If there’s one thing Italy does exceptionally well, it’s cheese. A huge number of popular cheeses that we use in our daily cooking all over the world originate from this European cheese mecca.
Parmigiano-reggiano, ricotta, pecorino, the list goes on. But one of the more well-known cheeses from Italy is mozzarella, which is technically an umbrella term for a few different types of cheese.
This type of cheese is used to make these delicious cream-cheese-filled sacks called Burrata, which are commonly served on foods like bread, salad, and pasta.
The best substitutes for Burrata
Burrata is what we refer to as a ‘specialty cheese’, and as such isn’t the most common thing in the world. In fact, it can be quite difficult to source unless you have a particular restaurant nearby that can readily prepare them for you.
Today we’ve gathered up a list of 10 burrata substitutes you can use to get that same, creamy texture and cheese taste for when you just need to give that Italian flair to your dish.
1. Feta Cheese
Originating from Greece, it’s made from sheep’s milk (or sometimes goat’s milk) and, contrary to the light and delicate nature of the Burrata, Feta has a zesty and tangy quality to it.
So while it doesn’t exactly offer a 1:1 replacement in the taste department, there are a few redeeming qualities that might make you want to consider feta as your burrata substitute.
Firstly is the texture, which is solid and smooth, so that you can easily crumble it over a salad or some pasta. It’s quick and easy to serve and will still offer a good amount of flavor to the dish.
Secondly, feta is a more healthy substitute for Burrata. It’s lower in fats, calories and is excellent for bone and cut health. Whereas burrata is both a high-fat and high-calorie choice, so should be eaten far more sparingly.
2. Mozzarella Cheese
This might seem like an obvious choice as burrata actually uses mozzarella cheese as part of its ‘shell’.
They’re all made with buffalo milk using a cutting technique called ‘pasta filata’ or ‘spun paste’.
But inside that shell sits a considerably more creamy cheese, which is one of the main reasons why people like burrata so much, because of the dual texture of the tougher outside and creamy inside.
But let’s not discount mozzarella, it does make a great substitute as it’s still fundamentally the same type of cheese. It will give the dish a similar flavor, it’s just the texture that’s going to be different.
With that said, mozzarella is a much more versatile cheese to use, it can be served hot or cold, cooked, fried, or simply served straight from the packet.
Mozzarella cheese also lasts a lot longer than Burrata which usually is eaten within 24 hours of preparation. But for the closest experience to Burrata, we do recommend getting the freshest mozzarella possible, ideally not from a package.
3. Cream cheese
If it’s mainly that creamy aspect of the burrata that you’re looking to capture in your dish, there’s less need for the harder mozzarella outer shell. Consider cream cheese.
It’s served at room temperature which makes it applicable to many of the same dishes you’d serve burrata with.
In particular, it makes a wonderful spread on any kind of bread, and if you refrigerate it a little it’s also really nice when paired with salads.
4. Cashew Cheese
Cashew Cheese is another great substitute that, while perhaps not providing that same creamy taste, does offer that nice malleable quality to it which makes it ideal for spreading.
One thing to note is that as cashew cheese ages it develops a strong, tangy quality to it that brings it further away from the burrata quality.
For this reason, we actually recommend making this at home so you can eat it fresh while the flavor is still fairly tame and equally creamy.
What’s great about cashew cheese is that it’s often prepared with some additional ingredients such as lemon juice, pepper, and garlic powder. That’s why it offers a really interesting flavor profile. Albeit one that’s quite different from burrata.
5. Ricotta Cheese
While the process of producing ricotta cheese is quite different from that of burrata. It’s still actually quite closely related as it’s essentially made from the leftover proteins from the same casein production of the mozzarella that’s used in burrata.
Ricotta literally means ‘recooked’ or ‘refined’. It can vary quite a bit in taste and texture depending on the kind of milk that was used.
Generally speaking, it’s quite milky, creamy, and pairs exceptionally well with hot dishes where the subtle nuances of burrata’s taste are not so critical.
This makes it ideal for things like pasta, lasagna, ravioli, and even cheese soups.
