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Tasty Shifts: 5 Substitutes for Cream Cheese in Cheesecake

Are you looking for a way to make your cheesecake vegan, or just wanting to try something different?

Cream cheese has become a staple ingredient in many types of cheesecake, providing a sweet and tangy flavor.

However, it’s not the only option that you have.

There are five delicious substitutes that can help create fabulous homemade desserts without using dairy-based cream cheese.

But how do you use these cream cheese substitutes for creating an amazing cheesecake? With the right combination of ingredients and careful baking instructions, it’s easy to find the perfect delicious and creamy alternative.

Keep reading to find out what the best five substitutes are and how they can be used to recreate your favorite desserts.

The 5 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cheesecake

Cream cheese is often used in recipes to give baked goods a smooth, creamy texture.

However, there are times when you might be missing cream cheese or looking for an alternate ingredient to use in place of cream cheese.

Here’s a detailed comparison of the 5 best substitutes for butter in sugar cookies, along with their key characteristics and proper ratios:

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
MargarineSimilar texture and flavor to butter but with a higher water content. It can affect the texture of cookies.Use the same amount as butter
ShorteningProvides a soft and tender texture to cookies. It lacks the flavor of butter but helps cookies hold their shape.Use 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of shortening for every 1 cup of butter
Olive & Vegetable OilCan yield softer and moister cookies. Olive oil adds a distinct flavor, while vegetable oil has a neutral taste.Use 3/4 cup of oil for every 1 cup of butter
Coconut OilAdds a subtle coconut flavor to cookies and provides a similar texture to butter.Use the same amount as butter
ApplesauceReduces the fat content and adds moisture to cookies. It can result in softer and cake-like cookies.Use 1 cup of applesauce for every 1 cup of butter

Now let’s explore each substitute in more detail:

1 – Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese 3

Cottage cheese is widely used as a cream cheese substitute for cheesecake recipes.

Cottage cheese has fewer calories and fat than cream cheese, so it is a healthier alternative, if you’re looking for one.

It should be noted that you need to strain the cottage cheese first to get rid of the excess liquid before adding it to your cheesecake batter.

To do this, simply place your cottage cheese in a colander or strainer lined with several layers of paper towels, and let it sit for about an hour in the refrigerator.

This will extract most of the liquid from the cottage cheese, giving you a thicker consistency that is similar to cream cheese.

For every 8 ounces of cream cheese needed in your recipe, use 1-1/2 cups of strained cottage cheese and proceed with the rest of your recipe as usual.

2 – Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt 6

Greek yogurt is a staple in many households, and is quickly becoming an excellent substitution for cream cheese.

While Greek yogurt does not have the same texture of traditional cream cheese, it can be just as creamy.

It’s also lower in fat than cream cheese and slightly higher in protein so you still get some of the health benefits.

To substitute Greek yogurt for cream cheese, it’s a good idea to use plain or unsweetened varieties and combine with sugar, to enhance the sweetness.

When using this substitution ratio you will use twice as much Greek yogurt as cream cheese; meaning if your recipe calls for 1 cup of cream cheese use 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt.

3 – Mascarpone Cheese

mascarpone cheese 3

Mascarpone cheese is a popular cream cheese substitute for cheesecake.

It is an Italian cheese, made from heavy whipping cream and is high in fat.

Mascarpone does not have much of a flavor, but its rich and creamy texture can be a great addition to your cheesecake.

However, you will need to mix it with something else such as Greek yogurt or sour cream to get that distinct “cheesy” flavor.

It will also add a nice tanginess to the dish if you want that in the flavor profile of your vegan cheesecake.

The wonderful thing with this cream cheese substitute is that it contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, making it an excellent choice for those on restricted diets who want to enjoy some delicious dairy-free cheesecakes.

4 – Neufchâtel Cheese

neufchtel cheese

Neufchâtel cheese, also known as ‘fromage de Neufchatel’, is a soft cheese from the Normandy region of France.

It is often sold in North America due to its similarities with cream cheese.

It has an extremely creamy texture and can be used as a low-fat substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake.

Neufchâtel should be slightly firmer than cream cheese, so it may need to be blended or very slightly softened before it is ready to use in your recipe.

Whether or not you decide to soften it will depend on the type of recipe you are using and whether you prefer a lighter or denser cheesecake.

Neufchâtel will yield a perfect cheesecake result every time and is perfect when topped with fresh fruit, jams, compote or sauces.

5 – Ricotta Cheese

ricotta cheese 2

Ricotta cheese is a great choice for health-conscious bakers.

It is creamy, high in calcium and low in fat — making it a great base for any lighter-style cheesecake recipe.

Ricotta does lack the ‘tang’ that cream cheese provides, so adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can help to offset this deficiency.

Ricotta works especially well when combined with other creamy elements such as sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Additionally, ricotta can take on flavors used while baking quite well — try using a chocolateized pink peppercorn ricotta to add an extra layer of flavor profile to your next cheesecake creation.

cream cheese substitutes in cheesecake

The 5 BEST Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cheesecake

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • 1 – Cottage Cheese
  • 2 – Greek Yogurt
  • 3 – Mascarpone Cheese
  • 4 – Neufchâtel Cheese
  • 5 – Ricotta Cheese


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @EatDelights or tag #eatdelights!

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