11 Unique Substitutes For Mozzarella (Vegan & Dairy Options)


Mozzarella substitutes which can be used for pizza, pastas, dips and more. When you are looking for an alternative to mozzarella with similar characteristics. Here are 11 substitutes and what to expect when using them.

Substitutes For Mozzarella

These are the ones that can be found in most any grocery store. They’re widely known and recognized types of cheese.

1. Provolone

  • Taste = Stronger than mozzarella but both taste very similar.
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily but less so than mozzarella. Both become stretchy and stringy.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Used For Lasagna? Yes
  • Cooking Tip: Best grated (shredded) when using as cheese for pizza.

Provolone is sometimes referred to as mozzarella’s older brother. It has a lower moisture content than mozzarella. Provolone is also aged where mozzarella is eaten fresh.

2. Swiss

  • Taste = Nutty and sweet, more flavor than mozzarella.
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily becoming creamy.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes

While Swiss cheese can be a term used to describe one type of cheese. A lot of the other cheeses mention here are actually Swiss (Switzerland) as well.

You will find it can be a substitute for mozzarella but typically is used in combination with provolone on pizza. Commonly referred to as a four cheese pizza.

3. Monterey/Pepperjack

  • Taste = Spicier but still fairly mild.
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily and becomes stretchy.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes

Pepper jack contains more moisture and oils than mozzarella. So you may end up with a greasier pizza or lasagna.

4. Jarlsberg

  • Taste = Mild, sweet and buttery
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily and becomes creamy.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes
  • Cooking Tip: Use shredded Jarlsberg cheese.

Jarlsberg is a mild cheese with a soft texture. It is often confused with Swiss cheese because the two look very similar. Both have holes in them (called eyes) and are similar in color.

Jarlsberg is a famous brand of cheese from Norway. Although you can’t order directly from their website you can find it online at gourmetfoodstore.com

5. White Cheddar

  • Taste = Stronger flavor
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily but not as well as mozzarella, also burns faster.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes
  • Cooking Tip: Use a mild cheddar.

Cheddar is one of the most popular types of cheese. If you were to use as a substitute for mozzarella I would use white cheddar. Both cheeses melt easily but cheddar can be more creamy.

6. Feta

  • Taste = Stronger Taste
  • Melting Qualities =
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes
  • Cooking Tip: Don’t use as much as you would mozzarella.

You will typically find feta cheeses in use with Greek style recipes. Like this Greek Pizza with Feta, Spinach and Olives Recipe.

7. Ricotta

  • Taste = Mild, sweet
  • Melting Qualities = Does not melt, just softens.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes
  • Cooking Tip: Add in after the pizza has baked.

Ricotta cheese is usually eaten fresh like mozzarella with a mild taste. If the cheese smells or taste sour it has probably gone bad.

8. Gouda

  • Taste = Mild, sweet and slightly nutty.
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza?
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna?

Gouda tastes more mild the fresher it is, as the cheese ages more complex flavors develop.

One of the best Gouda’s you can buy online is from Beemster, a family owned farm with a history dating back to the 17th century. It can be found at gourmetfoodstore.com

9. Mexican Cheeses/Oaxaca

  • Taste Difference = Buttery, very close to mozzarella
  • Melting Qualities = Similar to mozzarella
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes

Oaxaca is one of the closest cheeses you can get to mozzarella. It develops a stringy texture when melted.

The lesser known cheese types from around the world. I will call them gourmet cheeses, because usually they are found in specialty or gourmet food shops.

10. Fontina

  • Taste Difference = Nutty
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily and becomes creamy.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes

Because of the mild flavor and melting quality of fontina cheese you can use it as a substitute.

11. Asiago

  • Taste Difference = Salty, nutty and tangy
  • Melting Qualities = Melts easily with higher temperatures.
  • Can Be Used For Pizza? Yes
  • Can Be Used For Lasagna? Yes

Originating in Italy Asiago cheese is great for making pizza and pastas. This cheese does have a fair amount of moisture. So it melts well but can become runny. Aged Asiago does not melt as well and is more like a dried Parmesan.

Asiago cheese fresh from Italy can be found and shipped from gourmetfoodstore.com

Top 2 Mozzarella Substitutes

The closest cheeses you can get to mozzarella are provolone and Oaxaca cheese. These two provide the most similar characteristics to mozzarella. All three melt very well and become stretchy and stringy.

You won’t get much of a difference in taste with these. As they are both mild cheeses similar to mozzarella.

Provolone

Provolone is very close to mozzarella in texture and how it handles heat. What sets it apart is that provolone is an aged and certain types are smoked.

Oaxaca

Also called quesillo cheese Oaxaca gets it name from the Mexico state Oaxaca. Not to be confused with queso asadero or “Chihuahua” cheese. Although the two are similar Oaxaca cheese is drier.

What To Look For

When substituting for mozzarella you want a cheese that has low moisture. These typically melt well and do not release a lot of oils. This is especially important for cheeses used for pizza making.

Vegan Mozzarella Substitutes

Vegan mozzarella is harder to come by if you don’t know who makes it. The brands making vegan and dairy free mozzarella cheeses are Violife, Miyoko’s, Earth Grown, Follow Your Heart and Daiya.

You can read a post I wrote about popular dairy free milk alternatives. Most of which are used for vegan cheeses.

You can find some of these brands online on Amazon. They actually come from Whole Foods which is owned by Amazon.

Miyoko’s is a popular brand of vegan cheese, you can read more about it on Amazon here.

Vegan cheeses are usually made from nuts, seeds, beans and cereal grains. Similar to dairy free milks.

The unique thing about vegan and dairy free cheese is that they melt and stretch just like dairy. So they can be used to make traditional recipes like grilled cheese sandwiches and pizzas.

Making them a great alternative to mozzarella cheese for those who can’t or choose not to eat dairy.

Eric M Wilkens

Content writer and recreational cook. I also enjoy craft beer, comedy and the outdoors.

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