6. Queso Fresco Cheese
This is another cheese type that lends itself particularly well to hot, cooked dishes. Oftentimes what we are looking for in the burrata is that creamy and delicate quality which, when heated, queso fresco replicates exceptionally well and won’t become stringy or lumpy.
One thing to note about queso fresco is that, like most cheese, it develops a stronger and sharper flavor the longer it ages. And it’s not uncommon for store-bought packages to have been aged for as long as 6 months.
Because of this, you may want to specifically source a ‘mild’ queso fresco to ensure it also offers the creamy and delicate quality that burrata has.
7. Almond Cheese
Much like the cashew cheese, almond cheese also makes a great burrata substitute if you are looking for a vegan alternative. For the health-conscious cooks you can be safe in the knowledge there are no saturated fats, carcinogenic animal proteins, and growth hormones here.
It is also quite an unprocessed cheese, usually being fermented with similar bacteria you’d see used on something like dairy cheese.
However, it is a little more difficult to source. So if you have a local vegan grocery store near you, that’s a great place to look for it.
It has a fairly toned down and neutral flavor, arguably a bit less sweet than burrata, but it also adds this distinct mild nutty flavor which is absolutely delicious and is totally appropriate for most meals you’d use burrata with.
One of the most common ‘general’ cheese replacements out there, tofu makes an ideal replacement mainly because it’s so versatile. You can get it soft (to the point of almost being a liquid), firm, you can fry it, crumble it, and the list goes on.
It’s also super low in fat and is very commonly reinforced with protein.
The catch is that it’s pretty bland in flavor. So while you perhaps can’t rely on it in a salad to inject that creamy flavor, what it can do is add that smooth cheesy texture to cooked dishes like pasta.
It’s also really easy to season, so there’s nothing stopping you from using herbs or spices to give it a bit more of that ‘cream cheese spread’ kind of quality.
9. Cottage Cheese
We’ve mentioned a lot of cheese substitutes that might tick the right boxes in terms of texture, but really have their own unique flavors that are fairly different from burrata.
Cottage cheese takes the opposite angle, where texturally it’s very different, it’s soft and crumbly and much close to feta cheese than burrata.
But the flavor is sweet, light, and soft enough to be used in anything from salads to pasta dishes. Definitely, an adequate substitute if nothing else is available!
10. Brie Cheese
The big benefit of brie cheese is that it’s so accessible. Made from simple cow’s milk, you should be able to source this from any good grocery store for a reasonable price.
It has fairly muted flavors and just gives a nice and even milky flavor. So it can be served with anything that you’d typically use burrata for.
It’s a little tougher in texture but if you slice it nice and thin it’s sure to enhance whatever you serve it with.
How to choose a Burrata substitute
While it’s true there are plenty of alternatives available, they all have certain areas they excel in when it comes to making a great burrata substitute.
For this reason, we’re going to give our top suggestions in a range of categories to help better inform you so you can pick the most appropriate substitute for the dish you want to make.
Mozzarella is going to be your best choice if you are primarily concerned about ensuring the flavor is as close as possible to burrata.
This is for the simple fact that burrata is also made from mozzarella, so you can’t really get a more appropriate alternate option!
Just remember to buy it as fresh as possible, the newer it is, the more it’ll taste like burrata.
Here we recommend cream cheese. Although burrata has a tougher mozzarella ‘shell’ on the outside, the main quality that makes it stand out from our regular mozzarella is the fact the inside is so soft and creamy.
This is where cream cheese really steps up in a way the other cheese can’t. It’s wonderfully smooth and can be served at room temperature.
If you’re looking not to spend too much on your cheese substitute, mozzarella is going to take the win here once again. Because of how common it is, being used on everything from sandwiches to pizzas, it’s quite cheap and readily available.
Definitely a good one to buy if you don’t want to break the bank!
Our recommendation for the most available cheese is feta. This is something you should be able to get from any grocery store’s dairy section.
People love to buy this to use on salads so you should always be able to find some around.
Our top pick
If we had to choose just one ideal Burrata substitute, we would have to pick mozzarella.
It’s the closest in taste, not too expensive, readily available, and will make a fantastic substitute in almost any cooking situation.
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