What’s the Deal with Low-Moisture Mozzarella?

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Sometimes I don’t fully notice certain grocery labels until they’re pointed out to me, and low-moisture mozzarella was one of them. Low-moisture mozzarella looks different than those fancy containers of fresh mozzarella filled with water, and is even stocked in a totally different section of the store. So what exactly is low-moisture mozzarella cheese?

What Exactly Is Low-Moisture Mozzarella?

As its name suggests, low-moisture mozzarella has a lower water content than fresh mozzarella cheese. But there’s a little more to it. Sometimes also referred to as “aged mozzarella,” “regular mozzarella,” or simply “mozzarella,” this low-moisture cheese is given more time to sour and age, which ultimately affects it taste, texture, shelf life, and the way it cooks.

Low-moisture mozzarella is the cheese you’ll find in the dairy case (near the blocks of cheddar, ricotta, sour cream, and cottage cheese), that’s sold in whole blocks, pre-shredded bags, and string cheese. It has a denser texture and a tangier, saltier flavor than mild, milky fresh mozzarella. While fresh mozzarella ages and deteriorates quickly after it’s made, low-moisture mozzarella has a notably longer shelf life, and can last for weeks in the refrigerator.

Whether you start with a whole block or pre-shredded, low-moisture mozzarella is known for its meltability. Its form is easily altered by heat, which means it melts like a dream, becoming stretchy and elastic. And unlike fresh mozzarella, it releases little to no water as it melts.

The Best Time to Use Low-Moisture Mozzarella

The very best time to break low-moisture mozzarella out is for pizza night; it’s our number-one cheese pick for pizzas.

Of course there’s the flavor and top-notch meltability that makes for a good cheese pull moment, but it’s really the low water content that makes it stand out. Since this low-moisture cheese releases little to no water as it cooks, it means you’re a lot less likely to end up with a soggy pizza.