As with most types of food in the world, some people love goat cheese, and some people hate it.
There is always going to be a goat-cheese naysayer in the family or circle of friends that you will end up cooking for, so it’s a good idea to come up with some goat cheese substitutes to appease all tastes and dietary needs.
In this article, we’ll give a brief explanation of what goat cheese is, why you may need to substitute it, and our top five recommendations for the best goat cheese substitute for all kinds of goat cheeses and their corresponding dishes.
What is Goat Cheese?
Goat Cheese is a cheese made from curdling goat’s milk, separating the curds, and pressing them repeatedly to achieve the desired form and texture. Goat’s milk can be soft and spreadable. It can also be aged to hard, sliceable cheese. Lastly, it can be a crumbly cheese.
Goat cheese comes in as many variations as cow or sheep milk cheese and can thus be a centerpiece on a charcuterie board, a salad, soup, or taco topper, and even a dessert ingredient.
Hard goat cheeses may be a bit tangier while softer, creamier goat cheeses are milder. However, a lot of goat cheese has a distinctly gamey flavor that also pervades goat meat.
Goat milk and cow milk may resemble each other in fat content. Still, goat’s milk has higher caproic, caprylic, and capric fatty acids, which are both easier to digest for humans and are the underlying cause for the gamey, sour taste that sets it apart. It also has less lactose than cow’s milk.
Goat cheese tends to have fewer calories than cow or sheep’s milk cheese and offers healthy saturated fats, a wealth of healthy probiotics, vitamin B, calcium, and phosphorus.
Recommended Goat Cheese Substitutes
You can use sheep or goat milk feta, ricotta cheese or blue cheese as Goat cheese substitutes because they have the same closeness in taste and texture as goat cheese. Other alternatives are Mascarpone and Tofu cheese.
1. Sheep or Goat Milk Feta
Feta cheese originated in Greece and is made with either sheep milk or a combination of sheep and goat milk that is curdled, then cured in brine for four to six weeks. Feta is perfectly crumbly, salty, and tangy. It is the best substitute for goat cheese because it is the closest texturally and flavor-wise to goat cheese without the gaminess. Therefore, feta cheese is the best goat cheese substitute for those who don’t like the taste of goat cheese.
Feta is also the most like goat cheese in terms of macronutrient make-up, having a high protein and low-fat content, so it is a great substitute for anyone on a low-fat, low-carb diet.
You can find feta cheese at any grocery store. Most grocery stores offer a wide variety of feta cheeses including, Greek, Bulgarian, French, and American; each type differs slightly in creaminess, saltiness, and texture.
The best dishes to use Feta instead of goat cheese are on salads, in savory tarts and pastries like Spanakopita, pasta, and dips like spinach artichoke.
Related Article: Can You Freeze Feta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese originated in Italy and is the product of residual whey (one of two proteins found in milk) from other cheeses that undergoes another coagulation process. Ricotta can come from cow, goat, sheep, or water buffalo milk whey and is a fresh cheese, meaning. As a fresh cheese, ricotta is super creamy, soft, and rich with a mild flavor.
It is a great goat cheese substitute for individuals who aren’t into the strong goat cheese flavor but still want a soft, creamy cheese that tastes great cold and lends well to baking.
Ricotta is an excellent substitute for goat cheese in its softer, spreadable forms. You can use ricotta in sweet or savory dishes, and it pairs beautifully with honey and fruit on a cheese plate. It is as easy to find as goat or feta cheese, having gained global popularity.
The most popular dishes for ricotta are stuffed shells, manicotti, pizza, soup topping or thickener, and cheesecakes.
Related Article: Best Substitutes For Ricotta Cheese
3. Blue Cheese
Blue cheese is one of the oldest forms of cheese and thus comes in dozens of forms and variations, the most popular of which include Roquefort and Gorgonzola. Blue cheese is made by adding the mold culture Penicillium to milk as it forms curds or directly to the curds themselves. There are cow, goat, and sheep milk versions of blue cheese as the defining characteristic is the Penicillium culture, which creates the distinctive blue veins for which it is named.
