Ricotta cheese is one of the most versatile ingredients in Italian cuisine.
It can be used to make pasta dishes, lasagna, desserts, and even savory pies.
It’s no surprise that ricotta cheese has become so popular – its creamy texture and mild flavor makes it a great addition to a variety of dishes.
But what if you don’t have any ricotta cheese on hand?
Or maybe you’re looking for something lighter or healthier than traditional ricotta cheese?
Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes for ricotta cheese that can easily be found in your local grocery store or pantry.
In this article, I will discuss 18 of the best alternatives to regular ricotta cheese.
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese is a soft, creamy Italian cheese that’s made from whey.
This means it’s a by-product of the cheesemaking process and is typically created when cow, sheep or goat milk is heated and then treated with an acidic substance like vinegar or lemon juice.
The resulting curds are drained in special colanders to form ricotta, which has a mild taste and smooth texture.
It’s often used as a filling for savory dishes such as lasagna or ravioli since it holds its shape during cooking but melts easily once it’s hot.
It can also be served on its own with sweet accompaniments like honey or fruit compote.
Ricotta cheese works well in both sweet and savory applications because of its neutral flavor profile that allows other ingredients to shine through without overpowering them.
When selecting ricotta from the store, look for brands that are labeled “whole-milk ricotta” since this will have more fat content (and hence better flavor) than those labeled “part-skim” ricottas.
The 18 Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is a versatile and delicious ingredient, but if you can’t find it in your local store, don’t worry.
Here are 18 substitutes that will give you the same creamy texture and flavor:
1 – Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is a great substitute for ricotta cheese in recipes.
It has a mild flavor and creamy texture that makes it ideal for baking, spreading on toast or crackers, or using as an ingredient in savory dishes like lasagna.
For example, you can use cream cheese instead of ricotta in stuffed shells by combining it with cooked spinach and garlic.
You can also combine cream cheese with herbs and spices to make your own spreadable dip or topping for pizza.
In addition, you can use cream cheese as a filling for cannoli by mixing it with sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
Cream cheese also works well when used as the base of cheesecake recipes, providing a rich flavor without being too heavy.
2 – Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese has a mild flavor and creamy texture, making it ideal for dishes like lasagna and stuffed shells.
Cottage cheese also contains fewer calories than ricotta, so it’s a great option if you’re looking to reduce fat intake.
When substituting cottage cheese for ricotta, be sure to blend the cheese until smooth before adding it into your dish.
This will help ensure that the final product has a consistent texture throughout.
Some great recipes that use this substitution include spinach-ricotta quiche, cheesy zucchini casserole, and eggplant parmesan bake.
3 – Fromage Blanc Cheese
Fromage blanc cheese is a soft, creamy cheese that originated in France.
It has a mild flavor and smooth texture.
Unlike ricotta, fromage blanc contains no added salt or preservatives and is made with fresh cow’s milk instead of whey.
This makes it perfect for adding to desserts or savory dishes as it won’t overpower other flavors.
Fromage blanc can be used instead of ricotta in recipes like lasagna, cannelloni, ravioli, and even cheesecake! It’s also great for adding creaminess to sauces or soups.
4 – Mascarpone Cheese
Mascarpone cheese is a rich, creamy Italian cheese made from cream and tartaric acid.
It has a mild flavor with subtle notes of sweetness that pairs well with savory dishes like lasagna, risotto, and ravioli.
When substituting mascarpone for ricotta in recipes, consider adding a bit of sugar to the mixture to balance out the tartness of the cheese.
Mascarpone can also be used as a topping on toast or pancakes instead of butter or jam.
Some ideal recipes where this swap would work include lasagna al forno (lasagna with béchamel sauce), spinach-ricotta gnocchi, eggplant parmigiana, and ricotta-stuffed shells.
5 – Sour Cream
Sour cream has a thick and creamy texture with a tangy, slightly sour flavor that can be used to add richness and depth of flavor.
It works especially well as an alternative in dishes like lasagna, stuffed shells, or enchiladas where the ricotta would normally provide moisture and fat content.
When using sour cream instead of ricotta cheese, it’s best to choose one that is full-fat for maximum flavor.
You may also need to adjust the seasonings in your recipe accordingly.
