Types of Mozzarella Cheese

If the word "mozzarella" brings to mind only one type of cheese, then you haven't discovered all the different types of mozzarella in the cheese case. From fresh to smoked and from cow's milk to latte di bufala, there are many different types of mozzarella to enjoy.

Mozzarella is a stretched curd cheese that originates from Italy, although most mozzarella sold in the US is made domestically. The fresher the mozzarella, the better it tastes. If you can, try to buy from a local...MORE cheesemaker or learn how to make your own mozzarella at home.

  • 01 of 06

    Fresh Mozzarella

    Fresh Mozzarella Slices
    Ha Huynh / Getty Images

    Creamy, milky fresh mozzarella is mild-flavored but irresistible. Fresh mozzarella is sold in small plastic containers or bags filled with water or whey. Once opened, the mozzarella should be eaten within a few days - the sooner the better. 

    Fresh mozzarella is sold in several different shapes. Mozzarella balls are about the size of a small orange. Bocconcini are slightly smaller balls (about the size of an egg) and ciliegine are smaller still, about the size of a cherry.

  • 02 of 06

    Mass-Produced Mozzarella

    Mushroom and Kale Lasagna. Photo by Jennifer Meier

    Sold in a tight plastic wrapper without any liquid, processed mozzarella has a texture that is firmer and more rubbery than fresh mozzarella. The flavor is very mild and a little bit salty.

    Because it melts well without become watery (although it can be quite stringy) mass-produced mozzarella is primarily bought to be used as an ingredient for lasagna or pizza.

  • 03 of 06

    Mozzarella di Bufala

    Bufala Mozzarella with Bread
    Kathrin Ziegler / Getty Images

    Di bufala means water buffalo and it was the milk of this animal that was first used to make mozzarella. These days most mozzarella is made from cow's milk, but mozzarella di bufala is still sold. It can be slightly harder to find and is usually more expensive.

    Water buffalo milk is richer than cow's milk and you can taste it in this cheese. The flavor of mozzarella di bufala is a little bolder and a little sweeter with a slight grassiness.

  • 04 of 06

    Burrata

    burrata cheese
    Burrata. Photo by J. Meier
    Burrata looks like a regular ball of mozzarella until you slice into it and a decadent center filled with thick cream is revealed. Tiny shreds of thin mozzarella curd are also mixed in with the cream. The result is a super-creamy version of mozzarella that's fantastic simply spread onto bread with salt and olive oil.
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Smoked Mozzarella (affumicato)

    Smoked Mozzarella. Photo by J. Meier

    All types of mozzarella - fresh, mass-produced, bufala - can be smoked. When mozzarella is smoked, the cheese might be suspended directly over wood chips or placed in a container (or smoker) of some sort that smoke can waft through. The type of wood chips used varies (hickory, chestnut, alder, pecan, cherry and apple are most common).

    In most cases, the cheese is cold smoked, a gentle process in which the temperature doesn’t exceed 100°F.

    Smoked mozzarella has a brown, edible rind. The intensity...MORE of the smoky flavor varies with each brand.

  • 06 of 06

    Scamorza

    Tied Scamorza on Plate
    Image Source / Getty Images

    More like a cousin of mozzarella, scamorza is made in the same way as mozzarella but is a drier, firmer cheese. Scamorza is sold in the shape of a ball or pear in both plain and smoked varieties.

    Scamorza melts well and is less watery than fresh mozzarella.