Pizza: Cheddar Cheese Vs. Mozzarella Cheese

Pizza is one of the most beloved foods across the world. The perfect pizza requires the right crust, sauce, and toppings. But one of the most important elements is the cheese.

Pizza Cheddar Cheese Vs. Mozzarella Cheese

The two most popular pizza cheeses are cheddar and mozzarella. But which one makes the better pizza topping?

Mozzarella is the more traditional choice, with its origins tied to Italian pizza. But cheddar brings a sharper, more complex flavor.

How to Choose the Best Pizza Cheese

Choosing the right cheese is key to pizza success. Here are the main factors to consider:


A good pizza cheese needs to melt smoothly without turning oily or lumpy. Mozzarella excels here, melting into perfect gooey goodness. Cheddar can become greasy or separate when baked. Blending cheddar with mozzarella improves meltability.


The best pizza cheeses stretch into delicious strands when you take a bite. Fresh mozzarella and young provolone have great stretchiness. Cheddar has less elasticity and doesn’t develop strands as well.


Mozzarella has a mild, milky taste that complements other flavors. Cheddar is sharper and more pungent. Aged cheddar is even stronger. The flavor intensity you prefer will help determine the best cheese.


A good pizza cheese will turn lightly golden brown without burning. Mozzarella browns nicely. Cheddar can scorch if overheated. Blending the two allows better browning.

With criteria in mind, let’s compare cheddar and mozzarella for the ideal pizza.

Mozzarella Cheese for Pizza

Mozzarella is the number one choice for pizza for good reason. Here’s what makes it perfect:

Ideal Melt and Stretch

Mozzarella melts smoothly into perfect coverage over your pizza crust without puddling up or becoming greasy. And fresh mozzarella and provolone especially develop amazing gooey cheese strands when stretched.

Complementary Flavor

The mild milky taste pairs with the acidity of tomato sauce and lets other flavors come through. It doesn’t overpower toppings like spicy sausage or vegetables. The flavor stays nicely balanced.

Great Browning

When baked, mozzarella forms that ideal light brown covering over the pizza. It doesn’t scorch easily like aged cheeses that become dried out. The maillard reaction brings out more flavor.

Mozzarella’s meltability, stretch, mildness, and lovely browning make it a pizza maker’s dream. Let’s see how cheddar compares.

Cheddar Cheese for Pizza

Cheddar may not seem like an obvious choice over mozzarella, but it can lend great flavor. Here are cheddar’s pros and cons for pizza:

Sharper Flavor

While mozzarella is mild, cheddar packs a strong, tangy punch. The flavor intensity increases with age. This makes it a bold addition that stands up to spicy or sweet toppings.

Less Melt and Stretch

Being lower in moisture, cheddar doesn’t melt as smoothly or stretch as easily as mozzarella. The proteins tighten rather than extending into satisfying strands when pulled.

More Likely to Burn

Aged cheddar has less moisture so it tends to scorch or separate when exposed to high, sustained oven temperatures. Blending with mozzarella prevents this.

While cheddar isn’t quite pizza perfection like mozzarella, it can add nice sharpness and color contrast to cheese blends. Combining the two brings out their best qualities.

Blending Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese for Pizza

Given their different strengths, blending mozzarella and cheddar makes an ideal pizza cheese mix. Here’s how they balance each other out:

Moisture and Melt

The high moisture content of fresh mozzarella or provolone allows cheddar to melt more smoothly without clumping or leaking oil. Bringing out more gooey goodness.

Flavor Contrast

Sharp cheddar pairs beautifully with milky mozzarella to create flavor depth. Depending on preference, the blend can tilt more mild or extra sharp.

Better Browning

Mozzarella helps aged cheddar heat gently so it doesn’t burn or separate. Achieving that beautifully browned melted cheese coverage across the pizza crust.

Key Takeaway: Blending cheddar and mozzarella allows you to balance melt, stretch, and flavor for pizza perfection.

Making Pizza with Cheddar, Mozzarella, and Blends

Now that you know the merits of each cheese for pizza, let’s look at how best to use them:

Solo Mozzarella

For traditional Neapolitan pizza, you can’t beat fresh mozzarella as your cheese. Torn into pieces instead of shredded, its creamy milkiness shines atop red sauce and basil. Bliss.

With standard mozzarella, opt for low moisture shredded over fresh. The lower moisture helps it brown instead of making dough soggy. But avoid preshredded which has additives hampering melt.

Key Takeaway: For the classic pizza experience, mozzarella can’t be beat on its own.

Solo Cheddar

We don’t recommend cheddar as the only cheese since it doesn’t melt smoothly or stretch. But if you love its sharpness, use young cheddar and shred yourself instead of preshredded.

Blend in a little mozzarella to improve melt. And combine cheddar with meats like pepperoni or sweeter toppings like pineapple that can stand up to its boldness.

Blending Cheddar and Mozzarella

For the best of both worlds, blend cheddar with mozzarella in equal amounts or less cheddar depending on your sharpness preference. Shredding a block yourself, instead of preshredded, yields better melt.

The blend works with any toppings but is especially nice with rich meats like sausage, spice like hot peppers, or smoky flavors bringing out cheddar’s complexity. The options are endless for distinctive flavor.

Other Cheeses to Consider

While cheddar and mozzarella are most common, other melty, tasty cheeses like provolone, fontina, or gouda also make great additions to pizza. They bring unique flavors to the blend.

And sprinkle hard grated cheeses like parmesan or Romano on top after baking instead of mixing them in. Their flavors intensify without burning this way.


Is fresh mozzarella better than regular for pizza?

Fresh mozzarella has a softer texture and mildest taste but higher moisture content. Low moisture mozzarella has a firmer bite and tangier flavor but melts fast with great browning. Fresh brings more creaminess if drained well and torn in pieces rather than shredding.

Should I shred my own cheese instead of buying preshredded?

Yes! Preshredded cheese contains cellulose to keep shreds separated so they melt poorly. Shredding mozzarella or cheddar yourself without additives allows beautifully smooth melt so it’s worth the effort.

Is cheddar too strong tasting for pizza?

Cheddar can be overpowering alone but blends nicely to add sharp contrast without dominating. Mix with milder mozzarella at a 1:3 cheddar to mozzarella ratio as a guideline depending on preference. The blend prevents cheddar from scorching too.

What other cheeses pair well with mozzarella on pizza?

In addition to cheddar for flavor contrast, other delicious pizza cheeses to blend with mozzarella include: provolone for buttery taste, fontina for nutty essence, parmesan for salty depth, gouda for caramel sweetness. Explore to create your own signature pizza!


While mozzarella stands supreme when judging traditional pizza perfection, cheddar can make for an appealing flavor change of pace.

Blending the two cheeses balances moist melt and pleasing stretch with sharper bite. And playing with other melty cheese mixes creates even more possibilities.

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!