Cheese is a nutrient-dense staple that offers a variety of health benefits. It’s incredible how we can get a rich aliment supply while enjoying cheese on a tasty slice of pizza. One of the most common questions pizza lovers ask is, “what is the best cheese for pizza?” We’ll answer this and more in this post.
There are different types of cheeses that you can use on pizza. This post will discuss each of them and how to pick the perfect cheese for your pizza.
1. Mozzarella Cheese
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Mozzarella cheese is perhaps the most popular cheese used on pizza. It’s Italian in origin and is traditionally made from buffalo’s milk. In the US, it’s made using cow’s milk and usually comes in two forms; fresh and low-moisture mozzarella.
Fresh mozzarella cheese is white and has a short shelf life, so it’s stored in water. Since it has a high moisture content, fresh mozzarella is soft and easy to cut when making a homemade pizza. On the other hand, low-moisture mozzarella cheese is dryer and denser than its fresh counterpart.
Low-moisture mozzarella is the way to go if you want your melted cheese to spread evenly over the pizza. It’ll give your pizza that salty taste and cheesy pull with a creamy texture. However, you could go with fresh mozzarella if you want a moist pizza. Alternatively, you can quickly dry fresh mozzarella for a crispy crust.
2. Parmesan Cheese
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Another type of pizza cheese to consider is parmesan cheese. Like mozzarella, it’s also Italian and is made from cow’s milk, but it’s hard cheese. Parmesan cheese is aged for at least a year, giving it a unique taste.
You can use this cheese as a topping or garnish for pizza. It also goes well when you shred it on top of other cheeses on your pizza because it has a distinct flavor. However, you shouldn’t mix it with your cheese blends since it might overpower the other cheeses.
Unfortunately, high levels of heat destroy the flavor of parmesan. So, it’s better to sprinkle it on your pizza after it’s cooked to add that umami flavor. In other words, don’t bake parmesan cheese in the oven, or it’ll lose its kick.
3. Cheddar Cheese
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Cheddar cheese is a pale yellow cheese that originated in England. It’s a popular dessert cheese primarily used in sandwiches or as an ingredient in various baked goods. Cheddar cheese is hard and has a sharp taste making it a favorite for many.
Originally, cheddar cheese featured an off-white color that turned orange-ish as the cheese aged. Nowadays, the orange pigment is the signature color of cheddar cheese. Manufacturers add the color without changing the flavor, so the cheese can be white or orange.
Cheddar comes in different forms. Aged cheddar is also called sharp cheddar because it adds an almost bitter taste to your pizza. On the other hand, mild cheddar melts well into your pizza and has a gentler taste and creamier texture. You can use cheddar cheese as a standalone cheese or in cheese blends.
This type of cheese is available in blocks or pre-shredded for your convenience. So if you want to avoid the extra work of grating or shredding it, you can get the shredded type. Cheddar can be the perfect pizza cheese, but you should not use too much of it because it could overload the general flavor of your pizza.
4. Goat Cheese
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As the name suggests, this cheese is made from goat’s milk. It’s softer than the one made from cows because it has lower quantities of casein. Additionally, when fresh, goat cheese is white but turns yellow as it ages. Plus, it gives a distinct goat flavor to pizza and other foods, which makes it the best pizza cheese for some people.
You can choose goat cheese according to age for your preferred texture. Aged cheese is harder than the fresh alternative. Either way, it will add an earthy, tarty, buttery taste to the pizza. Fortunately, goat cheese goes well with various pizza toppings, including:
- Caramelized onions
- Fresh basil
Goat cheese melts and browns nicely on pizza, so it’ll contribute to the presentation when you take it out of the fire. You should slice it up and place it on the pizza just before placing it in the oven. However, since this cheese has a strong flavor, you shouldn’t use too much of it.
5. Ricotta Cheese
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Ricotta cheese is another great option for every pizza cheese lover. It is Italian and is made using the whey left from the milk of goats, cows, and buffalos. You will want it on your pizza because it’s soft and creamy.
If you are a fan of classic Italian dishes, you’ll love ricotta cheese. It adds a slightly sweet flavor to any meal and only lightly browns, so if you are looking for a deep brown color on your cheese, Ricotta isn’t the ideal option.
One of the ways you can use this cheese on pizza is on the crust of your pizza. This is because it’s more creamy than stretchy. Luckily it blends well with other cheeses, and you can complement it with vegetable and meaty toppings.
6. Provolone Cheese
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Your next option is provolone cheese, a semi-hard Italian cheese that is easily one of the best cheeses you can use on pizza. While it shares some characteristics with mozzarella cheese, provolone offers a sharper flavor. It melts rather quickly, so you should shred it and keep it cold before exposing it to heat in the oven.
This quick-melting cheese works well with red tomato sauce and will release a burst of flavor on each slice of pizza you make. Young provolone cheese tastes sweet and creamy but becomes sharper and denser as it ages.
