Who doesn’t like recipes loaded with cheese, especially the ones with appealing and fun cheese pulls? Those are the best kinds of dishes, especially if you are a fan of Mozzarella cheese.
As we all know, Mozzarella has a Swedish milk-like taste and unique, stretchy texture. This makes your lasagnas, pizzas, and pasta visually appealing, soft, and juicy. However, it is not possible to have Mozzarella cheese at your disposal at all times.
So what if you are running out of Mozzarella cheese? We offer the 15 best substitutes for Mozzarella cheese that you can use for your recipes. Plus, you also get to know how to choose the best Mozzarella substitute for your recipes. Wonder what they are?
Keep scrolling and find out!
How to Choose the Best Mozzarella Substitute for Lasagna
There are plenty of substitutes for Mozzarella cheese, depending on the dish you want to prepare. But, before choosing the best substitutes, you need to consider a few properties that are more or less close to or at least match the properties of Mozzarella cheese.
That is when you would acquire your dish’s desired flavor and texture, despite not using Mozzarella.
What are the different properties of Mozzarella that determine its functionality?
1. Mild sweet flavor
The substitute should have a velvety, melty, milk-like smooth consistency, whether it is store-bought or freshly prepared Mozzarella. It should be able to flow and spread easily.
Store-bought Mozzarella is usually available as solid blocks or pieces. Fresh made, on the other hand, is stored in liquid form. But, both being made of cow’s milk, should have a delicate, milky flavor.
2. Ability to melt
If you are using the cheese for a recipe that does not involve heat, then the ability to melt is not a property to be considered. However, if you want the stretchy, gooey, melty goodness in recipes involving heat, then look for substitutes that can offer the same goodness.
Therefore, you must read our list of best Mozzarella substitutes below that work in cold and cooked recipes.
The 15 Best Mozarella Cheese Substitutes in Lasagna
Parmesan is known as the “King of Cheeses” for a reason, which is why it is also our most preferred Mozzarella cheese substitute.
Also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Parmesan is an Italian granular and hard cheese made from cow’s milk. It is aged at least 12 months, and this factor is most definitely reflected in its taste and consistency.
Owing to its gritty texture and nutty taste, it can be used for grating over soups, pasta, lasagna, risotto, etc. You can also consume it as a snack to relish its superior taste.
Cheddar is not very similar to Mozzarella cheese. But, it adds more flavor when used instead of Mozzarella. Just like swiss cheese, if you are not about the stretchiness and gooeyness of cheese, then white Cheddar is a good substitute too.
However, if used for hot preparations, it burns rather quickly. But if you compare white Cheddar with Mozzarella, it is a more popular and easily found cheese variant than Mozzarella. So if there is nothing at your disposal, you will find white Cheddar easily, almost anywhere.
You can use it best for lasagnas, mac, and cheese, macaroni, etc. Beware not to burn the cheese, that’s all! It may not add the same texture as Mozzarella in pizzas and pasta, but you can add it for the flavor towards the end of your dish preparation.
Provolone is one of the closest substitutes you can find to Mozzarella due to its stretchy consistency and sweet flavor. The texture is semi-hard, and it is also made of cow’s milk. Therefore, It has sweet and mild notes, just like Mozzarella. However, it has a robust aroma, so you may want to be careful with the quantities.
Do not add too much, as it would overwhelm the flavor of other ingredients in the dish. But, Provolone sure adds a smooth texture and smoky flavor to your preparations.
Another excellent and creamy substitute for Mozzarella is Burrata cheese. Burrata is also made of cow’s milk and uses a similar process for making, just as Mozarella.
However, there is a slight difference while extracting the cheese, making Burrata tastier and creamier. Burrata has a liquid consistency compared to Mozarella, which is semi-solid or solid most of the time.
Mozzarella has a more delicate taste and elastic texture than Burrata, but Burrata is creamier and rich in calories. It will retain the texture, just that it would become more liquidy and stretchy when heated. You can enjoy consuming it as is or even add it to cooked or cold dishes.
