If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, then you know that mascarpone cheese is an essential ingredient.
This creamy, slightly sweet cheese has a unique flavor and texture that adds richness to any dish.
However, mascarpone can be expensive or hard to find in some areas.
If you’re looking for a substitute for this popular cheese, there are several options available.
In this article, I will explore the seven best substitutes for mascarpone cheese so that you can easily recreate your favorite recipes without breaking the bank!
What is Mascarpone Cheese?
Mascarpone cheese is a type of Italian cream cheese made from cow’s milk.
It has a rich, almost buttery flavor with a creamy texture and is ideal for both sweet and savory dishes.
Mascarpone can be used to make desserts like tiramisu or cheesecake, as well as sauces like Alfredo or carbonara.
It also goes great in pasta dishes, on pizza, and even in soups.
The process of making the cheese involves curdling pasteurized heavy cream before fermenting it with lactic acid bacteria.
This gives it its signature tangy flavor that makes it so versatile.
If you’re looking for an indulgent treat with an intense flavor profile, mascarpone cheese is definitely worth trying!
What Does Mascarpone Cheese Taste Like?
Mascarpone cheese has a delicate, subtly sweet flavor with a hint of nuttiness.
It has a smooth, creamy texture that is similar to butter, yet is much less tangy than ricotta or American cream cheese.
The mellow, slightly sweet flavor makes it an excellent addition to a variety of dishes, from desserts to savory meals.
It is also a key ingredient in many Italian dishes, such as tiramisu, cannoli, and lasagna.
Mascarpone cheese can be used in a variety of ways, from spreading onto toast or crackers, to adding richness to sauces, to being mixed into desserts such as cheesecake.
The 7 Best Substitutes for Mascarpone Cheese
Mascarpone cheese is a creamy and delicious Italian cheese, but it can be hard to find in some areas.
If you’re looking for an alternative, here are seven substitutes that will offer a similar taste and texture:
1 – Crème Fraiche
Crème fraiche is a rich, thick cream that has a slightly tangy flavor and velvety texture.
It’s made from heavy cream that has been soured with bacterial cultures, giving it its signature tartness.
Crème fraiche is more robust than mascarpone cheese and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Try using it as a topping for fresh fruit or as an ingredient in sauces, soups, and desserts.
When substituting crème fraiche for mascarpone cheese, you may need to adjust the amount of sugar or other seasonings depending on your desired flavor profile.
Crème fraiche also pairs well with herbs like chives or tarragon for added complexity in salads or omelets.
2 – Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is a soft, creamy Italian cheese made from whey.
It has a mild flavor and slightly grainy texture.
Ricotta can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, such as lasagna, ravioli, cannoli, cheesecakes, and more.
When substituting ricotta for mascarpone cheese in a recipe, you may need to adjust the amount of liquid used to achieve the desired consistency.
For example, if you’re making a cheesecake or tart filling with ricotta instead of mascarpone, you may need to add additional cream or milk to thin out the mixture.
Overall though, ricotta is an excellent alternative for when you find yourself without mascarpone!
3 – Cream Cheese
Cream cheese has a similar texture to mascarpone, but it does have a slightly tangier taste.
It can be used as an alternative in many recipes such as cheesecakes, dips, sauces and frostings.
To make the texture more like mascarpone, use full-fat cream cheese instead of low-fat or fat free varieties.
You can also add some heavy cream to the cream cheese to make it even richer and closer to the texture of mascarpone.
When substituting with cream cheese, keep in mind that it may not be quite as rich as regular mascarpone; however, its flavor will still be delicious!
4 – Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a soft, mild-tasting cheese made from fresh cow’s milk curdled with an acid or enzyme.
It has a slightly grainy texture and is usually sold in tubs or plastic containers.
It can be eaten plain, added to salads or used as an ingredient in recipes.
Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in fat, making it a great option for those looking for a healthy snack.
If you’re out of mascarpone cheese, cottage cheese makes an excellent substitute!
When blended until smooth, it has the same creamy texture as mascarpone but with fewer calories and less fat.
It also works well when used as an ingredient in baking recipes such as cheesecakes and muffins.
When substituting cottage cheese for mascarpone, keep in mind that the flavor will not be quite the same; however, its mild taste won’t overpower other flavors like some other cheeses do.
5 – Plain Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt that has been strained to remove the liquid whey.
This process gives it a thicker, creamier texture and higher protein content than regular yogurt.
It also has fewer carbs and calories than regular yogurt.
When using plain Greek yogurt as a substitute for mascarpone cheese, you can either opt for full-fat or low-fat varieties depending on your preference.
Full-fat Greek yogurt will give you a richer flavor and thicker consistency while low-fat versions provide less fat but still have plenty of flavor.
To make sure the end result is not too runny, be sure to drain any excess liquid from the Greek yogurt before adding it to your recipe.
Plain Greek yogurt can also be used as a topping for desserts such as cheesecakes or pies, or even stirred into savory dishes like soups and sauces to add creaminess without all of the added fat found in mascarpone cheese.
6 – Sour Cream
Sour cream is a dairy product made from fermented cream.
It has a thick, creamy texture and tangy flavor that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Sour cream is often used as a topping for tacos, burritos, chili, baked potatoes, and other Mexican-inspired dishes.
