What’s the Difference Between Mozzarella and Burrata?

updated Jun 10, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

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.

The Difference Between Mozzarella and Burrata

Fresh mozzarella cheese is made from cow’s or water buffalo’s milk with a firm but elastic texture. You can slice and it will hold its shape.

Burrata cheese is mozzarella that’s formed into a thin pouch and then filled with soft, stringy curd and cream called stracciatella (it’s not the same as the ice cream). Burrata is much softer and creamier than mozzarella with multiple textures (the firmer outer pouch and the creamy, spreadable inside).

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.

It 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 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, which are the size of marbles. You can even find it 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 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.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

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.

What Is Burrata Cheese?

Burrata translates into “buttered,” which acts as a sneak peek into 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, which is formed into a thin, hollow pouch. It is 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.

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).

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

What to Make with Burrata?

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, 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 t’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. It’s best served uncooked on a salad or with pieces of crusty bread, a little seasoning, and a drizzle of olive oil.