5. Mexican cheese
Ideally, there are 7 varieties of Mexican cheese which are:
- Queso Anejo
- Queso Fresco
- Queso Manchego
Of these, the closest to Mozzarella cheese is Oaxaca. It has the same gooey, stretchy texture that most people look for in Mozzarella substitutes. Plus, you can use it in both cold and hot preparations.
Call this one a twin to Mozzarella, although not an identical one! The making process is also somewhat similar, just that Oaxaca cheese is not aged or aged for a shorter span than Mozzarella cheese.
6. Swiss Cheese
If you are more about the taste and not about the stretchiness of the cheese, then swiss cheese makes for a suitable substitute. It has a very different flavor; it is relatively strong and nutty, slightly less mild than Mozzarella. However, the texture is buttery and creamy, and it also spreads quickly when melted.
Swiss cheese also melts more quickly than Mozzarella because the fat in Swiss cheese is less dense than the fat in Mozzarella. Therefore, it becomes easy to melt and spread the fat, and it is not as rubbery.
The same properties are exhibited when used in food preparations. It adds a creamy texture and rich flavor to your preparations. Also, swiss cheese is a healthier alternative to Mozzarella, but both are made of cow’s milk. Swiss cheese may appear pale in color with holes on the surface, while Mozzarella is relatively smooth.
Let us warn you! Ricotta will not offer the gooey cheese pull you are looking for. This is because, compared to Mozzarella, it is not as soft and melts rather slowly.
However, it runs on very similar grounds to Mozzarella in terms of taste. It is mild and sweet and offers a soft and creamy texture. It is safe to use at high temperatures, like baking lasagna in an oven or pizza. It best serves lasagnas to add a cheesy flavor and texture to the dish.
Honestly, we wouldn’t quite personally recommend Fontina from this list because it is the least similar to Mozzarella cheese. But, if you have nothing at your disposal, and Fontina is the last resort, you would want to use it only then.
The flavors are strong, sweet, and nutty and blend well with different dishes. When heated, it also softens and melts as well as spreads easily. However, don’t expect the cheese pull and stretchiness with this one.
Gouda looks all strong and hard on the outside but is creamy and soft inside. It is a semi-hard dutch cheese and is available in various types depending on its aging process. If you use it for hot preparations, it melts very easily and sustains high temperatures. Therefore, gouda can be the best substitute for Mozzarella cheese in lasagna.
Feta is one of our personal favorites but may not work as well for lasagnas. It is flavorful, hard, and rather a crisp form of cheese that can be used for coatings. So if you want to make your lasagnas crispier and add a burnt flavor, then Feta is your go-to substitute for Mozzarella.
However, Feta turns out to be a healthier alternative to Mozzarella. Feta has 20% fewer calories than Mozzarella. However, it is less rich in protein while the carbohydrate and fat ratio remain the same, more or less.
Pepperjack makes for a good substitute for Mozzarella, but it has high moisture levels, making your lasagnas and pizzas very greasy and oily. Therefore, while using pepper jack, you may want to be careful with the quantities as you do not want to make your preparations mushy. But it makes up for the Instagram-worthy cheese pull, definitely!
At the same time, pepper jack adds a spicy tinge to your preparations and can be a tastier alternative to Mozzarella cheese in lasagnas. You can use it for dry recipes instead due to its greasy texture.
12. Edam cheese
Edam cheese is an excellent substitute for lasagnas as it is a semi-hard Dutch cheese with excellent melting properties. It melts relatively quickly and has a nutty, sweet, and mild flavor. On the other hand, Mozzarella is softer and creamier, but Edam cheese can more or less also replicate Mozzarella in several ways!
Edam cheese is dense and is stringy, and elastic as well. It adds a slight tinge of hazelnut flavor while the texture is buttery too. Therefore, it serves best for preparing a pot of delicious lasagna.
