Pizza is not complete without cheese. It is the topping ingredient that connects all the elements of the pizza. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing that cheese stretch out while taking a slice of pizza!
However, cheese comes in different tastes, intensities, and textures, ranging from soft to hard and mild to strong.
It is important to know that certain types of cheese suit pizzas better than others. Knowing these types of cheese and how to complement them with other ingredients will be helpful in making the ultimate homemade pizza that will leave your family craving for more!
Below is a list of some of the best types of cheese for pizza.
13 Best Types of Cheese for Pizza
1. Mozzarella Cheese
The most popular pizza cheese type, mozzarella cheese, is commonly used in pizzas due to its almost perfect consistency and mild flavor. This type of cheese comes in two variations: high-moisture and low-moisture.
High-moisture variants are creamier but have a shorter shelf life. They should be used within the first few days after being made.
On the other hand, low-moisture variants have a saltier and denser flavor than high-moisture ones. They also have a longer shelf life. Regardless, both variants make a great choice for pizzas. They also blend well with other types of cheese.
One of the most popular kinds of mozzarella is Buffalo mozzarella. You can sprinkle it directly on a cooked pizza or allow it to melt for the classic pizza feel.
Mozzarella cheese works well with tomatoes not only on pizza but in other dishes too. It is common for Italians to eat tomato and mozzarella salad.
2. Cheddar Cheese
Most Americans eat cheddar cheese, and for a good reason. With its sharp and powerful flavor, it will add flavor to your homemade pizza.
Despite having a strong flavor, cheddar cheese goes well with other ingredients. Regardless if you choose a mature, extra mature, or vintage variant, this type of cheese will enhance your food.
To use, grate the cheddar cheese instead of slicing it. You can use as much as you want, but keep in mind that the more cheese you put on your pizza, the more oily it will be once you bake it. You may opt to bake your pizza longer to let the oil cook off, but watch out not to burn the dough.
3. Aged Havarti
Originating from the green pastures of Denmark, the aged Havarti ranks as one of the most popular cheeses for a reason. It is rich in flavor and has a smooth texture. Easy to use, this type of cheese has graces cheese boards and various recipes, including pizzas.
Gorgonzola is made from cow’s milk in the northern parts of Italy. As a blue marbled cheese, this soft and somewhat crumbly variety makes a great addition to pizzas. It has a mild tone of hazelnut, and its flavor becomes sharper as it dissolves on your tongue.
While blue cheese is not for everyone, using it in moderation makes it blend well with various toppings, including veggies, caramelized onion, mushrooms, red onions, nuts, and more. It also gets along well with sweet toppings, such as pear.
Gorgonzola’s flavor and texture vary depending on how long it is aged. In general, the longer it is aged, the stronger and pungent its taste will be.
Before going deep into Parmigiano-Reggiano, it is important to note that it is not the same thing as parmesan.
For a product to be called Parmigiano-Reggiano, it should be created in Italy, and a certain process must be followed when making it. On the other hand, parmesan cheese aims to resemble Parmigiano-Reggiano, but it does not have certain requirements that need to be adhered to.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is matured for up to 36 months. It provides a strong flavor and fragrant aroma, with tones of roasted hazelnuts, browned butter, and a little bit of salt. In addition, its savory umami makes it a perfect addition to any type of pizza.
To use, you can grate large shards of this cheese onto your pizza after it has come out of the oven. This will give your pizza a unique texture with a strong, quite salty flavor. You can put it on your pizza before baking, but baking the cheese will dilute its flavor.
Toma cheese is sold in America under the name “farmer’s cheese.” It may be hard to find this type of cheese, but it is surely worth it. Try looking for it at stores that import products from Europe.
Toma cheese is used for making Sicilian pizza. Produced in Sicily and the northern regions of Italy, this type of cheese offers a buttery flavor. It has a creamy texture and is pale yellow in color.
Toma cheese goes well with other toppings, but the good thing is it can stand on its own. You just need pizza dough, tomato sauce, and this cheese, and you’re good to go.
A semi-hard Italian cheese, provolone also varies in flavor and taste depending on how long it is aged. Young provolone has a sweet and mild taste, while mature provolone has a sharper and stronger taste. It also crumbles because of the number of salt crystals that form in the cheese.
Provolone can be used on its own, or it can also be combined with other types of cheese, such as mozzarella. In general, it has a stronger flavor than mozzarella.
