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5 Best Ricotta Cheese Substitutes for Home Cooks

If you’re a culinary enthusiast, the silky richness of ricotta cheese might as well be the warm hearth of home—a penchant for comfort foods, and, dare I say, a feast for the soul.

But while this Italian cheese might be a staple in your lasagnas, dips, and pasta fillings, there’s no harm in branching out and exploring some of its alternatives.

Whether you’re looking to reduce calories or simply try something new, here are five ricotta cheese substitutes that are sure to delight your palate. So let’s dive in!

What’s the Fuzz about Ricotta Cheese?

Before we start looking for substitutes, let’s take a moment to appreciate what makes ricotta cheese so special. This creamy and mild cheese is made from whey protein, the liquid that remains after milk curdles during the cheese-making process.

Ricotta’s mild flavor and creamy texture make it a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. It pairs well with bold flavors like tomato sauces, but also brings a subtle richness to desserts like cannoli or cheesecake.

So why look for alternatives? Well, as delicious as it may be, ricotta cheese is high in calories and fat. For those watching their waistline or following a restrictive diet, finding substitutes can be a game-changer.

5 Best Ricotta Cheese Substitutes to Consider

Now that we’ve established the versatility of ricotta cheese, let’s explore some substitutes that are equally delicious. These options not only provide a healthier alternative but also bring unique flavors and textures to your dishes.

1 – Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese stands as the quintessential “mild yet oozing potential” candidate. While its curd structure might not mimic ricotta precisely, it fiercely competes in palatability and nutrient content. This homely cheese exemplifies versatility, blending seamlessly into sweet or savory dishes with its inviting, creamy bite.

Cottage cheese boasts a slight tang and a lumpy texture, adding a pleasant depth to myriad recipes. It’s also a protein powerhouse and a non-invasive flavor booster.

Usage Tips

For every 1 cup of ricotta cheese, substitute with 1 cup of strained cottage cheese. Although the curds are larger, a quick pulse in a food processor will create a smoother consistency, ensuring a harmonious fusion in lasagnas, pancakes, or even cheesecakes.

2 – Cream Cheese

When in doubt, cream cheese can be synonymous with reliability. Its luxurious, velvety texture and rich flavor interject a festive feel into any recipe it graces. Ideal for dips, spreads, and desserts, this versatile cheese has been navigating the culinary world for decades.

Indulgent and creamy, cream cheese offers a high-fat content and a slight tang, akin to ricotta. Its dense, velvety mouthfeel makes it a perfect complement to many dishes.

Usage Tips

Substitute 1 cup of ricotta with 1 cup of softened cream cheese, adjusting other ingredients accordingly. An egg yolk or a dash of milk can be used to lighten the texture if the recipe calls for it.

3 – Queso Fresco

Hailing from the realm of Latin cuisine, queso fresco stands as a robust contender with its fresh, crumbly texture and a mild, salty tang. Though not as creamy as ricotta, it brings a delightful twist to both hot and cold dishes.

Queso Fresco boasts a crumbly, grainy texture, giving it a unique mouthfeel. Its mild, slightly salty flavor adds an element of surprise to familiar recipes.

Usage Tips

Use queso fresco in a 1:1 ratio as a ricotta substitute, and consider its reduced moisture content. This cheese shines in Mexican and Spanish cuisines, adding that authentic flair to your enchiladas or tamales.

4 – Greek Yogurt

Enter the health-conscious powerhouse, Greek yogurt—a near match in terms of texture and an outright winner in the protein content stakes. It’s Greek yogurt’s thick, creamy texture that makes it a worthy rival, especially in desserts and baked goods.

Greek yogurt touts a tangy zing combined with a smooth, thick texture. Its strained nature gives it a creamy richness perfect for both sweet and savory recipes.

Usage Tips

For every cup of ricotta, use 1 cup of Greek yogurt, unstrained. Add a touch of extra virgin olive oil if a dish’s moisture demands are a bit “extra,” or save a few calories by using the non-fat variety.

5 – Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone cheese, the Italian cream cheese, is famed for its involvement in crafting the luscious Tiramisu. With its light, buttery flavor and unparalleled creamy texture, it’s a sophisticated substitute that elevates any recipe to bespoke realms of delight.

Silky and luxurious, mascarpone’s buttery profile is akin to clotted cream. Its high butterfat content provides a tantalizingly rich mouthfeel, despite being slightly denser than ricotta.

Usage Tips

Substitute mascarpone at a 1:1 ratio for ricotta, ensuring harmonious proportions in your fillings or desserts. While it’s richer than ricotta, a balance can be maintained by reducing the use of heavy creams or second dairy additions.


In conclusion, ricotta cheese may be a quintessential ingredient in our kitchen pantries, but its substitutes are equally impressive and worth exploring.

Whether it’s for health reasons or simply to add a new twist to your usual dishes, these alternatives offer unique flavors and textures that will elevate any recipe. It’s time to get creative and experiment with these five ricotta cheese substitutes, so go ahead and indulge guilt-free!