For any cheese lover, two of the most popular cheeses to use in cooking are quickmelt cheese and mozzarella cheese. Both cheeses melt really well, but they produce very different results.
So what's the difference between these two popular melting cheeses? And which one is better for getting that perfect cheese pull when eating pizza or baked pasta?
Quickmelt Cheese Stays Shelf Stable While Mozzarella Needs Refrigerating
One of the handiest traits of quickmelt cheese is that it's shelf-stable. This means that an unopened package can sit in your pantry without refrigeration for months, as long as it's within the expiration date printed on the package.
Once opened, it's best to either use up quickmelt cheese right away to prevent mold growth and pests, or store it wrapped up properly in the fridge.
Mozzarella cheese, on the other hand, is a fresh cheese that always needs refrigeration. There are two main kinds of mozzarella:
- Fresh mozzarella, which is soft and white like cottage cheese. It has a very short shelf life like ricotta or cottage cheese.
- Low-moisture or processed mozzarella, which has had most of the moisture removed so it lasts longer. However, it still requires refrigeration to maintain quality.
Key Takeaway: Quickmelt cheese can sit in the pantry for months before opening, while mozzarella always needs refrigeration.
Quickmelt Cheese Is Salty While Mozzarella Has A Mild Taste
One of the reasons quickmelt cheese is so addictive in foods like pasta dishes is its flavor. Unlike mild-tasting mozzarella, quickmelt cheese delivers a creamy taste with a salty cheddar-like flavor.
The major difference between quickmelt and regular processed cheddar is that quickmelt has a softer texture that melts faster when heated.
Mozzarella, whether fresh or processed, has a very mild milky taste and light salty tang. When melted, it tends to take on the flavors of other ingredients without overpowering them.
So for adding an extra salty cheesy punch, quickmelt is the winner. But if you want a milder cheese that highlights other flavors, go for mozzarella.
Melted Quickmelt Cheese Is Creamy While Mozzarella Is Stringy
One of the biggest differences between these two popular melting cheeses is the texture after they've melted:
- Quickmelt cheese becomes smooth, creamy and spreadable when melted. It transforms into a cheese sauce or dip consistency.
- Mozzarella becomes stretchy and stringy when melted, especially when browned. The stretchy parts even get crispy and browned.
That stringy melted mozzarella is what makes pizza and baked pasta dishes like lasagna so satisfying to eat. The ooey, gooey strings are irresistible!
Quickmelt Is Better For Making Smooth Cheese Sauces
Because of its creamy melted texture, quickmelt cheese makes an excellent base for smooth cheese sauces and dips.
It can be combined with milk or cream to create a basic creamy cheese sauce for pouring over steamed veggies, baked potatoes, pasta, etc.
You can also jazz it up by adding spices and herbs, or blending it with mustard or other condiments for flavor. The soft, creamy melted quality makes it blend easily into smooth sauces.
On the other hand, melted mozzarella has a stringy or stretchy texture that doesn't make the best smooth sauce. It can become gloppy and separated when added to liquids.
So for velvety cheese sauces, quickmelt is the winner over mozzarella.
Mozzarella Is Better For Pizza And Baked Dishes
When it comes to pizza, mozzarella cheese reigns supreme. The stringy, stretchy melted mozzarella is what makes freshly baked pizza irresistible.
Mozzarella is also the top choice for Goop baked dishes like lasagna, ziti al forno, eggplant parmesan, and more. As the cheese melts in the hot oven, it forms delicious strings and crispy browned spots.
While quickmelt cheese can be used on pizzas and baked pasta, it won't give you the satisfying stretchy cheese experience. It simply melts into creamy pools rather than stringy deliciousness.
So for the authentic cheese pull, mozzarella is always the best bet. Quickmelt is better reserved for cheese sauces.
Quickmelt Is Ideal For Grilled Cheese And Cheeseburgers
While mozzarella may be the pizza cheese, quickmelt shines when it comes to classic grilled cheese sandwiches and cheeseburgers.
The creamy, smooth melted texture makes quickmelt perfect for achieving the ultimate oozing cheese experience in toasted sandwiches. Because it melts so easily, it thoroughly coats the insides of the sandwich for cheesy bliss in every bite.
The mild salty flavor also complements the cheeseburger beautifully. A few slices melt deliciously over hamburgers hot off the grill.
