Cream cheese is not only used as a savory spread in breakfast. It’s a delicious and creamy dairy product that has a variety of uses. One can use it as creamy as well as savory dips, or one can use it as topping on the baked products as cake frosting. It has a variety of uses however, it contains some health issues. It has high-fat content which can cause heart diseases. But at the same time, cream cheese is a good source of Vitamin A. is totally up to someone to weight its benefits over drawback. But one must know some cream cheese substitute in case they want any healthier version or they ran out of cream cheese in the kitchen.
The good news is, there are plenty of cream cheese substitutes. They are all healthy in their way. Be it sweet or salty. We have discussed some great cream cheese substitutes later in this article.
But First, What Exactly is Cream Cheese?
Before talking about the substitutes for cream cheese, one must know what cream cheese is. It dates back to 1873. It was an American invention when a popular company invented it. The company Philadelphia launched its first product as cream cheese.
It is made from cow milk. It is considered that it must have 33% milk fat. The texture of the cream is used to be soft and smooth. It has a salty, sweet, and milky flavor. It was made in the US, however, it is being consumed throughout the world today.
What are its uses?
Cream cheese is a versatile ingredient. It can be used in many recipes like dips, spreads, toppings, and much more. Some of it’s’ most popular uses are:
- As a spread on bread and toast
- As a dip for chips, snacks, and salads
- For frosting on baked products such as cake
- Cheesecake and other desserts and,
- For thickening the sauces
Best Cream Cheese Alternatives to Try Today
Now it’s time to discuss some best alternatives to cream cheese. In case you run out of it in your kitchen or you want some healthier alternative. Try these best substitutes.
When we strain a plain yogurt it removes most of the whey. The resulted item is of thick consistency which is of sour flavor. This could be one of the easiest substitutes for cream cheese. You can make your cream cheese by this method. Just strain plain yogurt using a thin cloth or a coffee filter. Let it rest in the straining position for at least 8-12 hours.
Cream cheese made by this method is of low fat and low sodium. This means it is a healthier version. At the same time, it is rich in protein, vitamin B12, and calcium.
Yogurts can have different % of fat in them. However, if you use whole milk it will result in the most similar flavor of cream cheese. It’s all up to you if you want to add honey, maple syrup, or any other flavor to make it flavorful. In this way, you can have an alternative of cream cheese which has of same texture and taste.
2. Mascarpone Cheese
The texture of Mascarpone cheese is a bit more creamy and thick. This is why it is sometimes called triple cream cheese. It tastes sweeter because of its texture. It is creamier that’s why it contains more fat while cream cheese is acidic.
The fact is this cheese contains a double amount of fat as compared to American cream cheese. Mascarpone contains a good amount of sodium and calcium. However, they can be risky for a cardiac patient. If you are looking for an alternative of a good texture and flavor this option is a go-to. However, it has health risks.
Since the texture of this cheese is creamy and sweet. It can be used as frosting on baked items such as cakes and cupcakes. Similarly, it can be used as a topping for a fruit bowl. The creamy texture also allows the users to use it in pasta as pasta sauce, and in scrambled eggs even in anything.
Greek yogurt is also strained yogurt. One of the best reason for using strained yogurt is they contain low fat. It’s a healthier and flavorful alternative to cream cheese. All you need is some honey and maple syrup to make curd more flavorful.
The process of making it exactly similar to strained plain yogurt mentioned above. However, Greek yogurt is rich in cream, thickness and it is more spreadable. It contains a high amount of proteins. Its flavor is slightly tangy and sour.
Almond or Cashew Cream Cheese
One of the great substitutes for cream cheese is cashews. They are so flavorful that you cannot even tell the difference. It could be someone’s go-to ingredient for their cheesecakes.
It is made out of almond or cashew milk. All you need is some thickener to give it some creamy texture. This one cream cheese is highly recommended if you doing baking or you need to spread on bagels.
Cashews are rich with healthy fat. This fat is pretty healthy for cholesterol patients. This type of cheese is not for sweet items however it can do best with sour and tangy products. The spread made out of this gives a nutty flavor. You can make cashew cream cheese using the following recipe.
Take two-third of cashew butter, one-third of palm shortening, two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, half teaspoon lemon juice, one-fourth sea salt.
Now just blend all the ingredients at room temperature. The more you blend the more it gets the creamy texture.
Tofu Cream Cheese
Tofu is often called soft bean curd. It’s another alternate for cream cheese. Particularly if you are a vegetarian it is best for you. However, it has some solid texture. This is why you cannot use it as it is. You need to fix it to use it by making a few adjustments.
Tofu cream cheese is not only vegan but also gluten and dairy-free. The flavor and texture of tofu cream cheese made it usable for both sweets and savory food. Today, there is a variety of tofu cream cheese available in the market to use. However, you can easily make it at your home using this simple recipe below.
All you need is one cup silken Tofu, two tablespoons of coconut oil (melted), two or three tablespoons of lemon juice, you can also use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice. Then you need 1 tablespoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. Blend all the ingredients to make a puree. You can store it in the refrigerator in a sealed jar.
Another great alternative for cream cheese is Ricotta cheese. It is flavorful and easily available. Its flavor is less sweet than cream cheese. To make its flavor more similar to cream cheese, you need to add little sugar to it. It has more fat and cholesterol in it. This is why may not be a healthy option.
