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Today is National Cheese Pizza Day, a day dedicated to celebrating one of the world’s most iconic and beloved comfort foods. While classic mozzarella remains by far the top choice for pizza toppings, there’s a whole world of cheeses waiting to elevate your homemade pizza experience if you’re willing to get creative. In this article, we’ll introduce you to six unusual cheeses that can take your pizza game to a whole new level.
Ricotta cheese, often associated with Italian cuisine, is a fantastic choice for those who prefer a milder and creamier cheese on their pizza. You’ll need to use a spoon or spatula to spread ricotta smoothly across your pizza dough for a luscious, velvety base. If you’re feeling something a little more complex than a plain cheese pizza, try combining it with fresh spinach and garlic.
Goat cheese brings a unique, tangy flavor and a creamy texture to your pizza. Its distinct flavor profile adds a touch of sophistication to your pizza while still maintaining the familiarity of a cheese pizza. If you want to add toppings, goat cheese pairs fantastically with ingredients like roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and even pepperoni.
When you think of pizza, gouda cheese is probably one of the last cheeses that comes to mind. However, this semi-hard cheese has a rich creaminess when melted and a mild, slightly sweet flavor that makes for a great pizza, plain cheese or otherwise. For a single ingredient that can take your cheese pizza up a notch while keeping it mostly just a cheese pizza, try adding caramelized onions with your gouda.
If you’ve had provolone on pizza, it’s likely that it was combined with cheddar and Swiss cheese to make provel cheese, the traditional topping for a St. Louis-style pizza. Smoked provolone cheese is an excellent solo cheese for pizza as well, and is one of the best options on this list to add an interesting dynamic to a cheese pizza with no other toppings.
Cheddar cheese is a household favorite, but have you ever tried it on your pizza? Cheddar’s unique sharp flavor adds an interesting but familiar twist to pizza, and it works perfectly with barbecue chicken or chicken bacon ranch pizza. Cheddar can be pretty strong, so it works best if you use mozzarella cheese as a base and then sprinkle a handful of cheddar over your toppings before throwing your pizza in the oven. This is great without any additional toppings too!
If you’re a fan of a little heat and want to try an extra kick in your pizza, pepper jack cheese is the perfect choice for you. This spicy cheese variety is a blend of Monterey Jack cheese with spicy peppers like jalapeños or habaneros and can range in heat based on the peppers used in it. For extra spice, try combining pepper jack with other spicy ingredients like banana peppers or a spicy sausage.