Burrata Cheese Vs. Ricotta

Burrata and ricotta are two iconic Italian cheeses, each with their own unique characteristics.

Burrata Cheese Vs. Ricotta

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream, with a soft, creamy texture and rich, buttery flavor.

Ricotta is a fresh cheese made from the whey leftover from cheesemaking, with a grainy texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor.

While they share an Italian heritage, burrata and ricotta have key differences when it comes to ingredients, production method, texture, taste, uses in cooking, nutrition, and pricing.

How Burrata and Ricotta Are Made

Burrata and ricotta cheeses start out differently right from the beginning.

Burrata Production

The production of burrata resembles the early stages of mozzarella making. First, rennet is added to milk to form curds, which are then stretched and molded into a pouch shape. Next, some of the leftover curds are mixed with cream to make stracciatella. Finally, the stracciatella filling is stuffed inside the mozzarella pouch before sealing to create the distinctive burrata shape.

Ricotta Production

Ricotta starts not with milk, but with whey, the liquid byproduct drained off during cheesemaking. An acid like vinegar or lemon juice is mixed into the whey, which causes the remaining milk proteins to coagulate into soft curds. These curds are then collected by draining the mixture through a cheesecloth, resulting in the fresh white cheese we know as ricotta.

So while burrata relies on the same ingredients as mozzarella, ricotta repurposes what would otherwise go to waste during other cheeses’ production.

Key Takeaway: Burrata is made by stuffing a mozzarella shell with stracciatella curds soaked in cream. Ricotta is produced by heating and curdling whey.

Key Differences Between Burrata and Ricotta

Burrata and ricotta may look similar, but they vary considerably in terms of texture, taste, uses, nutrition, and beyond.

Texture and Consistency

The most noticeable difference between the two cheeses is their contrasting textures.

Burrata has a smooth, elastic exterior encasing an indulgently creamy interior that oozes out when cut. Ricotta is fluffy with a grainy consistency similar to cottage cheese curds. It easily crumbles without an exterior rind to hold it together.

So burrata delivers an exciting contrast of textures with its solid shell and liquid center, while ricotta is uniformly grainy and soft throughout.

Flavor Profile

The flavor profiles of burrata and ricotta also diverge:

  • Burrata is rich, buttery, and mildly sweet with hints of tanginess from the cheese cultures. The cream filling makes it especially decadent.
  • Ricotta has a simple flavor described as milky, delicate, and faintly sweet, with a subtle sourness.

So while burrata revels in its full fat content, ricotta takes a more subdued approach flavor-wise.

Culinary Uses

Burrata and ricotta differ significantly in terms of their best culinary uses due to contrasts in texture and taste.

  • The delicate nature of burrata’s interior makes it perfect for showcase presentations in apps and salads to highlight its beauty when cut open. Its richness can also balance acidity nicely in dishes.
  • Ricotta works best as a subtle background ingredient providing creaminess to baked dishes like lasagna, cheesecake, or even pancakes and waffles. Its mild flavor lets other ingredients shine.

Nutritional Content

Despite some similarities, burrata and ricotta nutrition differs in a few key areas:

Nutrition FactsBurrata (per 100g)Ricotta (per 100g)
Calories290 kcal174 kcal
Fat27 g10 g
Carbs2.7 g3.89 g
Protein14 g8.9 g
Calcium195 mg210 mg

Burrata contains significantly more fat and calories than ricotta. However, it also offers more protein and less lactose, meaning it may be easier to digest for those sensitive to dairy sugars.

Cost Difference Between Burrata and Ricotta

There is a noticeable price difference between these two Italian cheeses as well. Burrata is considered an artisanal specialty cheese due to the labor involved in its unique production process. So it commands a higher price tag, especially for the buffalo milk varieties.

Ricotta is easier to make in large batches, requiring less specialized equipment and skill. So it remains one of the most affordable fresh cheese options. When choosing between the two, cost may be a deciding factor for some consumers.


Is burrata just mozzarella and ricotta mixed together?

No, despite some similarities, burrata is distinct from both mozzarella and ricotta. Its key difference lies in the stracciatella curd and cream filling inside a mozzarella shell.

Can you substitute ricotta for burrata?

In some recipes, ricotta can mimic burrata's creamy texture, but it won't recreate the distinctive contrast between the firm shell and oozing center. Flavor and nutrition profiles also differ between the two.

What is the best cheese to use as a burrata substitute?

Fresh mozzarella offers the closest match when burrata is not available. Other decent substitutes include stracciatella, mascarpone, or even whipped feta or ricotta for a similar creamy consistency.


Burrata and ricotta offer two uniquely Italian takes on fresh cheese.

Burrata celebrates the rich appeal of mozzarella and cream blended together, with a misleadingly plain exterior enveloping an opulent interior.

Ricotta takes the humble remains of cheese production and transforms them into something delicately sweet and subtly tangy.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!