In my cooking world, it will never be the same without cheese. I could talk all day about the different kinds of cheese there is, but for now, let me start with Ricotta cheese. Why is that? Mainly because my kitchen feels naked without it!
I cannot make my favorite pasta, and several desserts, and even my sauces and dips are nothing without Ricotta cheese. This ingredient must always be present at any given time. What happens if I run out of it? Of course, a substitute for Ricotta cheese will save my day.
Ricotta cheese originates in Italy. The fresh cheese has rich, creamy, a little bit sweetened in taste, and grainy in consistency. You could prepare it yourself if you got some whey leftovers after making cheese. Cook it before curdling.
Now you know where Ricotta got its name. It means, “Recooking.” It is useful in many ways at home. That is why I ensure to know the different possible substitutes for Ricotta cheese. You may be surprised to know that these alternatives are just within your reach.
Here is a video about how to make ricotta cheese:
Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese
If you come to think of it, Ricotta cheese is best for pasta, fillings, dips, dishes, sauce, desserts, and many more. If you want to pick a perfect substitute for it, you need to identify the purpose. Are you going to use it for lasagna or for your scrambled eggs? Alternatives for Ricotta cheese are available depending on its function.
1# Cottage Cheese
Looking for a healthier alternative for Ricotta is good. Cottage cheese is the best candidate there is. It has the same mild taste as Ricotta, but less creamy compared to Ricotta’s consistency. However, cottage cheese is low in fat and calories making it a healthy substitute for Ricotta.
Cottage cheese is available in both large and small curds. I have tried both, but the small curds resemble more like Ricotta. Pick the high-quality cottage cheese to use for your cheese filling for pasta and other mild-flavor recipes.
However, cottage cheese is a bit lumpy, so it took me several tries to blend in the right consistency. Do not forget to sieve and drain the cottage cheese first before using, it because it is somewhat runny from the excess whey.
2# Sour Cream
Do you need sauce and dips for your party tonight? Sour cream is a suitable replacement in case you do not have Ricotta cheese around. Sour cream is a result of the fermentation of natural cream because of lactic acid bacteria that make the food taste sour.
If the flavor seems to be bland, you can improvise and add some herbs and spices to give a kick on the taste. You will not notice the difference between Ricotta cheese and Sour come with your dips for vegetables, crackers, and chips. This alternative is also suitable as fillings and toppings for cakes, cookies, and fries.
The silken tofu goes well as a Ricotta cheese substitute. It has the same creaminess as Ricotta. You can try experimenting with another type of tofu and find a perfect blend to match Ricotta. However, I found ordinary tofu to more thick and tough. I only use this as a replacement though with the accompaniment of spices and herbs. I guess the tofu is an excellent substitute for Ricotta cheese if you are vegan or lactose intolerant. Do not forget that like cottage cheese, you need to drain it first before blending.
By the way, you can make tofu by thickening soymilk without curdling it. Tofu can function as a Ricotta replacement for pasta dishes and even for recipes, which needs baking. The baking method omits the egg-like flavor of the tofu. Do you know that tofu contains a high level of protein and is lower in fat and cholesterol compared to Ricotta cheese? Try using tofu in making your ravioli and cannoli right now!
4# Buttermilk Cheese
For making cheesecakes and some pasta filling, buttermilk cheese comes first as a substitute for Ricotta cheese. I found it hard to buy it from the grocery, so I suggest making your own. It is not a complicated process, so I believe you can do it the right way.
Just pour the buttermilk into a colander lined with cheesecloth. You need a container for the drain to flow. Hence, put the colander inside a large container. Set it aside, allowing the liquid to drain until it reaches the consistency you like. You can actually choose the consistency that you like by pressing the curd or retaining some of the whey.
I do not know about you, but I like the buttermilk cheese as a sandwich spread as well. It tastes mild and acidic but has a delightfully creamy flavor.
5# Goat Cheese
I use fresh goat cheese as a Ricotta substitute. Like Ricotta, although there is a little bit of tart flavor, it is rich and creamy, with a pleasant, mild taste. Remember that aged goat cheese is more solid and tough compared to the creamy consistency of Ricotta cheese. Aside from that, it has a strong smell as well.
If you are planning to make some dessert toppings, especially for fresh fruits, goat cheese suits you best. Besides, this is an excellent alternative for those who cannot tolerate cow’s milk.
6# Pot Cheese
Alternatively, pot cheese is a type of cheese that has a crumbly and dry consistency. It is like cottage cheese but not as soft and creamy. Why the name pot cheese?
