Ricotta cheese is a versatile ingredient used in a variety of recipes, from savory to sweet dishes. It’s creamy, slightly tangy, and pairs well with a range of flavors. However, for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply can’t find ricotta cheese at their local grocery store, finding a suitable substitute for ricotta cheese can be challenging.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to ricotta cheese that can be used in a variety of recipes. In this blog, we will explore the best ricotta cheese substitutes and how to use them in your favorite dishes.
Whether you’re searching for a dairy-free option or simply want to switch up your usual ingredients, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of ricotta cheese alternatives!
What’s Ricotta Cheese?
Whey cheese (another name for ricotta cheese) is one of the common dairy products from Italy. It is made of the curdled liquid left over after a cheese-making process.
Traditionally, people often use milk of cow, sheep, buffalo, and goat (in combination or not). But sheep milk is always the top of choice for the best quality. Then, they leave the whey in room-temperature fermentation for 24 hours.
When the mix gets acidic, the next step is to heat it until fine curds are formed. Next, they make strains resulting in cheese becoming dry and solid with slight moisture.
Despite being a dairy product, ricotta is a healthy choice for those with milk allergy and intolerance problems. Put simply; the boiling process helps denature the protein content to make it more digestible.
For more details about the nutritional value, each cup of this ingredient can provide:
- Calories: 428
- Fat: 32 grams
- Saturated fat: 20 grams
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Cholesterol: 125 mg
Recommended Substitute For Ricotta Cheese
In world cuisine, people have tons of interesting ideas as the replacement for ricotta cheese. But to pick the best substitute for ricotta cheese, several factors are needed to consider.
For instance, this food does not melt and becomes a crust. Moreover, it excels in making sauce or liquid mix much smoother and richer. The cheese tends to be quite moist without a cooking process with some grits.
So exactly, what kind of cheese is ricotta? Or what does ricotta cheese taste like? For better understanding, we bring here a description as below.
- Texture: It is a soft, slightly moist stuff with a grainy texture. That said, it is not lumpy or extremely creamy at all.
- Consistency: Instead of being too hard or dry, it is so mouth-watering in a smooth consistency along with great softness.
- Taste: It bears a sweet and milky taste with a mild aroma.
So, what can offer those things like ricotta?
1. Cream Cheese
One of the best points people find with this alternative is undoubtedly its creaminess. This ricotta cheese alternative has a charming, sweet taste and brings a milk-like flavor. Another goodness that makes this cheese similar to ricotta is the light, smooth, with high density.
There are several notes for you to bear in mind when cooking this dish. We suggest adding some egg or sour cream into the mix, including the cream cheese. The addition holds a key in thinning the mixture and avoiding the buildup.
How to use: For spreads, dips in sweet or savory recipes for both uncooked and cooked methods.
2. Fromage Blanc
Fromage Blanc is not a bad idea for fermented dairy products to replace ricotta for those in Belgium or France.
Fromage blanc is quite impressive with an excellent soft creamy texture made with skimmed or whole milk/cream. In general, this ingredient has some similarities with the quark. With the fat-free content and milky flavor, Fromage blanc is useful for flavor improvement of the dishes.
How to use: Toppings for pizzas or desserts (like yogurt) with fruit. It is why retail brands often organize yogurt alongside Fromage blanc in their supermarkets. You can also spread it for bread with jam, savory dishes, fillings for pastry or pasta, sauces.
The cottage is a commonly used food that can benefit human health. It provides a lot of vitamins and essential nutrients, including vitamins B1, B3, B6, vitamin A, and numerous other essential minerals.
Therefore, this food often stands on the diets of sports athletes, malnourished patients, or bodybuilders. Also, it can combine with other ingredients for the menu of dieters.
The cottage is similar to the ricotta in its lumpy texture. Additionally, it is quite sweet and milky, too. In comparison, cottage’s fat content and calories are considerably less than those in the other.
How to use: For the savory recipes, including pizza, lasagna, mac and cheese, pasta, and so forth.
Mascarpone has a type of cream cheese of Italian origin. Turophiles often add it as the primary ingredient into tiramisu and Italian-styled dessert recipes for texture enhancement.
So, how can mascarpone be in place of ricotta?
In comparing ricotta vs mascarpone, they bear nearly the same milky and sweet taste. As for differences, mascarpone seems to be richer and fattier than its counterpart. Not only that, ricotta is not as creamy as this cheese. Hence, it will be a need to thin mascarpone out a bit in some recipes.
