Last week, I needed to cook with cream cheese for a potluck, but needed to make adjustments because my daughter doesn’t like it. I did my research to see if I there are alternatives, and I got so many new ideas! Looking for a cream cheese substitute? Read on!
Cream cheese is one of my favorite things to eat and cook with. I simply love the silky texture and mild flavor! this is one of the ingredients that I almost always have at home–I use it in both sweet and savory dishes. What does one do when there’s a need to substitute?
Whether you’re like me who needs to cook for someone who doesn’t like cream cheese, or simply looking to experiment on new ideas, here are some great healthy cream cheese substitute ingredients that taste just as delicious.
Cream Cheese: Flavor and Texture
Before I begin with the list, let me give a brief background on what cream cheese is made of. This is so you can get an idea of the similar flavors and textures that you should look for in the substitute ingredients.
Cream cheese–a combination of cream and milk–is relatively mild-tasting French cheese that is produced from unskimmed cow’s milk. It has many uses–from desserts to savory dishes–acting as a thickener and flavoring agent.
Don’t have/don’t want to use cream cheese? Check out the list below!
1. Make Cheese Out of Plain Yogurt
If you want a healthy cream cheese substitute, this is your best bet! All you need is a cheesecloth for straining and an overnight wait. You also don’t have to do any computation–just substitute equal amounts of yogurt!
Simply put the yogurt on the cheesecloth and strain over a bowl or pot. Keep this in the refrigerator overnight, then scoop out the yogurt the next morning. Your goal is to get off all the excess liquid from the yogurt–this is whey, an ingredient used for fermentation.
This process will make the yogurt denser and achieve the same consistency as cream cheese. I suggest you use whole milk yogurt for a smoother, more cream cheese-like consistency, but low-fat yogurt works well, too!
This is excellent for spreads, sauces, and desserts that call for cream cheese. It can achieve the same consistency of cream cheese, but this one has fewer calories and lots of great benefits such as protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and potassium.
2. Go Light With Some Mascarpone
Mascarpone is one of the most popular cream cheese substitutes out there, as they are very similar in terms of texture and density.
One of the most noticeable differences between the two is that mascarpone is milder in flavor than regular cream cheese. This is because the former is made of whole cream and another ingredient that helps thicken the cream.
Cream cheese is sharper and saltier, so if you are to substitute it with some of this Italian creation, simply add a few squeezes of lemon juice to get more tanginess.
Mascarpone is a popular ingredient in Italian dessert tiramisu, but you can also use it to add creaminess to dishes like pasta, sauces, dips, and cheesecakes.
3. Get Some Good Quality Goat Cheese
This is another cheese that you can use if you’re experimenting with cream cheese alternatives. Goat cheese <or chevre> could be more expensive than cream cheese, and it’s usually stronger in flavor, but they’re very much alike in terms of texture and creaminess.
When using this in your cooking, you can use about a ¾ cup of goat cheese for a cup of cream cheese, but I have read that others just use equal amounts. If you want a lighter variety with lesser fat, you can also make use of low-fat <those packed in tubs instead of the common log form>.
I love using chevre in snack recipes! One of my favorites is cream cheese wontons–instead of using cream cheese, however, I use the low-fat spreadable brands. I also enjoy it with bagels, with a drizzle of honey!
4. Try The Crumbly Ricotta Cheese
I like spreading ricotta on my morning toast! I’ve recently actually started using it instead of cream cheese as it’s more healthy–it has fewer calories, less fat and sodium, and less cholesterol.
I haven’t tried this myself, but you can also use ricotta cheese in desserts like cheesecake, mousses, or cupcakes! There are so many great recipes online, so you certainly won’t run out of great ideas such as this delectable ricotta cheesecake, which I plan to make soon.
Ricotta freezes well, so you don’t have to worry about spoilage. Just store your leftover ricotta in freezer bags, and you’re all set!
5. A Combination of Yogurt and Ricotta Cheese
This is a cream cheese substitute combination that I’ve just recently discovered! I saw a recommendation online that for a light and creamy substitute, you can make use of yogurt and ricotta cheese!
I love both of these ingredients, so it made so much sense that I’d enjoy the flavor and texture of them combined. Simply substitute the cream cheese in the recipe with equal amounts of the mixture <also equal amounts yogurt and ricotta>, that’s it!
I have tried this with some toast <with some chives or scallions on top> and it was delicious. I also stepped it up a bit by making some gluten-free yogurt and ricotta cheesecake, which my daughter loved.
If you don’t want to buy ricotta cheese <or simply want to try making something from scratch>, you can actually make your own. It’s not as hard as you think <the main ingredients are just milk, lemon juice, and salt!> Check out this recipe for easy, step-by-step instructions.
6. Experiment With Silken Tofu
This is what I would suggest for those looking for recipes that make use of cream cheese for texture. You can substitute cream cheese with the protein-packed tofu.
I suggest that you use the silken or soft variety. The difference between this and firm tofu is that the former has the more cheese-like crumbly quality. Try the Japanese brands–these are my personal favorites!
I found a great vegan recipe that’s very easy to make–all you need is food processor or blender. Using a food processor, combine a cup of silken tofu, a tablespoon of olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and about half a teaspoon of salt.
You can use this in recipes that call for cream cheese <like dips and sauces>, or simply spread in on some good bread.
Not only does it have a great texture and a wonderful light consistency–it’s also very good for you. Aside from protein, you’re also getting all eight essential amino acids, calcium, and iron. There’s also copper, magnesium, and zinc!
If you are interested in other ingredients, refer here: Ingredients
Let Me Know What You Think!
Did any of these cream cheese alternatives work on your dish? Send me a message and let me know how it turned out. If you have any new ideas that I can add to this list, send them my way too!
If your first cream cheese substitute doesn’t work well, I suggest that you try the other items on this list. Get creative and experiment with different mixes and combinations. I also suggest that you keep doing research and see what others have to say.
Thank you for reading, and good luck on whatever dish you’re making. Until the next post!