It is mainly because you make it in a pot on a cooktop. It does not contain much whey which is why it is drier than cottage cheese. On the bright side, pot cheese is high in protein and has lesser content of fat and salt. This is also rare to find in groceries; hence, it is better to prepare it at home.
Pot cheese is also mild-tasting, slightly creamy cheese that spoils fast. So, better make the right amount that you can consume right away. Otherwise, you need to learn the proper way to store it to extend its shelf life. Use pot cheese as a substitute for Ricotta as a bread spread with your own mixture of herbs and spices.
Like Ricotta, Mascarpone is also from Italy. This is the white cheese that best substitute Ricotta in making Tiramisu, Risottos, and many more. I also recommend it as a great alternative when making cannoli. You can make Mascarpone by using a cream that thickens through citric, acetic, or tartaric acid.
Mascarpone tastes a little bit tarty if you think about the mildness of Ricotta. It is also slightly thicker than Ricotta so you may need to find the correct blend for your desired consistency. Because of this, I suggest using Mascarpone as an alternative to Ricotta if you are making recipes with a strong flavor. As a downside, this kind of cheese is high in fat and is difficult to find anywhere.
8# Cream Cheese
For me, cream cheese is the most common and very convenient substitute for Ricotta. I can find cream cheese everywhere, and I ensure that I do not run out of it. In fact, they share the same smooth, soft, and creamy texture with Ricotta. The only difference they have is that you can prepare Ricotta with milk alone while cream cheese, on the other hand, needs cream and milk.
To describe, cream cheese is a soft, mild, fresh type of cheese that is famous for desserts that do not need baking. Plenty of recipes are applicable for cream cheese as an alternative to Ricotta. Try using this for your cheesecakes, refrigerator cake, and even lasagna.
9# Soft Mozzarella Cheese
Do you know that you can make Ricotta cheese out of the remaining whey from preparing mozzarella cheese? Yep, they are not that different after all. However, mozzarella cheese is clumpy and stringy than Ricotta cheese. In comparison to Ricotta, it has a milder flavor as well.
Look for a brand that is the creamiest for a better consistency closer to Ricotta cheese. Nevertheless, it is a downside to know that using mozzarella cheese, as an alternative to Ricotta cheese will not be successful unless paired with other cheese variants. You can try finding other types of cheese to make a perfect combination to work as a substitute for Ricotta. I used cottage cheese for mine, but I did many tries before I got the right blend.
What is the best substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna?
The best substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna would be cottage cheese. Cottage cheese has a similar texture and mild flavor, making it an excellent alternative to lasagna recipes. To use cottage cheese as a ricotta substitute, simply replace the ricotta with an equal amount of cottage cheese. If you prefer a smoother consistency, you can blend the cottage cheese in a food processor or blender before using it in the lasagna.
Another option is using a mix of cream cheese and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. This combination will give you a creamy, smooth texture that’s closer to ricotta, with a tangy flavor that complements lasagna well. To create this mixture, combine equal parts cream cheese and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt until smooth, and then use it as a substitute for ricotta in your lasagna recipe.
Can you substitute Greek yogurt for ricotta cheese?
Yes, you can substitute Greek yogurt for ricotta cheese, especially in recipes that call for a creamy texture and a slightly tangy flavor. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, making it a suitable alternative to ricotta cheese.
However, the consistency of Greek yogurt is slightly different from ricotta, as it is a bit smoother and tangier. To achieve a texture closer to ricotta, you can mix Greek yogurt with an equal amount of cream cheese or even cottage cheese. This will give you a mixture that is closer in consistency and flavor to ricotta cheese.
What Greek cheese is similar to ricotta?
A Greek cheese that is similar to ricotta in terms of texture and flavor is called “Anthotyros” or “Anari” in Cyprus. Anthotyros is a traditional Greek cheese made from a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk whey that’s left over from the production of other cheeses, like feta or kefalotyri.
The texture of Anthotyros can range from soft and creamy to crumbly, depending on the moisture content and age.
Ricotta Cheese has its own unique taste that no other cheese has. The substitutes I mentioned are just types of cheese that can be the closest to Ricotta regarding the taste, texture, and appearance that you may use for the appropriate function. I suggest that you apply the said alternatives to the recipes that they suit best. Otherwise, your venture will be a complete failure.
You may find yourself trying several times to reach the right blend in the hope of matching the Ricotta consistency, but I tell you, once you got it right, it will be worth it. Do you have some more suggestions for the right substitute for Ricotta cheese?