Instant Pot Homemade Mozzarella made fresh, warm, and flavorful in your very own home in about 30 minutes! Not only is it delicious, but it's an absolute blast to make as well!
Today is the beginning of a week long series I'm callin' Yogurt Button Lovin'! I know everyone is completely obsessed over the Instant Pot nowadays, and I wanted to make sure you are using it to its full potential. One of the features I find priceless with the Instant Pot is that incredible Yogurt button. Of course, it makes insanely good yogurt, but you just wait and see what else it can do!
Now let's get to it, today is Day 1 of Yogurt Button Lovin', and I'm insanely happy to finally introduce you to Instant Pot Homemade Mozzarella!
Mozzarella is a soft, curd cheese that is made with cow or domesticated water buffalo milk. It has a lower fat content than hard, aged cheese like cheddar; 20% in mozzarella vs 30% in harder cheeses.
I've never been completely sold on mozzarella cheese. In fact, more often than not I substitute it with something more flavorful. So this is a pretty big day for me, because I am completely a mozzarella fan now that I've discovered Instant Pot Homemade Mozzarella. It's soft, FLAVORFUL, melty, and easy to make!
The thoughts of making mozzarella had never even entered my mind until a neighbor of mine casually mentioned that she'd been using her new Instant Pot to make mozzarella. Like there is anything casual about that! I shamelessly hounded her for the recipe and called, texted, and emailed her every time I failed to execute the recipe correctly. Thanks Dixie, for your patience with me!
Finally after making it roughly 25 times (no exaggeration, my freezer has a section dedicated to my mozzarella attempts), I have for you my favorite mozzarella of all time. No boring, flavorless cheese here. Nope this cheese is completely worth your belly space and is quite simple, and oh so fun to make. My kids have joined me on many cheese stretching competitions. Hot mozzarella will stretch for days!
Couple things before you jump in
CHOOSING A MILK BRAND
Brand of milk matters here and it took me a lot of fails to realize that. Make sure the milk you use is not ultra-pasteurized. What I learned in this process was that some milk brands aren't labeled “ultra-pasteurized” but have still been heated too high for this recipe to work. If your curds are turning out delicate and more like cottage cheese after being heated, I would suspect it's your milk. See this list of optimal milk brands to find one near you that will work best.
RAW VS PASTEURIZED MILK
I have not made mozzarella with raw milk, only pasteurized. The recipes I’ve read that use raw milk sound very similar to this one, so my guess is that raw milk would also work. In fact, according to this article, raw milk actually results in even stringier, softer mozzarella.
Lipase is an optional ingredient. I feel like it gives it more flavor and helps keep it softer, especially after it has been refrigerated. But if you don't have it and want to try it without it, just skip past those steps in the recipe.
IT'S NOT STORE BOUGHT
When baked in an oven like on top of pizza or lasagna, the top of the mozzarella browns more so and quicker than store-bought mozzarella. Don't expect the exact texture that you get with store-bought. It behaves slightly different, but is magical in its uniqueness.
CUTTING THE CURD
In case the Directions below don't describe this step very well, here is a visual of how it should look after you cut it.
EURO CUISINE YOGURT STRAINER
I love having the Euro Cuisine Yogurt Strainer for scooping my curds into. It makes it a lot easier to get as much whey off as possible. But if you don't already have one (from yogurt making) just use a strainer.
Mozzarella needs to be nice and hot to knead and stretch. I personally can't do those steps without gloves which is why I'm sporting these periwinkle beauties.
DON'T OVER KNEAD YOUR MOZZARELLA
Over kneading will make your final product more dry. After the last heating cycle in the microwave, knead and stretch until it becomes shiny and smooth and doesn't break when you stretch it.
SHAPING YOUR MOZZ BALLS
Once your mozzarella is shiny and stretchy, move quickly to shape your balls before it starts to cool and isn't as formable. I like to have plastic wrap pieces torn and ready next to my bowl for firmly wrapping my mozzarella balls. This will help them keep a nice round shape. You don't have to wrap them, it's only for shaping purposes. You can also try dipping them in ice water to help them hold their shape, but I feel like the plastic wrap does a better job at this.
CURDS CRUMBLING AFTER MICROWAVE
If your curds crumble or dissolve after being heated in the microwave, it's likely due to one of these two things:
- The milk is ultra-pasteurized. See this Good Milk List to determine the best milk brand for your area.
- It got too hot while microwaving. If your microwave cooks on the hotter side, you may only need to heat your cheese twice; once for 1 minute, then again for 35 seconds. The curd needs to be at least 135°F to stretch. If it gets much hotter than this, it may fall apart.
If you've had problems with it falling apart, I suggest you first find local milk that is not ultra-pasteurized and second, checking the temperature after heating the curd twice to see how hot it is getting.
MAKE MOZZARELLA WITHOUT A MICROWAVE
To make mozzarella without a microwave, you will need to have hot water ready for the heating stage. Here are details on how to do this (see steps 4 and 8).
HOW TO SERVE FRESH MOZZARELLA
Fresh mozzarella is always better right after it's made and still warm or room temperature. This is the perfect time to slice it up and serve it fresh like on this tomato, basil, EVOO, and balsamic vinegar tray.
Fresh, warm mozzarella is also AMAZING in salads or soup. Tear or cut into bite size pieces and toss into a salad with vinaigrette or toss into a boiling hot bowl of soup.
