What is pizza without cheese? There’s nothing like biting into a hot, steamy slice covered in delicious toppings and lashings of mozzarella.
And while this is the cheese most commonly associated with pizza, have you ever thought about how well other varieties fare on this family favorite dish? Especially a cheese like cheddar that we often have in the fridge. Read on to find out more.
Can I Use Cheddar Cheese For Pizza?
Technically you can use almost any cheese on pizza, but cheddar is seldom used on its own. Instead, it is usually strewn over pizza as part of a cheese blend (a mixture of several varieties of cheese). While cheddar has a sharp taste that can complement certain toppings, it doesn’t handle heat very well and bubbles and grills under high heat exposure.
Cheddar Cheese Blends
I absolutely love cheese in all its flavors and forms, so I wouldn’t say I’m particularly fussy about which variety goes on my pizza.
That being said, some cheeses work better than others as a complement to various toppings.
Cheddar can be a little too sharp when used on its own, especially more mature types.
In this regard, what many a pizza chef likes to do is combine a hearty portion of cheddar with another, milder cheese, like mozzarella.
Not only does this add some color to your pie, but it also brings a unique taste and texture.
The mellow, creamy taste of mozzarella dulls the sharpness of cheddar so that it isn’t too overwhelming.
Furthermore, both kinds of cheese have a great “pull,” meaning they melt well and give pizza that delicious, stringy cheese effect.
Provolone, parmesan, goat cheese, and ricotta also blend well with cheddar.
Provolone is slightly smokey, making it perfect to pair with cheddar on spicier pizzas.
Parmesan lends to an Italian palate and brings out the inherent flavor of cheddar without overshadowing it.
Goat cheese and ricotta both have a mild flavor that allows cheddar to take center stage, but not to the degree that it’s all you can taste.
Why Cheddar Doesn’t Work Well On Its Own
Don’t get me wrong. Cheddar is a fantastic cheese in every way.
But it’s not great by itself on pizza, and this is primarily because of its various ingredient components.
Made from cow’s milk, cheddar has a relatively high fat content.
When exposed to high temperatures, fats may separate from the milk solids, rendering your pizza oily and unappetizing.
Furthermore, it browns pretty easily, which is perfect for a topping au gratin potatoes, for example, but not ideal for pizza as it quickly scorches.
Depending on the type of cheddar you’re using, you may also run into some textural issues.
The more cheddar matures, the harder and crumblier its texture becomes.
Its flavor profile also becomes more earthy and pungent, developing an almost nutty taste.
This may make you want to carefully consider what you pair it with on pizza.
What Are Some Good Pizza Pairings For Cheddar Cheese?
Don’t fret if you really feel like homemade pizza and cheddar is all you have.
There are several toppings that can work nicely with this cheese or with a cheese blend containing cheddar.
Pepperoni or Salami
When trying to determine how well a specific cheese will pair with pizza, I always like to think of other ways in which I’ve combined particular ingredients.
Personally, I love a cheese and salami toastie, which is why I know these smoky cured meats will work well with cheddar on pizza too.
Ham or Bacon
As mentioned above, certain meats are known to complement cheddar, which is why I feel comfortable combining them on pizza.
Ham, bacon, and the world’s most famous cheese have appeared alongside one another on charcuterie boards and plowman’s platters for centuries.
Why not give them a go on a delicious, deep-dish pie?
This is less of credit to cheddar and more of a thumb’s up to poultry because honestly, what doesn’t go with chicken?
On pizza, I would stick to a cheese blend for chicken so the sharp taste of cheddar doesn’t overwhelm, but there’s no reason why this combo won’t work.
Especially if you throw in some pineapple and sweet peppers.
Caramelized Onion and Capers
Sometimes with certain flavors, you just need to lean in.
And if you want your pizza to taste like a mouth-watering burger, recreate the feel with that ever-classic combo of cheddar and caramelized onion.
On specialty pizzas, the more toppings, the merrier.
Some combinations are to die for.
For example, cheddar works beautifully with chicken, bacon, and ranch sauce.
You can even make great vegetarian options using roast vegetables and ricotta mixed with a bit of classic cheddar.
The only thing I really wouldn’t try with this popular cheese is seafood.
Other than that, experiment away.
Conclusion to Can I Use Cheddar For Pizza?
When it comes to pizza, the type of cheese you choose to use is essential and plays a bigger role in flavor than you may think. I love combining different cheeses to ensure I can incorporate as much taste as possible, which, oddly enough, is a trick many major pizza chains employ too.
Top tip? Combine equal parts mozzarella and cheddar, and then dust the whole lot with parmesan. I promise you won’t regret it when you bite into a crispy, golden delicious slice with your favorite toppings.
Frequently Asked Questions on Can I Use Cheddar For Pizza?
Is White Cheddar Good on Pizza?
White cheddar is slightly creamier and milder than darker cheddar, which means it does pretty well on pizza. However, despite its similar appearance, it is not like mozzarella and has less elasticity and a lower tolerance for high temperatures. As with typical cheddar, I would err on the side of combining this with another cheese for the purpose of topping a pizza.
Is Gouda Good on Pizza?
Gouda has a similar taste to mozzarella, making it a good option for pizza. It is smooth, slightly sweet, and a little nutty. It also melts and browns nicely, bubbling and turning crispy around the edges.