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The 5 Best Mascarpone Cheese Substitute & How to Use Them

Lisa Price
Last Updated on
by Lisa Price

There is a wide range of mascarpone cheese substitute such as Crème Fraîche, cream cheese, sour cream, full-fat Greek yogurt and so many more to consider.

If you run out of mascarpone cheese when preparing your Tiramisu cake, don’t fret. There are lots of options that can provide the rich creaminess your dessert or savory dish needs. 

But, it is important to keep in mind that some alternatives can change a recipe in terms of taste, texture, and creaminess. You may have to do a few modifications to your preferred substitute for it to mimic the taste and creaminess of mascarpone.

Mascarpone
Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone Cheese Substitutes

The 5 cheese similar to mascarpone:

  1. Cream cheese
  2. Ricotta cheese
  3. Crème Fraîche
  4. Cottage
  5. Full-fat greek yogurt

While these kinds of cheeses make excellent mascarpone alternatives, it’s advisable to pay attention to their texture. Texture dictates where and how each alternative can be used.

For example, cream cheese has a smooth consistency, making it suitable for sweet dishes. Ricotta, on the other hand, has a grainy texture more ideal for savory recipes.

Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese
Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is the most common mascarpone substitute – mainly because it is readily available.

It is packed with Vitamin A – a fat-soluble vitamin that is known to improve vision and the immune system.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that you cannot get the same flavor you obtain from mascarpone when you use cream cheese alone. Therefore, you have to add whipped cream and sour cream/butter to get that silky smooth consistency and taste.

Here’s a quick recipe for making cream cheese as a mascarpone substitute.

  • 1 ½  cups of cream cheese (or more depending on how much you need)
  • ¼ whipping cream
  • ¼ sour cream or softened butter

Remove your cream cheese sour cream/butter from the refrigerator and allow it to get to room temperature. Then, whisk the cream cheese thoroughly to get the same consistency as mascarpone cheese.

You will then add whipping cream and continue mixing. The whipping cream will mask the tanginess of the cream cheese while providing the same silky smoothness you get from mascarpone.

Proceed to add the sour or softened butter and continue mixing. When adding the additional ingredients to the cream cheese, add a small portion at a time to allow everything to blend perfectly.

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is an excellent source of minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, which are beneficial for our bones.

Although it has almost the same creaminess and smoothness as mascarpone, ricotta cheese has a grainy texture. That’s why you need to add an additional ingredient to make it more comparable.

Thankfully, it’s an easy addition. You can substitute ricotta for mascarpone with this simple “recipe.”

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese

In a blender, add 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of ricotta cheese (you can adjust the amounts of your ingredients to your preferences.) Start blending the mixture at a low speed and gradually increase while adding the remaining cup of heavy cream. Keep making additions until peaks form and it’s the consistency you want.

Crème Fraîche

Crème Fraîche is regarded as one of the best mascarpone cheese substitute
Crème Fraîche

Crème Fraîche is actually the French version of mascarpone cheese and can make a great alternative. However, there are several differences between the two. Crème Fraîche isn’t as fatty and thick as mascarpone. It is also quite acidic, so it has a bit of a tangy taste.

It has almost half the fat content as original mascarpone cheese, making it perfect if you’re on a diet. It also contains high levels of vitamin A and protein.

Let’s look at a quick recipe on how to make Crème Fraîche as a mascarpone substitute.

  • 8 ounces of Crème Fraîche
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar

Begin by putting the Crème Fraîche in a bowl and whisking it. Then, add ¼ a cup of granulated sugar in small portions as you whisk the Crème Fraîche. The sugar will mask the tanginess of the Crème Fraîche, giving it that sweetness you need. Continue whisking the mixture until it is thoroughly combined or forms peaks.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese

Cottage is also a great mascarpone substitute if you’re on a diet because it has fewer calories than mascarpone cheese. It also has a higher protein content, which may be beneficial for you if you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight.

This cheese is packed with calcium –  a nutrient that plays a huge role in bone health.

