The Only Time You Really Shouldn't Swap Ricotta With Burrata

No matter what you are making, it's always frustrating to reach for an ingredient only to find you don't have it and need to figure out a substitution. While ricotta tends to be a good substitution for burrata in dishes where the cheeses are used raw, there are recipes in which the swap simply does not work well: Those that require the cheese to be melted. 

To understand when and why ricotta isn't a suitable replacement for a gooey burrata recipe, it's important to understand how the two cheeses are alike — and more importantly, different. Let's start with the similarities. Both burrata and ricotta hail from Italy, and boast a luscious, creamy texture when raw that's downright irresistible. But where they diverge lies in their melting capabilities. While burrata melts into a silky and stretchy pool of deliciousness, ricotta basically doesn't melt at all. That's why you should avoid using ricotta instead of burrata in dishes where the cheese is supposed to melt.

So, why does ricotta struggle to achieve that melty goodness? It all comes down to how the cheese is made.

Try using fresh mozzarella instead

Ricotta is a fresh cheese that is easy to make at home with just four ingredients, including an acid. It's the acidic ingredient, however, that prevents ricotta from being able to melt beautifully into pasta dishes, pizzas, or dips made by baking cheese. Acid is a key component in coagulating the milk proteins to make ricotta, but it also causes the proteins to become heat resistant. Instead of melting, ricotta maintains its structure and texture. Of course, you can use it in many hot dishes, but it will stay the same shape and be slightly grainy.

Consider using fresh mozzarella instead. It's one of the best alternatives to burrata, as a substitute in recipes that call for the cheese to melt. It melts in a similar way to burrata, ensuring a decadent experience without sacrificing flavor or texture. Mozzarella is the closest swap for burrata, but note that it will not be as creamy as burrata.  

So, the next time you're tempted to reach for ricotta as a substitute, remember to double-check how the burrata is being served or used in a recipe. And if you're looking for recipes in which ricotta is the star, try our 33 rich ricotta cheese recipes for some mouthwatering inspiration.