Ricotta cheese is a popular ingredient for baking – often adding a creamy and rich texture to any confection. This Italian cheese is easily found in most stores and can be made from a variety of milk sources such as goat, sheep, cow, and even water buffalo! The word itself translates to “recooked” because ricotta is made from leftover whey.
Today, we’ll talk about possible ricotta substitutes for baking that might help you with your ingredient swaps! The goal is to give you multiple options to tweak a favorite recipe, depending on your specific needs:
- Cottage Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Goat Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Queso Fresco
- Fromage Blanc
Don’t worry if you are still unable to find anything suitable from the list above. Read on as we go in depth for the full comprehensive list of Ricotta Cheese Substitute for baking below.
10 Best Substitute For Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta is moist, fluffy, and light because it has very little aging. It’s most commonly used for lasagna, but the fluffy texture also makes it great for baking.
Unfortunately, ricotta has a short shelf life – which means that if you only bake occasionally, keeping one in the fridge may not be a good idea.
For whatever reasons you need to find ricotta cheese substitutes urgently, here are some of the best available.
Cottage Cheese as a dairy product was actually discovered accidentally! They used the stomach linings of animals to carry milk and the bacteria there caused the milk to curdle.
Light and mildly flavored, most bakers prefer cottage cheese because it has a lower fat content – making it the healthier option of the two.
The flavor is slightly similar to ricotta and should not create a huge variance in how your baked goods turn out. The main difference between the two is that cottage cheese is more runny and less creamy – which should be easily seen once you’re done baking.
However, this should affect the integrity of your cake, and will still give the confection a very notable taste.
Compared to ricotta, cottage cheese actually has fewer calories per cup. Ricotta has around 174 calories per 100 grams while cottage cheese is just 98 calories.
If you’re trying to lose weight or want a low-calorie alternative, cottage cheese is definitely a good idea. For substitution purposes, the ratio is 1:1 which means that one cup of ricotta cheese can be swapped with one cup of cottage cheese.
At first glance, you can instantly tell that sour cream and ricotta have very different textures. They’re best used in baking recipes where cheese isn’t the primary ingredient. Basically, you just want the sour cream to add fluffiness to the final product.
In some recipes, the acid in sour cream actually helps create more tender delicacies, so expect some bounce in your cake if this is added. Since sour cream is very thick – it helps add moisture to the cake and doesn’t thin out the batter during mixture. It also adds that bit of tang into the food product so there’s a certain “bite” to the overall taste.
Sour cream also follows a 1:1 ratio with ricotta cheese, so there’s no need to alter your measurements when making the swap. Sour cream has 193 calories per 100 grams so it’s a bit more than ricotta.
Goat cheese really packs in the tangy flavor – especially the older versions. This cheese has the same creamy consistency but more acid so you won’t get the same level of sweetness.
Something to remember about goat cheese is that it comes in different varieties, and fresh is typically better. Unlike ricotta, old goat cheese tends to harden, and will not be a good ingredient for baking.
If purchased fresh, however, it will have a similar moisture content with ricotta and will give you more or less the same results.
The main downside of goat cheese is that it is heavy on calories. It’s practically double the calories of ricotta because every 100 grams contains 364 calories.
Use goat cheese only if the recipe calls for a very small amount of cheese. When using goat cheese as a substitute, you can use the 1:1 ratio. However, goat cheese has more salt in it so there’s a need to reduce the salt amount in your recipe.
While ricotta is made with just milk, cream cheese is a combination of milk and cream. This means that compared to ricotta, cream cheese is actually creamier, and therefore thicker. When it comes to baking, this means that you’ll have more stable baked goods.
Both ricotta and cream cheese have a slightly sweet flavor, allowing you to easily substitute one for the other without altering the overall taste of the cake. Note that if ricotta is being used because of its fluffy texture, cream cheese is not the best substitute because it tends to be heavier than ricotta.
Cream cheese contains around 342 calories for every 100 grams, which makes it problematic if you’re trying to make a low-calorie recipe. If you’re trying to lose weight, only use cream cheese as a substitute if you’re using a very small amount. There’s no need to make changes with the measurement because the ingredient follows a 1:1 ratio on substitution.