Blue cheese can be soft and crumbly or hard but has an incredibly strong odor and flavor comparable in distinctiveness to goat cheese. Blue cheese is also a very healthy cheese that is good for gut health, visceral fat control, and reducing heart disease.
You can find multiple variations of blue cheese at the grocery store and cheese shop. Due to its strong flavor, a little bit goes a long way. It combines wonderfully with dried fruit, apples, pears, and candied nuts in salads or over bread. It is also a great pizza and pasta topper.
Mascarpone cheese is another Italian cheese that is as luxurious as it is simple. It is made by coagulating cream with citric acid, lemon juice, or vinegar. It is, therefore, a type of cream cheese but without the tang.
Mascarpone is an excellent soft goat cheese alternative that makes up for its mild flavor in richness. You can find it in most grocery stores. It is the sweetest of the cheeses on our list of substitutes. You can substitute it for full-fat yogurt, top it with fruit and honey and eat it with a spoon. You’ll also see mascarpone in Italian desserts like Cannoli and Tiramisu and a key ingredient in cake frosting.
Because it is bland, you can also make it savory or tangy, using it in all kinds of pasta dishes, risottos, and sauces.
For lactose intolerant, non-dairy eaters, and vegans, Tofu is the best substitute for goat cheese. Tofu is coagulated soy milk, often known as bean curd. It, therefore, undergoes a similar process as cheese does, as coagulated curds of milk can undergo further pressing to achieve the desired texture.
Also similar to cheese, tofu has a high fat and protein content, but unlike cheese, tofu is cholesterol-free.
You can find all the different textures of tofu at your local grocery store. Tofu packaging generally categorizes tofu type by firmness, and there are usually four types available: Silken, Soft, Firm, and Super Firm.
Tofu has a neutral flavor and easily absorbs any flavor you marinade, bake, or saute it with. To ensure that Tofu absorbs and retains the desired flavors or seasonings, it is crucial that you get rid of all excess water from both the container and the tofu. We recommend wrapping the drained block of tofu in a kitchen towel and placing a heavy plate on top of it for 15-30 minutes to fully dry it out so it will fully absorb marinades, flavorings, and oils.
The great thing about Tofu is that it has varying degrees of firmness, so if you want a crumbly goat cheese replacement, you can break up firm or extra firm tofu and combine it with cheesy seasonings like nutritional yeast or garlic salt.
On the other hand, if you want a spreadable or creamy vegan substitute for goat cheese, you can use super soft, silken tofu. You can blend silken tofu with salty or sweet additives in a blender or food processor to spread over crackers and bread or use in cheesecakes, tarts, or pies.
Why Would You Need to Substitute Goat Cheese?
There are various scenarios and reasons to use a substitute for goat cheese. First and foremost is that it has a distinct flavor that many people just don’t like. Goat milk, goat cheese, and goat meat have a particular gaminess that is both unmistakable and quite strong.
Another reason could be an allergy to goat milk or meat, for which there is plenty of cow and sheep milk substitutes out there that have similar textures, protein to fat ratios, and flavor profiles.
A third reason could just be a scarcity of the type of goat cheese a recipe specifies. You may show up at your local grocery store to find that they are out of stock or simply don’t carry the goat cheese you need, and you may not have the time to look elsewhere. It’s, therefore, always a good idea to have a few goat cheese alternatives in mind, just in case.
The final reason you would need to substitute goat cheese is for lactose intolerant and vegan individuals who cannot eat dairy products. It’s always a bit more challenging to find substitutes that manage to encompass the texture, nutritional composition, and flavor profile of dairy products; it isn’t impossible.
Now you have plenty of options for any last-minute substitutions you may need to make to your dinner plans. Not everyone may be a fan of goat chess, but nearly everyone can find a favorite in the goat cheese substitutes listed above.
More on Cheese Substitute: