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The 5 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cheesecake

Have you ever wondered how to make the creamiest, tastiest cheesecake?

Everyone loves a decadent dessert, but so often, it seems too complicated and time-consuming.

Let’s put an end to that and explore the tried-and-true secret: cream cheese.

Not all cheesecakes rely solely on cream cheese for its creamy texture, of course.

You can also substitute mascarpone, ricotta, or crème fraîche for a slightly different flavor and texture.

To find out the full range of cream cheese substitutes and recipes for top-notch cheesecakes using this ingredient, read on.

What is the Purpose of Cream Cheese in Cheesecake?

Cream cheese plays an important role in cheesecake, a beloved dessert found all around the world.

It provides the velvety smooth texture and subtle tangy flavor that characterizes many desserts made with cream cheese.

The purpose of cream cheese is to contribute to the body and creamy texture of the cake while providing a bit of contrast to its sweet flavors.

With its distinct taste, it acts as a balance between adding mainstream sweetness but also giving the dish complexity.

Using cream cheese as an essential ingredient also allows cheesecakes to bind without relying on eggs alone or becoming overly dense and heavy.

Cream cheese is versatile and can be used in different forms in other recipes, too—such as baking it directly into pancakes for a unique flavor or using it as part of a savory filling for a quesadilla.

The 5 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cheesecake

If you are looking for a lower-calorie or vegan alternative, you might want to consider these five cream cheese substitutes that are perfect for making a delicious and unique cheesecake.

1 – Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a curd dairy product made by draining the whey from regular cheese.

This smooth and creamy cheese has a mild flavor that can range from slightly acidic to sweet.

Its texture varies, as it has lumps depending on the type you purchase, which can range from small-curded to large-curled.

Cottage cheese is a great substitution for cream cheese in other recipes like cheesecake.

To make cottage cheese into cream-cheese consistency, place it with a slotted spoon into the center of a sheet of cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid with your hands for about five minutes – resulting in a thick yet spreadable traditional-tasting cheesecake without any artificial ingredients or added sugar.

2 – Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has become a staple in kitchens around the world with its thick and creamy texture that’s similar to sour cream or cream cheese.

This dairy product is strained several times to remove excess water, resulting in a protein-packed yogurt that’s great for breakfast or snack time.

Greek yogurt also works well as a substitute for cream cheese when making cheesecake, as it adds flavor and moisture without overpowering the dish.

To incorporate Greek yogurt into your favorite cheesecake recipe, simply replace the cream cheese with an equal amount of Greek yogurt, adding more sugar since Greek yogurt doesn’t have any added sweeteners.

You may need to adjust additional amounts of other ingredients, such as sour cream, based on your recipe instructions.

3 – Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese with a rich history and flavor.

One of the creamiest, richest cheeses you can find, mascarpone has become an important ingredient in many desserts, especially cheesecake – and it’s easy to understand why.

What sets mascarpone apart from other cheeses is its incredibly smooth texture and sweet, creamy taste.

It also substitutes wonderfully for cream cheese in traditional recipes for cheesecake if you’re looking to spruce up a classic dessert.

With just one try of mascarpone cheese, you’ll fall head over heels in love with its unique flavor profile and texture – be prepared to make it your go-to ingredient when baking desserts.

4 – Neufchâtel Cheese

Neufchâtel cheese is thought to have originated around the small village of Neufchâtel, situated in northern France.

This semi-soft cheese has a unique shape – typically presented as six individual triangular pieces – and is known for its mild, slightly salty flavor.

Like cream cheese, it has a rich texture, although neufchâtel cheese is lower in fat and calories than regular cream cheese.

In the culinary world, it can often be used as a great substitute for cream cheese when baking cheesecake; just ensure that you reduce the amount of liquid added to your recipe as that may be too thin if substituted 1:1.

5 – Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is a type of Italian cheese traditionally made from the whey left over from producing other cheeses.

A fresh, mild-tasting, and creamy cheese with a slightly grainy texture, it often features lasagna, ravioli, and other popular Italian dishes.

For those looking for something a bit different than cream cheese for their cheesecake, ricotta provides an interesting alternative due to its lesser sweetness but still rich and indulgent flavor.

To make a Cheese Ricotta Cheesecake substitute 1 cup of soaked and well-drained ricotta cheese or Pot Cheese for one 8-ounce package of cream cheese in the recipe.

The texture will be lighter and the flavor richer – perfect for those who want something unique yet still delicious.


In conclusion, there are a variety of cream cheese substitutes to consider when making cheesecake.

From traditional cottage cheese to Greek yogurt, mascarpone, neufchâtel, and ricotta cheese, each offers its own unique flavor profile and texture for creating delicious desserts.

Whether you’re looking for something light or indulgent, a healthier option, or an interesting flavor combination, there’s sure to be something that will fit the bill.

Experiment with different cream cheese substitutes and explore what works best for your taste buds – you may discover a new favorite.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cheesecake

The 5 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cheesecake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Cottage Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Mascarpone Cheese
  • Neufchâtel Cheese
  • Ricotta Cheese


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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