Jarlsberg cheese is very popular in supermarkets, so it is an easy substitution.
Need more alternatives? See the best jarlsberg substitute.
Ricotta has a very different texture than mozzarella cheese, but it tastes mild, like mozzarella.
If you are looking for a type of cheese just as milky as mozzarella, you will find what you need in ricotta cheese. It is sweeter and milder than mozzarella, so you can eliminate some of the acidic or salty tones in your recipe by substituting them with ricotta cheese.
However, ricotta is so soft that it feels almost bubbly when you take a bite.
Unlike mozzarella, ricotta does not melt easily. Instead, you can expect it to soften and become more creamy.
Ricotta has an automatic advantage over mozzarella in terms of health. While mozzarella has a milk and butter base, ricotta’s base consists only of milk. You will find a great deal of calcium and protein in ricotta.
Ricotta also contains many more vitamins, including Vitamins B12 and D.
Ricotta is a surprising, but wonderful, substitute for pizza. It will make for a creamier pizza that is less sour than one made with mozzarella.
However, be aware that ricotta cheese does not melt easily or stretch. It won’t stretch when you cut or bite into it, so don’t use this substitute if the texture of mozzarella is exactly what you love on pizza.
For a pizza that serves 8, use ½ cup of ricotta cheese, mixed with ½ cup mozzarella and ¼ cup parmesan. This will allow you to retain some melted, stretchy cheese with the ricotta.
Do you still have a question left unanswered? Check out the FAQs below.
Monterey Jack cheese can be used as a mozzarella cheese substitute in certain recipes. They react to being heated very similarly, so cooking your dish will still go smoothly.
Monterey Jack is a rich, buttery cheese – more flavorful than the mild and milky mozzarella. The rich, buttery taste lends Monterey Jack cheese well in pizzas and quesadillas.
Cheddar cheese can be delicious in lasagna. If you want to mix things up, you can make a cheese sauce for your lasagna instead of layers upon layers of cheese.
In this case, white cheddar is much more effective than mozzarella. While mozzarella is very stretchy and stringy, cheddar contains less moisture and is less elastic. Lower elasticity makes a much smoother sauce.
Pizza can be made without mozzarella, especially if you are making a more distinctive pizza such as barbeque or Hawaiin. In this case, consider cheddar cheese for its sharper taste.