Scamorza is a delicious Italian cheese that is often used on pizzas and in baked dishes where you want lovely, melted cheese. But what if you can't get your hands on some scamorza? Not to worry - there are several great substitutes for scamorza cheese that you can use instead.
Scamorza has a unique flavor and texture that's similar to mozzarella, but slightly drier and more aged. The cheese is shaped into a little pear or teardrop shape, which makes it easy to identify. The most common subs for scamorza provide that same stretchy melted quality and mild flavor.
The number one recommended swap for scamorza cheese is regular mozzarella. Since scamorza starts out its life as mozzarella curds before being stretched further and aged, the two cheeses have an extremely similar tender, elastic texture.
When fresh, mozzarella offers an almost identical clean, milky flavor. The difference is that scamorza tends to be a bit drier and saltier due to the extra aging. But for most applications, fresh mozzarella makes an seamless sub.
Standard mozzarella comes in several forms, so you can pick the one that best matches the texture you need:
- Fresh mozzarella - Very soft, moist and creamy. Best for serving raw in salads or caprese.
- Low moisture mozzarella - More aged than fresh, with a firmer, drier texture closer to scamorza. Melts beautifully.
- Pre-shredded mozzarella - Convenient for quickly topping baked dishes or pizza. Loose shreds don't melt quite as smoothly.
So if you want those satisfying gooey cheese pulls, mozzarella in any form can easily stand in for scamorza in melting applications.
Key Takeaway: With its similar production method, milky flavor and meltability, mozzarella makes the best replacement for scamorza cheese.
Provolone is another great Italian cheese that shines when melted. Aged for at least two months, provolone has a texture ranging from semi-soft to semi-hard, depending on variety.
Some key features:
- Distinctive nutty, buttery, tangy flavor
- Good melting properties
- Typically formed into large sausages or rounds
- Rind may be waxed or clothbound
For substituting scamorza, provolone works wonderfully when you want more of a browned, crusty melted cheese. The flavor comes across sharper and more pronounced compared to the subtle sweetness of scamorza.
There are a few varieties to choose from:
- Provolone Dolce: mild, creamy and buttery sweet flavor
- Provolone Piccante: aged longer, with a drier texture and spicy kick
- Smoked Provolone: Provole either cold or hot smoked, lending a lovely smoky aroma and flavor.
Depending on the type used, provolone can mimic scamorza's texture or flavor quite closely. Give it a delicious, melty try!
Other Italian Cheeses
Italy produces so many fabulous cheeses besides scamorza, many of which also work nicely as stand-ins:
Caciocavallo shares a very similar production method with scamorza, utilizing that iconic "strangling" of the cheese curd into a little knob shape. However it ends up drier and more pungent.
- Nutty, tangy flavor intensifies with age
- Semi-hard to hard texture
The aged flavor of caciocavallo gives it more bite than young scamorza. But when you want a bolder presence that still melts smoothly, it shines.
Taleggio has a semi-soft, creamy texture similar to scamorza bianca. This washed rind cheese from Lombardy offers a whole different flavor profile though, thanks to its funky, meaty aromas.
- Soft, spreadable texture when ripe
- Distinct earthy, mushroomy flavor
- Powerful smelly rind (which is edible)
Despite its stinky reputation, taleggio melts divinely into rich, gooey goodness. Embrace the funk and give this Italian beauty a try instead of scamorza!
American Cheese Options
Don't turn your nose up at good ole American cheese! Those supermarket slices may be considered blasphemous by cheese snobs, but they have some undeniable benefits:
- Incredibly melty, almost elastic when heated
- Mild, creamy flavor
- Consistent texture and performance
For a more natural, artisanal option, try California Jack cheese. It combines Monterey Jack with a touch of cream to produce outrageously stretchy melted properties.
The flavor won't have the sweetness of scamorza, but the texture when melted will leave you more than satisfied!
Key Takeaway: With their meltability playing a starring role, provolone and other Italian cheeses like taleggio and caciocavallo all serve as feasible substitutes for scamorza.
A key variety of scamorza cheese is the smoked version known as scamorza affumicata. This flavorful cheese is hung above smoldering straw for 10-15 minutes, absorbing a lovely smoky essence.
To replicate that campfire vibe in place of scamorza affumicata, turn to any cheese that's been cold smoked:
- Smoked mozzarella
- Smoked provolone
- Smoked gouda
- Smoked cheddar
Most major cheese varieties now come in smoked iterations. The smoking process imparts color ranging from golden to deep chestnut brown, along with the signature charry flavor.
If you've got a smoked cheese on hand, use it the same way you would scamorza affumicata. Let its rich, bacon-esque flavors shine through in melty baked pastas, panini, quesadillas and pizza.
You can even mix a bit of smoked cheese with regular mozz or provolone to closely mimic scamorza. Smoked just makes everything better!
Cooking with Scamorza Substitutes
Now that you know the best substitutes, let's talk about how to cook with them.
Since Italian cheeses like scamorza, mozzarella and provolone all excel when melted, they tend to shine the most in:
- Stuffed pastas e.g. ravioli, manicotti
- Lasagna or baked ziti
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Casserole bakes
Really anywhere that ooey, gooey melted cheese takes center stage, you can swap in provolone or mozzarella for scamorza. The milk proteins will flow together to satisfy all your cravings!
For raw preparations, fresh mozzarella makes the ideal stand-in for eating scamorza on its own, with cured meats, or as part of an antipasto spread.
You can also crumble provolone or other aged Italian cheeses over pasta or salads in place of scamorza. Let their bolder, sharper flavors shine through.
Key Takeaway: Due to their stellar melting properties, mozzarella, provolone and other Italian cheeses can substitute for scamorza in any baked dish or one that is melted.
Is smoked mozzarella similar to scamorza affumicata?
Yes! Since scamorza starts out life as mozzarella curd, smoked mozzarella makes an almost identical stand-in, offering both the flavor and texture of scamorza affumicata.
Can I use queso fresco instead of scamorza?
While fresh Mexican queso fresco crumbles nicely over dishes, it unfortunately doesn't melt well at all. So it won't work as scamorza substitute in baked goods. Enjoy it raw instead!
What's a good vegetarian sub for scamorza?
All Italian cheeses mentioned are already vegetarian! For non-Italian options, try halloumi or smoked gouda in melted dishes.
Is goat cheese a good swap for scamorza?
Tangy goat cheese won't mimic scamorza's flavor or stretchy texture, but its creaminess when warm makes it melt appealingly. Try soft goat cheese in place of scamorza in pesto baked pastas or veggie pizza. The herby flavor pairs nicely!
Can I use brick cheese instead of scamorza?
Brick cheese, most commonly used for Detroit-style pizza, unfortunately has a very different texture and flavor than Italian scamorza. But if you have it on hand, brick cheese will melt smoothly in baked dishes, offering a tasty browned layer of goodness.
What about fontina or asiago cheese as substitutes?
Both fontina and asiago work nicely as sub options for scamorza!
- Fontina offers a semi-soft, almost nutty sweetness when melted.
- Sharp asiago brings a lovely tangy bite, while still getting ooey-gooey.
Give them a go mixed together or solo in baked pastas and pizza. Their flavors meld beautifully!
While scamorza brings a uniquely wonderful flavor and texture to Italian dishes, you have plenty of tasty options when it comes to scamorza substitutes.
For an authentic replacement that mimics scamorza's mild milky essence and meltability, turn to fresh mozzarella or low moisture mozzarella.
To enjoy some wonderful melty flavors with more bite, swap in provolone, smoked mozzarella, smoked gouda or tallegio cheese.