The main difference between both cheeses is the texture because it contains curd. Here’s a recipe for making cottage as a mascarpone alternative.

  • 1.5 liters of milk (whichever kind you like) or cream if you prefer
  • One juiced lemon
  • Crème Fraîche or heavy cream
  • A pinch of salt

Put the milk in a cooking pan, add the pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Once it has boiled, lower the heat to the lowest setting and add about 5-6 tablespoons of the lemon to the milk-salt mixture.

After adding the lemon, you’ll notice the milk starting to curdle. Begin stirring with a wooden spoon for about 7 minutes. At this point, you’ll notice that the mixture has formed a buttery texture. If it hasn’t, continue stirring until it does.

Once your mixture has a smooth consistency, put the mixture in a damp cheesecloth and lower it into a container. Allow it to rest for approximately 15 minutes. Run the cheese in cold water for it to set. You can use it right away or keep it in the refrigerator.

If you can’t find cottage, there are cheese similar to cottage cheese that can give same flavor.

Full-Fat Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt
Full-Fat Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is another excellent alternative as it is so readily available. It is known to be a great source of probiotics, which helps maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

However, Greek yogurt isn’t as creamy and smooth as mascarpone, and it has a tangier flavor. That makes it perfect for a variety of savory dishes that typically use mascarpone cheese as an ingredient.

Can’t find Greek yogurt, or want to make a big batch to use as a mascarpone substitute? Try the following recipe so you’ll always have it on hand as an alternative.

  • ½ a gallon of full-fat milk
  • ½ a cup of store-bought Greek yogurt( you’ll need it because it has live cultures)
  • A medium-large cooking pot
  • A cheesecloth or Greek yogurt strainer

In a large pot, add the milk and bring it to a boil. Once it has boiled, turn off the heat immediately and allow it to cool for between 30 minutes to an hour. Then, measure ½ a cup of Greek yogurt and allow it to set to room temperature.

Add the Greek yogurt to the milk and whisk it thoroughly. You will then cover your cooking pot with a large cloth to keep it insulated and leave it alone for 12-18 hours. It is essential to leave it for as long as you can within this time range because the longer you do, the less lactose the yogurt will contain.

After 12-18 hours, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth or a Greek yogurt strainer and keep it in the fridge for another 12-18 hours. The contents that didn’t pass through the strainer or cheesecloth is Greek yogurt.

Don’t like greek yogurt? There are plenty of greek yogurt alternatives to use.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about mascarpone cheese substitutes.

Can I Use Philadelphia Instead of Mascarpone?

Yes, you can use Philadelphia cream cheese instead of mascarpone. Philadelphia is a rich brand, but cream cheese is less creamy and contains less fat compared to mascarpone, so it’s right for you if you’re conscious about your fat intake.

However, it does have a tangier taste than traditional mascarpone.

How Do I Substitute Mascarpone Cheese in Tiramisu?

There are tons of ways you can substitute mascarpone cheese for your Tiramisu. One way to do so is to whisk together about 7-8 ounces of full fat cream with ½ a cup of whipping cream. Then, add two tablespoons of unsalted butter and continue whisking the mixture until it peaks.

Tiramisu is the pinnacle of mascarpone-based desserts. So, any substitute will give it a slightly different taste and texture. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing –  you’ll still get a delicious treat with the options listed here. But, it won’t be “traditional.”

Can I Use Yogurt Instead of Mascarpone?

Yes, you can. Yogurt – especially Greek yogurt (both low-fat and full-fat), is an excellent mascarpone alternative suitable for a variety of sweet and savory dishes.

Apart from its thick creamy consistency and neutral taste, it is packed with tons of nutrients, such as protein and calcium, making it a healthier alternative.

What Is the Difference Between Mascarpone and Soft Cheese?

The main difference between these two kinds of cheese is the amount of milk fat they contain, which influences their creaminess and taste.

Mascarpone cheese has more milk fat content than soft cheese, meaning it has a richer taste and creamier texture. Soft cheese might be able to be used as a substitute in a pinch. If you do, however, it’s best to use it in savory dishes, only.

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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