Provolone vs Mozzarella: What Is the Difference? (Explained)

There are many famous Italian kinds of cheese, and two of them are provolone and Mozzarella. These two types of Italian cheese are both produced using the same process, called pasta filata.

Both of these cheese can also be produced from both cow’s and buffalo’s milk, and that makes many people think they’re the same. Some recipes even directly use those two interchangeably. But provolone and mozzarella are definitely not the same thing.

So what is the difference between provolone and mozzarella? The most significant difference between provolone and mozzarella is that provolone is an aged kind of cheese, while mozzarella is not. And that gives provolone a stronger and richer flavor.

But this was just to put it very, very simply, and there are more differences between provolone and mozzarella. What are they, do you wonder? That’s precisely what we’re about to uncover in this article, so let’s get into it!

Provolone vs Mozzarella

What is the difference between provolone and mozzarella cheese?

Mozzarella is a soft, Italian kind of cheese made mainly out of buffalo’s milk (even though lately it is more and more common to see cow’s milk mozzarella). Sometimes, it ages for two or even four weeks; most often, it can be seen served fresh, though.

Provolone comes from Italy, too, but unlike mozzarella, it is a semi-hard kind of cheese. That is mainly due to its aging time – provolone has to age for a minimum of four months, but this time often gets as long as three years.

Provolone vs. mozzarella taste

This significant gap in their aging time makes provolone harder and gives it a stronger, more complex taste with nutty undertones, which are common to aged cheese. 

This is especially true for the strongest provolone, provolone piccante, which has an extremely sharp taste. However, there are lighter types of provolone like provolone dolce as well. 

That kind of provolone has a very mild taste, which makes it closer to mozzarella than provolone piccante. That’s because mozzarella’s flavor is really mild and fresh. Many people also tend to describe it as milky.

Provolone vs. mozzarella melting

Mozzarella is a soft kind of cheese that is well-known for its extremely good melting abilities. On the other hand, Provolone is a semi-hard type of cheese, which makes melting it a bit tougher challenge.


With that being said, though, we must point out that provolone still melts better than most semi-hard and hard kinds of cheese.

Provolone vs. mozzarella fat

The fat content is arguably one of the most crucial properties of cheese for many. So how is it with provolone and mozzarella regarding fat content? First, neither provolone nor mozzarella contains a ton of fat.

To be specific, provolone’s fat content varies from somewhere between twenty-five to thirty-five percent. And mozzarella usually doesn’t even cross the border of twenty percent by a lot.

Provolone vs. mozzarella price

Both provolone and mozzarella can be generally considered cheaper kinds of cheese – you’re simply not going to spend a fortune on either of them. However, mozzarella is still a bit cheaper than provolone.

Provolone vs. mozzarella uses

Since mozzarella is fresh, many people love to eat it in their salads. Nevertheless, because it melts, mozzarella is most commonly used to make dishes like pizza and lasagna. 

And provolone can indeed be used in the same matter as well. However, due to the richer taste and fancy packing of provolone, many people love to use it is as a table cheese.

Provolone vs. mozzarella nutrition

And how is provolone’s and mozzarella’s nutrition values? Let’s compare them using this simple table:

ProvoloneMozarella
Calories351300
Total fat27g22g
Carbohydrates2.1g2.2g
Protein26g22g
Cholesterol69mg79mg
Sodium876mg627mg

Which is better mozzarella, or provolone?

Saying whether is better mozzarella or provolone isn’t possible. Why? Well, because it depends just and only on your tastebuds and other preferences.

To help you choose, however, it can be said that mozzarella will suit better for those who seek fresh and milky taste in their cheese. On the contrary, if you’re more about that intense cheesiness and aged nuttiness, the better choice will undoubtedly be provolone.

Can you use provolone instead of mozzarella and vice versa?

Yes, you can use provolone instead of mozzarella and vice versa. But even though it’s possible, it isn’t recommended because provolone has a stronger, cheesy flavor than the milky and mild one of mozzarella.

Therefore, the final meal will probably taste a bit different than intended. However, if you’re prepared for that, you don’t need to worry about substituting mozzarella for provolone and the other way around.

What’s healthier, provolone or mozzarella?

As you may know, mozzarella is overall considered to be one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, kinds of cheese out there. 

So even though it can’t be said that provolone is super unhealthy, mozzarella is surely healthier. Mozzarella has a lower fat and sodium content than provolone and also contains fewer calories.

Can you mix provolone and mozzarella?

Yes, you can mix provolone and mozzarella! Believe it or not, it is even a common practice. By mixing provolone and mozzarella, you get fantastic results.

That’s because this mixture has both awesome cheesiness, thanks to provolone’s more robust flavor and excellent melting abilities, due to mozzarella’s softness. Mozzarella’s softer taste also helps the provolone to blend in with the other flavors better.

Often asked questions

Provolone or mozzarella on pizza?

When making pizza, the number one cheese to use is surely mozzarella. However, provolone can be used as well, so the choice is just on your tastebuds. 

However, if you’re simply not able to choose, it is also plausible to make pizza from a combination of provolone and mozzarella. This combo offers both intense flavors and stretch and is, therefore, even used by many pizzerias.

Provolone or mozzarella on meatball sub?

There are many kinds of cheese to choose from while topping your meatball sub – you can go with cheddar, parmesan, or swiss cheese.

But these aren’t the most popular choices; that’s because the two primarily used types of cheese for making meatball sub are indeed provolone and mozzarella. Which one is better, though?

This depends only on you and your preferences since an excellent meatball sub will simply make both of them.

Provolone or mozzarella on Philly cheesesteak?

Nowadays, the term cheesesteak refers to many different kinds of sandwiches in a long roll, and each of them contains different ingredients. Therefore, it is plausible to come across a “cheesesteak” with mozzarella.

But initially, cheesesteak (or more specifically Philly cheesesteak) referred to a specific sandwich made according to a strict recipe. And the cheese used in this original Philly cheesesteak recipe can be just and only provolone.

Provolone or mozzarella on chicken parm?

Chicken parm (short for chicken parmesan) is a well-known dish in the USA. And as the name suggests, it is made mainly out of chicken and parmesan. But even though the name, the second part is a bit tricky, because parmesan isn’t the only cheese used to make this meal.

There are two other kinds of cheese commonly used to make chicken parm – yeah, we’re talking exactly about provolone and mozzarella. Therefore, it is plausible to use either of those two.

But if you want to be fancy, we highly recommend you to use a mixture of all parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella; believe us, it is simply the best!

Provolone or mozzarella for lasagna?

The most used kind of cheese for making lasagna is definitely mozzarella. Therefore, it seems wiser to use mozzarella than provolone for your lasagna. 

However, some people love provolone lasagna; it simply depends on your taste. But if you’re indecisive, we can once again recommend you mix these two since the final product will then be awesome!

Summary

Provolone and mozzarella are two famous Italian kinds of cheese produced in an extremely similar way, making them somehow similar. But, nevertheless, they are not the same cheese. 

That’s mainly due to the fact that while mozzarella usually doesn’t age at all, provolone ages for even as long as three years!

That gives provolone a harder texture, and it also makes it taste stronger and more nutty-like than mozzarella does. This is especially true for the strongest, longest aged kinds of provolone like provolone piccante.

However, the less aged kinds of provolone like provolone dolce have a milder taste that resembles the one of mozzarella a bit more.

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Image credits – Canva

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