Ricotta, which means “recooked,” is an Italian cheese made from whey (the liquid left after curdling and straining milk) leftover from the production of other cheeses.
We can make it from almost any type of milk— sheep, goats, water buffalo, etc. Most ricotta sold in stores is made from cow’s milk.
Ricotta is a light, fluffy, and moist cheese. This moisture is caused by the cheese’s age (or lack thereof), making the cheese denser as it ages. That is why aged Parmesan (at least a year) is quite hard.
Ricotta’s light texture comes at a cost: it spoils much faster than other cheeses.
So, how is ricotta traditionally used? For starters, it’s a necessary component of lasagna, and it has been observed in all types of pasta and is frequently found in calzones.
Ricotta is widely used in various dishes, from salads to desserts.
Can you Substitute Cottage Cheese for Ricotta Cheese?
Yes, You can substitute cottage cheese for ricotta in lasagna and stuffed shell recipes, but this is usually done to reduce fat and calories rather than taste or texture preference if you want a more ricotta-like consistency, strain or blend the cottage cheese.
Here are Some Top Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese
Let’s take a look!
1. Cottage cheese
Light and mild cottage cheese is your best bet for ricotta substitutes. Indeed, some people prefer cottage cheese because it has a similar flavor and fewer calories. However, keep in mind that they are not the same: Cottage cheese is less creamy and runnier than ricotta. Choose a small-curd cottage cheese; the large-curd variety is too lumpy.
2. Cream Cheese
Oh, cream cheese, how we adore you. How many ways can we count? We’re out to give the cream cheese the respect it deserves. This unsung dairy aisle hero is nothing short of an MVP. It also works well as a ricotta cheese substitute. Before adding it to your dish, soften it in the microwave or stovetop.
You can use it in a 1:1 ratio because the texture is similar. But we have a suggestion for you! Choose a flavored cream cheese to go with your recipe. Garden veggie cream cheese or garlic and herb cream cheese can elevate your favorite pasta bake from good to great. You might never want to use regular ricotta again!
3. Goat Cheese
Please don’t even ask us to choose a favorite cheese. It’s simply not fair! But, if we had to make a top ten list, goat cheese would be on it! It’s flavorful, but it’s also a lot more versatile than you might think. Salads, bread, pasta, sandwiches, fruit plates, and various other dishes can benefit.
It’s also a great alternative to ricotta cheese! A one-to-one ratio is fine, but be careful with the salt. Ricotta is mild, but goat cheese packs a punch. Reduce the amount of salt you use so that your goat cheese does not overpower the dish.
4. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt, like sour cream, can be used as a substitute in a pinch! We recommend using slightly less because the textures are so different. If your recipe calls for one cup of ricotta, substitute 3/4 cup Greek yogurt.
And whatever you do, use the unflavored kind! The vanilla flavor will creep up on you. Not in a good way, either. Trust us; we’ve seen it all before.
When cooking, we recommend using a cheesy substitute for ricotta whenever possible, but sour cream and Greek yogurt are both acceptable in a pinch! They’re also delicious in baked goods. Isn’t it true that necessity is the mother of invention?
5. Sour Cream
Here’s an insane idea if you plan to make a large batch of ricotta lasagna. Instead, use sour cream! Wait. What?!
Yup! You’re capable of it! Some lasagna recipes call for sour cream instead of ricotta, which may sound strange, and it makes for a moist, creamy, and dreamy pasta night. Because ricotta is so mild, you won’t notice the missing ingredient, but you can add some shredded Parmesan to your sour cream.
The textures are distinct. Sour cream can stand in for ricotta in a dish where cheese isn’t the main attraction in a pinch. Try cottage or goat cheese if you’re looking for a cheese substitute for lasagna.
6. Queso fresco
Queso fresco, a fresh Mexican cheese, is a good substitute for ricotta in dishes that call for uncooked cheese.
Mascarpone, another Italian cheese, is an excellent ricotta substitute. On the other hand, Mascarpone is more tart and flavorful, so We should only use it in dishes with other strong flavors, and We may overpower milder ingredients.
We could substitute mascarpone cheese for the ricotta. Mascarpone, an Italian cheese similar to ricotta, uses citric acid in its coagulation process.
As a result, it has more flavor than ricotta cheese, but if you only use it as a substitute in specific dishes, the flavor will not be an issue.