For example, if you are making lasagna with sour cream instead of ricotta cheese, you might want to add some extra herbs or spices like garlic powder or oregano for additional flavor.
You could also use sour cream as an ingredient in desserts such as cheesecake or trifle where it will give a light and creamy texture without being too heavy on the palate.
6 – Fresh Goat Cheese
Fresh goat cheese is a delicious and versatile alternative to ricotta.
It has a creamy, slightly tangy flavor that pairs well with savory dishes like salads, pizzas, and pastas.
The texture of fresh goat cheese can range from soft and spreadable to firm and crumbly, depending on the type you choose.
It also contains fewer calories than ricotta while providing more calcium and protein per serving.
Fresh goat cheese is an ideal swap for ricotta in recipes such as lasagna or stuffed shells.
It can also be used as a topping for crostini or blended into sauces for added creaminess.
For those looking to add some extra flavor to their dish, try adding herbs like thyme or oregano to your fresh goat cheese before using it in place of ricotta!
7 – Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a thick and creamy dairy product that makes an excellent substitute for ricotta cheese.
It has a mild flavor, similar to sour cream, but with much less fat and calories.
Greek yogurt also contains more protein than ricotta, making it a healthier option.
Greek yogurt can be used in many recipes that call for ricotta cheese such as lasagna, stuffed shells, or cannelloni.
It can also be used in place of ricotta in desserts like cheesecake or tiramisu.
When using Greek yogurt instead of ricotta cheese in savory dishes, you may want to add some salt and lemon juice to give it more flavor.
You can also mix it with herbs or spices to create your own unique blend.
8 – Buttermilk Cheese
Buttermilk cheese is a creamy, crumbly cheese made from the whey of buttermilk.
It has a slightly tangy flavor and flaky texture that makes it an ideal replacement for ricotta.
Buttermilk cheese can be used in many recipes such as lasagna, stuffed shells, and quiches.
It’s also great for making dips and spreads or adding to salads for extra creaminess.
For an easy swap, try replacing ricotta with buttermilk cheese in your favorite recipes.
The results will be just as delicious!
9 – Pot Cheese
Pot cheese is a type of fresh cheese made from cow’s milk that has a mild, slightly tangy flavor.
It can be used as a replacement for ricotta in many recipes due to its similar texture and creamy consistency.
Pot cheese is also lower in fat than ricotta, making it an ideal swap for those looking to reduce their calorie intake.
This versatile ingredient can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, such as lasagna, stuffed shells, pizza crusts, cheesecakes, muffins, or pancakes.
For a delicious and healthy meal option try swapping out your usual ricotta for pot cheese when making spinach-ricotta ravioli or spinach-pot cheese quiche.
10 – Requeson
Requeson is a Mexican cheese that is similar to ricotta in texture and flavor.
It has a mild, slightly salty taste and a creamy, spreadable consistency.
Requeson can be used as an alternative to ricotta in many recipes such as lasagna, stuffed shells, or even cannoli.
It’s also great for making quesadillas or adding some extra creaminess to tacos and burritos.
For an easy swap, try replacing the ricotta with requeson in your favorite dishes – it’s sure to add delicious flavor!
11 – Clabber Cream
Clabber cream is a type of curdled milk.
It has a thick, creamy texture and slightly tangy flavor that works well in both sweet and savory dishes.
To make clabber cream, simply combine whole milk with an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit at room temperature until it thickens.
Clabber cream is ideal for recipes like lasagna, stuffed shells, or cannoli where you need the texture of ricotta but don’t want to buy pre-made ricotta cheese.
It also makes great cheesecakes and dips.
Adding herbs or spices like garlic powder can give the dish an extra kick!
12 – Soft Mozzarella Cheese
Soft mozzarella cheese has a mild, creamy flavor and a soft, stretchy texture that makes it ideal for melting or blending into dishes.
Soft mozzarella can be used in lasagna, stuffed shells, pizza, and other Italian-style dishes.
It can also be used as a topping on salads or toast.
The cheese is best when melted so it’s important to add it at the end of cooking time to ensure it doesn’t become rubbery or dry out.
For example, you could use soft mozzarella instead of ricotta in lasagna by layering the noodles with tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella before baking.
Or you could make stuffed shells by filling jumbo pasta shells with a mixture of cooked spinach and crumbled soft mozzarella before baking them until golden brown.
