Cheddar and mozzarella cheese are two popular types of cheese that have similar similarities, but also some key differences.
Mozzarella is a fresh Italian cheese with a soft texture, smooth taste and pale color. Cheddar is an aged hard cheese that originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, England. It has a strong flavor, pronounced grainy texture, and deep orange hue.
Cheddar cheese is made from cow’s milk while mozzarella can be made from buffalo’s, cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk. Mozzarella is a favorite for pizza and pasta dishes while cheddar is often used in sandwiches, salads, and appetizers.
Fresh mozzarella will make the pizza soggy, use low moisture mozzarella instead. Also, cheddar will add color to pizza, so you may want to use white cheddar.
Mozzarella is exceptional when it comes to melting and stretching properties, making it great for pizza and other dishes. Cheddar is firmer and has a more crumbly texture, which makes it better for things like grilled cheese sandwiches.
Due to these reasons, cheddar doesn’t melt, blister, and stretchy or ‘stringy’ quite as easily as mozzarella.
Cheddar cheese is a bit saltier than mozzarella, has a sharper flavor, and is more acidic. Mozzarella is creamier with a slightly sweet taste.
Cheddar cheese usually ages for about 2-18 months while mozzarella is typically eaten fresh. Some varieties of mozzarella are lightly aged for a few weeks.
Cheddar cheese is much lower in moisture, therefore it typically has a longer shelf life than mozzarella. Read more about how long can cheddar be left out without refrigeration.
Making Process Comparison
The production of cheddar and mozzarella is quite different. Cheddar is more relatable to the typically hard-aged cheese style like parmesan, where it involves several labor-intensive steps as we discussed in the other article.
In particular, ‘cheddaring’ is one of the most important steps in the making of cheddar cheese, where it is stacked and turned several times to release whey and help to acidify the curd. After this, the curds are put into molds and pressed before being sent to a storage room to age.
The traditional mozzarella, on the other hand, takes just hours from start to finish. The milk is heated and then curdled with rennet. After the curds are formed, they are strained and hot water is added to them and kneaded to create the cheese’s famous stringy texture.
No aging is required for fresh mozzarella, some might be aged for a few days. Therefore it tastes milder, basically a milky ball of stretchy curds.
Is one better than the other?
Flavor-wise, it depends on how you use your cheese. Cheddar is a more intense flavor, while mozzarella is mild and creamy. If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a punch, cheddar is the way to go.
Texture-wise, cheddar is crumblier and way more versatile than mozzarella to use in recipes, such as soup, sauce, and fondue — we discussed more here.
But when it comes to healthy eating, mozzarella is the clear winner. It’s lower in calories and fat than cheddar, plus it is less salty and is definitely a fit in your healthy diet.
But mozzarella stick is junk food, or not? answered.
Price-wise, cheddar usually costs similar to mozzarella. You can usually find packs of shredded cheese for around $3-$5. You can buy a vintage cheddar at a much higher price, while it adds sharpness and deeper flavor to your dish.
Mozzarella is best eaten fresh. So, ideally you can’t really enjoy an imported fresh mozzarella in its best condition after a few *tens of hours of logistics, for example, the famous buffalo mozzarella imported from Italy like this one.
However, you can still buy domestic fresh mozzarella which isn’t too bad.
Can I substitute mozzarella cheese for cheddar?
Yes, you can substitute mozzarella cheese for cheddar but only in some recipes, also be reminded that the flavor and texture will be different. Mozzarella is a softer, milder cheese that doesn’t have as strong of a flavor as cheddar. It also doesn’t have the crumbly texture that cheddar does.
However, mozzarella is a great choice for dishes like pizza and lasagna where you want the cheese to melt and stretch.
It can be lacking flavor if using mozzarella alone in mac and cheese, you may want to add in a little bit of cheddar to give it that sharper flavor. Also, you can use other ingredients or cheese to lift the taste.
Other cheeses to consider are gouda and gruyère.