Mascarpone, in particular, should only be used as a substitute in dishes with a naturally strong flavor. Especially in dishes with garlic, because the strength of the garlic will balance out the flavor of the cheese.
If you’re using Mascarpone instead of ricotta, you’ll need to give it a quick blend to get the right consistency. However, it’s a great substitute for ricotta cheese in dishes with strong flavors once you’ve done this.
You could also use Paneer, an Indian cheese made by a heating cow, or buffalo milk with citric acid.
Paneer is a great substitute for ricotta, but it will require a higher cooking temperature if used.
While Paneer is a suitable substitute for ricotta cheese, we would only recommend it if you want to cook Indian dishes originally made with ricotta.
It is always a suitable substitute for ricotta, so if you have some Paneer on hand, you can easily substitute it for the ricotta cheese in your recipe.
9. Clabber Cream
On the other hand, Clabber cream is a great substitute for ricotta cheese, but it is a very acquired taste.
Clabber cream is made by allowing milk to be these ingredients put off sour, so many people.
However, it is an excellent substitute for ricotta cheese in pasta dishes.
Clabber cream, like buttermilk cheese, is an excellent choice if you want to make your ricotta substitute.
However, because clabber cream requires sour milk, We must make it ahead of time. However, clabber cream is a great substitute for ricotta cheese when making pasta.
10. Pot Cheese
Pot cheese is another ricotta substitute that you could use. Pot cheese is very similar to cottage cheese, but it has a drier consistency due to the manufacturing method.
Pot cheese gets its name because it is made on a hot stove.
This is a similar option to clabber cream in that it is difficult to find in a grocery store.
It is, however, simple to make at home and ready to use right away. Pot cheese might be a good substitute if you don’t have any ricotta cheese.
11. Fromage Blanc
The first option for replacing ricotta cheese is to use Fromage blanc.
This is a more expensive alternative to ricotta and more difficult to find than other alternatives, but it has a great consistency for replacing ricotta cheese.
Fromage Blanc has a buttery flavor and a texture similar to yogurt, but it is a much healthier alternative to ricotta.
Fromage blanc is of French origin, as you might have guessed from the name, and it has a mild yet tangy flavor. It is a great substitute for ricotta cheese because it is so versatile.
Fromage blanc can be cooked without becoming runny and whipped for use in other recipes. So, if you have some Fromage blanc on hand, you can easily substitute it for ricotta cheese.
You could also use tofu in place of the ricotta cheese.
Although tofu is not a type of cheese, it has a similar texture and consistency to ricotta due to its construction.
You can easily substitute tofu for the ricotta cheese in your recipe if you have some on hand.
Tofu is commonly used as a substitute for ricotta cheese, even if it is readily available because it contains no dairy products.
Tofu has grown in popularity as the number of people who follow a vegan diet has increased dramatically.
13. Buttermilk Cheese
You can also substitute buttermilk cheese for ricotta cheese. This substitute is especially useful when replacing ricotta cheese in a pasta recipe or making a cheesecake.
Buttermilk cheese is not commonly found in grocery stores, but you can easily make it to replace ricotta cheese in your recipes.
To accomplish this, pour some buttermilk into a colander lined with cheesecloth. After that, place the colander in a large container and place it in the refrigerator to drain.
After a few hours in the fridge, the buttermilk will have cheese consistency and can be used in ricotta cheese in your recipe. If you have buttermilk on hand, this is a great substitute.
What Recipes can you Make with Ricotta and Cottage Cheese?
Spread with Herbed Ricotta
It only takes five or ten minutes to prepare an impressive, luxurious spread to serve with toasted baguette slices. Combine some ricotta with chopped chives, parsley, basil, and lemon juice. Consider your hors d’oeuvres delivered with panache, topped with prosciutto.
Lasagna with Winter Greens
Green health-food skeptics can’t argue with this lasagna’s crème Fraiche, ricotta, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. It’s simply too decadent to turn down this vegetarian dish. Whether you like it, red kale and Swiss chard will provide you with nutrients.
Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Meatballs
Baked ziti is a classic full of good things: pasta, tomato sauce, meatballs (which we make from Italian sausage, so they’re super easy), and ricotta dolloped everywhere. Consider this a less formal version of Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells that is equally delicious.
