Mozzarella and provolone are two Italian cheese varieties that are commonly used for pizza, sandwiches, appetizers and more. While they share some traits, there are clear differences between these cheeses in terms of texture, taste, origins and meltability.


True mozzarella cheese originated in the Battipaglia region of Italy and was made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo. It has a protected designation of origin in Europe. Provolone was first made in southern Italy from cow’s milk.

Appearance and Texture

Fresh mozzarella is a soft, white cheese that is formed into balls or ropes. It has a smooth, elastic texture that stretches easily when melted. Provolone is typically shaped into cylinders or large globes. It has a firmer, drier texture.


Mozzarella has a mild, milky flavor with a faint salty undertone. Its taste is subtle, designed to complement other foods. Provolone has a sharper, tangier, more complex flavor ranging from mild to intense depending on aging.

Melt Factor

Thanks to its high moisture content, fresh mozzarella melts very easily when heated. This makes it perfect for pizza, lasagna, and sandwiches requiring gooey melted cheese. Provolone has lower moisture so it maintains its shape and doesn’t melt as smoothly.

Popular Uses

Mozzarella is a pizza essential but also popular in Caprese salads, on panini, in stuffed breads and in baked pasta dishes to provide creamy melted cheese. Provolone works on sandwiches and antipasto platters.


In addition to regular mozzarella, variants like smoked, low-moisture and buffalo milk mozzarella provide more flavor. Provolone ranges from mild to sharp in flavor depending on aging duration from 2-12 months or more.


Mozzarella and provolone have similar amounts of protein, calcium, and fat. Provolone made from cow’s milk has a bit more vitamin A and K2 than mozzarella from buffalo milk. Both are considered good sources of nutrients.


Of the two, mozzarella tends to be a bit more expensive, particularly fresh buffalo milk varieties. But both remain very affordable cheeses at around $5-8 per pound retail.

In summary, mozzarella and provolone each have their place based on texture, taste and melt factor. Mozzarella is the go-to for melted cheese applications while provolone shines sliced on sandwiches or cheese boards.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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