13. Havarti Cheese
One of the most flexible forms of cheese you must have ever come across is Havarti cheese. You can use it for melting, eat it raw by slicing, taste good with grilling, and lots more. It has a strong and salty taste that mellows down when you eventually mix it with your food preparations.
It is yellowish and semi-soft in texture, unlike Mozzarella, which is white and too soft. Mozzarella no doubt is richer and creamier, but Havarti makes for a great substitute as well due to its flexibility and ease of melting.
Asiago cheese is obtained from Italy, and it is either freshly sold or after aging. It is pale yellow or white in color with a thin rind and irregular holes. With its medium texture and firm sponge cake consistency, it can be used in pasta, sauces, salads, soups, etc.
It has a delicately sweet and sour flavor with a strong nutty flavor. Due to its pale yellow color, you can easily add it to any dish.
You can either slice, cube, grate, or melt it. Sprinkling it on top of salads and sauces can also work wonderfully well.
Romano is a hard cheese that originates from Italy. It is made from cow, sheep, or goat’s milk. More often than not, it is also made from a combination of all kinds of milk.
It has a grainy texture with a hard rind that grates easily. The curing takes 5 months or less.
The taste of Romano cheese differs on the basis of the types. For example, a certain type might have a sharp taste while the other one might be tangy.
It can be grated over pasta, salads, soup, and cream sauces.
Which cheese is the closest substitute to Mozzarella Cheese?
With the huge list of cheesy substitutes that we offer, the closest you would want to pick as a substitute to Mozzarella would be Provolone and Mexican cheese.
Both have good melting properties, offer the desired cheese pull, and are very similar in terms of taste and texture.
If you are looking for some substitutes for lasagna, then Swiss and White Cheddar cheese are great options. They are creamy and have a nutty flavor, which blends well with ingredients in lasagna. They also work well with pasta and bolognese!
Can I melt Mozzarella into a sauce?
Yes! You can melt Mozzarella into a sauce. However, the sauce would not be as easy to spread and creamy. Therefore, you would need to add another form of cheese with more moisture, like Cheddar. This helps in the easier spreading and liquefying of the cheese.
Does fresh Mozzarella melt?
Yes! In fact, fresh Mozzarella melts relatively easily. Once heated, it sits on the base and starts releasing moisture that adds to the cheese’s flavor, stretchiness, and gooey properties.
Can I use fresh Mozzarella in Lasagna?
Yes! In fact, fresh Mozzarella imparts greater taste than the already pre-packaged shredded varieties. Simply pick a cube of Mozzarella cheese and use a grater to spread it all over the lasagne.
What is a non-dairy cheese option instead of Mozzarella?
While you can substitute cheese using various ingredients, the closest ones would be to use goat’s milk, soy-based tofu-feta, fried eggs, seitan bacon, or whole slices of avocado. These are available at any local or grocery store around you.
Can I use Muenster instead of Mozzarella?
While Mozzarella is a soft Italian cheese prepared from cow’s milk, Muenster is a soft white cheese. While you can use Muenster instead of Mozzarella, limit this substitution to the recipes that require you to melt the cheese.
How many layers should lasagna have?
A lasagna should have a minimum of three layers. Start with a layer of pasta or noodles and top it off with meat sauce, cheese, and additional layers.
Nothing beats the gooey cheesiness of Mozzarella. But if you do not have it at your disposal, you need not worry. We have suggested some of the best substitutes you can try for several dishes, including lasagnas, pizzas, etc.
According to us, the closest substitutes to Mozzarella cheese for lasagna are swiss cheese and white Cheddar. If you are looking for general use, then Provolone and Mexican cheese are the best options as substitutes.
We hope we have helped you prepare some of the best and most cheesy dishes with our suggestions. Read our in-depth and detailed review of the best Mozzarella cheese substitutes. Please tell us which is your favorite one through the comments section below.
Do you have any other Mozzarella substitutes in mind? Do tell us in the comments below!
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.