It can also be used to add richness to soups or sauces.
It’s also commonly found as an ingredient in cakes and other desserts like cheesecake or sour cream frosting.
If you’re out of mascarpone cheese but need something with a similar texture and taste, try using sour cream instead.
While it won’t have the same sweetness as mascarpone cheese does, it will still provide the same creamy consistency without being overly rich or heavy on your palate.
Sour cream can also be mixed with sugar to make a sweeter version of this versatile ingredient!
7 – English Clotted Cream
English Clotted Cream, also known as Devonshire cream, Devon cream, or Cornish cream, is a thickened cream that hails from southwestern England.
It is not airy like whipped cream, nor is it sweet.
As an alternative to mascarpone cheese, clotted cream can be used as a topping for desserts, stirred into coffee or tea, or used as a spread for toast and scones.
Can you use cream cheese instead of mascarpone?
Yes, cream cheese is an excellent substitute for mascarpone. To create the same texture and flavor, combine 8 ounces of cream cheese with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. This will provide the same consistency as 1 cup of mascarpone would. Additionally, if you are looking for a lighter flavor, you can use a combination of Greek yogurt and cream cheese instead. Simply mix 8 ounces of cream cheese with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. This will give you a lighter, more unique flavor.
Can you use Philadelphia instead of mascarpone?
Yes, you can use Philadelphia cream cheese as a replacement for mascarpone. It is a healthier option as cream cheese contains less fat than mascarpone. However, it has a tangier flavor than traditional mascarpone, so you may need to adjust your recipe accordingly to balance the flavor. Additionally, cream cheese is less creamy than mascarpone, so it may not give the same texture to your dish.
Is mascarpone the same as Philadelphia cream cheese?
No, mascarpone and Philadelphia cream cheese are not the same. Mascarpone is a type of Italian cheese with a rich and creamy texture and a mildly sweet, almost nutty flavor. It has a subtle buttery character and is much less tangy than other types of cheese like ricotta and cream cheese. Philadelphia cream cheese is a type of American cheese that is slightly tangier, creamier, and has a milder flavor than mascarpone.
Are there any vegan options for replacing mascarpone cheese?
Yes, there are several vegan options for replacing mascarpone cheese.
Some popular choices include:
- Tofu-based mascarpone: This is made by blending silken tofu with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to create a creamy, spreadable consistency.
- Cashew-based mascarpone: This is made by blending soaked cashews with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt to create a rich and creamy texture.
- Coconut cream-based mascarpone: This is made by blending coconut cream with lemon juice and salt to create a rich and creamy texture.
Each of these options can be used in a variety of recipes that call for mascarpone cheese.
What can I use instead of mascarpone in tiramisu?
You can make an easy and delicious substitute for mascarpone in tiramisu by combining 12 ounces of room-temperature cream cheese (1 ½ blocks) with ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream and ¼ cup of sour cream until they are well blended. The cream cheese will provide the tanginess while the heavy whipping cream will give it a smooth, creamy texture similar to mascarpone. This substitute is guaranteed to add the perfect flavor and texture to your tiramisu.
How do I make a homemade version of mascarpone cheese?
To make a homemade version of mascarpone cheese, you will need:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar
- Salt (optional)
- Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 185-190°F. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally to prevent it from burning.
- Remove the cream from heat and add the lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir gently until the cream starts to thicken and curdle.
- Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then pour it into a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl. Drain the mixture for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Once drained, discard the liquid and transfer the cheese to a container. You can add a pinch of salt for flavor, if desired.
Use the homemade mascarpone cheese immediately or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Note that this is a simple recipe and it may not have the same texture and flavor as the store-bought mascarpone cheese.
Also, you can use other acidic ingredients like buttermilk or yogurt instead of lemon juice or white vinegar.
Are there any non-dairy options for mascarpone substitutes?
Yes, there are a few non-dairy options for mascarpone substitutes. One way is to mix coconut milk with cashew butter for a creamy texture. Alternatively, you can blend coconut cream with lemon juice for a slightly sweet and tart flavor. Vegan cream cheese also makes for a great substitute, or for a lighter option, try blending silken soft tofu with vegan cream.
Can ricotta cheese be used as a replacement for mascarpone?
Yes, ricotta cheese can be used as a replacement for mascarpone in some recipes. However, it is important to note that ricotta and mascarpone have different textures, tastes, and fat content. Therefore, it is not recommended to use them interchangeably. For the best results, opt for a high-quality brand of ricotta with very fine curds. This will help provide a texture that is closest to that of mascarpone.
In conclusion, mascarpone cheese is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
However, if you don’t have any on hand, there are several substitutes that can be used in its place.
The best substitutes for mascarpone cheese are crème fraiche, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, and English clotted cream.
Each of these ingredients has a different flavor and texture, so you can experiment with different combinations to find the perfect substitute for your dish.
No matter which substitute you choose, you’re sure to be satisfied with the final result.
The 7 Best Substitutes for Mascarpone Cheese
- Crème Fraiche
- Ricotta Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Plain Greek Yogurt
- Sour Cream
- English Clotted Cream
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.