How to use: For spaghetti, lasagna, toppings of desserts, tiramisu, mashed potato, and spreads.
5. Sour Cream
Sour cream is the product of a process in which the cheesemakers add the lactic-acid bacteria into the dairy cream. Consequently, it results in a slightly thick and tart substance.
Originally, sour cream was one of the favorite sour foods in Central Europe and Eastern cuisines. For years, this ingredient has moved to many other countries.
The sour cream is pretty milky, rich, and sweet as a stand-in for ricotta. However, it does not have the 100% same consistency and texture as the original. That said, it still works for various recipes.
How to use: For dips with vegetables and fruit.
6. Goat Cheese
One note is that it can work as a potential replacement for ricotta only in fresh condition.
Goat cheese or Chevre (its name in France) is as creamy as ricotta with the same texture. But it tastes more acidic than its counterpart. Thus, it would be helpful to add some sugar if you are not a sour food lover.
How to use: For lasagna, pasta, fruit platters, pizza, and many other savory recipes.
7. Greek Yogurt
Another way to replace your beloved ingredient is to use strained yogurt or Greek yogurt. We know for sure that it can deliver around 90% similar texture and taste to the original.
Due to a process of straining, Greek yogurt contains a higher amount of milk than regular yogurt in the same volume.
After removing the liquid, Greek yogurt will be tangier and thicker than the regular type. In terms of nutrients, Greek yogurt provides more protein and contains less sugar as well as carbs and sugar than regular yogurt does.
This food tends to contain more liquid than ricotta does. Hence, it would help if you strained it well to the right desired consistency before adding it into your recipes.
How to use: For toasts, salads, shakes, and dips.
The buttermilk one is relatively tangy and creamy like the original ingredient. Put simply; it is like a combination of sour cream and cream cheese. This substitute tastes quite sweet, acidic, and slightly moist.
The best part about this sub is its easy-digestion nature. If you have problems with the stomach, you’re better off switching to this ingredient. You won’t sacrifice other nutrients since it’s chock-full of vitamin A, D, and protein.
How to use: For the savory cooking recipes such as pasta and spaghetti and pasta (remember to use warm pasta for the best result.
9. Pot Cheese
The name somehow indicates the way a pot cheese comes. Its origin is from the farmhouse kitchens where farmers collect milk to make the fresh cheese in a simple method. They just place the cheese in a pot to use for days.
In other words, this one is another version of cottage cheese in a bit thicker consistency with curds. And this cheese comes from the milk source mostly of sheep, cows, and goats.
How to use: For all of the ricotta cheese-based dishes.
For the next recommendation of the list, we have the cheeses of Mexico. In other words, it is exactly the one called requeson – one of the best cousins of ricotta.
This ingredient is the product of a combination between milk (10%) and whey from cheese production. Then, it is time for the stage of heating, skimming, and draining that mixture.
Requeson bears the sweet and milky taste akin to ricotta. Moreover, it also has a moist, creamy texture. In particular, this sub contains low fat along with high protein. So, it is also a kind of ideal food for those who have health problems.
How to use: For spreads, dips, desserts, dips, and ingredients of baking.
Have you ever tried to enjoy a meal in an Indian-styled restaurant? If YES, you probably could taste the white ingredient that looks like cheese. Well, it is exactly the paneer.
Paneer is a type of soft cheese of Asian origin. To make it, people curdle the hot milk by using a sour addition such as lemon juice and vinegar. Paneer has become a common vegetarian cheese in India with plant-based ingredients.
In general, paneer is most like ricotta when made of cow milk. It will taste so fresh and won’t melt.
How to use: Mainly for Indian dishes like curries, soups, and sandwiches.
When it comes to the vegan substitute for ricotta cheese, you should never ignore tofu. This vegan ricotta recipe is commonly in a block form made by the process of pressing soy curds from soybeans.
As for the nutritional value, tofu is rich in protein. Furthermore, it contains essential amino acids for the human body. Tofu is also a great source of carbs, fats, and various minerals and vitamins.
In terms of flavor, this Chinese staple is relatively similar to ricotta for the mild, fluffy, and light note. Generally, the substitute has the same fresh texture as the ricotta.
How to use: For lasagna, cannelloni, savory tarts, vegan cheesecake, stuffed shells pasta, stuffed mushrooms, enchiladas, toast, zucchini boats, eggplant Parmesan, pizza, waffles, pancakes.