The 6 Best Mascarpone Cheese Substitutes

Chris Starks
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What is Mascarpone?

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese with an incredibly creamy texture that is used in many desserts. The best known (and most delicious) Italian dessert is Tiramisu, which consists of mascarpone and espresso.

It’s an ideal cheese to substitute if you’re either vegan, or looking to save calories and shedding a few pounds, which believe me it’s so rich and creamy, it’s easy to overindulge and quickly add calories.

Cheese isn’t as healthy as we would like it to be, and if you’re counting calories, substitute mascarpone for yogurt and you’ll be able to save almost 20 calories per tablespoon.

Mascarpone is made by mixing fresh cream with a bit of citric acid to make the milk clump together. Then the clumps of milk are put in a cheesecloth and left for at least a day and up to a month, until the mixture has become a fluffy, creamy substance that is really close to a real cheese.

Mascarpone is not only delicious as it’s main use is in desserts but it’s also very versatile. You can use it in savory recipes like pastas, creamy sauces and dips.

Mascarpone Vs. Cream Cheese

So creamy, rich, and outrageously expensive, what's not to love about Mascarpone Cheese? It brings that perfect lightness and richness to lots of desserts; it's often made with eggs, although many recipes call for gelatin to set the egg-based curd so it's not really meant to be consumed raw.

If you're fortunate enough to live near a good specialty or Italian grocer, you can find Mascarpone for much more reasonable prices than in the grocery store, but even then, it's usually quite expensive since it's so perishable.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your Mascarpone.

Here are 6 great Mascarpone candy-making alternatives that are as delicious as Mascarpone. Most are even more versatile than the real thing, and you can find them in most grocery stores!

{1}. Cream Cheese (p.s. you can use it to make the most amazing cheesecake, which is perfect for Mascarpone Cheesecake Recipes!)
{2}. Ricotta Cheese
{3}. Gorgonzola Cheese (Enter: Gorgonzola Cheesecake)
{4}. Fromage Blanc
{5}. Neufchatel Cheese

Mascarpone Substitutes

What is it? Mascarpone is a fresh, unsalted fermented cream cheese available in most grocery stores, but it is easily substituted. It's a creamy, smooth, and mildly sweet cheese that is used for fillings, sauces, and desserts.

What is it typically used for? Mascarpone is commonly used for filling spreads, pasta, and desserts, but there are many other uses for this smooth, rich and mild cheese.

Whipped Low-fat Ricotta

I’ve never been a big fan of whipped products because I always thought they’re too easy to whip up, they’re bound to be high in fat. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the low-fat ricotta cheese because it had a light and creamy texture, but I wasn’t crazy about the taste.

To change the taste up a bit, I added some vanilla extract to this ricotta cheese recipe and used it to make the best light frosting. I’m talking almost fat free, high-protein, and dairy free. The frosting is tasty enough to dip your finger in it.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is widely used as a substitute for mascarpone cheese. 8 oz. of cream cheese will yield about 1 3/4 cups of cheese, which means you will need 6 oz. of cream cheese to achieve the same result. Be aware that mascarpone is sweeter than cream cheese, so you may want to add some extra sugar to get the same sweetness.

Low-Fat Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is an excellent option for a low-fat substitute. You can purchase whole milk yogurt or nonfat yogurt and remove a portion of the yogurt to yield the needed amount of mascarpone cheese.

When removing the yogurt from the container or carton, place it in a strainer and let the liquid drain out for 10 to 15 minutes. It's best to pour it into a separate bowl rather than trying to drain it directly into the mascarpone cheese mixture.

Then, you need to move the strained yogurt to a bowl and whip it until it's smooth. Add syrup and additional flavorings, if desired.

Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a great choice as a Mascarpone cheese substitute. In addition to being low in fat, it’s also lower in calories and higher in protein than Mascarpone cheese but you’ll need to take care about the amount you eat. Cottage cheese can contain a lot of salt so choose low-salt options if you’re watching your sodium intake.

Make cottage cheese a little more appetizing by mixing in some herbs and spices. Chopped chives, red bell peppers and sun dried tomatoes are a few easy options you can experiment with. Other spices and seasoning, like salt and pepper, chopped onions, coriander, garlic powder and hot sauce are all also good options to consider.

Some people also like to blend cottage cheese with yogurt for the right creamy texture. Try adding tropical fruits, like mangoes, and even chocolate into the mix to create even more flavorful cottage cheese recipes.

English Clotted Cream

You can use clotted cream or Devonshire cream in place of mascarpone cheese. While it isn’t exactly the same, you can still use it in many recipes and substitute it for mascarpone cheese. The main difference between them is the fat content, as clotted cream has a higher fat content than devonshire (60% compared to 30%).

The fat difference will affect the outcome of the recipe recipe. Mascarpone cheese is used in both savory and sweet dishes because it is a soft, smooth, light and mellow cheese without much of an aroma or flavor of its own. However, the flavor of clotted cream can overpower the overall taste of a dish. A classic example is the Tiramisu, which is an Italian desert made with mascarpone cheese. When using Devonshire, it will taste more like a dessert because it has a sweet flavor; the mascarpone obviously tastes better in a savory recipe.

French Crème Fraiche

The ideal substitute for mascarpone cheese is French crème fraiche. Though both of them have a lot of similarities, French crème fraiche is thicker. When it was first made, French crème fraiche was known as crème anglaise because the English loved it so much. However, when it was discovered that the cream for French crème fraiche was much thicker than the cream for the English "sour cream", the name soon changed to French crème fraiche. Mascarpone can be substituted with a mixture of equal amounts of cream cheese and sour cream. Equal quantities of vanilla soymilk and ricotta cheese make an excellent substitute for mascarpone as well.

Final Verdict

Mascarpone is one of Italy's most famous products, and one of the many reasons is how easy it is to substitute for different recipes.

If you are wondering whether it's worth the cost, or can't find it in your part of the world, there are quite a few options to turn to.

This guide presents a shopping list of good replacements to keep on hand in case you need them and some suggestions for substitutes that can be used if you have no other option but to use a dairy free product.

The information in this guide will help you find a good substitute, no matter your dietary preferences.

Here are the top 6 ingredients that are commonly used as mascarpone cheese substitutes:

{1}. Ricotta: Ricotta is one of the more popular mascarpone cheese substitutes, and it is an option for people with dairy allergies. It has a mild creaminess that allows it to provide a good texture when baked. Ricotta is used in dishes like cannoli and Tiramisu.
{2}. Cream Cheese: Because of their thick texture, cream cheeses are often used as substitutes for mascarpone in many recipes. When melted they can carry some of the same flavor characteristics as mascarpone, allowing for the same creamy texture.