Have you ever been in the middle of baking a cheesecake and realized you’re out of cream cheese? Panic no more.
Here, you will find a list of the best cream cheese substitutes for cheesecake so that you can enjoy your dessert without any hassle.
You won’t need to worry anymore about missing ingredients ruining your favorite recipes.
What is the Purpose of Cream Cheese in Cheesecake?
Cream cheese is often thought of as the main ingredient in cheesecake.
But what makes it so important? Cream cheese plays two roles in a cheesecake recipe – it is not only the primary dairy product used in making cheesecake, but it also plays a role in forming the texture and flavor profile of each individual slice.
The base for a classic cheesecake typically includes cream cheese, sugar and eggs.
The fat from the cream cheese helps to create a thick and creamy texture for your dessert.
The acidity of cream cheese also helps interact with the other ingredients to form that signature taste everyone loves in this sweet treat—everything from lemony tart to nutty smooth flavors can be achieved when using cream cheese in your recipe.
Additionally, extra ingredients such as vanilla extract or flavors like Nutella can be added to customize your own custom blend at home.
When making cheesecakes, choosing quality ingredients is of paramount importance.
Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese when baking instead of reduced-fat varieties that may not result in an optimal texture.
Tips on using cream cheese in cheesecake
When baking with cream cheese, it’s important to understand that its purpose is to create a creamy consistency and rich taste.
In addition to this, cream cheese plays a role in the overall stability of the finished product, providing structure and helping ensure that your cheesecake doesn’t collapse during baking.
While room temperature is best for any type of baking recipe-particularly one using cream cheese-it can also be used straight out of the refrigerator in some cases.
Since cream cheese has such a strong flavor, it’s important not to overload your cheesecake with too much of it.
Aim for a ratio of two parts graham cracker crumbs to one part melted butter, one and a half parts cream cheese, and two parts sugar.
You may need to experiment slightly with the proportions to get exactly the texture you are looking for.
Cheesecake recipes usually call for Philadelphia brand cream cheese, but many other brands exist that offer good results as well; whichever you choose will most likely turn out fine regardless as long as all of your ingredients are at room temperature.
With this in mind, if Philadelphia brand is unavailable or you simply don’t want to use it there are several alternatives available ranging from tofu-based substitutes like soft tofu blended until smooth with soy milk and turbinado sugar, pureed silken tofu mixed with powdered sugar and vanilla extract or mixed up cooked ricotta (a Neapolitan classic) blended until smooth before folding into the batter just before baking.
5 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cheesecake
Fortunately, there are alternatives to cream cheese that are just as tasty and still give you the same results as using cream cheese itself.
Here’s a look at five of the best cream cheese substitutes for cheesecake.
1 – Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a widely available and popular alternative to cream cheese in cheesecake recipes.
To use it as a substitute, it is important to strain the curd from the liquid whey and then blend it until it is smooth.
Strain the cottage cheese for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been removed, then use it as you would cream cheese.
The result will be a milder but still creamy texture and flavor.
However, the lack of fat content can make the end result slightly dryer than a cheesecake made with cream cheese.
To help prevent dryness, add an extra tablespoon of butter into the mixture when blending.
2 – Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt and contains far less sugar.
It is also higher in protein and calcium, making it an excellent addition to cheesecakes.
Greek yogurt can be used in place of cream cheese as it has a similar texture to that of full-fat cream cheese, but does not have the same richness.
However, it will give the cheesecake a subtle tangy flavor and enhanced texture.
For a healthier option, use full-fat Greek yogurt or for lower fat content, choose low fat or nonfat varieties – although bear in mind that this may require additional sweetening for best results.
3 – Mascarpone Cheese
Mascarpone cheese is a type of Italian cheese that can add sweetness and complexity to your cheesecake.
It’s creamy, easy-to-spread, and has a lower fat content than cream cheese.
To use mascarpone in lieu of cream cheese, use the same amount as you would for cream cheese in your recipe.
Just be mindful that mascarpone does not contain any tartness or tanginess like cream cheese does.
To successfully bake a cheesecake with mascarpone, it’s best to mix other ingredients such as Greek yogurt or sour cream into the batter for a tangy balance.
The mascarpone brings out a robust flavor profile in the end product – making it hard to differentiate from those made with regular cream cheese.
4 – Neufchâtel Cheese
Neufchâtel cheese is an easily accessible alternative to cream cheese.
It has a slightly less fat content than cream cheese, making it slightly more adaptable in many recipes.
The taste is nearly indistinguishable from cream cheese, so it is a great choice if you’re looking to make your recipe healthier.
Neufchatel can also be easily mashed into a paste for added versatility in cooking.
5 – Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is a soft, wet cheese that is composed of curds that are created from the leftover whey when making other cheeses.
It’s Creamy and mild in flavor, with slight grainy texture.
Ricotta is uniquely low in fat, making it an excellent choice for reducing unhealthy fats from diets.
A popular cheese around the globe, this Italian based favorite also delivers calcium and proteins and can be used as a cream cheese substitute in other desserts such as tiramisu or archipelago cream pie.
When substituted for cream cheese in cheesecake, ricotta gives the dish a more subtle sweetness and smoothness.
In conclusion, cream cheese is an important part of the cheesecake-making process.
It gives the dessert its classic flavor and texture.
However, if you’re looking for some alternatives, there are many other kinds of cheese that offer similar flavor and qualities.
From cream cheese replacements to vegan-friendly options, these five picks should give you a good starting point as you explore different options for your cheesecake.
The right selection will depend on your taste preference and dietary restrictions, so be sure to experiment with different types and find out which one works best for you.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!