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What cheeses are good on pizza?

Pizza is one of the most popular foods around the world, with over 5 billion pizzas sold globally each year. While plain cheese pizza is a classic, the choice of cheese can make a huge difference in the flavor and texture of the pizza. When selecting cheeses for pizza, there are a few key factors to consider:


The ability of a cheese to melt smoothly is very important for pizza. Soft, moist cheeses tend to melt the best. Hard, dry cheeses don’t melt as well and can become tough and stringy on a pizza. Some examples of very meltable cheeses include mozzarella, provolone, fontina, and gouda.


The flavor of the cheese should complement the other pizza toppings and stand up to the tomato sauce. Cheeses like mozzarella and provolone have a mild, creamy flavor that pairs well with meat and veggie toppings. Sharp cheddars and Parmesan add a tasty punch of savory umami. Smoked cheeses like gouda bring a smoky note.


The texture of the melted cheese is important. For stringy, gooey cheese pulls, mozzarella is ideal. Soft, oozy cheeses like brie or goat cheese make for a creamy texture. A mix of textures from grating a hard cheese like Parmesan on top adds another element.

How Much Cheese?

When layering cheese on pizza, restraint is recommended. Too much cheese can make the pizza greasy and heavy. A light sprinkling of grated mozzarella or blends is usually plenty – just 1/2 to 1 cup per pizza. Focus the cheese over the center and leave the outer 1-2 inches of the crust exposed for crisping.

Best Cheeses for Pizza

Taking all the criteria into account, here are some of the top cheeses to use on pizza:

  • Mozzarella – The classic pizza cheese. Melty, mild, and extra stringy.
  • Provolone – Smooth and melty like mozzarella but with a bit more flavor.
  • Fontina – Nutty and melty, great for a cheese lover’s pizza.
  • Parmesan – Grated Parmesan gives a savory, salty punch of umami.
  • Feta – Briny, robust flavor that pairs great with veggie toppings.
  • Goat Cheese – Creamy tang that’s excellent with caramelized onions, pears, or figs.
  • Gouda – Smoked gouda brings a smoky note while regular gouda melts smoothly.
  • Gruyère – Nutty, rich Swiss cheese that melts well.

Cheese Blends

Blending cheeses is a great way to get the best of multiple textures and flavors. Some delicious cheese blends for pizza include:

  • Mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone
  • Mozzarella and goat cheese
  • Mozzarella, gouda, and cheddar
  • Mozzarella, feta, and ricotta

Complementary Toppings

Certain pizza toppings go especially well with specific cheeses due to matching flavors and textures.

Cheese Best Accompaniments
Mozzarella Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions
Provolone Pancetta, meatballs, roasted garlic
Fontina Prosciutto, figs, caramelized onions, truffle oil
Goat cheese Spinach, caramelized onions, pears, walnuts
Feta Olives, artichokes, roasted red peppers, basil
Gouda Prosciutto, arugula, figs
Parmesan Broccoli, sausage, tomatoes, basil

Cheese Placement

Where you place the cheese on the pizza makes a difference. Here are some tips:

  • Grate hard cheeses like Parmesan or Romano and sprinkle over the top for maximum coverage.
  • Dot soft cheeses like goat cheese, ricotta, or brie in dollops across the pizza.
  • Layer shredded mozzarella evenly over the sauce before adding other toppings.
  • Add chunks of creamy cheese like Fontina or Gouda in between other toppings.
  • Finish with a final sprinkling of shredded cheese like a mozzarella/provolone mix over the toppings just before baking.

Baking Tips

To get the best results when baking your cheese pizzas:

  • Brush crust with olive oil or garlic-infused oil before baking for maximum crispness.
  • Bake pizza on the lowest rack in the oven, closer to the heat source.
  • Bake thin crust pizzas at a higher temp, like 500°F, for just 8-10 minutes to crispen the crust before cheese overcooks.
  • For deep dish or Chicago-style, bake at a lower temp like 425°F covered for 15 minutes to melt the cheese, then uncovered for 10-15 minutes to set the crust.
  • Let the pizza rest 1-2 minutes out of the oven before slicing to set the cheeses.

White Pizza

For a decadent, creamy alternative to red sauce pizza, try a white pizza with olive oil or garlic-infused oil instead of tomato sauce. Excellent cheese choices include ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, Romano, gruyere, fontina, taleggio, gouda, and goat cheese.


When making pizza at home, don’t be afraid to experiment with cheese combinations and placements to achieve your ideal flavor and texture. While mozzarella may be the standard pizza cheese, mixing in some provolone, Parmesan, gouda, feta or another favorite can take your pie to the next level. Pick cheeses that melt well, taste great together, and complement your other toppings for an insanely delicious homemade pizza.