Parmesan vs Mozzarella: 8 Differences You Need to Know Now

Are you in the mood for some home-cooked pasta? Or you’d better invest some time in making a cheese-rich pizza. There are dozens of recipes that require the presence of some authentic Italian cheese, like parmesan or mozzarella. There is a common misconception that these two cheese types can be used interchangeably.

Parmesan and Mozzarella are different on many levels. They have different tastes and textures and even come from various sources. If you are curious about their differences, keep reading for more insight.

Parmesan vs. Mozzarella
The main differences between Parmesan and Mozzarella are their source, pasteurization, taste, texture, color, production regions, storage duration, and ease of making. Both come from dairy milk, but parmesan is made from water buffalo milk, while mozzarella is made from cow’s or buffalo’s milk.

What is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan is classified as a hard cheese. It is always made of water buffalo milk. Making parmesan cheese requires using whole cream milk to improve the taste and richness. However, it can be made using skim milk. Authentic parmesan cheese is old and takes at least a year to be ready for consumption.

This gritty cheese tastes salty, but sometimes it can taste a bit bitter. It has a grainy but crumbly texture and a yellow color. Sometimes, the color can be bright, but there are some dark yellow parmesan varieties.

In Italy, authentic parmesan is produced in specific regions, including Parma, Bologna, and Reggio Emilia.

Parmesan cheese can maintain its freshness for about 24 months with proper storage. It contains nearly 2000 mg of calcium per 110 grams, making it an excellent calcium source.

Parmesan has a strong flavor and aroma that complement the dishes. It is a perfect option for red sauce pasta or chicken recipes.

What is Mozzarella Cheese?

Mozzarella is a soft type of Italian cheese. It is known for having a dense but springy texture. Mozzarella is highly valued for the stretchy effect it imparts on all dishes. 

Mozzarella is always white with a very mild flavor. There is no strong aroma associated with mozzarella. However, if you closely smell it, you will slightly notice the creamy aroma of dairy milk.

Making mozzarella is not difficult in theory, as it only requires adding rennet. However, the steps involved in turning the milk into the right paste are not easy for everyone.

Mozzarella is divided into two types: fresh and aged cheese. The fresh type is more common and has a white porcelain color, while the aged type is a bit yellowish with a more spicy taste and a smoother texture. 

What are the Differences between Parmesan and Mozzarella?

Mozzarella and Parmesan are different in many ways. They can’t substitute for each other due to their diverse tastes and textures.

The fact that they come from milk doesn’t make them the same type of cheese. Also, sharing the same country of origin won’t make them identical.

1. Source

Parmesan and mozzarella vary in the source they come from. Both are made of cattle milk. They do, however, come from different breeds of cattle.

Parmesan is made of cow’s milk, while mozzarella is primarily from water buffalo milk. Sometimes, you can find mozzarella made of cow’s milk, but this is not the original recipe.

2. Pasteurization

To make authentic parmesan cheese, you should not use pasteurized milk. On the other hand, mozzarella can be made with pasteurized and unpasteurized cattle dairy.

3. Taste

Mozzarella does not have a strong taste or aroma, unlike parmesan. Parmesan is used to enrich the taste of the dishes, while mozzarella adds a stretchy texture to the dishes.

4. Texture

Another defining point in this comparison is the texture of both types of cheese. Parmesan has a more complex and firmer texture.

Fresh Mozzarella, on the other hand, is softer. As mozzarella ages, it becomes even softer. Very aged mozzarella is sometimes harder to cut as it gets soft.

5. Color

The color can be a definitive sign in the parmesan vs. mozzarella comparison. Parmesan is always a yellow type of cheese. In most cases, it has moderate to deep yellow colors. However, sometimes it can have a bright yellow color.

Mozzarella, on the other hand, is mostly white. However, you can find some aged types of mozzarella that come in a very light yellow.

6. Production regions

In Italy, both types of cheese are produced in different regions. For instance, mozzarella is made in Abruzzo, Puglia, and Campania. Parmesan, on the other hand, is made in Parma and Reggio Emilia.

7. Storage duration

As an old type of cheese, parmesan can be stored for nearly 2 years. Mozzarella, on the other hand, is best consumed fresh. It is meant for only a short period of storage.

8. Ease of making

Making mozzarella is easier and less complicated than making parmesan. You can start consuming and selling fresh mozzarella immediately. You can only wait for a couple of hours till the dairy milk is fully curdled.

This is not the case with making parmesan; it takes around a year to be ready for consumption.

Parmesan vs Mozzarella: are they the same?

The most straightforward answer to this question is absolutely no. Parmesan and Mozzarella are different types of Italian cheese. They both come from Italy but from different parts.

For instance, mozzarella is made in Abruzzo and Campania, whereas parmesan cheese is made in Parma, Bologna, and Reggio Emilia.

Parmesan originally came from water buffalo milk, while mozzarella is made from cow’s or buffalo’s milk. It is not common for parmesan to be made of pasteurized milk, but mozzarella is never made of raw milk. Parmesan is more commonly found in yellow, while Mozzarella is more commonly found in white.

Mozzarella has a soft texture, while parmesan is always hard. Parmesan can be easily cut, but soft mozzarella can be tricky.

Mozzarella cheese is preferred to be consumed within a few days of its production, while parmesan can last within 24 months. 

Lastly, making mozzarella is relatively easy and does not take much time. Mozzarella is usually eaten fresh, whereas parmesan is usually eaten aged.

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