When it comes to making cheesecake, most of us tend to use cream cheese as the main ingredient. But did you know you can make a delicious cheesecake without cream cheese too? I have handpicked 10 practical substitutes for cream cheese in cheesecake just for you.
Some of the best substitutes for cream cheese in a cheesecake include making your own cream cheese at home, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, greek yogurt, mascarpone and a few others.
Cream Cheese Substitutes
Of course, cheesecake with cream cheese is delicious!
But what if you're tired of eating it, or do not have any cream cheese at home?
There's nothing to worry about. I've compiled a list of the 10 best substitutes for cream cheese in cheesecake.
1. Homemade Cream Cheese
When that sudden craving for cheesecake kicks in and you do not have cream cheese at home, then making your own cream cheese is your best bet.
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to make your own cream cheese. It's easy, it's cheap, and it can be made in so many different flavours.
I love it because we know exactly what's in it, and you can even make it yourself at home!
Let me walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to make cream cheese using nothing but milk and lemon juice or vinegar.
How to make Cream Cheese at home:
- 1 litre full-fat Milk
- 2-3 tbsp Vinegar/Lemon Juice
- flavouring agent of choice.
Bring the milk to a rolling boil over medium heat. Switch off the heat and let it cool down a bit say around 3 mins.
Then start adding 1 tsp of vinegar a little at a time until the milk is curdled completely and you are left with green coloured liquid (whey)
Pass the mixture through a muslin cloth to separate the cheese. I can hear you yes the process till now is just the same as making paneer at home.
Hang the mixture for about 30 mins so that all the whey is drained out. ( The process till now is similar to making paneer for Rasmalai).
Then pulse the paneer in a food processor until creamy. Add a pinch of salt to flavour it. And this is also the stage to mix in flavours of choice if you like.
How simple was that!!
You can use this mixture to make your cheesecake.
2. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese can be a tasty substitute for cream cheese in your cheesecake. It's low-fat and high in protein, so it can make for a healthier dessert. The taste is mild, which means it won't overpower your other ingredients.
In fact, Cottage cheese has a lot of uses beyond just being a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake!
The only thing to note is to add a little whipping cream or sour cream or greek yogurt to your recipe to make the cottage cheese creamy and moist and not dry.
Try this cheesecake recipe using cottage cheese!!
In fact, Chenna Poda a popular Indian Cheesecake hailing from Odisha, India is made using cottage cheese.
3. Greek Yogurt
If you're looking for a healthier substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake, greek yogurt is the best choice.
Greek yogurt has a thicker and more smooth texture than plain yogurt and a sour taste. It also has more protein and less fat, which makes it a good choice if you are trying to cut down on your fat intake.
It will also be easier to find since it is available at most grocery stores.
This recipe is exactly what you are looking for!! In fact, it is made using Hung Curd.
So if you do not have access to greek yogurt you can also use hung curd here.
4. Mascarpone Cheese
Mascarpone is a soft, buttery Italian cheese that's perfect for use in place of cream cheese in cheesecake recipes. This fresh-tasting alternative has a rich and creamy texture that blends well with other ingredients, making it an ideal substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake recipes.
You can find mascarpone at most grocery stores or specialty markets. It comes in small tubs containing about 8 ounces (227 grams) each and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks after opening.
This mascarpone cheesecake is the recipe you need to check out now.
It's no secret that tofu is a good substitute for a variety of foods. In this case, we're talking about cream cheese.
You can use tofu as a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecakes to create a vegan-friendly dessert.
The only drawback is that Cream cheese adds body, which tofu does not have, but it does absorb water quite well. To compensate for this, you should add extra flour or cornstarch when using tofu instead of cream cheese in your recipe.
Tofu also has a mild flavor and for the missing tangy element, you would definitely need a little lemon juice.
Silken Tofu has that soft texture similar to cream cheese, lemon adds the tangy element and cornstarch gives body making this deadly combination of the trio - silken tofu, lemon juice and cornstarch a great substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake.
This recipe exactly uses the above-said formula.
If you'd like to make a cheesecake without using cream cheese, then this Italian cream cheese - "Ricotta cheese" is a great option.
Ricotta is a soft Italian cheese. It's often used in savory dishes like lasagna and cannolis, but it can also be used in cheesecakes.
To make a ricotta-based cheesecake, definitely mix equal amounts of heavy cream and ricotta cheese together.
