People use cream cheese in spreads, desserts, toppings for pies and tarts, frosting for cakes, dips for fruits, vegetables, or meats.
Using cream cheese substitutes can help if you don’t have it available, it’s accidentally left out of the fridge overnight, or if someone is lactose intolerant.
Some of the best cream cheese substitutes are Mascarpone Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, Gervais Cheese, Neufchâtel Cheese, and other vegan options like Tofu and Cashew/Almond Cream Cheese.
Keep scrolling to understand how you can use the above alternatives in place of cream cheese to get a similar texture and flavor profile.
- What is Cream Cheese?
- 9 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes
- What Does Cream Cheese Taste Like?
- Can I Substitute Butter for Cream Cheese?
- Can You Use Cream Cheese Spread in Place of Cream Cheese?
- Can You Use Whipped Cream Cheese in Place of Regular Cream Cheese?
- What Is the Best Cream Cheese for Cheesecake?
- What Is a Good Non Dairy Substitute for Cream Cheese?
- Final Words
What is Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is a dairy product like regular cheese or butter. It’s made from cream which is churned with milk and any other ingredients such as salt, cultures, and enzymes. As it’s made from milk, cream cheese contains as much as 30% fat.
The term cream cheese is actually used to refer to two different types of soft, spreadable dairy products.
Cream cheese can be made with raw or pasteurized milk, cream, or even butter. Cream cheese is sold in blocks and has a mild tangy flavor with a rich mouthfeel. It’s typically eaten plain but can also be used as an ingredient in various dishes and desserts.
Most cream cheeses are sold packaged into individual slices that come wrapped in plastic packaging or sell them in tubs with waxed paper lining the inside of the container to preserve freshness.
Cream cheese is best served at room temperature and spreads easily on bread and crackers. It melts around hot dishes and can be used as a topping for lasagna.
9 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes
1. Mascarpone Cheese
Mascarpone Cheese is an Italian triple cream cheese, which has a higher fat content than other cheeses. It’s made from cow’s milk and blended with fresh cream to give it its incredibly rich texture.
This makes for a great substitute in dishes that call for ricotta cheese because of its richness. You can even use mascarpone cheese as a substitute in dishes that call for cream cheese if you want an extra kick of flavor.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is thicker, creamier, and sourer than regular yogurts because it’s made from sheep or goat milk instead of cows’ milk. It contains more protein and less sugar than other types of yogurts, making it a great substitute for cream cheese in dishes that call for it.
Greek yogurt can be substituted for cream cheese in any dish or recipe and is high in protein, which makes it a good choice if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain your current weight.
3. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is another good substitute for cream cheese because of its mild flavor and creamy texture. It’s made from unpasteurized milk, rennet (enzyme), and salt.
Cottage cheese is low in fat but high in protein, calcium, riboflavin, phosphate, zinc, potassium, vitamin A, niacinamide (used to treat and prevent pellagra), and thiamine (vitamin B1).
It can be used instead of cream cheese in dishes such as cheesecake, lasagna, and spread.
4. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is made from whey and milk solids or milk after most of the whey has been removed by slowly straining it through a cheesecloth. It’s smoother and less grainy than cottage cheese because the whey is strained longer.
Ricotta cheese can be used instead of cream cheese in dishes, although this usually isn’t advised because it doesn’t have as firm a texture as cream cheese. Ricotta makes nice cheesecakes, tarts, and pastries though.
5. Gervais Cheese
Gervais cheese is another French triple cream cheese similar to mascarpone that can be used as a substitute for cream cheese if you’re looking for a rich taste and creamy texture.
It has a buttery, mildly tart flavor with subtle undertones of nuts and honey so it’s great for spreading on crackers or bread.
6. Cashew/Almond Cream Cheese
Cashews and almonds are nuts that can be ground into a cream that’s similar to traditional cream cheese.
You can make your own homemade cashew or almond cream cheese at home by soaking raw cashews or almonds in filtered water overnight, then blending them with fresh water and pressing through a cheesecloth to strain out the solids.
This cream cheese works best in baked goods like cheesecake, pie, and pastry. It doesn’t work as well for spreading on toast or crackers and it doesn’t hold up very well when used in recipes that call for traditional cream cheese.
7. Neufchâtel Cheese
Neufchâtel cheese is a French triple cream cheese similar to Brie, Camembert, and other soft cheeses. It has lower fat content than other types of triple cream cheeses because it’s made from cultured cow’s milk that’s only partially skimmed.
Neufchâtel cheese is a good substitute for cream cheese because it’s lower in fat and more spreadable than other types of triple cream cheeses. It works well as a dip and tastes great on bagels or crackers with jam or honey!
8. Sour Cream
Sour cream isn’t something you’d expect to find as a substitute for cream cheese, but it’s actually a great substitute in savory dishes like dips and spreads.
It has a thick, creamy texture with a tangy flavor that makes it similar to heavy cream cheese.
Tofu is a good substitute for cream cheese in recipes like cheesecake and dips because it’s high in protein and has a creamy texture that makes it similar to traditional cream cheese.
People who follow vegetarian or vegan diets might find tofu to be an excellent substitute if they’re looking to reduce the number of animal products in their diet without sacrificing flavor.
What Does Cream Cheese Taste Like?
Cream cheese is a type of cream that tastes salty, tangy, and slightly sweet. It’s smooth, rich, and creamy with a texture similar to Neufchâtel or Brie.
The flavor varies depending on the brand you buy so it might taste slightly different for each person.
Can I Substitute Butter for Cream Cheese?
Yes, you can use butter in place of cream cheese for many recipes. The taste is slightly different, but it’ll work if you’re looking to reduce the amount of fat or calories in a recipe while still having a rich and creamy flavor.
Can You Use Cream Cheese Spread in Place of Cream Cheese?
Yes, you can use cream cheese spread in place of traditional cream cheese for many recipes.
The main difference will be the amount of fat and calories. Cream cheese spread has less fat and calories than traditional cream cheese.
Can You Use Whipped Cream Cheese in Place of Regular Cream Cheese?
Yes, using whipped cream cheese in place of regular cream cheese will reduce the amount of fat and calories. It has a light, fluffy texture that’s similar to Neufchâtel or Brie.
What Is the Best Cream Cheese for Cheesecake?
Philadelphia cream cheese is the best cream cheese you can use for making cheesecake because it has a rich, creamy texture that’s similar to traditional cream cheese. It’s more economical than other brands, too.
What Is a Good Non Dairy Substitute for Cream Cheese?
Soy cream cheese is a good substitute for traditional cream cheese in vegan recipes because it’s made from soy milk and contains no animal products. It has a rich flavor with a smooth, creamy texture that’s perfect for spreading on toast or bagels.
Hopefully, this article has helped you find a cream cheese substitute that’s perfect for your recipe. Remember to experiment with these substitutes and see what works best for you.
Which of these substitute cheeses have you tried? Let us know below in the comments section!