Unlike most white cheeses, provolone browns to a darker shade when heated. It’s a versatile type of cheese that pairs well with various toppings.
7. Gouda Cheese
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This yellow cheese came from the Netherlands and is now a world-renowned favorite. It’s made using a specific Dutch process where it gets the name. Gouda cheese has a smooth texture that makes it easy to handle when preparing pizza.
Like most types of cheese, the older it is, the harder it’ll be. Depending on the flavor you prefer, it can be buttery or smokey. Additionally, it has a creamy consistency that prevents it from stranding up like other types of cheese.
8. Swiss Cheese
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Swiss cheese is a representative term for various kinds of cheeses originally made in Switzerland. The cheese usually features a classic yellow color with characteristic round holes called eyes. If the cheese doesn’t have eyes, it’s called ‘blind cheese’ and is considered a deformity.
The older the Swiss cheese, the more holes it’ll have because of the release of carbon dioxide. It’s made from cow’s milk and is soft when young but gets firmer with time. The flavor it adds to your pizza is nutty and mildly sweet, which is why it can be the best cheese for pizza.
9. Monterey Jack Cheese
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Also called “Jack,” Monterey Jack cheese originates in California and is white with a semi-hard feel. It comes in various forms but is known for its mild flavor with some sweetness. This cheese takes just a month to age; the older it gets, the funkier it smells.
Monterey Jack has a high-moisture content, making it great when you want evenly-melted cheese on your pizza. It’s great for Mexican cuisine and a variety of other meals. You can also use it as a pizza topping on its own.
10. Brick Cheese
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This American cheese has earned its position as one of the best cheeses for pizza. Originating in Wisconsin, US, this cheese comes in the shape of a brick which is how it got its name. Brick cheese comes in different colors ranging from pale yellow to white.
This medium soft cheese starts with a milder flavor when it’s young but gets a stronger taste as it ages. Aged cheese brick has a complicated burst of flavors that can make your pizza a unique dish.
11. Blue Cheese
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Blue cheese is the answer if you are looking for a type of cheese that adds a salty taste to your pizza. It comes with a semi-soft density allowing you to slice or chop it up for use on your pizza. Blue cheese looks white with blue veins and spots all over.
It has this unique color because it’s made using Penicillium cultures, an edible form of mold. Additionally, this cheese has a spicy taste that’s sharper than fresh mozzarella. Also, it can work well with different toppings and cheese blends.
12. Feta Cheese
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Feta cheese comes from a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk. It feels soft and easy to slice when young, but as it ages, it hardens and crumbles. It adds a tangy flavor to pizza with a hint of salt. However, it develops a bitter taste that may not be everyone’s cup of tea with time.
Feta cheese can yield great results if you want to experiment with seasonings and various toppings. It could be the best cheese for pizza if you use a reliable recipe.
13. Pecorino Romano
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Here’s another cheese for pizza that’s made using sheep’s milk. Pecorino Romano is a hard cheese you’ll grate over deep-dish pizza, among other meals. The flavor you get depends on the age of the cheese. The older the cheese gets, the saltier and harder it will become.
This cheese can add a grassy, tangy, and sharp flavor to your pizza. This makes it the best cheese for pizza among people who love the taste of vegetables in their food.
Tips for Choosing the Best Pizza Cheeses
Now that you’ve seen the best cheeses for pizza, how can you pick one that suits your purpose? Let’s discuss what to consider when choosing the best cheese for pizza.
The first thing to consider when choosing cheese for your pizza is the pizza topping you want. If the toppings have a strong flavor on the pizza, you’ll need a type of cheese that can match up without getting overwhelmed. However, you don’t want the flavors to compete; instead, they should complement each other.
Vegetarian toppings don’t go well with every type of cheese. Here are the cheeses to consider for vegetarian toppings on your pizza.
- Mozzarella cheese
- Provolone cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Goat cheese
Meat-based toppings go well with any standalone cheese or cheese blend.
2. Cheese Level
The amount of cheese ideal for a pizza will vary from person to person. However, we can classify the amount of cheese on pizzas as light, medium, or heavy.
Light cheese refers to the ones that have low amounts of fat. This type of cheese doesn’t have a thick creamy texture. Instead, it is almost watery and could easily sog up your crust if you use too much.
Medium cheese has a creamy feel and a more milky flavor characteristic of cheese. This means the cheese should have a high-fat content. The cheese will melt quickly and evenly over the pizza dough.
If you want a heavy layer of cheese on your pizza, then the aged ones are what you need. They will add a lot of flavor to your crust and toppings, making the pizza more fulfilling to eat.
There are many types of cheese. The best cheese for pizza depends on the preference of the eater. Whether you want mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, goat, or blue cheese, you’ll get a whole bunch of nutrients in every slice of pizza. The best cheese for your pizza depends on the type of toppings you’ll include. It also depends on the amount of cheese you want on your pizza.