Creative Cooking

Top 5 Cheeses on Pizza

As a child, I always ordered my pizza with just cheese, nothing else. I love the stringy, melted stuff on every single slice; sometimes I would order my pizza with more cheese and less sauce. What can I say? I love it.

Unfortunately, it took me until my twenties to realize that pizza can be made of other types of cheese rather than the classic buffalo mozzarella. So, here is my top-five list of cheeses everyone should try on pizza. I've even included some suggestions for toppings to pair with each one.

5. Gruyère

This hard, salty cheese sits atop the classic French onion soup. Its ability to melt and become gooey and stringy makes it a perfect cheese to use on pizza. I love pairing Gruyère with caramelized onions or mushrooms to complement its savory notes. There's no need to mix this cheese with another one, because you can easily shred Gruyère to cover the entire pizza, and it has a strong enough flavor to stand on its own.

4. Brie

This French cheese can be paired with savory or sweet ingredients. I love eating creamy pieces of brie with apple slices for a perfect afternoon snack; the creamy texture reminds me of cream cheese, but its pungent flavor makes it one of the tastiest creamy cheeses, to me.

If you love pairing it with savory ingredients, try combining olives, caramelized onions and tomatoes with thick slices of brie. If you want to make a sweeter pizza, like a dessert pizza, try brie with figs or apples.

I love placing dollops of brie all around the pan because it will melt and become bubbly and creamy around the entire pizza as it bakes.

3. Ricotta

For a white pizza, use ricotta as the base instead of sauce. Ricotta, most commonly used in lasagna, is a sweeter and creamier cheese, similar to the texture of cottage cheese. Spread the cheese all over the entire pizza and top with spinach, a pesto, vegetables or onions. As the pizza bakes in the oven, the ricotta will become like a fluffy cloud on top of the crust. I love getting parts of the ricotta to crisp up like a rustic pizza when I bake it in the oven.

2. Feta

I could eat this Greek cheese all day long. Whenever I use feta on pizza, I like to re-create a Greek salad and top it with tomatoes, olives and spinach; I'm not a huge fan of peperoncino peppers, but these would be great with feta as well.

Sprinkle crumbled feta all over your pizza and let the little bits of cheese melt to cover the whole pie.

1. Goat

My favorite cheese will always be goat cheese. It's soft, has a slightly tart and bitter taste and it melts perfectly on pizza. I love using goat cheese on flatbreads or thin-crust pizzas. Pair it with basil, prosciutto and red onions for a delicious Italian-style pizza. You can either crumble it or slice it into circles to scatter around the pizza.

Readers, what is your favorite cheese to use on pizza?

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn