Substitute for Cream Cheese in Cheesecake

Need a Substitute for Cream Cheese in Cheesecake? Here are the Best Alternatives!

There’s no doubt that part of a cheesecake’s delectable and mouth-watering taste comes from the cream cheese.

So, some might wonder if, in the absence of cream cheese, is it really a cheesecake?

Well, for those of us looking for a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecakes, you’ll be glad to know that some cheese varieties do the job just as well!

Today, we’ve listed some of the best alternatives to cream cheese that you can use not just in cheesecakes but other recipes too.

Most of these varieties retain some core aspects of cream cheese while adding a new and wonderful element to the mix.

So, get your recipe book ready because here are the best replacements for cream cheese.

1.    Mascarpone

You’re probably already aware that mascarpone can resemble cream cheese both in taste and texture. And that’s primarily why it makes such a great addition to a cheesecake recipe.

Mascarpone is a soft cheese that can often be richer than cream cheese. But you don’t lose any of the creamy flavors that cream cheese offers.

In fact, if you come across a traditional Italian chef, he/she will probably tell you it’s a variety of cream cheese.

If you feel that mascarpone doesn’t have that distinct tangy taste of cream cheese, you can always add a dash of yogurt or lemon juice to the recipe.

But all in all, few other varieties come naturally as close to cream cheese as mascarpone.

2.    Sour Cream

If you’ve ever tried a sour cream cheesecake, you can tell right off the bat that it’s missing that familiar sweetness.

But that’s also part of the taste and charm that sour cream adds to any dish. In fact, a lot of people actually prefer the new taste that sour cream adds to this classic cake.

If you have even a tiny bit of cream cheese left, combining it with the sour cream will give even better results. But all things considered, sour cream can bring a new twist to an age-old favorite like a cheesecake.

3.    Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese comes as a replacement that’s relatively healthier and less fattening than your average cream cheese.

With additional protein and calcium content, it’s surely a great alternative. But what about the taste and texture?

This one won’t have the same sweetness because it’s a fresh cheese that’s really not processed for aging. But you can expect a much creamier feel than before.

Also, the texture may crumble slightly more with cottage cheese. But it’s nothing that some fresh cream can’t fix.

4.    Ricotta Cheese

If you’ve ever wanted your cheesecake to be lighter and fluffier, Ricotta cheese is the way to go! Fans of classic Italian tortes will love the addition of Ricotta cheese to a traditional cheesecake.

However, you may end up with a softer texture and obviously a slightly different taste. Many bakers try to offset this by adding equal amounts of plain yogurt or heavy cream to retain the classic recipe’s consistency.

Also, cake-enthusiasts often agree that draining the Ricotta cheese before using it can make it creamier and thicker. So, that’s a tip worth considering before you change up your cheesecake recipe.

5.    Tofu

If you have a lactose-intolerant friend visiting or a vegetarian friend coming over, consider making a tofu cheesecake.

Once again, you’ll have to expect some difference in texture because the cream cheese is missing.

But you can always make creative additions to ensure that the taste is the same (if not better!).

If there are no vegetarian or lactose intolerant issues, you can try a mix of tofu with some cheese. 

A tofu and mascarpone combo seems to work well for most cheesecake recipes because you get both the rich taste and similar texture.

Many people add a small amount of lemon juice to include some of that citric goodness.

6.    Plain Greek Yoghurt

Many of the substitutes for cream cheese often fail to retain the tangy taste of the latter.

As an alternative that does well in this respect, plain Greek Yoghurt is one of the best replacements for cream cheese.

You’ll want to let it reach that thick consistency that makes it easy to spread. So, using cheesecloth to strain it first may be a good idea.

We recommend adding a pinch of salt and then whisk it till it becomes a rich cream.

If you feel that the yogurt might get excessively tangy, you can decrease the quantity and add another substitute like mascarpone or ricotta.

7.    Neufchatel Cheese

Unless you’re buying those hear-shaped, brie-looking, soft cheeses in France, the Neufchatel we get in this part of the world is basically cream cheese that has less fat.

So, taste and texture-wise, you’re not really straying away with this alternative.

The only difference may come in the richness because of the decreased fat content. But that’s a health benefit that most of us will willingly accept.

Also, spreading Neufchatel cheese is about the same as cream cheese, thanks to its semi-soft consistency.

8.    Hung Curd

Another great vegan alternative to cream cheese is hung curd. If you’ve tried cooking Indian dishes before, you may be familiar with this curd.

It’s essentially made ordinary curd, but with the whey drained. The end result is a much creamier and thicker curd that’s a great replacement for cream cheese.

It makes a great addition to cream cake frostings. And you can enhance the sweetness by adding a bit of honey or maple syrup.

As far as the quantity goes, you can use the same amount as you do for cream cheese.

9.    Gervais

Saving one of the best substitutes for cream cheese as the last item on this list, it’s the French classic – Gervais.

While it’s an awesome replacement for cream cheese in cheesecakes, some regions might find availability an issue. But if you can get your hands on some, it’s one of the closest stand-ins for regular cream cheese.

The creaminess, easy spreading, and richness all remind you of cream cheese. And you still get that sweet and tangy goodness of a classic cheesecake.