Lasagna with Noodleless Zucchini
This noodle-free lasagna is low carb and low fat, with a creamy filling of cottage cheese mixed with grated Parmesan and strips of thinly sliced zucchini in place of noodles. Perfect for using up all of the extra summer squash you’ll inevitably have.
Cottage Cheese and Chilled Chile Con Queso
While the two cottage cheese recipes below are delicious, they are homely—but this healthy cottage cheese-based take on queso from The Homesick Texan is gorgeous, surrounded by a rainbow mix of vegetables, and a perfect light app for spring garden parties (even if they are solo this year) and summer barbecues galore. But don’t be fooled; the flavors are bright and earthy, with a hint of spice from jalapeos, onion, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, and cumin.
Ricotta Cheese vs. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese and ricotta cheese may appear very similar, but they are very different. Ricotta cheese was developed in Italy to reuse leftover liquid whey (one of the major proteins in milk) from the cheese-making process. It has a soft, grainy texture and a slightly sweet flavor.
On the other hand, Cottage cheese is mostly made of curds with cream added. Unlike whey, which is a liquid component of the cheese-making process, curds are solid pieces of protein that form when an acidic ingredient, such as lemon juice, is added. Cottage cheese is available in three curd sizes: small curd, medium curd, and large curd. Although the texture of all three varieties differs from that of ricotta cheese, small curd is the most similar substitute.
How can you Store your Cheese to Keep Fresh?
We sympathize if you struggle to keep your cottage or ricotta cheese from spoiling before expiration. Here are three hacks to experiment with:
Store it upside down: Here’s a useful tip! Turn your container upside down to improve the seal on the lid. It will extend the life of your cheese by several days.
Freeze It: While freezing will change the texture slightly, you can store your cheese in an airtight container for two months! If you’re worried about the consistency, make a few extra batches of your recipe to use up all of the cheese, then freeze those meals. You guys, freezer meals are the way to go!
Move It to a New Container: The less air that comes into contact with your cheese, the better! So, if you only have half a container left, transfer it to a smaller container.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you keep your ricotta on hand, but we have five alternatives to share if not. Please continue reading for a few of our favorites!
How do I Replace Cream Cheese with Ricotta Cheese?
There’s nothing worse than starting a recipe only to realize you’re missing an ingredient. However, you may have something in your refrigerator or pantry that you can substitute.
The good news is we can use that cream cheese in place of ricotta cheese in most recipes.
Although they are made from different ingredients, with cream cheese containing both milk and cream, ricotta cheese and cream cheese’s taste and texture are very similar. This is because cream cheese, like ricotta cheese, is extremely soft and creamy.
Even better, cream cheese is very easy to find – it’s such a big hit in America that we can find it in almost any grocery store.
Not only that, but cream cheese is also available in low-fat versions, making it a healthier, lower-calorie substitute for ricotta cheese!
Can I Use Greek Yoghurt Instead of Ricotta Cheese in Baking?
We are happy to report that Greek yogurt can be used in place of ricotta cheese in baking in many cases. (It’s even good in lasagna!) Greek yogurt has a similar flavor and texture to ricotta cheese.
However, because Greek yogurt is more liquid than ricotta cheese, you will need to strain the yogurt to get the right consistency to substitute it for ricotta cheese.
If you have some ricotta cheese on hand, we recommend using 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese and 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt for every 1 cup of ricotta required.
Can you Use Yoghurt Instead of Ricotta Cheese?
Yogurt is a popular substitute for ricotta cheese, owing primarily to its health benefits. Yogurt contains potassium, vitamin B12, and probiotics. Even better, it contains fewer calories and fat than almost all cheeses.
When substituting, keep in mind the differences between yogurt and ricotta cheese. Yogurt’s flavor and texture fall somewhere between mayonnaise and cream, and as such, it does not adequately replace the flavor of ricotta. However, you may decide that the health benefits are worth it.
If you decide to use yogurt instead of ricotta, make sure it’s plain.
In short, if you’re looking for a ricotta cheese substitute, you’ve got a lot of options.
The most important thing to look for is a consistency that matches the texture of ricotta cheese; the flavor is also important, but in some recipes, we can mask it.
If the texture of the substitute cheese is off, the overall consistency of the dish will suffer.