13 Cream Cheese Substitutes and Ratios: How to Use the Alternatives

Cream cheese is a versatile ingredient found in many recipes, from cheesecake to frosting to dips.

However, if you find yourself without cream cheese or want to try something different, there are several alternatives to consider.

In this blog post, we’ve listed 13 ideal cream cheese substitutes, along with ratios and instructions on how to use them. 

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner home cook, you’ll find these tips useful for your next recipe.

In short, " What can I use instead of Cream cheese?"

Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Vegan Cream Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, Feta Cheese, Sour Cream, Mascarpone Cheese, Neufchatel Cheese, Cashew Cream, Tofu Cream, Mascarpone Cheese, Butter and Milk, Milk and Lemon Juice.

What is Cream cheese, and what does Cream cheese taste like?

Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting cheese that is made from milk and cream.

It has a silky texture and mildly tangy flavor, making it an ideal spread for toast, crackers, bagels, or other breads.

Its warm flavor pairs nicely with sweet ingredients like honey or fruit preserves, as well as savory items such as smoked salmon or capers.

Cream cheese is also a versatile ingredient for dips and sauces; it can be blended with herbs and spices to create a flavorful dip for fresh vegetables or crackers.

Uses of Cream cheese

Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting cheese that can be used in a variety of ways.

It has a creamy texture and is often used as a spread on various types of breads, bagels, crackers, and toast. Cream cheese can also use in baking for added richness and flavor.

Popular cream cheese recipes include cheesecakes, dips, muffins, cakes, pastries, and frostings – all of which use cream cheese to give the dish an extra creamy taste.

Cream cheese is also widely used as an ingredient in savory dishes like pasta sauces or dips. 

For example, adding cream cheese to Alfredo sauce will make it extra creamy and add additional flavor to the dish.

Cream cheese can also be used as an alternative to butter when making scrambled eggs or omelets for a richer flavor.

In addition to being a tasty addition to multiple dishes, cream cheese is also said to have several health benefits, such as being high in calcium and protein while being low in salt and fat. 

Adding cream cheese to meals can provide essential vitamins and minerals while still keeping calories low due to its high-fat content.

Furthermore, consuming moderate amounts of full-fat dairy products has been linked with decreasing inflammation throughout the body which may lead to improved overall health over time.

Where to buy Cream cheese?

If you are looking for where to buy Cream cheese, there are a few different places you can go. Many specialty food stores carry it, as do some international grocery stores

You can also order online from many retailers that provide a variety of diverse flavors and types of Cream cheese.

Best Cream cheese substitutes

1. Greek Yogurt – a good Cream cheese substitute

greek yogurt is good cream cheese substitute

Greek yogurt has a similar tangy taste to cream cheese and can be used in dips or spreads.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio, or add a little extra if desired for a creamier consistency.

2. Cottage Cheese 

Cottage cheese can be blended until smooth and used as a spread or a dip.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio and add a splash of milk to reach a creamier texture.

3. use Vegan Cream Cheese to replace Cream cheese 

If dairy isn’t an option, vegan cream cheese is a great option.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio as a substitute in any recipe.

4. Ricotta Cheese 

ricotta cheese is good cream cheese alternate

Ricotta can be used in baked goods or spreads.

Ratio or measurement: Blend ricotta until smooth or blend with a food processor or a hand mixer and use a 1:1 ratio.

5. Feta Cheese – great Cream cheese alternative

Feta has a tangy, salty flavor and can be used in dips or spreads.

Ratio or measurement: Mix with a hand mixer or food processor until smooth, and use a 1:1 ratio.

6. Sour Cream 

sour cream is nice cream cheese replacement

Sour cream can use in dips and spreads.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio or add a little extra for a creamier texture.

7. you can use Mascarpone Cheese instead of Cream cheese 

Mascarpone has a rich and creamy texture, perfect for desserts or dips.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio as a substitute in recipes.

8. Neufchatel Cheese 

Neufchatel cheese is softer and lighter than cream cheese and can be used in baked goods or dips.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio or add a little extra if desired.

9. Cashew Cream – a decent Cream cheese substitute

cashew cream is good substitute for cream cheese

Soak raw cashews in water for a few hours, then blend until smooth.

Ratio or measurement: Cashew cream can be used in dips or as a spread, with a 1:1 ratio or adjusted for desired consistency.

10. Tofu Cream 

Blend silken tofu until smooth and use in dips or spreads.

Ratio or measurement: Adjust for consistency with added vinegar or lemon juice and use a 1:1 ratio.

11. Mascarpone Cheese –similar taste to Cream cheese 

mascarpone cheese is nice alternate for cream cheese

This Italian cheese has a similar texture and flavor to cream cheese but is richer and slightly sweeter.

Ratio or measurement: Replace cream cheese with mascarpone cheese in a 1:1 ratio in recipes such as cheesecake, frosting, and tiramisu.

12. Butter and Milk 

In recipes that call for small amounts of cream cheese, butter and milk can often be used as a substitute.

Ratio or measurement: Use a ratio of one tablespoon of butter and three tablespoons of milk to replace 2 ounces of cream cheese.