So for amazing grilled cheese and cheeseburgers, always opt for quickmelt over mozzarella.
Cheese Sauces Made With Quickmelt Don't Separate Easily
One advantage of using quickmelt rather than mozzarella for creamy cheese sauces is that quickmelt sauces don't separate or curdle easily.
The creamy smooth consistency when melted means that a quickmelt cheese sauce made with milk or cream stays emulsified and incorporated.
Mozzarella can sometimes become grainy and separated if too much liquid is added when melted. This makes it less ideal for pouring over dishes as a sauce.
So quickmelt is the winner for no-fail cheese sauces that say creamy no matter what.
Quickmelt Is Handy For Making Cheese Dips
In addition to sauces, quickmelt cheese is awesome for making homeade cheese dips for dipping veggies, chips, pretzels, and more.
Because it melts into such a smooth, velvety texture, it's easy to incorporate spices, herbs, chopped veggies, meats, or other mix-ins to create delicious homemade cheese dips.
Shredded mozzarella can also be used as the base of dips, but may become more gluey or grainy depending on what other ingredients are added.
So for party-perfect cheese dips, quickmelt is the best bet for a flawlessly creamy texture.
Mozzarella Is Better For Adding To Hot Dishes
One downside of quickmelt cheese compared to mozzarella is that it doesn't hold up as well when added to hot foods.
Mozzarella gets deliciously melted and stringy when added to a hot dish like pizza fresh from the oven or pasta just off the stove.
But quickmelt tends to become almost instantly melted into an oily pool if added directly to piping hot foods. It can't form those satisfying stretchy strings like mozzarella can.
So for topping hot cooked foods like pizza, pasta, soups, etc., mozzarella is the winner for its melt-resistant qualities.
Quickmelt Is Cheaper Than Mozzarella
Another perk of quickmelt cheese is that it's significantly cheaper than most types of mozzarella. Specialty fresh mozzarella can get quite pricey.
Even block mozzarella is usually more expensive pound for pound than a brick of quickmelt cheddar or cheese sauce blend.
So if you're trying to save money, quickmelt gives you that delicious gooey melted cheese experience on a budget.
Quickmelt Lasts Longer Unrefrigerated Than Mozzarella
One final advantage of quickmelt cheese is its longevity when stored properly. An unopened package can last months at room temperature without going bad.
Once opened, quickmelt will last weeks as long as it's tightly wrapped to prevent drying out.
On the other hand, mozzarella cheese has a much shorter shelf life. Fresh mozzarella only lasts about a week maximum, even when refrigerated. Processed mozzarella lasts a little longer, but still needs to be eaten within several weeks.
So in terms of convenience and reducing food waste, quickmelt is the winner for its impressive shelf life.
What's the difference between processed and fresh mozzarella?
Fresh mozzarella is a soft, moist cheese made from cow or buffalo milk. It has a short shelf life of about 1 week.
Processed mozzarella is made from fresh mozzarella that has had most of its moisture removed through pressing, salting, and aging to make it more shelf-stable. It lasts several weeks when refrigerated.
Is fresh mozzarella better than processed?
It depends on your preferences! Fresh mozzarella has a softer, fluffier texture and mild, milky taste. Processed mozzarella has a firmer texture and slightly tangier flavor. Both melt deliciously on pizza and in baked dishes.
What cheese has the creamiest melt?
Quickmelt cheese products like Velveeta have the creamiest, smoothest melt of any cheese. The texture is like liquid velvet when melted.
Other cheeses that melt into a creamy consistency include brie, camembert, fontina, Havarti, and younger cheddar.
Can you freeze quickmelt cheese?
Yes, quickmelt cheese freezes very well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using. The texture may become slightly grainier after freezing but the taste remains the same.
What's the best cheese for cheeseburgers?
Most people prefer a slice of classic American cheese or quickmelt cheddar cheese on their burgers. The soft, creamy melt pairs perfectly with juicy burgers hot off the grill.
What happens if you microwave quickmelt cheese?
Microwaving causes quickmelt cheese to become a hot, smooth, creamy liquid. This makes it perfect for topping dishes, making quick cheese sauces, or mixing into dips. Take care removing the hot melted cheese from the microwave.
My recommendation is to keep both quickmelt and mozzarella in your fridge.
Use mozzarella when you want that stringy cheese pull, and quickmelt when you need a smooth, creamy cheese sauce or dip.