13 – Quark or Topfen
Quark is a fresh, creamy cheese made from cow’s or sheep’s milk. It has a mild flavor and smooth texture, making it ideal for sweet dishes like cheesecakes and mousses.
Topfen is an Austrian-style cream cheese made from skimmed cow’s milk. It has a slightly sour taste with a thick consistency similar to Greek yogurt.
These two cheeses make great substitutes in recipes calling for ricotta because they have similar textures and flavors.
They are also lower in fat than ricotta, so they may be healthier options as well.
Examples of recipes where this swap would be ideal include lasagna, stuffed shells, cannelloni, quiche, ravioli filling, pizza topping or even desserts such as tiramisu or cheesecake!
14 – Queso Fresco/Queso Blanco
Queso fresco and queso blanco are two types of Mexican cheese.
Queso fresco is a mild, crumbly cheese with a slightly salty flavor. It’s often used as a topping for tacos, enchiladas, and salads.
Both types of cheese will add creaminess to recipes while providing an interesting twist on the classic ricotta flavor profile.
For example, try using queso fresco instead of ricotta in lasagna or stuffed shells for extra tangy flavor.
Or use queso blanco as an alternative to ricotta in spanakopita or pizza pies!
15 – Paneer
Paneer is a fresh, unaged cheese made from milk and an acidic agent like lemon juice or vinegar.
It has a mild flavor with a crumbly texture that makes it ideal for dishes like curries, sandwiches, and salads.
When substituting paneer for ricotta cheese in recipes, the same amount of paneer can be used as ricotta but may need to be cooked longer due to its higher moisture content.
This swap is ideal for dishes such as lasagna or stuffed shells where you want the cheese to hold its shape during cooking.
Paneer also works well in Indian-style dishes such as saag paneer (spinach curry) or palak paneer (curry with spinach).
16 – Brousse Cheese
Brousse cheese has a mild flavor and slightly tangy taste with hints of grassiness.
The texture is smooth and spreadable, making it an ideal substitute for ricotta in recipes.
This cheese can be used to make lasagna, stuffed shells, or even as a topping for pizza. It can also be added to sauces or soups for extra creaminess and flavor.
For a delicious appetizer, try combining brousse cheese with herbs like thyme or rosemary, then spreading it onto crackers or toast points.
For something sweet, use brousse as a filling in crepes topped with honey and fresh fruit.
17 – Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is a hard, aged Italian cheese made from cow’s milk.
It has a nutty and salty flavor with a sharp bite that makes it a great addition to many dishes.
When substituting Parmesan for ricotta, it’s important to remember that the texture will be quite different. Ricotta is creamy and smooth while Parmesan is crumbly and dry.
However, Parmesan can still add depth of flavor when used in recipes like lasagna or stuffed shells. It also works well as an ingredient in sauces or soups, where its strong taste helps balance out other flavors.
Parmesan can also be grated over salads or pasta dishes for added crunch and flavor. Try using it in place of ricotta cheese in your favorite recipes for a delicious twist!
18 – Bechamel Sauce
Bechamel sauce is a classic French white sauce made from butter, flour, and milk.
It has a creamy texture and mild flavor that can be used as a base for many dishes.
When substituting Bechamel for ricotta cheese, it’s important to remember that the sauce will thicken as it cooks so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid added accordingly.
The versatility of Bechamel makes it an ideal swap in recipes such as lasagna, macaroni and cheese, moussaka, cannelloni or even pizza.
It can also be used to make creamy soups or sauces for pasta dishes.
For example, try using Bechamel instead of ricotta when making lasagna by layering cooked noodles with your favorite vegetables and meats before topping with the sauce and baking until golden brown.
Or use it in place of ricotta when making cannelloni by stuffing cooked manicotti shells with your desired filling before topping with Bechamel sauce and baking until bubbly and golden.
Bechamel can also be used to make gratins, croquettes, or even a vegan cheese sauce.
What to look for when looking for ricotta cheese substitutes?
When looking for ricotta cheese substitutes, the most important thing to consider is texture.
Ricotta cheese has a light, creamy texture that can be difficult to replicate with other ingredients.
The ideal substitute will have a similar texture but not be too wet or runny.