A semi-hard Dutch cheese, gouda has a smooth texture and a rich, unique flavor. Like provolone, gouda has less moisture and develops a stronger flavor as it matures.
Because of the smokiness of this type of cheese, it makes great additions to pizzas that feature pulled pork, barbecue chicken, and other barbecued meats. Moreover, the buttery flavor in gouda enables it to pair well with thin-crust pizzas or flatbread.
Gruyere is a Swiss cheese that is made from whole cow’s milk. Despite being classified as a hard cheese, gruyere melts very well. It also has a mild, savory flavor which makes it a great addition to traditional pizzas.
Once you eat gruyere, you’ll taste a sweet flavor in the beginning, but you’ll end up with an earthy and nutty taste. This type of cheese goes well with either red or white pizza sauces.
Another type of cheese that made it to our list is ricotta cheese. Ricotta is a soft Italian cheese that’s made from the whey leftover from buffalo’s milk, goat’s milk, or cow’s milk.
This type of cheese offers a sweet flavor with a creamy and rich texture. Due to its creamy consistency, it is often used as a base cheese for white-sauce pizzas, including Pizza Bianca.
Ricotta can also be combined with other types of pizza cheese, such as fontina, mozzarella, gorgonzola, or gruyere. Aside from adding it to pizzas, ricotta cheese can also be a great addition to pasta dishes and cannolis.
11. Goat Cheese
If you’re looking to add a unique dimension to your classic pizza, opting to add goat cheese is a great idea. Goat cheese is known for its tart flavor and creamy texture that will surely linger on your palate.
This type of cheese keeps your pizza interesting and exciting. Pair it with mild veggies and aromatic herbs, and you are sure to have the tangiest and most refreshing pizza. It also blends well with roast peppers and onions.
To use, add a few slices (in discs) to your pizza before putting it into the oven, and you’ll have an irresistibly delicious and creamy dish!
An Italian cheese that is made from sheep’s milk in Tuscany, the Pecorino-Romano does not highly differ from Parmigiano-Reggiano when it comes to origin, name, and flavor. This hard cheese is aged for 8 to 12 months, resulting in a strong, nutty, slightly spicy flavor. Salt crystals in the cheese create a unique texture.
However, a Pecorino-Romano that is made in the USA is simply called Romano due to it having different characteristics. Usually, romano is made using cow’s milk, and it is left to mature for a shorter period of time compared to an authentic Pecorino-Romano, resulting in a milder flavor.
If you are able to get your hands on an authentic Pecorino-Romano, make sure to use it properly by grating it in large shards and adding it to your pizza after it has finished baking.
13. Parmesan Cheese
While parmesan cheese is different from Parmigiano-Reggiano, it still makes a great addition to pizzas. This type of cheese is hard and dry in texture, and it offers a sharp, rich taste.
Parmesan cheese makes great additions to vegetarian pizzas, such as those with eggplant, caramelized onion, and capsicum, as it helps balance out the sweetness and saltiness.
Parmesan cheese can either be grated or shredded on freshly baked pizza. The residual heat from it allows the cheese to melt slightly. Do not add it before putting the pizza in the oven, as it will only ruin its flavor.
Bonus: Vegan or Lactose-free Cheese
The types of cheese mentioned above make great additions to pizza, but what can you do if you are lactose intolerant or have other dietary requirements?
The good news is you can still make pizza with vegan and lactose-free cheese! You can find these products in grocery stores that sell other vegan options.
How to Choose the Best Kind of Cheese for Your Pizza
The best type of cheese for your pizza is a cheese that melts into a thin layer and browns evenly. You can tell if a cheese is suitable by considering its moisture content, fat content, and stretchiness.
- Moisture content – this determines how evenly the cheese browns under high heat. The more moisture in the cheese, the more evenly it will brown.
- Fat content – this determines how evenly the cheese melts. The more milkfat the cheese has, the more likely it will melt without leaving lumps.
- Stretchiness – it should display visible strands when the pizza slice is pulled apart. The fat content plays a huge role in the stretchiness and melting ability of the cheese.
Which Type of Cheese is Your Favorite?
Whether you prefer mild flavors, strong flavors, or tougher textures, all the types of cheese mentioned above have something unique to offer.
If you’re unsure which cheese suits you best, try out different cheese types that are available in your local market!