However, we have another option. If you want to get an option with less fat you need to choose low-fat ricotta cheese. That would have less fat and rich in protein and calcium.
It is always suggested to use fresh ricotta which has full fat. Moreover while selecting the fresh one look at the color of the cheese. It must have a snowy white color. If it has a yellow color, it means the cheese is not fresh.
As ricotta has a grainy texture, it is needed to mix with yogurt. This would give a good texture to be used in baking and as a dip. To use it in baking, mix ricotta with plain yogurt in a ratio of 1:1. To use it as frosting and in cheesecake, mix it with heavy cream in a ratio of 1:1.
If you want a healthy alternative to cream cheese then you need to go for cottage cheese. It is the cream cheese that specifically cuts down unhealthy fat and rich in calcium, potassium, and folic acid. However, it contains a high amount of sodium which can cause high blood pressure. Therefore, should be avoided by a blood pressure patient.
The texture of cottage cheese is somewhat creamy and chunky. This depends upon the fat in the milk which was used to make cheese. The higher the fat content in the milk the creamier the cheese will be. However, it is a good choice for diabetic patients.
If you need to use cream cheese for frosting purposes, you need to strain it over the night and mix and blend it with heavy cream in a ratio of 1:1. For using it as a dip, you just need to puree the strained cottage cheese.
Gervais cheese could be a great replacement for cream cheese. It’s a French cheese which consists of up to 75% milkfat. Its texture is pretty soft and easily spreadable. The only problem is the availability of this cheese. It is not available everywhere especially if you are not in Europe. But, if you got it from somewhere, you have got a great replacement for cream cheese.
Its texture is creamy and it tastes sweets, tangy, and rich. You can choose this in your desserts, as dips, and with your fruits.
Plain goat cheese has an excellent rich flavor. It makes a great alternative to cream cheese. The goat cheese is thicker than the normal cream cheese. This is why; we need to put a lesser amount of goat cheese in our recipes. It contains less fat and cholesterol.
If you need to make it fluffier, you just need to beat it to make it more spreadable. Goat cheese has a tangy flavor. It may not be cheap to buy but surely it is healthier.
Hummus which is normally made out of beans is another great alternate for cream cheese. It contains a lot of nutrients and vitamins as well as iron. It is a healthier version. Moreover, it’s a great alternative for vegans.
Hummus is readily available in the market in bulk. It contains some fat but this fat is healthy for cardiac patients and some forms of cancer.
You can make your hummus all by yourself as well. It tastes a little nutty and creamy. Moreover, as it contains lemon juice and garlic, it also tastes tangy.
It does not taste the same as cream cheese but you can use it for English muffins and bagels. You can mix sesame seeds or any poppy seeds, garlic, onion in the hummus to use it as a dip. However, it is not recommended to use hummus in desserts, particularly as frosting.
Sour cream is another good alternative. T contains more similarity to cream cheese. Its taste sour therefore is a great substitute for cream cheese. It tastes delicious and tangy to make it the best substitute for dip and sauces.
It is recommended to use is topping or in salads. However, it is not recommended to use it in making soups because heating the sour cream will turn into curdling. Moreover, it should also not be used in cheesecake because of its structure.
Kefir and Chia Seeds
Kefir is a kind of milk beverage. It is similar to yogurt and made exactly the way yogurt is made. However, it contains more protein, fat, and probiotics as compared to yogurt.
On the other hand, chia seeds are small seeds of black color. They are often called a superfood because they contain many nutrients.
The mixture of kefir and chia seeds is another healthy alternative because of the nutrients they contain. This cheese helps fighting many health issues such as allergies and gastro issues.
You can make your cream cheese out of kefir and chia seeds using the following method. You need to take one-fourth cup of chia seeds and the mix is with a bowl full of kefir. Then leave them for 30 minutes so the seeds absorb all the liquid of kefir.
You can use this cream cheese in desserts, like frosting, on bagels, and in cheesecake. It makes cheesecake fluffier and soft.
Coconut Cream Cheese
Coconut cream cheese is another great alternate for cream cheese. It tastes sweeter than the normal cream cheese because of the sweet flavor of coconut. This makes it best for use in desserts.
What you need to do is to take a can full of coconut milk with full fat. Make sure the can should be chilled. Take off the solid from the top of the can and then blend the rest with a half teaspoon of lemon and a pinch of salt. Blend them well the then let it strain for about 24 to 36 hours. Then just put it in the refrigerator and let it rest for at least 6 hours before using it.
You can also add some yeast to make it little savory to use it as a pasta sauce. The nutritional yeast will give it some cheesy flavor. Moreover adding little garlic can make it tangier to use it as dips.
Cream cheese is a healthy, delicious, and versatile ingredient. But some time might run out of it in your kitchen or you just want a healthier option. Whatever your preference is, you can substitute it with any handy ingredients. This will not only give healthier alternatives but will be fun to experiment with new things.
AUTHOR BiO: I am Faraz Ahmad, a qualified blogger and web developer. Here on SNOWTICA, you can have an idea of my expertise. You can also visit services for more information. I love to write a blog on various topics, like health, Technology, Business, Travel, Lifestyle, sports, Food, Finance, etc. For more information contact here.