Fresh mozzarella tastes better warm or at room temperature. I suggest enjoying it while it’s fresh, then refrigerating the what’s leftover.
Store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. I've read about storing mozzarella in some of the left over whey (with a pinch of salt). This worked well for me for about 24 hours, but after that it gave the outside of the cheese a strange slimy texture. I've also read of wrapping mozzarella with paper towels to draw out the moisture to make it a harder, more shreddable cheese. I haven't personally tried that one though.
LIVE ON THE WILD SIDE – FREEZE IT
It's possible I'm committing a major mozzarella sin here, but for whatever reason, after being frozen and thawed, my mozzarella seemed to create a more melty, creamy effect in paninis and on top of pizza. I discovered this as a result of having way too much mozzarella so I froze it and hoped for the best. I was pleasantly surprised! If you want to shred it, it also shreds much better partially frozen.
Once you've made you mozzarella (and hopefully didn't eat it all minutes after it was made) make this incredible panini. Pan Roasted Tomatoes + Fresh Homemade Mozzarella + Pesto = lots and lots of happy tears.
I’ve found that Homemade Mozzarella melts best with slow, indirect heat (like in this panini). It is still delicious melted under the broiler, but it doesn’t brown like a store bought mozzarella does.
That should cover it! Homemade Mozzarella is fun, different, and delicious. You're gonna love it!
Now for the Question of the Day: What is your favorite type of cheese? Leave your answer in the comments below to be entered into the Instant Pot giveaway.
MORE “BETTER HOMEMADE” APPETIZER RECIPES
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Instant Pot Yogurt
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Butter
- Instant Pot Marinara
- Instant Pot Skyr Yogurt
TOOLS NEEDED TO MAKE INSTANT POT MOZZARELLAPrint
Instant Pot Homemade Mozzarella
Warm, soft, flavorful mozzarella made in your favorite appliance, the Instant Pot!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 3 mozzarella balls 1x
- Category: cheese
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Italian
- To 3 small cups, add 1/4 cup of coolish water to each. In 1 of the cups add the lipase and stir to combine (it won't dissolve completely). To another cup add citric acid and stir to combine. To the final cup, add the animal rennet and stir to combine.
- Pour milk into the pot of the Instant Pot and clip a thermometer on to the side (or have one close by so you can closely watch the milk temperatures). Press yogurt and adjust until it says “boil”.
- Warm milk to 55°F.
- When milk reaches 55° F, use a whisk and stir while pouring in lipase mixture. Continue to whisk briskly while pouring in citric acid mixture
- Continue to heat milk until it reaches 88°F; press cancel to turn off the Instant Pot.
- Gently stir in rennet mixture using a slow up and down motion with the whisk, about 30 seconds. Place a lid on the pot for 5-10 minutes, until there is a clear separation of the whey, otherwise known as a “clean break”. The whey should be clear and yellow. If it is still whitish or milky looking, put the lid on and wait another 5 minutes.
- Using a long knife, spatula, or off set icing spatula (basically something long enough to reach to the end of the pot) Cut the curds by making 4 or 5 vertical cuts from the top to the bottom of the pot. Then repeat this process on the other side to make a checkered pattern on the top.
- Press yogurt, adjust to “boil”, and lightly stir the curds until the temperature reaches 105°F. The temperature will vary slightly depending on where your thermometer is in the curds and whey, so just move your thermometer around and take the pot off the heat once it reaches an average of 105°F. Cover the pot and let sit 1 minute.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop large curds into a strainer (the Euro Cuisine yogurt strainers work great for this) and press lightly to remove some whey. Tear 3 pieces of plastic wrap (large enough to wrap 3 balls of your final mozzarella) and set them to the side (don't stack them on to of each other!)
- Transfer curds to a microwave safe pyrex bowl and microwave curds for 1 minute.
- Tip: This next step will need some food safe gloves because the cheese is about to get quite hot!
- Gently fold the the cheese over and over then drain the released whey. Microwave for another 35 seconds, gently fold cheese over and over, drain released whey. One last time – microwave for another 35 seconds, drain excess whey, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and continue to fold and knead until cheese becomes smooth, shiny, and stretches like taffy (this is my favorite part!).
- Working quickly so the cheese doesn't cool and become unstretchable, break cheese into 3 pieces and create a tight, smooth ball shape with each.
- You can eat it hot at this point (so good!) or shape it and chill it for later. It will store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
- Tip: While the cheese is hot, it will not maintain the shape very well. I like to wrap it tightly in a piece of plastic wrap and twist the plastic wrap to create a tight ball. Once the mozzarella cools, it will maintain this round shape. You can also try dipping the hot mozzarella in ice water for a 10 seconds, but I feel like the plastic wrap works better.
- The mozzarella is the best when eaten warm right after it's made. Chilling the mozzarella will change its texture a bit, but it is still delicious! Cube it up for skewers, slice it up for topping pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches, or partially freeze it, then shred it. If you have extra, I have frozen the cheese successfully. In fact, I insist that it melts and oozes better after it has been frozen and thawed!
- As I mentioned above, lipase is optional. I feel like it makes a softer more flavorful cheese, but you can definitely make it without.
Keywords: Mozzarella, Italian cheese, soft cheese