7 Best Substitutes for Cream Cheese in Cheesecakes


Cream cheese is smooth unripened cheese made with cream or a mixture of cream and milk.

It has a mild buttery flavor, a light dairy sour taste, and a smooth consistency.

It is versatile and may be used in different applications by adding flavors, spices, herbs, and sweetness.

The well-known application of cream cheese is baking cheesecakes. Suppose if you don’t have cream cheese, some replacements may be used in making flavourful cheesecakes.

Keep on reading this article to know more about cream cheese alternatives in cheesecakes.

Best Substitutes for Cream Cheese in Cheesecakes

The best substitutes for Cream Cheese in Cheesecakes are – Mascarpone Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, Hung Curd, Neufchatel Cheese, Vegan Cream Cheese, and Tofu Cream Cheese. They are discussed in detail here – 

Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone is a butter-colored soft and delicate cheese made from fresh cream. It is commonly called Italian cream cheese.

It has a mild flavor and soft texture that makes it ideal in dishes, including Tiramisu, pasta, and fresh fruits.

It makes a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake due to its similarities in taste and texture. Its mild flavor and creamy consistency make it perfect for cheesecakes.

Therefore using it as a substitute may add a dimension of flavor to the cheesecake. However, it tends to be expensive and harder to find.

How to Substitute

Equal amounts of mascarpone cheese may be used instead of cream cheese to make a cheesecake as it has a similar flavor and texture.

Here is a link to make no-bake cheesecake using mascarpone cheese:


Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is fresh, soft, unripened cheese consisting of curds, whey, or cream. It is white with a mild flavor and faintly sour, creamy taste. It has a low-fat content.

It is one of the common substitutes for cream cheese as it is readily available and packed with nutrients. It is a good source of high-quality protein and riboflavin.

Its creamy texture makes it a good replacement for cheesecake. However, you may have to reduce the wetness in the cheese by straining.
Also, it may be less sweet than cream cheese, but other sweet ingredients in the recipe may compensate for it.

How to Substitute

Cottage cheese blended with cream and butter may be substituted in the same ratio as cream cheese in making cheesecake.

You may check this video for a cottage cheesecake without cream cheese:


Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese originated from Italy is traditionally made from the whey of the sheep`s milk cheese. It is widely available and is inexpensive.

It is naturally low in fat with a crumbly texture.

It may be used to substitute for ricotta cheese due to its similar flavor.

It has a different crumbly texture and must be mixed with heavy cream to attain a texture similar to cream cheese suitable for cheesecakes.

However, it may lack both tanginess and saltiness compared to cream cheese. It is also available in low-fat varieties for weight watchers.

How to Substitute

Equal parts of ricotta cheese plus heavy cream may be used to replace cream cheese in making cheesecakes.

Here is a link to make Italian ricotta cheesecake:


Hung Curd

Hung curd is made by draining the watery whey from curd through a muslin cloth.

It is a great probiotic loaded with good digestion proteins, helps build stronger immunity, prevents vaginal infection, and is good for bone health.

Curd may be used to replace cream cheese in cheesecake to reduce the fat content.
However, care should be taken to remove the excess whey from the curd to achieve a creamy texture.

It may be combined with honey to add natural sweetness. Some cheesecakes using hung curd need not be baked but can be kept in the refrigerator and served.

How to Substitute

Hung curd may be used in the same amount as cream cheese if you are looking for a healthier low-fat substitute.

Check this video for no-bake cheesecake using hung curd:


Neufchatel Cheese

Neufchatel cheese is made using milk with 5% fat in a process similar to cream cheese. It has lower fat content with a grainier body. It is less smooth than cream cheese.

Regular cream cheese may be substituted by Neufchatel cheese in cheesecakes as it matches the consistency and taste of cream cheese.

Like cream cheese, it is made from the pasteurized cow`s milk. It is preferable to use a younger version of Neufchatel as it tastes similar to cream cheese.

However, it may not be easy to find.

How to Substitute

Equal amounts of lower fat Neufchatel may be substituted for cream cheese in cheesecake. The resulting cake will taste the same but with a low-calorie count.

Vegan Cream Cheese

Vegan cream cheeses are mostly made of nuts, including cashews and almonds. It may also be made using coconut milk.

It may be suitable for all those who are lactose intolerant and vegans.

It may work in place of cream cheese in making cheesecakes. Most vegan cream cheeses use nutritional yeast that provides a cheese-like flavor.

It comes out rich, creamy, and smooth. It may be store-bought or made at home.

How to Substitute

Vegan cream cheese may be used in similar amounts to substitute cream cheese.

You may check this recipe for a vegan cheesecake made using cashews:


Tofu Cream Cheese

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is prepared by coagulating soy milk. These based cream cheese are lactose-free with reduced fat content and a good source of protein and fiber.

It is suitable for vegans.

It may act as a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake, especially if looking for a low-fat option.

However, you may need to make some adjustments, including blending it with margarine and lemon juice to get a consistency similar to cream cheese.

There is store-bought version available too.

How to Substitute

Tofu cream cheese is made by mashing about ¾ cup of well-drained tofu in a food processor with a tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/8 cup soft margarine. It may be sweetened and used in cheesecakes.

Here is a recipe to make vegan cheesecake using tofu:



Can sour cream be used to substitute cream cheese in cheesecake?

Sour cream is a versatile product made from coagulating cream that may be used as a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecakes. However, it may not have the same sweet flavor as a standard cheesecake due to its acidic nature.

What are the reasons to substitute cream cheese in cheesecakes?

Cream cheese is used in cheesecakes to render a rich mouthfeel and creamy texture to the cheesecakes. But it is rich in fats.

Weight-watchers may want to substitute cream cheese due to its high-fat content. Sometimes, you may run out of cream cheese and look for other alternatives.

Bottom Line

Cream cheese is a versatile ingredient in making cheesecakes due to its creamy texture.

If you are looking for some alternatives for cream cheese, we hope this article has given you some ideas.

Some of these substitutes are low fat and, therefore, help in making low-calorie cheesecakes.

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!