Fresh mozzarella and burrata are two types of semi-soft Italian cheese. They're both super creamy and utterly delicious. With just a quick glance, these two types of cheese look similar — can you tell which is which? And do you know what sets them apart?
The Difference Between Mozzarella and Burrata
Fresh mozzarella cheese is a semi-soft Italian cheese made from cow or water buffalo milk.
Burrata cheese takes the mozzarella one step further — it's mozzarella that's formed into a pouch and then filled with soft, stringy curd and cream.
More About Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh mozzarella is a type of pulled curd or pasta filata cheese which originated in Southern Italy. It can be made with cow's milk, which is more common and easier to find, or water buffalo's milk (mozzarella di bufala), which can be more expensive and tougher to find.
Fresh mozzarella has a delicate, milky flavor and an elastic texture. It's a fresh, semi-soft cheese. Unlike many varieties of cheese, it isn't aged and is instead eaten immediately after being made.
Fresh mozzarella cheese is widely available at grocery stores and can easily be made at home.
Storing and Serving Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh mozzarella has a high moisture content, so it's best served soon after it's made, though it can be stored in brine and chilled for up to a week. As for serving, fresh mozzarella is a versatile cheese. It's a mainstay on pizza, and a wonderful addition to certain pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads, and other entrees.
More on Burrata Cheese
Burrata literally translates into "buttered," which acts as a sneak peek into its rich flavor. It's a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. At first glance it might look similar to a fresh ball of mozzarella, but the real charm of burrata — and what sets it apart — is what's on the inside.
Burrata Is Made from Mozzarella, but It's Not Mozzarella
The important thing to remember about this cheese is that while it's made from mozzarella, burrata is not mozzarella cheese. Burrata is its own, very special type of cheese.
Burrata has a solid outer curd made from fresh mozzarella, which is formed into a hollow pouch, then filled with a soft, stringy curd and fresh cream. It has a milky, buttery flavor that's rich without being too indulgent.
Look for burrata in Italian markets, cheese shops, and in the cheese section of specialty grocery stores.
Storing and Serving Burrata Cheese
Burrata is typically served at room temperature, and since it's fresh, it's best served within 48 hours of purchase. After that it's considered past its prime (even though it's still perfectly edible).
And the real magic happens when burrata is sliced open and the creamy insides spill out. It makes a nice topping on a salad and is wonderful served with crusty bread.
Both fresh mozzarella and burrata cheese are delicious fresh cheeses, so does it matter which one you choose? If you are planning to melt the cheese for a cooked dish like pizza, fresh mozzarella is a better option since it's cheaper than burrata, and melted burrata loses its trademark contrasting textures. Save burrata for eating or serving as is, when you can split it open to enjoy the rich, creamy insides.
(Image credits: Kelli Foster)