Parmesan vs Mozzarella Cheese: What Is the Difference?

Can you imagine your life without cheese? Can you imagine that you will never again be able to take a slice of pizza and move it upwards and upwards, stretching the melted cheese while doing so?

No? Us neither, but that’s thankfully not important. Why? Well, because cheese is going to be here with us forever, hooray!

Yeah, you indeed don’t have to worry about the apocalyptic vision from the beginning of this article coming true; it’s simply not going to happen. And that means that right now, you can just jump into your car and take a ride for some cheese.

So now you’re standing in the supermarket and deciding what kind of cheese you should buy. After a while, you have narrowed your selection to parmesan and mozzarella, but to decide which one of them you want just isn’t possible.

Why? Well, maybe you’re simply indecisive, but it’s also possible that you’re not entirely sure about what makes those two kinds of cheese different. And that’s nothing to be ashamed about; believe us, many people have the same problem.

So what is the difference between parmesan and mozzarella? The most crucial difference between parmesan and mozzarella is that while mozzarella ages for four weeks at maximum, parmesan’s aging time may get even as long as three years. That gives parmesan a harder texture and a stronger flavor.

But, as you’ve probably guessed, this is hardly everything there is to be said about the differences between parmesan and mozzarella. So what are the other differences? Let’s find out!

Parmesan vs Mozzarella CheesePin

What is the difference between parmesan and mozzarella cheese?

Mozzarella is soft, Italian cheese made by the pasta filata method, usually out of buffalo’s milk, even though it’s more and more common to see mozzarella made out of cow’s milk nowadays. 

Most often, mozzarella is served fresh, but it is sometimes laid to age for anywhere between two and four weeks.

Parmesan is an Italian kind of cheese as well, but unlike mozzarella, it is hard and granular cheese. It is also made strictly out of cow’s milk and has to age for at least a year.

Parmesan vs. mozzarella taste

That difference in aging time is what makes Parmesan so hard, and it is also what gives it its signature flavor. As a result, Parmesan has a strong, heavily cheesy taste that can be called fruity or nutty.

On the other hand, Mozzarella is fresh and moist cheese that has a mild flavor the vast majority of people describe as milky.

Parmesan vs. mozzarella melting

Because of the Parmesan’s hardness, it is nearly impossible to melt it completely. Therefore, Parmesan usually isn’t used directly in cooking, but rather as a topping on dishes like spaghetti.

Melting mozzarella couldn’t be more different, though – the fact mozzarella is so, so soft makes it easy to melt. Arguably, it can even be called the best melting kind of cheese out there.

Parmesan vs. mozzarella fat content

Another thing many people pay close attention to when comparing two different kinds of cheese is their fat content. So how is it with parmesan and mozzarella regarding this matter?

Well, both of these kinds of cheese have relatively high-fat content – parmesan contains something around 30 % of fat and mozzarella a little bit more than 20 %.

Parmesan vs. mozzarella price

Besides the actual properties of those two kinds of cheese, it is also essential to keep an eye on their price. In this matter, mozzarella wins by a lot – this fresh cheese is one of the cheapest kinds of cheese in general, parmesan is quite the contrary. 

Parmesan vs. mozzarella uses

Because of the very different ways parmesan and mozzarella act while being heated (mozzarella melts quickly and easily, but parmesan doesn’t melt at all), their culinary uses differ a lot.

Mozzarella is often used while making dishes like pizza or lasagna, where we want the cheese to be entirely melted. Parmesan, on the other hand, is most often used as a topping on meals like spaghetti.

Parmesan vs. mozzarella nutrition

Let’s take a look at the nutritional values of those two kinds of cheese now, shall we? To make it easy, we have prepared a table directly comparing them:

Total fat29g22g

Which is better, mozzarella or parmesan cheese?

It is hard to say whether is better mozzarella or parmesan cheese, or, to be more specific, it simply isn’t possible.

That’s mainly because all of this depends on you and your own preferences. Also, mozzarella and parmesan are two different kinds of cheese used in very different situations. But we’re about to get into that soon.

Can you use parmesan instead of mozzarella and vice versa?

No, you definitely cannot use parmesan instead of mozzarella and vice versa! The reason for that is the entirely different way they melt – parmesan is a hard kind of cheese that is nearly impossible to melt, while mozzarella, a soft type of cheese, melts quickly.

Therefore, if you were to use one instead of another in your recipe, you would end up with significantly different results than intended.

Is parmesan cheese healthier than mozzarella?

No, parmesan is not healthier than mozzarella, but the difference between them regarding this matter isn’t that crucial.

Both mozzarella and parmesan are simply considered one of the healthiest kinds of cheese. However, even though the former can be called healthier, it doesn’t mean parmesan is drastically less healthy.

Can you mix parmesan and mozzarella?

Because of the very different ways, they react to heat, mixing parmesan and mozzarella may be tricky. It may be a solid choice in some cases, for example, for making cheese sauces, but in others, the result is probably going to be pretty messy.

Does pizza use parmesan or mozzarella?

There are tons of kinds of cheese that can be used to make pizza, and mozzarella is the most used one; some people say nearly half of the pizza made around the globe uses mozzarella. The way it melts simply means it’s just like made for this kind of recipe!

On the other hand, Melting parmesan is an arduous task, so it isn’t that common to see it on pizza. With that being said, though, it still is one of the four most popular kinds of cheese used for pizza.

Often asked questions

Parmesan or mozzarella for pasta?

Puting grated cheese up on your favorite pasta is a common practice throughout the world – and since this tradition comes from Italy, where, because of its hardness, they use parmesan for this, most of the world do the same.

There are some places where it may be more common to grate some emental (for example, Belgium), though, and in Japan, they even actually use grated mozzarella. But in general, it can be said parmesan is better for pasta.

Parmesan or mozzarella for pasta Alfredo?

And that is even more true when we’re talking specifically about the extremely popular dish pasta alfredo. Unfortunately, using mozzarella for pasta alfredo just isn’t possible – this recipe simply calls for parmesan, and replacing it isn’t an option.

Parmesan or mozzarella for a salad?

When we’re talking about choosing either parmesan or mozzarella for salad, it is a tricky choice – that’s because it’s highly plausible to use both of them, even in the same recipe. 

That’s because the best use for mozzarella in salads is simply putting it into the salad and mixing it with all of your vegetables, while parmesan is just made to be grated and used as a topping.

Parmesan or mozzarella in lasagna?

Mozzarella is definitely the number one cheese for making lasagna, and that’s because of its extraordinary melting abilities. With that being said, however, it is pretty common to use a mixture of more kinds of cheese to make lasagna – and this mixture is very often made precisely out of mozzarella and parmesan.


Even though parmesan and mozzarella are both two very popular Italian kinds of cheese, they couldn’t be more different. Mozzarella is a soft, fresh cheese with a mild flavor that can be called milky.

On the other hand, Parmesan is a very hard kind of cheese that has a really rich taste. Many people call this taste fruity and nutty.

These fundamental differences mean culinary uses of those two kinds of cheese differ a lot – while mozzarella is primarily used melted in dishes like pizza or lasagna, parmesan can be most often seen grated as a topping.



Image credits – Canva

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