Cottage cheese is one of the more popular substitutes due to its similarity in taste and texture when blended with seasonings like salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
It’s also easy to find in most grocery stores.
Another great option is mascarpone cheese which has a thicker consistency than ricotta but still retains its creaminess after blending it with seasonings.
Finally quark is another good substitute as it has a fluffy yet thick consistency that makes it an excellent choice for lasagnas and other dishes where you would normally use ricotta cheese.
What is a good substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna?
A great substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna is cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese contains a similar texture and flavor to ricotta but with fewer calories, making it an ideal choice if you’re looking to cut down on fat.
It also has a slightly tangy taste that can provide a nice contrast to the other ingredients in your lasagna.
When using cottage cheese as a substitute for ricotta, make sure to drain off any excess liquid before adding it into the dish.
This will ensure that your lasagna still comes out creamy and delicious!
Can you substitute cream cheese for ricotta?
Yes, you can substitute cream cheese for ricotta.
Cream cheese is a good alternative to ricotta because it has a similar smooth and creamy texture.
Cream cheese also has a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients in your dish.
However, it does have more moisture than ricotta so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid used or reduce cooking time when using cream cheese as a substitute for ricotta.
You should also note that cream cheese will not give your dish the same light and fluffy consistency that ricotta provides.
Can I use mozzarella instead of ricotta?
Yes, you can use mozzarella instead of ricotta.
Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese with a mild and slightly salty flavor that melts easily when heated.
It has a high moisture content, so it works well as an alternative to ricotta in recipes like lasagna or stuffed shells.
However, it may have a slightly different texture than ricotta since it doesn’t have the same creamy consistency.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that while mozzarella is lower in fat than ricotta, it will still add more calories to your dish since mozzarella contains more protein and fat than ricotta.
If you’re trying to make something lighter or reduce calories overall, consider using cottage cheese as an alternative to both ricotta and mozzarella.
Can I use Greek yogurt instead of ricotta cheese?
Yes, you can use Greek yogurt as a substitute for ricotta cheese.
Greek yogurt is thick and creamy, making it an ideal substitution for ricotta cheese in many recipes.
It has a slightly tangy flavor which complements the savory dishes that usually call for ricotta cheese.
Additionally, Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt and less fat than ricotta cheese, so it makes for a healthier option if you’re looking to reduce your fat intake.
When using Greek yogurt instead of ricotta cheese, I recommend adding some extra spices or herbs to enhance the flavor of the dish.
What are some good vegan ricotta cheese replacements?
When looking for a vegan ricotta cheese alternative, there are several options available.
One of the most popular dairy-free ricotta substitutes is made using blended silken tofu.
Soft or silken tofu has a creamy texture similar to that of ricotta cheese when blended with nutritional yeast and seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
This combination works especially well in lasagnas and other Italian dishes.
Another option is to make your own vegan cashew ricotta by blending soaked raw cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and salt together until it reaches the desired consistency.
Cashew cheese is great as an appetizer dip or spread on sandwiches and pizza.
Finally, you can also use store bought vegan replacements such as Kite Hill’s Ricotta Style Spread or Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese Alternative which both provide an excellent substitute for traditional ricotta cheese recipes.
In conclusion, ricotta cheese is a popular cheese that is used in many Italian dishes.
It adds a richness and creaminess to a variety of dishes that can be hard to replicate with other ingredients.
Fortunately, there are many substitutes that can provide a similar flavor and texture.
The best substitutes for ricotta cheese are cream cheese, cottage cheese, fromage blanc cheese, mascarpone cheese, sour cream, fresh goat cheese, Greek yogurt, buttermilk cheese, pot cheese, requeson, clabber cream, soft mozzarella cheese, quark or topfen, queso fresco/queso blanco, paneer, brouse, parmesan cheese, and bechamel sauce.
Each of these ingredients can be used to create delicious dishes without having to use ricotta cheese.
With these substitutes, you can still enjoy all the flavors of ricotta cheese without having to use it.
The 18 Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Fromage Blanc Cheese
- Mascarpone Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Fresh Goat Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Buttermilk Cheese
- Pot Cheese
- Clabber Cream
- Soft Mozzarella Cheese
- Quark or Topfen
- Queso Fresco/Queso Blanco
- Brousse Cheese
- Bechamel Sauce