cream cheese substitute
Flickr: Mike Mozart

7 Cream Cheese Substitutes to Get Through the Cream Cheese Shortage


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We've dealt with shortages in toilet paper, water bottles, eggs, and a plethora of other random foods and household items over the past year and half. Now, breakfast lovers everywhere are dealing with the reality that we may have to go awhile without cream cheese on our bagels. For those feeling personally attacked by the most recent shortage in our favorite spreadable dairy product, here are 7 cream cheese substitutes to get through the cream cheese shortage.

1. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a great substitute for cream cheese, since it has a similar texture to cream cheese. However, cottage cheese has a chunkier texture. To fix this, puree cottage cheese in a food processor with a splash of lemon juice. This substitute works great with a one to one ratio in dips and spreads, and it's easy to find at the grocery store. If you plan on using cottage cheese in baking or cooking, you might want to add a bit of cream to make it thicker.

2. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is another great alternative, plus it has plenty of health benefits like protein, calcium, and vitamin B12. Use plain yogurt so as not to change the flavor of the recipe, and use an equal amount of Greek yogurt to the amount of cream cheese required in the recipe. Buy low-fat yogurt to make your cream cheese recipe healthier, and strain it overnight with a cheesecake to thicken the yogurt.

3. Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is another good substitute, similar to other soft cheeses like goat cheese. Beloved for its smooth texture and tanginess, ricotta will add a tasty pop of flavor to any recipe, whether it's a cheesecake recipe or cream cheese frosting for a carrot cake. Ricotta is another option that might need to be thickened. To thicken it, add in heavy cream or yogurt.

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4. Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone cheese is a type of cream cheese made with cream rather than milk, so it's high fat and contains more calories than cream cheese. This variety is used in tiramisu, and has a richer, more velvety texture than that of cream cheese. It works especially well as a cream cheese substitute in fillings, spreads, desserts, and frostings. To get the tangy flavor of cream cheese, add in a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mascarpone cheese can be found at most supermarkets.

5. Silken Tofu

Silken tofu has a delectably creamy texture and is often used as a vegan substitute for cream cheese, so it's a natural choice even for non-vegans during a cream cheese shortage. Tofu has lots of health benefits that make it a great alternative, like protein, selenium, and calcium. Add silken tofu into recipes that use cream cheese, and add in a squeeze of lemon juice for a tangy taste.

6. Cashew Cream Cheese

This is another vegan cream cheese substitute, and is a great substitute for cream cheese. This dairy free cream cheese substitute is made of cashews, herbs and spices, and nutritional yeast, making it healthier than cream cheese. Cashew cheese isn't the best substitute for cream cheese in sweet recipes, but it goes great in savory dishes like spreads, sauces and soups. You can also make your own homemade cashew cream cheese by blending cashews with nutritional yeast, garlic powder and lemon juice.

7. Sour Cream

Sour cream is another cream cheese substitute that works best in savory recipes rather than sweet ones, since it's more acidic than cream cheese is. Sour cream is made of lactic acid bacteria and cream, which results in its yummy tanginess. Just use the same amount of cream cheese that the recipe called for and your recipe will lower fat and just as tasty as the original.

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