Lasagna is a delicious, filling dish. It’s also one of the more complicated recipes in Italian cuisine.
Though lasagna is a great dish, it can be difficult to make. The cheese in lasagna is one of the most important ingredients, and ricotta is often used because it’s creamy and flavorful.
But, if ricotta cheese isn’t available, what should you do? Or if you are trying to cut on calories or are on a diet, this might not be the option for you.
Thankfully, there are plenty of substitutes for Ricotta cheese in Lasagna including Cottage cheese, Cream cheese, Goat cheese, Mascarpone, Fromage Blanc, Tofu, and more!
Keep reading to know which of these 11 substitutes for ricotta cheese are best to use in your lasagna recipes!
- What is Ricotta Cheese?
- 11 Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese in Lasagna
- What does Ricotta Cheese Taste Like?
- Is Lasagna Better With Ricotta or Cottage Cheese?
- Is There a Non-Dairy Substitute for Ricotta Cheese?
- Can I Use Sour Cream Instead of Ricotta?
- Final Words
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese is an Italian whey cheese. It’s made by coagulating the outer proteins of milk in a process similar to making cheese.
It has quite a mild flavor, which makes it great for lasagna recipes that include many spices and flavors. Like all cheese, ricotta is high in calories because it’s essentially concentrated milk.
The texture is smooth and soft, which gives it the ability to melt easily in lasagna.
There are many benefits to using ricotta cheese when making lasagna recipes.
It’s rich in flavor, so you won’t need to use it as much. Ricotta cheese helps to develop lasagna’s signature creamy texture.
11 Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese in Lasagna
1. Cottage Cheese
One great substitute for ricotta cheese is cottage cheese. Cottage cheese has similar fat content to ricotta and also contains casein, which provides the cheesy flavor that you are looking for.
Cottage cheese is rich and creamy, which works well to emulate the texture of ricotta cheese. The taste won’t be exactly the same as ricotta, but it will work in a pinch!
2. Cream Cheese
Another alternative for ricotta cheese is cream cheese! The texture of cream cheese is much thicker than ricotta, though it includes the same fat content.
Cream cheese helps to give the creamy texture that ricotta is known for.
If you are worried about health risks, use low-fat options when possible. The flavor will be very similar to ricotta and works well in many lasagna recipes.
3. Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is another great substitute for ricotta cheese. It is packed full of flavor, so using it instead of ricotta doesn’t sacrifice any taste.
It has a similar texture and consistency to ricotta, and it also provides rich flavor without needing as much of it as other substitutes.
This makes goat cheese an easy option if you need a substitute but don’t want to go out and buy anything fancy or difficult to find.
Mascarpone is a cream cheese made with the whey of ricotta cheese, so it has similar properties and texture to ricotta. This makes mascarpone an excellent substitute for when you are out of ricotta!
Mascarpone is similar to cream cheese, but it’s slightly lighter. It’s a great choice if you need to replicate the creamy texture of ricotta cheese without sacrificing taste.
The main difference is that mascarpone has a higher fat content and a tangier flavor than cream cheese.
Mascarpone is also distinctive because it can be used as a spread or dip. It’s best used in desserts and is a common ingredient for tiramisu.
5. Fromage Blanc
Another type of cheese that works well as a substitute for ricotta is Fromage blanc, which is similar to ricotta but has a flavor that’s more distinct.
Fromage blanc includes cream to keep the fat content up, which works to give it a similar texture and consistency as ricotta.
It has a slightly tangier flavor than ricotta due to the fermentation process. This gives it an extra zing that you might find is missing from your lasagna if you use another substitute instead.
Like ricotta, Fromage blanc is best used in white sauces and desserts.
6. Béchamel Cheese Sauce
Béchamel cheese sauce is a classic French sauce used to make many different types of dishes, from macaroni to lasagna!
The perfect béchamel sauce includes butter, flour, milk, salt and nutmeg. All you need to do is add in cheese to turn it into a béchamel sauce!
This is another great substitute for ricotta cheese because the sauce is used in making many different dishes that require a creamy texture. You can mix and match ingredients to get just the right flavor you want, which makes this a very versatile choice.
The color of béchamel sauce is white, so it’s perfect for cases when you need ricotta but doesn’t know what type to buy.
Tofu is an excellent choice if you are looking for a substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna or another dish with a creamy texture!
It has the same fat content as ricotta, meaning it will provide that creamy texture to whatever recipe you decide to try it in.
It’s also easy to find and cheaper than many types of processed cheese substitutes, so it’s perfect for those on a budget.
