Everyone loves a good ricotta cheese recipe, but they are few and far between. Making your own ricotta cheese is time-consuming and tedious, and sometimes the results aren’t quite what you wanted. Instead of tartare sauce or mascarpone cream, here are some easy substitutes that will save you time in the kitchen.
Ricotta cheese is generally made by curdling milk with lemon juice or vinegar (or with both) so its store-bought versions contain citric acid. Homemade versions need to be spiced up as well for flavor.
Here, we explore a few of the best substitute for ricotta cheese, and they all work really well in a variety of recipes.
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese is a type of cow’s milk cheese that originates from Italy. It has a grainy, stringy texture and it is usually soft and spreadable. The cheese is made by several methods: some with whey, some with water and lemon juice, and some simply by adding the acid to the whole skimmed milk.
There are three types of ricotta: fresh, aged for one week to two months, and aged for eighteen months or longer.
The fresh version has less fat content because it isn’t heated or dried out this gives it a softer texture which doesn’t last as long as the other types of ricotta because moisture destroys bacteria in foods which can lead to spoilage. Ricotta that is aged for a short time (one to two weeks) is often used as a substitute for mozzarella since it has the flavor, texture, and moisture of mozzarella but with lower fat content. It can be used in baking, as an ingredient in soups and sauces, or as part of a pizza topping.
The two versions that are aged for 18 months or longer have a similar texture to mozzarella and can be used the same way. Ricotta cheese from cows who are fed on grass takes longer to ripen- this makes it safe for those with lactose intolerance because it has been tested and proved safe.
List of 13 Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese
#1 Fromage Blanc
Fromage blanc is an emulsified white cheese similar to cottage cheese but much less likely to congeal. It is the French equivalent of cottage cheese, probably because it is made mostly from skimmed milk. The soft texture and mild taste of this product make it a great replacement for ricotta in any recipe that calls for ricotta.
One thing that you should be aware of when making cottage cheese at home is that it does not have nearly as much protein as ricotta has in terms of calories, so be sure to choose a smaller curd form if you are serving children or nursing mothers.
#2 Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a soft, unripened cheese with a mild flavor. It is low in fat and high in protein. Cottage cheese is sold in various forms, including small curd and large curd. Small-curd cottage cheese can be used as a substitute for ricotta cheese. Ricotta is a soft Italian cheese that separates into a solid, creamy layer and a liquid, watery layer when it sits out at room temperature for some time. Ricotta has a grainy texture and is somewhat sweet tasting. Ricotta is made from the whey that remains after the production of other cheeses; cottage cheese is made from the curds, or solid part of the milk.
Cottage cheese has less fat than ricotta, but both are high in protein (curds are about 80 percent protein). Cottage cheese comes in two varieties: small-curd and large-curd. Both are creamer than ricotta, but small-curd cottage cheese has more liquid than large-curd cottage cheese (both can be drained to create firmer varieties). Ricotta and cottage cheeses are often used interchangeably in cooking recipes such as lasagna or spinach pies. Cottage cheese should be drained before using it as an ingredient.
#3 Clabber Cream
In the process of making cheese, clabbered cream is left behind. You can buy clabber cream in stores or you can find it in the kitchen of your house. It is the waste product that is produced when the milk is converted into cheese by adding an agent called rennet.
This substance causes curdling which is what allows you to get something like ricotta cheese so clabbered cream was historically very valuable, but today it is considered a waste product. Clabbered cream has a very similar texture to ricotta and it can be used as a substitute for ricotta as they both taste similar and have very similar textures.
You do not need to add anything to it in order to get the right consistency, and it will still taste amazing. You can use clabbered cream as a substitute for ricotta in a number of recipes including lasagna and cannelloni.
Tofu is another great alternative for anyone looking for a cheese substitute and the only downside to using this particular product is that it does not have much taste. This makes it ideal for recipes where you do not particularly care about the taste of your dish, but still need to use cheese – especially if your primary concern is fat content.
