Cheese curds are one of the most popular dish sides available. With their milky and smooth taste, they can really turn a dull dish around with just a few bites.
However, like every food ingredient, it’s always fun to see if you could fill their role with something else from time to time.
What is the best substitute for cheese curds? The best substitute for cheese curds is mozzarella. The primary reason for this is that mozzarella tastes very similar to cheese curds. If you’re looking for a cheesy dish that you could tweak its taste a bit, then mozzarella is an excellent option for you.
An Overview of Cheese Curds
Cheese curds are essentially pieces of curdled milk that form while you make actual cheese. In its most natural form, they are pieces of cheese, without all the processing and preparations that become the cheese we see astound us today.
Primarily, cheese curds are made of pasteurized milk, rennet, and started culture. Most cheese curds come from cheddar cheese, but you could also make them from other types of cheese. With their moist and rubbery texture, cheese curds have a more refined, more silky taste that appeals to many people.
As for application, cheese curds are lovely dish additions that go with several recipes. You can use them in sandwiches, pizzas, omelets, and much more. Cheese curds also work with simple bread – if you’re the type of person to love eating bread with cheese alone.
Why Replace Cheese Curds?
- Preparation time: Making cheese curds is a pretty complicated process. To avoid this stress, you might want to find an alternative that isn’t so complicated to prepare.
- Non-availability: If you don’t have any cheese curds available, then you will need to get an alternative to make your food pop.
- Taste differences: It’s possible for you not to like the taste of Cheese curds. While rate, this is a possibility. In that case, a suitable alternative will be the best option.
Options for Cheese Curds Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Cheese Curds: Mozzarella
Mozzarella cheese primarily originates from the Naples region in Italy. It is made from the local water’s unpasteurized milk, and it initially used to be known as a highly perishable product. Due to this reason, it wasn’t overly popular. However, thanks to the rise of refrigeration and new manufacturing techniques, mozzarella has become much easier to store, and its popularity has grown as well.
One of the primary reasons why mozzarella is such a great substitute for cheese curds is that they have a similar taste. So, you won’t miss anything per se. In fact, some people believe that mozzarella curds and fried cheese curds are pretty much the same things. While there are subtle differences in their taste, you will be able to capture the essence of cheese curds in mozzarella pretty nicely.
At the same time, you will also love the fact that mozzarella is pretty easy to make. You only need a few minutes to whip something up nice, and you’re ready to roll, basically.
You can also take advantage of mozzarella curds, which you can stretch in water and form different shapes (mozzarella sticks, mozzarella balls, etc). Mozzarella curds can stay fresh and ready for use for about a week, although, as expected, you can freeze them to preserve them for a little longer.
With mozzarella curds, you can cut them into shreds, mix them in water, and stretch them to form whatever you like.
To make mozzarella cheeses, you can use this simple recipe:
- Get cold milk and add citric acid.
- Warm the mixture to about 90°F while stirring gently
- Add rennet solution, then cover the pot and let it sit for five minutes.
- The mile should have set after five minutes and will look soft (kind of like silken tofu). Once set, cut the uniform curds.
- Put the pot back on the stove and set the heat to medium Warm the curds to 105°F. Keep stirring slowly.
- Remove the pan and keep stirring the solution for another five minutes.
- Remove the curds from the whey. You want to place the curds in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave the curds for a minute. Remember to drain the whey off, then microwave the curds up to 135°F again for a minute.
- From there, it’s all about stretching the curds. Put some salt over the cheese, and stretch the curds as you would like.
Best Substitute for Cheese Curds in Paninis: Provolone
Like mozzarella, provolone also originates from Italy. It is a stretched-curd cheese that was initially made in Southern Italy. However, its popularity has grown considerably, and provolone is now available almost all over the world – including in the United States.
With provolone, you get a smooth and mellow taste. However, its taste can vary significantly, moving from sweet and mild to sharp and pungent based on the aging time and moisture level available in it.
Like all pulled curd cheese variants, provolone is excellent, with a more intense flavor when melted. It is an ideal addition to casseroles, hoagies, pizza, paninis, and oven-baked pasta dishes. In Italy, it works as more of table cheese.
It is famous for having a strength to its taste that can withstand the heavy alt content and rich milky flavor.
Best Substitute for Cheese Curds in Sandwiches: Cheddar
Today, cheddar is one of the most popular cheese variants. Its history is pretty extensive, dating back to the 12th century. Cheddar was first made in the village of Somerset, England, where it quickly became a top option for members of noble families. Now, it is made and sold worldwide.
Cheddar is available in several forms and colors. You can find milky-white cheddar or a variant with a pumpkin orange color. In its purest form, however, cheddar has a creamy yellow color with a light hue. You also get a sharp, creamy flavor that appeals to many people, making cheddar an exciting alternative to cheese curds.
You can use cheddar for several dishes, including pizza, omelets, souffles, and more. However, its milky taste shines best when it is included in a sandwich.