The taste is slightly different from ricotta because the tofu does not have as much flavor as other cheeses do, but it still works well in many recipes.
And if you are worried about health risks, use low-fat options whenever possible just like with other cheese substitutes.
Paneer is a traditional Indian cheese that is commonly used in recipes like lasagna.
It’s very similar to ricotta because it doesn’t have any flavor, so all you need to do is use it as a substitute for ricotta and tweak the other ingredients in your recipe!
The consistency of paneer is generally harder than ricotta, so it works best in dishes where ricotta is cubed or sliced.
Paneer is very easy to make at home if you are looking for an alternative to buying it from the store, but you might want to check out this recipe first before trying it out on your own.
Paneer can be used as a substitute for ricotta in any recipe you would normally use ricotta for, and it works well if the flavor is mild like with lasagna.
9. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is a good substitute for ricotta because the lasagna won’t taste as cheesy as it would with other cheeses.
The main difference between ricotta and mozzarella cheese is that one has more fat than the other.
Both are white cheeses, so the color will be the same. They also have very similar textures and contain a high percentage of water.
Mozzarella cheese is best used in dishes that don’t require browning or cooking because it doesn’t melt well. It tends to get stringy when cooked at too high of a temperature.
If you want to use mozzarella cheese as a substitute for ricotta, try reducing the amount of liquid in your recipe.
This way the lasagna won’t come out soggy! You can also add more seasoning or spice so it tastes less bland than normal.
Topfen is a traditional Austrian cheese that can easily be substituted for ricotta.
There are only two main differences between the Tofen and Ricotta:
- Topfen has more moisture than ricotta
- It’s slightly tangier in flavor
Topfen comes from the curd of whole milk, so it does have some fat content. However, because the fat is mostly in the milk, you can easily find low-fat versions of this cheese.
It’s also similar to ricotta in that it has very few flavor notes. It’s slightly earthy in taste with a tanginess that might seem strange at first, but works well in lasagna recipes!
11. Clabber Cream
Clabber cream is another substitute for ricotta cheese that you can make with ingredients most people already have! It’s a great option because it’s easy to make and won’t take much time.
All you need to do is mix together milk, vinegar or lemon juice, and sugar to create clabbered cream! The consistency will be similar to ricotta cheese without too much of the tart flavor.
Clabber cream is best used in lasagna recipes where ricotta would be mixed with sauce or pesto before serving. It doesn’t melt well so it should only be added to the dish just before it’s done cooking!
It also works well in recipes that don’t require heating or browning.
What does Ricotta Cheese Taste Like?
Ricotta cheese is well known for being creamy and sweet. It’s great in many recipes because it absorbs other flavors very well.
It also works well as a substitute for sour cream, plain yogurt, or milk in dishes like salads, smoothies, sauces, dips, and baked goods!
It tastes slightly sweet and tangy with an earthiness that makes it unique. It has a creamy texture that makes it perfect for lasagna, cannolis, or filling crepes!
Is Lasagna Better With Ricotta or Cottage Cheese?
Lasagna made with ricotta cheese is more moister than lasagna made with cottage cheese.
However, some people prefer the taste of cottage cheese over ricotta! It might also depend on the recipe you are using.
Some recipes will require ricotta or mozzarella to form a creamy texture, while others work better with cottage cheese for a denser, more solid texture.
Is There a Non-Dairy Substitute for Ricotta Cheese?
Many people with dairy allergies try to avoid using any kind of dairy product. An option they might want to try is making their own vegan ricotta cheese.
One way they can do this is by adding lemon juice or vinegar to regular soy milk, letting it curdle for a few minutes, and straining the mixture through a cheesecloth.
Another option is using soy yogurt to replace ricotta. It has a creamy texture and a similar taste, but it’s less fatty than ricotta cheese because the fat in soy milk has been removed.
Soy yogurt doesn’t melt as well as ricotta, so it would work best with recipes that don’t require browning or heating.
Can I Use Sour Cream Instead of Ricotta?
In some recipes, you can substitute sour cream for ricotta cheese. The main difference between the two is that ricotta cheese has a creamy texture while sour cream isn’t as thick and creamy.
It will also have a slightly tangier flavor than ricotta, so it might not work well in some dishes.
However, it would work well in recipes where you would use ricotta cheese, such as lasagna or filling crepes.
If you are looking for a healthier substitute for ricotta cheese, we have some great options.
Remember, every lasagna is different and what may work best in one person’s recipe might not be the perfect substitute in another’s.
We recommend trying several substitutes to find which works best with your tastes and lifestyle!