There are two kinds of tofu – silken and firm. Silken tofu is the best option if you want to make a cheese stuffing because it comes in a soft, cream-like texture making it very easy to blend in with your other ingredients. The only thing to keep in mind when using this cheese substitute is that it does not have much of a taste so be sure you salt and pepper generously, as does the ricotta cheese.
#5 Buttermilk Cheese
Buttermilk cheese is an excellent alternative for making great tasting dishes – but remember that it is not just another form of cottage or ricotta. This is an entirely different type of cheese which has a very similar consistency and texture to ricotta, but it contains many more calories.
One cup of this cheese will have over 1200 calories – three times the amount of calories that you would find in the same amount of ricotta cheese. It is also not as healthy as many other options for making a cheese stuffing, so you should choose this alternative sparingly. It does, however, taste great and it is one of the best replacements for ricotta in your cooking. Just be sure to use it sparingly otherwise you will end up ruining your appetizer or main course.
#6 Sour Cream
Sour cream is a type of cream that has been infused with lactic acid – the same substance that is used to modify milk powders into cheese. It is much more creamy than ricotta, but the texture and taste are not dissimilar from each other. Sour cream is available everywhere, even at places where dairy products are not usually found, for example stores that sell organic produce often carry it alongside their fruits and vegetables.
It is not the best option if you want to make a cheese stuffing because it is fairly softer than ricotta and a little bit more runny. It can be used in place of ricotta, although it is not as good a replacement.
#7 Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is a great substitute for ricotta in many dishes, and it does taste like the real deal. It is a little more expensive than cottage cheese, but the taste is so similar and you will find that there is no difference in terms of consistency between the two cheeses.
If you are looking to replace ricotta cheese without sacrificing too much on flavor then goat cheese is your best bet. You can also use goat cheese along side of ricotta for amazing results.
You would not sacrifice any consistency between the two cheeses when using goat milk because it will be exactly the same as ricotta. This is an excellent substitute for ricotta and it tastes very similar to the real deal.
#8 Queso Fresco
Queso fresco is also known as a fresh cheese in English, and it is popularly used in Mexican cooking. It is made by cooking fresh cheese until it turns into a very soft and custard-like cheese. It is available in a few versions but the most popular version is queso fresco, which is fresh and has a mild flavor. It resembles ricotta but it is much more sour than ricotta and it does not have the same consistency.
This cheese originated from Mexico, where it is also known as “queso fresco”. It has a similar taste to ricotta, but it lacks the creaminess. But if you blend or puree this cheese, then it will become very similar to ricotta in terms of texture.
Queso Fresco is an excellent substitute for ricotta cheese because it tastes very similar and you can use it in the same way. You can treat it like the ricotta or go with its Mexican twist by serving it with chilies, onions, tomatoes and even olives.
This is an Italian cheese made from cream and it is processed to form soft lumps. It has a creamy texture and tastes very much like ricotta. It is a soft cheese with a very mild flavor.
It tastes a little fruity and it also resembles the consistency of whipping cream. You can use this cheese in deserts, pasta or any dish that demands cheeses with a lighter consistency rather than the heavier cheeses.
You should try this product if you are looking to replace regular ricotta cheese in your cooking as it tastes great, but the fact that it comes in small chunks can sometimes be off-putting which means that you might have to blend it first before using it as an alternative for ricotta.
Mascarpone is a great substitute for ricotta as it is easy to use, it is readily available and has a similar texture. The taste is also very similar which means that you will not have any troubles when using it.
#10 Pot Cheese
Pot cheese is found in a lot of recipes, especially in casseroles. This cheese originates from boiled-down milk and it has a coarse texture. It looks very much like cottage cheese and tastes milder than ricotta.
This can be used to prepare stuffing for meat, poultry and fish recipes, as well as in preparing savory dishes such as chicken pot pie which once was prepared with ricotta but now use pot cheese instead. Pot cheese cannot be used to prepare desserts or sweet creams or sauces because the taste is not right for those treats.