Mascarpone Cheese is an acid-set cream with a soft texture that feels a lot like ricotta. It has this milky-white shade that can be spread easily, while still maintaining its integrity.
Typically, you’ll find this cheese as the main ingredient for tiramisu and in some cases, in cheesecake recipes. The taste is largely similar to that of ricotta but just a little bit sweeter.
For that reason, you might want to reduce the sugar content of your recipe just a tiny bit when using this substitute. Mascarpone cheese has a strong flavor, so use it only if you’re making something with an equally powerful taste. Otherwise, it may take over the flavor of the baked goods.
Note that it’s a bit more expensive than other cheese substitutes, so make sure to check before buying. Around 100 grams of mascarpone cheese is equivalent to 435 calories, making it more calorie-heavy than ricotta.
Because of this, you’d want to make the swap only if the recipe calls for a very small amount of cheese. The ratio for substitution is 1:1, so there’s really no need to make large alterations in your measurements.
Queso fresco is a Mexican cheese that literally translates to “fresh cheese”. It’s very soft with a slightly tangy taste that’s often used as a topping for Mexican cuisines.
It doesn’t really melt very well – which means adding it an as ingredient in a baking batter may not always be a good idea.
Does that mean you can’t use it for baking? Of course not – but queso fresco is best used as a filling for pastries instead of forming part of the dough. The cheese can be pretty crumbly so it’s best to crumble it into smaller portions before placing in the dough as filling. This way, you can get these delicious melted cheese centers for whatever you’re baking.
Each 100 grams of queso fresco contains around 310 calories, so it’s still higher than ricotta. If you’re going to use this in recipes, try to include it sparingly in your baked goods. To swap, just use equal portions of queso fresco and ricotta, following the basic 1:1 ratio.
This is a type of French cheese with no live cultures inside it – opposite of Fromage Frais. The soft cheese has more or less the same consistency of ricotta, making it a great substitute.
It’s thicker, so you’ll have more integrity in your baked goods if you choose this ingredient.
You might want to consider how the cheese will be used in your recipe. For example, if you want a thick texture for your batter – a drained fromage blanc would be better.
In this case, you’ll be creating something that closely resembles yogurt. However, if you don’t drain the cheese – it offers a slightly runnier consistency, which can be good for softer creations.
Fromage blanc is pretty low in calories – just 100 calories per 100 grams of the soft cheese. Compared to ricotta, fromage blanc is definitely a low-cal option.
To swap, you can use a 1:1 ratio of ricotta and fromage blanc. The cheese is primarily a French product, but if you can find it in your local store, you should definitely try it!
Plain yogurt has this very tangy taste that can add to the overall flavor of any recipe. It gives you more room for experimentation and is thick enough to offer your baked goods some integrity.
As a swap for ricotta, yogurt is definitely a healthier option because it contains just 59 calories per 100 grams. It’s also pretty common and on the cheap side – giving you the chance to use it in large quantities for large recipes. Note though that you should only be using plain Greek yogurt for baking in order to get the best results.
Note that the consistency of ricotta and yogurt are slightly different, so there’s a need to make alterations when it comes to measurements. Specifically, you’d want to use less yogurt.
For example, if you’re asked to put in one cup of ricotta, swap it for just ¾ of plain Greek yogurt. Always choose to reduce the measurement by ¼ to maintain the moisture consistency of the baked goods.
Yes, tofu can be used as an alternative to ricotta. However, you have to choose soft tofu in order to get the creamy consistency of ricotta for baking purposes.
Most people use tofu as a healthy vegan alternative for those who don’t eat meat or any animal by-product. It’s also low calorie, containing just 76 calories per 100 grams.
The downside? The flavor isn’t as strong compared to ricotta so you might have to make some adjustments when adding other flavorful ingredients. To make the swap, just follow a 1:1 ratio
For every 100 grams of buttermilk cheese, you’re only getting 64 calories, making it less than half the calories of ricotta. Unsurprisingly, buttermilk is a good substitute option if you want to create a low-calorie version of any recipe that calls for ricotta.
The texture and taste of buttermilk cheese is largely similar to ricotta, so there’s not much change when it comes to your final product. Really, the main downside of buttermilk cheese is the fact that it’s not easy to find, but if you do have one – use it as a healthier alternative. Use a 1:1 ratio for this.