13. Milk and Lemon Juice – an ideal Cream cheese substitute

To mimic the tanginess of cream cheese, milk and lemon juice can be mixed to create a substitute.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio of milk and lemon juice, with a pinch of salt, in recipes such as frosting and dips.

Tips on How to Choose the Most Suitable Substitution Option for Cream Cheese

Choosing a suitable substitution option for cream cheese can be helpful when you don’t have it on hand or if you have dietary restrictions. Here are some tips to consider when making this choice:

1. Flavor profile: Cream cheese has a mild and creamy flavor. When choosing a substitute, consider options that have a similar taste.

Some alternatives include Neufchâtel cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, or Greek yogurt. These options can provide a similar creamy taste to your dish.

2. Texture: Cream cheese has a smooth and spreadable texture. If you need a substitute for a recipe that requires this texture, consider using mascarpone cheese, which has a similar consistency.

Greek yogurt or sour cream can also work well in certain recipes.

3. Fat content: Cream cheese is known for its high-fat content, which contributes to its rich and creamy texture.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative, consider using low-fat or fat-free cream cheese, Neufchâtel cheese, or Greek yogurt.

These options will have a lower fat content while still providing a similar taste.

4. Baking: Cream cheese is commonly used in baking recipes like cheesecakes or frostings.

If you need a substitute for baking, options like ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, or a combination of Greek yogurt and butter can work well.

However, keep in mind that the texture and taste might be slightly different from the original recipe.

5. Dietary restrictions: If you have dietary limitations, such as being lactose intolerant or vegan, there are alternatives available.

For lactose intolerance, you can try lactose-free cream cheese or dairy-free options like almond or soy-based cream cheese.

Vegans can opt for vegan cream cheese made from plant-based ingredients like cashews or tofu.

What is a non-dairy replacement for cream cheese?

1. Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is one of the most famous alternatives to cream cheese as it has a similar texture and can be used as a replacement in many recipes.

To use silken tofu as an alternative to cream cheese, blend it until it’s smooth and creamy and use it like you would cream cheese in your favorite recipes. 

The ideal ratio for silken tofu is one part soft tofu to two parts non-dairy milk (like almond or oat).

2. Cashew Cream Cheese

Cashew cream cheese can be made using raw cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder and sea salt.

To make this vegan substitute for cream cheese, soak the cashews in hot water for at least two hours before blending them with the other ingredients.

The ideal ratio for cashew cream is four parts soaked cashews to one part liquid (like almond or coconut milk).

3. Coconut Cream Cheese

This dairy-free substitute is made using coconut cream, nutritional yeast and spices like garlic powder and onion powder.

To make this vegan alternative to cream cheese, combine all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth, then refrigerate until thickened.

The ideal ratio for coconut cream cheese is one part full-fat coconut milk to one tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

4. Hummus

Hummus has a spreadable consistency that makes it perfect for spreading on crackers or bread, just like you do with traditional cream cheese.

You can also use hummus in place of cream cheese when making dips or dressings – just adjust the seasonings accordingly!

The ideal ratio for hummus is three parts cooked chickpeas to one part tahini (sesame paste) per cup of chickpeas used.

5. Avocado Spread

Avocados are naturally creamy and have a slightly sweet flavor that’s reminiscent of traditional cream cheeses, making them an excellent choice for making vegan spreads!

To make an avocado spread, simply mash one ripe avocado with a fork until it reaches your desired consistency, then add fresh herbs, spices or other flavors according to taste.

The ideal ratio for an avocado spread is two tablespoons mashed avocado per quarter cup of non-dairy milk used (like almond or oat).

Homemade Cream Cheese Alternative

Making homemade cream cheese is a simple process that requires minimal ingredients. Here’s a basic recipe to make cream cheese at home:


– 4 cups whole milk

– 1 cup heavy cream

– 3 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar

– Pinch of salt


1. In a large saucepan, heat the whole milk and heavy cream over medium heat. Stir occasionally to stop the milk from scorching.

2. Once the milk mixture reaches a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to low. Count the lemon juice or vinegar and stir gently. The acid will help curdle the milk.

3. Continue to heat the mixture for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the milk fully curdles and separates into curds (solid) and whey (liquid). The whey will appear yellowish and watery.

4. Remove the saucepan from heat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the curds to further develop.

5. Line a colander or fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Place it over a large bowl or in the sink to catch the whey.

6. Gently pour the curdled milk mixture into the lined colander. The whey will drain through the cheesecloth, leaving the curds behind.

7. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together to form a bundle and hang it up to drain for about 4-6 hours or overnight.

You can hang it over the sink or place a weight on top to aid in the draining process.

8. Once the cream cheese has drained and reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a bowl. Count a pinch of salt and stir to incorporate.

9. Refrigerate the homemade cream cheese for at least a few hours to allow it to firm up before using. It can be stored in an airtight utensil in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note: The longer you let the cream cheese drain, the thicker and drier it will become. Adjust the draining time according to your preference for a creamier or firmer consistency.

