5 Best Substitute For Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese Substitute

Mozzarella cheese, a timeless Italian creation, is widely cherished for its mild, milky flavor, supple texture, and outstanding meltability. Originating from the milk of water buffalos, and now commonly made from cow’s milk, this semi-soft cheese graces many global dishes, ranging from the iconic pizzas and lasagnas to caprese salads and paninis. Its distinct characteristics make it a versatile ingredient, a harmonizing element that binds other ingredients without overpowering the ensemble.

However, there are instances when an alternative to mozzarella might be necessary, be it due to dietary constraints, a desire to experiment with flavors, or a simple absence of mozzarella in your kitchen. In such situations, finding a suitable substitute that closely mirrors mozzarella’s properties, or offers a unique twist, is essential. This guide presents you with the best substitutes, namely Monterey Jack, Provolone, Cheddar, Gouda, and Emmental. Each of these alternatives brings a unique combination of texture, flavor, and melting qualities, ensuring that your dishes remain as delicious and appealing as with mozzarella.

What is Mozzarella Cheese?

Originating from Italy, mozzarella is a traditionally southern Italian cheese made from the milk of water buffalos. Nowadays, most mozzarella sold globally is made from cow’s milk. Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese, known for its high moisture content, creamy texture, and mild, milky flavor. Its stand-out feature is its excellent stretchability when melted, making it a cornerstone of dishes like pizza and various pasta meals.

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A Quick Glimpse at Substitutes For Mozzarella Cheese

  • Monterey Jack
  • Provolone
  • Cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Emmental

Each of these alternatives possesses unique characteristics that qualify them as effective substitutes for mozzarella cheese, keeping your dishes delicious and appealing.

Best Substitutes For Mozzarella Cheese

Diving deeper into the world of cheeses, let’s explore each of these mozzarella substitutes in detail to understand their unique properties, tastes, and culinary uses.

Monterey Jack

Known for its mild flavor and superb melting abilities, Monterey Jack is an excellent mozzarella substitute. Originating from the United States, this semi-hard cheese is made from cow’s milk and possesses a creamy, buttery flavor that pairs well with a wide variety of dishes.

Monterey Jack’s texture is slightly firmer than mozzarella, but it melts beautifully, making it a great choice for baked dishes. Its light, slightly tangy flavor complements ingredients without overpowering them, which is perfect for recipes where cheese isn’t the star but a significant component.

Additionally, Monterey Jack’s availability and affordability make it a practical choice for everyday cooking. Whether you’re whipping up a creamy pasta, a spicy quesadilla, or a comforting grilled cheese sandwich, Monterey Jack can step in for mozzarella effortlessly, adding a new dimension to your favorite dishes.


Another Italian classic, provolone, is a semi-hard cheese with characteristics closely resembling mozzarella. Produced from cow’s milk, provolone is aged, resulting in two primary varieties – Dolce (sweet) and Piccante (sharp). This broad range of flavors adds flexibility to its culinary uses.

Provolone shares a similar elasticity and melting ability with mozzarella, making it ideal for dishes that require a good melt. Its smooth, creamy texture enhances the richness of the dish without altering the original recipe drastically.

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Moreover, provolone’s complex flavor profile, varying from sweet and mild to sharp and full-bodied, allows it to add a different layer of depth to dishes where mozzarella might feel too bland. It’s the perfect choice to experiment with in dishes like stuffed peppers, casseroles, and gourmet sandwiches.


Cheddar, hailing from England, is one of the most widely consumed cheeses worldwide, making it a readily available substitute for mozzarella. Its rich, nutty flavor and smooth, firm texture differentiate it from mozzarella but in a pleasant and savory way.

Cheddar melts well, although it’s slightly oilier than mozzarella, which can influence the dish’s final texture. However, its strong flavor profile, varying from mild to extra sharp depending on its aging, can add a pleasant punch to dishes that benefit from a more assertive cheese flavor.

From macaroni and cheese to savory pies and gourmet burgers, cheddar’s unique flavor and melting ability can elevate your dishes, adding a comforting and familiar taste that’s loved globally.


Gouda is a semi-hard cheese from the Netherlands, celebrated for its rich, sweet, and slightly fruity flavor. It has a smooth, creamy texture that melts well, making it a worthy mozzarella alternative.

Young Gouda cheese is mild and soft, closely resembling mozzarella’s flavor, while aged Gouda develops a robust, caramel-like flavor and a harder texture. Depending on your taste preference and the specific dish, you can choose between young or aged Gouda.

Given its distinct flavor, Gouda works well in dishes where you want the cheese to play a starring role. It’s excellent in cheese boards, quiches, sandwiches, and smoked Gouda can add a delightful twist to your pizza.

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Emmental, or Swiss cheese as it’s commonly known, is a hard cheese from Switzerland, known for its characteristic holes or ‘eyes’. Its flavor is nutty and slightly sweet, while its texture is firm yet flexible, melting evenly.

Emmental’s flavor is more pronounced than mozzarella, adding a more complex taste to your dishes. However, its superb melting quality makes it a viable substitute in dishes that require melted cheese.

Whether incorporated into a fondue, layered in a croque monsieur, or baked into a quiche, Emmental can introduce a nuanced flavor profile to your dishes, making them taste familiar yet intriguingly different.

Substitutes for Mozzarella Cheese: Nutritional Profile

Nutritionally, these cheese substitutes vary. Here’s a comparative view of their profiles per ¼ cup serving:

Monterey Jack1067.30.307No

Remember, these are average values, and the nutritional content can slightly vary depending on the specific brand or variant of cheese.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a substitute for mozzarella cheese depends on several factors, including the specific dish, personal taste preferences, and dietary needs. Whether you’re after a similar texture, meltability, or are seeking a different flavor profile, cheeses like Monterey Jack, provolone, cheddar, Gouda, and Emmental can stand in for mozzarella effectively. Experiment with these substitutes and discover new flavor dimensions in your culinary journey.

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