This cheese is similar to cottage cheese but it has a smoother texture. It is less creamier than ricotta and has a mild flavor. This cheese is made by heating milk until it curdles, which forms soft curds in the middle. Then this soft curd is then processed together with salt to form small chunks of cheeses. It is usually served as a condiment, but it can also be used in cooking and baking.
The cheese is available in a number of varieties such as soft, hard and semi-hard. The soft variety has a smooth texture but lacks the texture of ricotta. With the hard variety, you get more firm curds and it is similar to ricotta. It is also very similar to cottage cheese in taste and texture so you can use it anywhere that you would use cottage cheese without any issues involved.
This cheese has a similar consistency to ricotta with or without the whey added to it. This cheese is used to prepare Italian dishes like lasagna and cannelloni by adding it at the end to enhance the flavor and consistency.
The cheese can also be used in desserts as an alternative for ricotta. It is a perfect substitute for ricotta in baked pasta dishes such as soufflés and other light-flavored foods which are made from eggs. Some of the Mexican recipes that use this cheese include fried flounder tacos, enchiladas, taquitos, and tequila-lime chicken salad.
#12 Cream Cheese
It’s a blend of milk, butter, and cream fat. It is essentially the same as cream cheese that has milk solids in it, but the main difference is that in cream cheese, the milk solids are not separated from the water and fat as it is with American cheese.
The taste of American cream cheese depends on how it’s manufactured. If it is made using rennet or from pasteurized eggs and sterilized or ultra-pasteurized milk then you will get a soft creamy spread that stays fresh for a long time without having to refrigerate it.
On the other hand, if it is made using mechanical means, then you will get a cheese that is drier with a slightly grainy texture. This version doesn’t need to be refrigerated and should be used within three months of production.
However, for the perfect substitute for ricotta, you should choose the cream cheese meant for spreading or use processed ricotta as it has a texture that resembles cream cheese.
You can also make your own cream cheese by processing cottage cheese in a food processor and add some butter to it. The result will be very similar if not better than store-bought cream cheeses.
Cream cheese is not just used as a substitute for ricotta in cooking, but it is also used as a substitute for butter. This means that you can use it in making frosting with other ingredients like sugar and cocoa powder. However, you may want to alter the recipe of your cake or cookies to accommodate this substitution as cream cheese makes the texture and taste of a dish very different from the ricotta.
While this cheese originated in Italy, it has spread over to the US where the locals are very fond of using this cheese. It originated in Naples, where it was first made in the 15th century and then eventually made its way to Rome. It was used extensively in Italian cooking until they were replaced by different varieties of cheeses.
Provolone has the same taste as ricotta, but it is much stronger in flavor and consistency. This cheese is a lot firmer than ricotta and therefore, you should use it in recipes where you need a very firm texture like lasagna.
It is not advisable using this cheese in desserts as it has a very strong flavor which would overpower any dessert dish. It can be used in other dishes like pastas with firm sauces such as marinara sauce or with soups of the same consistency.
This cheese can be used to replace ricotta in pasta recipes. However, the taste if very different, which may affect the overall taste of your recipe. Therefore, you should use this cheese with caution until you get the hang of it.
How To Make Your Own Ricotta Cheese
Now that you know some recipes that use ricotta and alternative substitutions for ricotta, what are you waiting for? Try them out and see how easy it is to make your favorite recipes using these substitutes. These are just a few of the many substitutes for ricotta which you can find in your local grocery stores. You could also experiment with other cheeses that you have in your refrigerator and see how delicious and simple recipes using these cheeses as substitutes can be.
The best way to know whether your recipe will work is to try it out and see if you like it. Sometimes, a slight alteration in the recipe may be needed to accommodate the substitute but with a little bit of experimenting, you will get the perfect texture and taste that you are looking for.
Remember that these ricotta cheesee substitutes are meant to be used in recipes where the texture of ricotta cheese is important such as deserts, sauces and pastas. You should use it with caution if you are using them in recipes like pies or cheesecakes where hardness is required.
In these recipes, some adjustments may be made until you get it right or you can opt for another substitute which will give you a hard texture like ricotta cheese.