Ricotta is a little grainier than cream cheese and hence mixing with heavy cream makes it a bit smoother.
Just like Tofu do consider adding little lemon juice if you are using Ricotta
Here is a cheesecake recipe using Ricotta.
7. Almonds or Cashewnuts Cream Cheese
If you're a vegan who's looking to make a cheesecake, or if you're just trying to avoid dairy products, here are some tips for creating a creamy, dreamy cheesecake that doesn't contain any cream cheese.
- Soak the nuts: Soak your cashews (or almonds) in water overnight. This will help them blend up smoother.
- Blend the nuts: Once they have soaked overnight, drain them and add them to a food processor along with other ingredients until they are smooth.
This will give you a great base for your cheesecake! In fact, this is your homemade vegan cream cheese commonly known as cashew cheese.
1 cup of packed cashew nuts would be sufficient to replace 1 cup of cream cheese.
The only drawback is that you cannot use this to make baked cheesecakes. This forms the best base only for No Bake Cheesecakes and also a best dairy-free substitute.
This 7 ingredient Vegan Cheesecake recipe would blow your mind.
Even before I start talking about it let me be honest that I heard about this particular cheese only while doing the research for this blog post and reading about all the cheeses and their uses.
Apparently, Neufchatel cheese is a soft, slightly crumbly, cheese made in the Neufchâtel-en-Bray region of Normandy. One of the oldest kinds of cheese in France (Source: Wiki)
It is also said that American cream cheese was developed by adding cream to this Neufchatel cheese. The only difference is that Neufchatel cheese has less fat content as compared to the former making it an excellent low-fat cream cheese substitute.
So if you are choosing this as an alternative then definitely add a little heavy cream to the recipe.
This cheesecake recipe using Neufchatel definitely sounds promising.
Quark is a soft cheese that is typically made from milk and has a mild, slightly sour flavor.
It's the most popular type of cheese in Germany and is also popular in other European countries like Austria, Poland and Hungary.
Quark has a high protein and fat content makes it perfect for cheesecake making because it doesn't curdle when heated.
It has a consistency similar to Greek yogurt but is not tart like it.
Here is a classic German Cheesecake recipe that uses quark in place of cream cheese.
10. Kefir Cheese
Kefir is a fermented milk (any type of milk - whole milk, cow’s milk etc) drink that can be made at home, and you can use the grains from this to make your own substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake.
Kefir grains are basically Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, and it is from this colony that the kefir grains are formed; imagine kombucha.. formation of kefir grains are similar to those.
Kefir grains being rich in probiotics are easily available in the market in these days.
You just have to buy it once and use it in a fashion similar to making yogurt at home. Kefir has so many health benefits that you can consider replacing yogurt with kefir milk in your everyday life.
The process is fairly simple:
- Add 2 tbsp of kefir grains to 4 cups of milk and leave it to ferment for 24 to 48 hours.
- After 24 hours, strain the whey through a cheesecloth in a pot. Tie the cheesecloth and hang it for a couple of hours until you are left out with creamy and thick cheese on top.
Do not discard the whey you can use it to knead bread, roti or chapati.
With a lower fat content kefir cheese is a great alternative to regular cream cheese.
The texture of kefir cheese is similar to cream cheese and it has a little more tanginess than yogurt which would be just similar to the tangy flavor of cream cheese.
Consider checking out this recipe of cheesecake using kefir.
Best Cheesecake Recipes:
If you are looking for an egg substitute in cheesecake consider checking out our 13 easily available egg substitutes post.
Recently I have also published 19 best substitutes for banana bread that has more knowledge about how egg substitutes work.
When it comes to cream cheese and cheesecake, there are plenty of options. You can use any of the above options individually or mix and match them.
The most important thing to remember is that each substitution has its own unique flavor profile. The flavor will change depending on which option you choose, so you'll need to experiment a bit until you find one that suits your needs best!
Although it is best advisable that instead of experimenting with a whole new recipe by substituting one particular ingredient it is better that you start with a recipe that already has done all the substitutions to meet your requirements.
The best option according to me is Mascarpone Cheese. It has the right texture, firmer texture, rich flavor, and less water content, its a spreadable cheese, easily available making it a versatile ingredient to be used in baking recipes, especially cheesecake. The best part both no-bake and bake cheesecake can be made using this making it one of the best cream cheese substitutes.
What would be your choice?