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The 5 Best Substitutes for Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is one of those quintessential comfort foods that just about everyone loves.

It’s creamy, salty, and a little bit tangy – what’s not to love? Whether you’re enjoying it on a bagel or spreading it on a piece of toast, cream cheese is always a delicious choice.

In fact, some people even like to eat it straight out of the tub.

But cream cheese isn’t just for breakfast.

This versatile ingredient can be used in all sorts of sweet and savory recipes.

From cheesecake to macaroni and cheese, there are endless possibilities for cooking with cream cheese.

But what if you’re out of cream cheese and don’t want to run to the store? Never fear; there are plenty of delicious substitutes for cream cheese that will let you get your snack on.

Keep reading for some of our favorites.

What is Cream Cheese?

what is cream cheese

Cream cheese is a type of cheese made by adding cream to milk and then curdling it with rennet or an acidic ingredient like lemon juice.

The result is a smooth, creamy cheese with a mild flavor.

This extra cream makes cream cheese richer and smoother than other types of cheese, such as cheddar or Swiss.

Cream cheese can be used in various ways, including spreading on toast or bagels, using as a dip for crackers or vegetables, or baking into desserts.

While it is often associated with breakfast foods, cream cheese can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Thanks to its versatile texture and mild flavor, cream cheese is a popular ingredient in savory and sweet dishes.

There are many different brands of cream cheese available and a variety of flavors.

Plain cream cheese is the most popular type, but some versions are flavored with herbs, spices, or fruit.

Some brands of cream cheese are even made with low-fat or non-fat milk for a lighter option.

While cream cheese originated in the United States, it is now widely available worldwide.

In addition to its traditional usage in recipes, cream cheese has also become popular as an ingredient in savory dishes such as pasta and pizza.

As its popularity continues to grow, cream cheese remains one of the world’s most versatile and well-loved cheeses.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cream Cheese

For those who are looking for a cream cheese substitute, there are several options available.

Here are five of the best substitutes for cream cheese, based on flavor, texture, and versatility:

1. Sour Cream

sour cream

Sour cream is a delicious, creamy condiment that can enhance the flavor of many dishes.

It is made by adding bacteria to the cream, which causes the cream to thicken and develop a slightly sour taste.

Sour cream is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin A, and it also contains live bacteria that can promote digestive health.

One of the best things about sour cream is extremely versatile.

It can be used in dips, sauces, baking, or simply topping for potatoes or other cooked dishes.

Whether you are looking for a healthy dairy option or a tasty way to add flavor to your food, sour cream is worth trying.

When substituting for cream cheese, consider the thickness and slightly sour taste.

It can enhance the flavor of many dishes, but you may want to use a little less than you would cream cheese because of its tanginess.

2. Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt

Yogurt is a delicious and healthy snack that has been enjoyed for centuries.

One of the most popular types of yogurt is Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is made by straining out the whey, which leaves behind a thicker, creamier product.

Greek yogurt also has a higher protein content than regular yogurt.

In addition to being a great source of protein, Greek yogurt also contains probiotics, which are live bacteria that can help to improve gut health.

Greek yogurt can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base for smoothies, dips, or other recipes.

Greek yogurt has a tangier flavor and is less rich compared to cream cheese.

When substituting Greek yogurt for cream cheese in a recipe, it is important to consider this.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative to cream cheese, Greek yogurt is a great choice.

3. Neufchatel


Neufchatel is a type of cheese that originated in the French village of Neufchatel-en-Bray.

The cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a mild, slightly nutty flavor.

It is usually sold in a heart-shaped form, and its name comes from the French word for “new cheese”.

Today, Neufchatel is made in several countries, including the United States.

It can be used as a substitute for cream cheese in recipes, and it also makes a great addition to a cheeseboard.

The texture of Neufchatel is similar to that of cream cheese, but it is slightly firmer.

When substituting Neufchatel for cream cheese in a recipe, you may need to add a little extra liquid to the mixture.

4. Mascarpone


Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese that has a very smooth and creamy texture.

It is made from cow’s milk and has a slightly sweet flavor.

Mascarpone is often used in desserts, such as tiramisu and cannoli.

It can also be used in savory dishes, such as risotto.

Mascarpone is a versatile cheese and can be used in many different ways.

Whether you’re making a sweet or savory dish, mascarpone can add a rich and creamy flavor to take your dish to the next level.

When substituting mascarpone for cream cheese, you need to consider the cheese’s sweetness.

If you’re making a savory dish, you may want to add a little less sugar or use a sweeter variety of cream cheese.

Mascarpone is also a bit runnier than cream cheese, so you may need to add less liquid to your recipe.

Overall, mascarpone is a great substitute for cream cheese and can be used in many different ways.

5. Ricotta Cheese

ricotta cheese

Ricotta cheese is a creamy, soft cheese often used in Italian cuisine.

It’s made by heating milk and adding an acid, which causes the milk to curdle.

The curds are then strained to produce a smooth, creamy cheese.

Ricotta has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and can be used in sweet and savory dishes.

In Italy, it’s often used in lasagna or stuffed pasta dishes.

Ricotta is also a popular filling for desserts like cannoli and cheesecake.

While it’s not an exact replacement for cream cheese, ricotta can substitute in many recipes.

Ricotta is much softer than cream cheese, so it may not provide the same structure to a dish.

It also has a sweeter flavor, so it’s not ideal for savory recipes.

When substituting ricotta for cream cheese, you may need to add a little extra salt to balance the sweetness.

You can also use a ricotta mixture and cottage cheese for a closer match to cream cheese.

Just be sure to drain any excess liquid from the ricotta before using it in your recipe.


Cream cheese is a versatile ingredient used in sweet or savory dishes.

While some recipes can substitute other cheeses, cream cheese provides a unique texture and flavor that cannot be replicated exactly.

When substituting another cheese for cream cheese, it is important to consider the flavor and texture of the cheese and how it will melt.

Each of these substitutes will work in some recipes but may not be the best choice for every dish.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cream Cheese

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cream Cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Sour Cream
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Neufchatel
  • Mascarpone
  • 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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