Enjoy your homemade cream cheese on bagels, in recipes, or as a spread. Feel free to experiment with flavors by adding herbs, spices, or sweeteners to customize the taste to your liking.

a healthy choice to cream cheese on bagels 

A healthy choice to cream cheese on bagels is hummus. Hummus is a creamy spread made from pureed cooked chickpeas, tahini (a ground sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.

It’s an amazing source of protein and fiber, as well as vitamin B6, iron and magnesium. With its nutty flavor and creamy texture, hummus adds a great twist to your favorite bagel. 

Not only is it packed with nutrients and flavor, but it’s also vegan-friendly and low in saturated fat and added sugar.

It can be enjoyed plain or with spices such as cumin or paprika for an extra zing of flavor. Try it out the next time you’re looking for a healthier way to top your bagel!

Substitute for cream cheese in cookies

An alternative ingredient to cream cheese when baking cookies is ricotta cheese.

Ricotta cheese has a mild, sweet flavor and smooth texture that will not overpower the other ingredients while providing a rich, creamy boost of moisture.

One can also use mascarpone cheese as an alternative; this Italian cream cheese is similar in texture and flavor to cream cheese but slightly softer and sweeter.

Additionally, nut butter, such as almond butter, can be used for its creamy consistency and nutty flavor.

Nut butter lends natural sweetness and richness to your cookie batter without having to add additional sugar or fat. 

For vegan recipes, one might consider using coconut cream or coconut yogurt, which will add a delicious coconut flavor to the cookies along with a light, fluffy texture.

Conclusion on Cream cheese substitute

In this blog post, we’ve outlined 13 ideal cream cheese substitutes with ratios and instructions on how to use them. 

Whether you’re looking for a lower-fat option or want to try something new, these alternatives are a great place to start. 

Keep these tips in mind for your next recipe, and see how easy it can be to substitute cream cheese.

FAQs on Cream cheese substitute

Q1. What is similar to Cream cheese?

Cream cheese is similar to other soft cheeses like Boursin, ricotta, cottage cheese and Neufchâtel.

These cheeses are all mild or slightly tangy in flavor and have a creamy texture.

They can be used interchangeably in some recipes; however, cream cheese is thicker than others, so it may require more liquid if substituted in certain dishes.

Q2. What is a substitute for 1 cup of cream cheese?

A good substitute for 1 cup of cream cheese would be 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt blended with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine.

This combination will provide the texture and flavor that you would get from cream cheese while still being lower in fat and calories.

For a vegan alternative, use a plant-based yogurt blend such as coconut or almond milk with vegan butter substitutes like Earth Balance or Miyoko’s Creamery Vegan Butter.

Q3. Can I substitute heavy cream for cream cheese?

No, you cannot substitute heavy cream for cream cheese. Cream cheese is a variety of cheese that has a soft, spreadable texture and mild flavor.

Heavy cream, on the other hand, is a type of dairy product that is much thicker and higher in fat than other types of cream.

Additionally, heavy cream lacks the tangy taste that cream cheese has due to its fermentation process.

Therefore, substituting one for the other will greatly alter the texture and flavor of any recipe calling for either ingredient.

Q4. Can milk replace cream cheese?

No, milk cannot replace cream cheese because the two ingredients are completely different in terms of nutritional properties, texture, and flavor.

Milk is a liquid dairy product that is made from the fat and proteins of cow’s milk, while cream cheese is a semi-solid cheese made from cow’s or goat’s milk that has been treated with lactic acid bacteria to give it its characteristic tangy flavor.

Milk typically contains fewer calories than cream cheese and lacks the rich, creamy texture that cream cheese provides.

Additionally, cream cheese contains higher levels of protein, fat, and calcium than milk.

Therefore, while they may both be produced from dairy products, milk cannot adequately replace cream cheese in recipes or as an ingredient in dishes due to their distinct taste profiles and nutritional makeup.

Q5. What is a healthy alternative for cream cheese in cheesecake?

A healthy substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake is Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains probiotics that are beneficial to gut health and has less fat than cream cheese, making it a healthier option.

It also adds an additional boost of protein which can help keep you full longer. Additionally, it still provides the creamy texture and flavor needed for a delicious cheesecake.

Q6. How do you mimic cream cheese flavor?

Mimicking cream cheese flavor can be done by combining a combination of sour cream, Greek yogurt, full-fat mayonnaise and cottage cheese.

Adding ingredients such as garlic powder and onion powder can provide the extra flavor needed to mimic that of cream cheese.

You can also use a blend of other cheeses like ricotta and Parmesan to create the same creamy texture. Lastly, adding a hint of sweetness using honey or sugar can help the overall flavor profile.

Q7. Can I sub Mayo for cream cheese?

Although mayonnaise can be used in some recipes which call for cream cheese, it is not a substitute that would yield the same results.

Mayonnaise does not have the same texture or flavor as cream cheese and is an entirely different ingredient.

Cream cheese has a thick, creamy consistency and a mild, slightly tangy flavor that mayonnaise simply cannot replicate.

Additionally, depending on the recipe, cream cheese can provide additional structure and stability to the dish, whereas mayo will only act as a wetting agent.

Therefore, if you are looking to make a recipe that calls for cream cheese, it is best to stick with that ingredient rather than using mayonnaise as an alternative.

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