Whether you are bored of your regular cream cheese (which we doubt) or simply have run out of it, the right cream cheese substitute is hard to come by if you are a novice. Trust us, and you can find the best in your pantry or the local store very easily. All you must do is know what to look for.
There are several substitutes to choose from. In this article, we are gonna explore the best. If you are a vegan, do not worry, we have something for you as well. We know your money and time are too precious to be thrown away at incessant unsuccessful experiments, and thus our team has put its heart and mind to come up with a report that would spare you the effort.
What is Cream Cheese and How is it Made?
Let us begin with what is cream cheese. According to David Joachim, cream cheese was made while trying to forge the French Neufchatel which is a fancy mold-ripened cheese. It is extremely rich in texture and used only for royal and fine delicacies.
Cream cheese, on the other hand, is rich but is used very widely due to its accessibility and price point. It is not your tough block of cheese but comes in a very adaptable consistency. It is mild and soft and has been used as a spread for a long time, especially in America.
It is made by using lactic acid on cow’s milk. The acid reacts with the milk coagulating it into cheese. They are then strained and blended to bring it to the desired consistency. This is the easiest way to make cream cheese. However, artisanal cheese makers prefer to put in certain special ingredients like rennet to prepare cream cheese.
Is Cream Cheese Healthy?
We are all becoming more and more health-conscious today. We have a healthier substitute for almost everything, even for dairy products (think!). And thus, before you indulge in anything, it is important to know how it will affect your body.
Cream cheese is made from different kinds of milk- toned, double cream, etc., and thus the nutritional value of each will differ from the other. Although it is high in fat, it is a great source of riboflavin and Vitamin A. Besides, it is low in lactose.
However, if you are looking for a lower calories option, whipped cream cheese can be a good substitution for cream cheese made of whole milk.
Cream Cheese Uses
Cream cheese is a very versatile item to have in your kitchen. It goes well with both simple and decadent dishes. You can use it in recipes like:
- Savory dishes
- Spread on toasts and bagels.
- Mashed potato
- For frosting
- Sauce thickener
What Is a Good Substitute for Cream Cheese?
A lot of people ask what to use instead of cream cheese, and believe it or not, there are more cream cheese substitutes than you can think of.
This triple cream cheese substitute has its leanings on the fattier side and not acidic as original cream cheese is. However, they are identical when it comes to flavor and texture. This substitute does not take away the creamy flavor of your cream cheese. It is milky, thick, and sweet. If you love the decadence of the flavor, this is your pick.
Coming to the health benefits, it is almost as same as regular cream cheese, only with a fat content that is almost twice as much. It is low in sodium and rich in calcium, although the high-fat content could be a concern for people with cardiovascular disease.
It can be used in several dishes, especially the ones that have dominating sweetness and a buttery texture. It is a great option for frosting as well due to its creamy and fluffy texture.
|Similarities||Texture, taste, and appearance|
|Flavor notes||Sweet, milky, and smooth|
|Suggested dishes||Baking and desserts|
Ricotta cheese is another good substitute for cream cheese due to its availability and flavor. It has a grainy texture and is less sweet but has a good amount of fat. However, if you are health conscious, you can always opt for low-fat ricotta. This variant comes with a bunch of health benefits like:
- Great source of calcium and protein.
- Low-fat content
- It is also rich in vitamins, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Has low sodium content.
Always go for the freshest ricotta cheese. You can recognize its freshness by its snowy white color. Yellow cheese is the indication of its deterioration.
|Flavor notes||Sour and grainy|
|Suggested dishes||Savory foods|
Hung curd is an extremely healthy substitute for cream cheese. If you have health issues and are looking for a replacement for cream cheese, this is what you should go for. It is also readily available and does not burn a hole in your pocket.
While you may use low-fat curd, a full-fat one will always give you the best in terms of flavor and texture.
The process is also unbelievably easy. It has way more nutrients than your regular cream cheese and can be had without weighing on your conscience. It is loaded with proteins, provides you with almost 15% of your daily calcium requirement, and has very low sodium content which is a boon for people who have high blood pressure.
It is also a very versatile option for it is used in almost all kinds of dishes except for dishes that require too much sweetness or high-fat content. It can become a sweet frosting as well as used as a dip for your savory foods.
So here we have the healthiest and versatile cream cheese replacement.
|Similarities||Texture and taste|
|Flavor notes||Sweet and sour|
|Suggested dishes||Frosting, dips, and baking|
Another healthy cream cheese alternative has to be cottage cheese. It is healthy and has the least fat content without compromising on the texture. The texture is crunchy and creamy depending on the kind of milk used.
It can be used in several recipes, and the best part is that it is readily available almost everywhere and it is not extremely expensive. It goes well with desserts and baking.
Being said, let us look at the health benefits that we get from this particular alternative. It is 70% protein, and thus it can be your major vegetarian source of protein. Besides, it is a great source of calcium as well. Cottage cheese is a great option for people with diabetes for it is insulin resistant.
|Similarities||Texture and taste|
|Suggested dishes||Dips, bakery, and frosting|
Vegan & Vegetarian substitutes
Coconut Cream Cheese
If you are a vegan and wondering what to use instead of cream cheese, coconut cream is one of your available options. It is extremely healthy and very easy to make.
You can prepare this in a similar way that you make yogurt. Since it is very thin, it will not give you the fluffy volume of some alternatives that we derive from milk products. However, some nutritional yeast may be helpful as it gives a cheesy flavor to your coconut cream cheese.
Coconut milk has healthy fats known as medium-chain triglycerides. It is also a source of iron and calcium.
Since it is naturally sweet and creamy, you will get the perfect texture and can use it in any sweet recipe. It can be used for frosting, in desserts, and even in certain savory recipes. It might not be great for baking though.
|Similarities||Appearance and texture|
|Flavor notes||Sweet, tangy|
|Suggested dishes||Frosting, sweet dishes, dips|
Almond Cream Cheese
This particular alternative has gained tremendous popularity in the past few years among the lactose intolerant population all over the world. Almond milk and its products have replaced all the dairy products and opened up for lactose-intolerant people a new territory where they need not miss out on anything. Although many vegans opt for the same, almond milk contains casein, and thus it is not vegan but vegetarian.
Almond cheese comes with its truckload of benefits like healthy fat, low cholesterol, and protein. So if you are looking for a vegetarian option that is not only healthy but will not compromise on the taste, this is your pick.
It can be used in dips, spreads, and sauces. It is too lightweight for any kind of frosting though.
|Similarities||Appearance and texture|
|Flavor notes||Tangy and sweet|
|Suggested dishes||Dips, sauces and spreads|
Whether you are a vegetarian, non-vegetarian or a vegan, we are sure you have found your perfect cream cheese substitute. Canned cheese can be expensive and high in fat; thus choosing from the list above, you can make your own cream cheese keeping in mind your requirements and health conditions.
Let us know in the comments which one is your favorite alternative.