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Bocconcini Vs. Ciliegine: What’s The Difference?

Mozzarella cheese is popularly used as a topping for pizza, but this fresh Italian cheese is also used for a lot more than pizza.

This cheese can also be used in salads, as a filling for sandwiches, or it can be eaten on its own as a snack. 

Mozzarella cheese also comes in so many different forms; fresh mozzarella is often rolled into balls of different sizes, and it goes by different names depending on the size.

Bocconcini and ciliegine are both forms of fresh mozzarella.  

In this post we explore the differences between these two forms of mozzarella. 

Difference between ciliegine and bocconcini

The flavor and texture of these forms of fresh mozzarella are exactly the same, however, they are slightly different in size.

Bocconcini cheese is a bit larger than ciliegine, Bocconcini is about the size of a small tomato while ciliegine can be compared to the size of a cherry. 

The word bocconcini means “little bites” or “small mouthfuls” in Italian, Bocconcini gets its name because of the bite size of this cheese.

A smaller version of fresh mozzarella cheese is also known as ciliegine. The name ciliegine is derived from the Italian word for cherry.

Bocconcini can be used interchangeably with ciliegine. 

What to make with bocconcini and cilegine

Both cheeses are very versatile, and they could be used in a wide range of dishes including hot and cold dishes.

Bocconcini and ciliegine have a spongy texture, and they absorb flavors easily.

These bite sized mozzarella balls are a favorite for fried mozzarella balls. They can also be found in pasta. 

They can be used in various salads. These cheeses can also be used as a filling or served as appetizers 

How they are made

Bocconcini and ciliegine start out as Fresh mozzarella.

Fresh mozzarella is originally from Campania.

It is traditionally made from water buffalo’s milk; it can also be made from cow milk.

The selected milk is combined with rennet and the curds are formed.

Mozzarella is a stretched-curd cheese; this is because the curds are stretched and kneaded in hot water after they form.

The repeated stretching and folding helps this cheese to attain a number of properties including a stringy texture. Mozzarella cheese is also formed into a ball.

This cheese is white or ivory in color and molded into spheres or ovals of different sizes. This cheese also does not have a rind.

The flavors are mild, fresh, and milky. The texture is soft and elastic. 

These small mozzarella balls are typically sold packaged in their own whey or brine.


One peculiarity of mozzarella is that this cheese is rolled into ball shapes.

These mozzarella balls could be available in various sizes. The size of these mozzarella balls could be about the size of an apple or smaller.  

They are all used similarly, and also as mozzarella cheese. They could be used as an ingredient in salads and on pizzas. These cheeses can also be fried and eaten on their own, skewered together with tomatoes and grilled.