Nothing ever beats the flavor and creamy goodness of cream cheese!
But what if you’re craving your favorite cream cheese dish and you suddenly run out of cream cheese?
Luckily, there are many things that you can use as cream cheese swaps in your recipes, and I’ve listed them all down for you!
What does cream cheese taste like?
Cream cheese has a mild and sweet flavor, with a hint of salty tanginess.
Meanwhile, packaged cream cheese comes in a wide array of flavored varieties, including cream cheese with different fruits and herbs.
The taste of cream cheese is quite similar to the taste of Mascarpone. You can use it in dips, frostings, toppings, etc., and in sweet and savory dishes.
Cream cheese substitutes
Here are some fantastic options that you can use in your cooking instead of cream cheese:
1. Cashew cream
Cashew cream isn’t as sweet as cream cheese, but it is creamy, thick, and tasty nevertheless. It’s also an incredible vegan-friendly option that you can use as a cream cheese substitute. You can use cashews, lemon juice, palm shortenings, and apple cider vinegar to create cashew cream. If you want an additional kick of savory flavor, then you can add spices and herbs of your choice to the mix. However, if you want a sweeter taste, then a simple sweetener or vanilla extract will do the trick. You can also serve cashew cream with pasta by stirring it in, pair it with freshly-cut veggies, or spread it on a bagel. Likewise, you can use it in the same quantity or ratio in your dish as you’d use cream cheese.
2. Mascarpone cheese
While cream cheese has an acidic tinge, Mascarpone has a natural sweetness and richness to it. Mascarpone’s also quite spreadable and has a smooth texture, making it an easy replacement for cream cheese. Due to its natural sweetness, you can also use it in desserts that call for the use of cream cheese. Use the same amount of Mascarpone in a dish as the amount of cream cheese required. Even though it’s heavier than cream cheese, you can add some lemon juice to it to make it lighter.
3. Ricotta cheese
Ricotta cheese is another good cream cheese substitute. Even though it is firmer, less sweet, and grainier than cream cheese, it acts as a good cream cheese alternative for making gravies. If you want ricotta to have a creamier texture and use it in baking, add some plain yogurt to adjust its texture. When you’re using ricotta for cheesecakes and as frosting, add equal amounts of heavy cream. A cup of ricotta cheese mixed in with a cup of yogurt will produce two cups of cream cheese that you can use for dips and baked goods. Similarly, one cup of yogurt blended with one cup of heavy cream will produce two cups worth of cream cheese that you can use for cheesecakes and frostings.
4. Cottage cheese
When you run out of cream cheese, you can use cottage cheese in your recipe. Blend it in with some low-fat milk to create a smoother texture. Even though it won’t be as thick or sweet as cream cheese, you can easily use it as a cream cheese replacement in dips. You can also mix cottage cheese with plain yogurt and strain it overnight in a cheesecloth for that cream cheese texture. Use the same amount of cottage cheese in your recipe as cream cheese.
5. Yogurt cheese or hung curd
Another excellent cream cheese substitute you can use to make cheesecakes and spreads is hung curd or “yogurt cheese.” Strain yogurt overnight in a cheesecloth for a creamy alternative to cream cheese. When strained for eight to 12 hours, one cup of plain yogurt will produce half a cup of hung curd. If hung for over two days, then it will make 1/3 cup of hung curd. Use the same amount of hung curb as the amount of cream cheese required in a recipe.
Tips from the pros
Here are some tips and tricks that you can use with these cream cheese substitutes:
- To lighten mascarpone, add in some lemon juice.
- If you want a cream cheese-like texture when using cottage cheese, strain some cottage cheese with yogurt overnight.
- When using hung curd as a cream cheese substitute, use Greek yogurt to produce more curb than plain yogurt.
- If you are using ricotta cheese for baking, then mix in equal amounts of yogurt. If you are using it for frostings and cheesecakes, then add equal amounts of heavy cream.
The bottom line
Cream cheese isn’t just a savory breakfast spread. As you may have already gleaned from our list, this deliciously creamy dairy product is also noted for its many culinary uses, from baked goods, to dips and dishes. As versatile as inexpensive your cream cheese is, it’s still crucial to know which other ingredients you can swap it with, especially when you finally run out of it and got no time to head to a grocery store. I hope you enjoyed reading about the cream cheese substitutes we’ve gathered just for you! Make sure to follow the tips and tricks that I’ve mentioned when using these ingredients instead of cream cheese. Have fun!