What’s the Difference Between Mozzarella and Burrata?

updated Mar 13, 2024
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Credit: Alex Lepe

Fresh mozzarella and burrata are two types of semi-soft Italian cheeses. They’re both creamy, white, and utterly delicious. With just a quick glance, these cheeses look similar, but they are different in all the best ways.

Quick Overview

The Difference Between Mozzarella and Burrata

Fresh mozzarella cheese is made from cow or water buffalo milk. It has a firm but elastic texture and can be sliced without losing its shape.

Burrata cheese is mozzarella that’s formed into a thin pouch and then filled with a mixture of soft, stringy curd and cream called stracciatella. It’s much softer and creamier than mozzarella with a firm outer layer and creamy, spreadable interior.

Credit: Alex Lepe

What Is Fresh Mozzarella Cheese?

Fresh mozzarella is a type of pulled curd or pasta filata cheese that 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 more difficult to find.

Mozzarella is a fresh, semi-soft cheese with a delicate, milky flavor and an elastic texture. Unlike many varieties of cheese, it isn’t aged and is instead intended to be eaten soon after being made.

Fresh mozzarella is widely available at grocery stores and can easily be made at home. You can find it in many different shapes and sizes including braided, large spheres the size of baseballs or tiny spheres called bocconcini. It’s even available smoked.

How to Store Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh mozzarella has a high moisture content, so it’s best served soon after it’s made, although it can be stored in brine and chilled for up to a week.

If including it at room temperature — as part of an antipasto salad or platter — set the mozzarella out on the counter for 30 minutes prior to serving to experience the best texture and flavor the cheese has to offer.

What to Make with Fresh Mozzarella

Fresh mozzarella is a versatile cheese that pairs well with sweeter flavors like cantaloupe and tomatoes, but also more savory dishes like pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. A little bit dresses up simple weeknight dinners or light summer salads. Try out some of our favorite mozzarella recipes next time you’re in the kitchen.

Credit: Alex Lepe

What Is Burrata Cheese?

Buratta means “buttery” in Italian, which is an apt description of its rich flavor. It’s a fresh Italian cheese from the Puglia region of Italy. 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 has a solid outer layer made from fresh mozzarella formed into a thin, hollow pouch which is then filled with a mixture of cream and cheese curds. 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.

How to Store Burrata Cheese

Burrata is typically served at room temperature and, because it is fresh, is best served within 48 hours of purchase. After that it’s considered past its prime (even though it’s still perfectly edible).

What to Make with Burrata?

The real magic happens when burrata is sliced open. It makes a nice topping on pasta or a pizza and is wonderful served with crusty bread, but don’t limit yourself! Check out any of the recipes below and experiment with your favorite way to use up burrata.

Can You Substitute Mozzarella for Burrata?

Both fresh mozzarella and burrata cheese are delicious fresh cheeses, so does it matter which one you choose? Yes!

If you’re planning to melt the cheese for a cooked dish like pizza, fresh mozzarella is a better option because it’s cheaper than burrata, and melted burrata loses its trademark contrasting textures. Save burrata for dishes where it is added at the end, after cooking, or serve it at room temperature on a piece of crusty bread or as the star of a cheese board.