If you’re a sweet tooth just like me, you probably are familiar with Mascarpone already.
Who doesn’t like this extremely soft cheese? It’s addicting since it makes our favorite dishes extra creamier. Tiramisus, cheesecakes, fruit tarts, and even pizzas wouldn’t be the same without mascarpone. It’s just undeniably good and delicious!
However, if you unexpectedly run out of your favorite mascarpone, no need to worry.
We care for every reader out there, so we’ve listed both dairy and vegan options to pick from. That being said, let’s talk about different mascarpone substitutes and find the right one for your next dish.
1. Cream cheese
If I don’t have mascarpone left in the fridge, my favorite substitute is always cream cheese. Mind you, using this doesn’t make any difference especially for kitchen emergencies.
Cream cheese works well like mascarpone but you might need to mix it with butter or whipped cream to copy the mascarpone’s thick texture. Surely, your tiramisu and cheesecake will taste just the same as using mascarpone.
2. Cottage cheese
For a low-fat substitute, especially for those who are trying to watch their weight, cottage cheese is a healthier alternative.
Also, you’ll get more protein from it than what you’re getting from mascarpone. However, the curds from cottage cheese might tell the difference from a much creamier mascarpone.
To fix this real quick, you can process it in a blender or food processor to make it smoother. Use cottage cheese instead for healthier desserts and pastries without dealing with guilt.
3. Sour cream
Another low-fat alternative that you can also consider would be sour cream. It’s pretty much just like mascarpone in physical appearance but has a more tangy taste.
I like sour cream because I don’t need to mix it with other ingredients or process it to make it smoother. It’s great for lasagnas, casseroles, white-based sauces, and pizzas. It can be used for desserts as well but not for all recipes. I recommend using it as a cake or muffin frosting.
4. Greek yogurt
A cheaper but still healthier substitute for mascarpone is the superfood greek yogurt. Cutting off extra calories and maintaining a healthy diet is important. To maintain your healthy lifestyle, stick to this choice instead.
It might be less creamy than mascarpone but it offers great nutritional value. Greek yogurt still works well with desserts and other baked goods. It’s also a great addition for sauces and dips.
5. Ricotta cheese
Ricotta cheese might resemble cottage cheese in a way but ricotta is smoother than cottage cheese. When compared with mascarpone, both are almost the same.
However, the curds of ricotta cheese are still noticeable. To achieve the mascarpone flavor and texture, mix ricotta cheese with whipped cream or even cream cheese.
This will enhance the texture and flavor all the more. Other than desserts, ricotta cheese is best used as a pizza topping or a pasta sauce.
6. Creme fraiche
Creme Fraiche is a French equivalent for mascarpone. Although it’s the same, creme fraiche has lesser content which is usually below 45%.
The taste is smoother, thinner, and sweet with a hint of tanginess in it. Perfect for desserts that call for mascarpone. And since creme fraiche doesn’t curdle at all, you can freely add it to soups, stews, and sauces to make it all the more creamy.
7. Coconut cream
For our vegan squad, you can still enjoy a great tasting tiramisu without having to deal with any animal products. Simply ditch mascarpone over coconut cream.
Coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk, aromatic, and flavorful than mascarpone. You can’t even tell the difference other than that it smells more like coconut. You’ll surely love it with creamy desserts and even savory dishes.
8. Vegan cream cheese
Surprisingly, the first time I tried a vegan cream cheese I was blown away. You can’t even tell the difference from a nonvegan one.
To make it thicker, you can also add more vegan cream to it to copy the overall texture of the mascarpone.
I like using vegan cream cheese in sandwiches, as a dip, and as a pizza topping. It also works wonders for a cream tart and fruit-based pies.
9. Soft tofu with vegan cream
If you thought that tofu can only be used in savory dishes, think again. This ingredient can help you make a protein-rich dessert. When I was young, I used to mix silk tofu with tapioca balls and caramel. It was so good and creamy.
You can do the same for your favorite dishes by mashing silk tofu with vegan cream. You can also use a blender or food processor to make it even smoother and achieve the same texture as mascarpone.
10. Coconut milk with vegan cream
If you can’t find coconut cream, coconut milk can be used instead. Just have it mixed with some vegan cream to achieve the same consistency as mascarpone.
It’s pretty much the same as using coconut cream. Add vegan cream to make it thicker. Use it the same as how you would use mascarpone for your desserts and savory recipes. For stews and soups, you can add coconut milk on its own without having to mix it with vegan cream.
Are mascarpone and cream cheese the same?
Apparently, mascarpone is considered a type of cream cheese. But they’re processed differently. Mascarpone is extracted from the whole cream.
Cream cheese, on the other hand, comes from regular milk. The taste is also a bit different since mascarpone is sweeter while cream cheese is tangier.
How can you use mascarpone in cooking?
Mascarpone is versatile. You can use it for both savory dishes and desserts. You would love it with cheesecakes, pies, tiramisu, refrigerated cakes, and tarts. While for savory dishes it’s great for white-based sauce, soups, and stews.
Can I substitute mascarpone with Philadelphia?
Yes, you actually can. But take note that the difference in texture and flavor profile would be a little noticeable. Still, it’s an effective substitute and doesn’t change the recipe that much.
How can you tell if mascarpone is spoiled?
You can tell if mascarpone is already spoiled by its foul smell. Also, it will give a much sour taste and a watery appearance. Check for molds as well and make sure you discard if it shows any of those bad signs.
Can you eat mascarpone raw or cooked?
Both! You can add mascarpone straight to the dish as a pizza topping or a filling for desserts. Or add it for cooked dishes like sauces, soups, and stews.
How do you store opened mascarpone?
An opened mascarpone package must be refrigerated immediately. Make sure that it’s stored in a tight container to avoid any contamination. It can last in the fridge for up to 8 days. After that, it must be discarded right away.
Can I store mascarpone in the freezer?
You can store it in the freezer for as long as 2 months. However, after defrosting it, the liquid and solid content will tend to separate.
My Personal Pick
For the dairy substitute, I choose cream cheese. It’s the closest thing to having mascarpone without compromising anything. Plus, I personally like the taste of cream cheese in most dishes. I don’t need to do a lot of adjustments to the flavor and texture.
As for the vegan substitute, I like vegan cream cheese and coconut cream. The only thing about using coconut cream is the much noticeable coconut aroma and taste.
You definitely don’t want to use it with tiramisu as it overpowers the aroma and taste. Still, both are excellent alternatives if you don’t have mascarpone.
Mascarpone has its own unique characteristics and flavor profile. That’s the reason why it works well with certain recipes. However, no matter how unique it can be, it’s not irreplaceable.
Luckily, there are substitutes for mascarpone. Have you tried some of the substitutes mentioned in today’s article? Let us know in the comments below and share your experience.
If not yet, head to the kitchen now and do a little bit of experimenting. You never know you might just discover a new favorite ingredient of yours.
Excellent options. Thank you, from a Registered Dietitian