It’s only natural to wonder “What is the difference between mozzarella and burrata?” (at least when you’re dealing with fresh mozzarella cheese), but the most important distinction is probably the heavy cream filling burrata boasts.
When it comes to summer cheeses, mozzarella and burrata rank among the best. Both are semi-soft, white, fresh cheese and they’re similar in origin, but in addition to being incredibly delicious examples of Italian cheese, they’re also really, really easy to mistake for one another. If you’re constantly confusing the two, it’s okay! We’re here to help sort through all the curds and whey—here’s what makes them unique in their own right.
Let’s start with mozzarella. Whether you’re topping a pizza or making a Caprese salad, this cheese always comes in handy. Unlike a lot of varieties of cheese, mozzarella is not aged and is best eaten right after being made. When made fresh, it has the most amazing texture. At it’s best, it’s moist and elastic, but not rubbery and has just enough stretch to pull apart with your fingers. Mozzarella is commonly made with cow’s milk, but it can also be made from water buffalo’s milk, which is a rarer and more expensive variety (mozzarella di bufala, which you can score at Costco if you’re lucky).
Of course, you can also find low-moisture shredded mozzarella, but fresh mozzarella cheese is a whole different animal.
Related Reading: The Finer Points of Fresh vs Aged Cheese
As for burrata, well, this cheese takes it to the next level with its decadent, creamy texture and rich taste. Burrata is sort of like the piñata of the cheese world: it consists of an outer shell of fresh mozzarella cheese, but like the old saying goes, it’s not what’s on the outside that counts. It’s all about the inside, which is hollowed out and filled with soft curds and heavy cream.
Burrata literally translates to “buttered” which should give you a sense of its luscious flavor and texture. Seriously, this cheese is so filling you can make an entire meal out of it. Just pair it with a crusty loaf of toasted bread and fresh heirloom tomatoes —all with a drizzle of good-quality olive oil—and you have dinner. Or at least I do.
How to Use Mozzarella and Burrata
If you’re looking to pair mozzarella with summer fruit, it doesn’t get any better than peaches. This deceptively simple salad combines the mild cheese with the stone fruit for unparalleled flavor. Get our Peach Caprese Salad recipe.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Summer Stone Fruit Guide
It doesn’t take much more than olive oil and cherry tomatoes to make burrata shine. Check out this Burrata with Roasted Tomatoes recipe and see for yourself.
Melting fresh mozzarella or burrata—or both!—on a pizza is a great move, no matter what toppings you combine them with (though keep them restrained so the cheese and crust can shine). Try it on a grilled pizza if you’ve got the right equipment—or make pizza in a skillet for a change. See how to make this Fresh Mozzarella and Burrata Skillet Pizza recipe.
When it comes to creamy comfort food, nothing tops this pasta recipe. Because bacon, brussels sprouts, and burrata make everything better. Check out this Caramelized Onion, Brussels Sprouts, and Burrata Carbonara recipe.
If you want something a little lighter, try this pasta salad. It’s full of veggies, but still has the pivotal inclusion of cheese. Get our Pasta Salad with Spinach, Olives and Mozzarella recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Gluten-Free Pastas for Pasta Salad
While fresh mozzarella is great as-is, you can also cold smoke it to bring another layer of flavor before you use it in whatever dish you’re planning. Get our Smoked Mozzarella recipe.
Burrata pairs perfectly with stone fruit and with summer tomatoes (which are also technically fruit); combine all three at once and you have an irresistibly juicy, flavorful, and downright beautiful summer salad. Cubes of toasted bread bulk it up, give it texture, and soak up all the ripe juices, and fresh basil brings a spicy green bite. Get the Tuscan Summer Stone Fruit, Tomato, and Burrata Panzanella recipe.
As burrata is stuffed with cream, these mini chicken meatloaf muffins are stuffed with small cubes of mozzarella, for an ooey-gooey surprise in every bite. A few of these and a fresh green salad and you have a meal that appeals to kids and adults, but they’re also a great passed appetizer at your next summer cocktail party. Get our Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffin recipe.