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Have you ever found yourself all out of ricotta cheese when you were craving lasagna? Don’t sweat it! If you need a quick and easy Substitute for Ricotta Cheese that will have your meals tasting just as delicious, then keep reading!
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese originates from Italy and it is especially unique in its sources. Most cheeses are restricted to milk sourced from a singular animal but ricotta utilizes a wide range of animals including cow, goat, sheep, and occasionally, Italian Water Buffalo milk whey.
In terms of texture, Ricotta cheese is similar to other whey cheeses like mozzarella cheese for instance. In other words, it is not particularly firm. It is due to the production of the cheese that ricotta is able to attain this consistency.
Given its unique texture, ricotta is a very commonly used ingredient in a variety of dishes like lasagna, gnocchi, and baked ziti.
Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese
1. Cottage Cheese (Our Top Pick)
Cottage cheese by itself is rather bland so it needs to be supported by the flavour and texture of your dish.
Swapping cottage cheese in for ricotta is super easy. All you have to do is to follow a one-to-one ratio. Try it in your favourite pasta or pizza.
2. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese works as an awesome ricotta substitute given their similar textures. Before using it in your dish, you can either soften it in the microwave or on the stove. Just like with cottage cheese, follow a one-to-one ratio.
3. Goat Cheese
Given its abundance of flavour and versatility, goat cheese makes for another great substitute. However, it is important to only use fresh goat cheese and never aged when subbing it for ricotta. The toughness of aged goat cheese and its potent taste is not something you want to add to your dish.
Although a one-to-one ratio works well in this case, keep an eye on the salt. Goat cheese makes up for the flavour that ricotta lacks. Be sure not to add too much salt to your goat cheese substitute.
You’re right, tofu is in fact not a type of cheese. However, its similar texture and consistency makes it a great choice when replacing ricotta.
Since tofu contains no dairy, it is often used as a ricotta substitute, even if you already have ricotta in the house!
5. Sour Cream
It might sound bizarre but some lasagna recipes actually require sour cream instead of ricotta. Considering the mildness of ricotta, it is unlikely that you would even notice its absence. If you wish, you can always add some shredded parmesan into your sour cream to give it an extra kick!
6. Greek Yogurt
Similar to sour cream, Greek yogurt also works as a great substitute. However, the textures are very different so it is best to use less than the usual ratio. For instance, if you need one cup of ricotta, you should use ¾ cup of Greek yogurt.
Note: be sure to use the plain kind and never flavoured!
7. Queso Fresco
The mild flavour of Queso Fresco is quite similar to that of ricotta cheese which makes it a great replacement. Specifically, try using queso fresco as a substitute when making dishes like soups, casseroles and Mexican meals.
8. Fromage Blanc
This cheese originates from France and it is mostly mild but has a tangy kick. Its versatility also makes it a nice alternative to ricotta. Although fromage blanc can be a bit pricier and is usually harder to find compared to other substitutes, its consistency makes it worthwhile.
Its texture is closer to yogurt and has a buttery taste yet it is much healthier in comparison to ricotta. Fromage blanc can be cooked without turning completely runny and can also be whipped if the dish calls for it.
9. Buttermilk Cheese
This substitute is especially great if you are replacing the ricotta cheese in a pasta recipe or in a cheesecake recipe.
Although buttermilk cheese is not generally accessible to purchase, you can easily make it from scratch. To do so, simply pour some buttermilk into a colander lined with a cheesecloth. Then place the colander into a large container and let it drain while it sits in the fridge. After some time, the buttermilk will achieve a texture similar to cheese which can then be used as the ricotta cheese replacement.
Since mascarpone uses citric acid, it has more flavour than ricotta. So long as you only use this substitute in certain dishes, the flavour will not be an issue.
Specifically, try to only use mascarpone in dishes that have a naturally strong flavour such as in dishes that use garlic. The strength will balance out the acidity of the cheese.
If using mascarpone to replace ricotta, be sure to stir it briefly so that the texture is just right.
Paneer is an Indian cheese which is produced through the heating of cow or buffalo milk that contain citric acids, much like the citric acid in mascarpone.
Paneer requires a higher cooking temperature if you choose to use this substitute. Paneer is a suitable substitute for ricotta cheese but it is recommended to use it only if you are cooking Indian dishes that originally call for ricotta.
12. Clabber Cream
Clabber cream is great for replacing ricotta but be warned, it is a very acquired taste. It is actually made by allowing milk to go sour which is why it is not the most popular ingredient.
13. Pot Cheese
Though similar to cottage cheese, pot cheese has a drier texture which is due to its production method of using a pot on a hot stove.
Can I Substitute Mozzarella for Ricotta?
Yes, somewhat. Mozzarella is not the greatest substitute as it is very different in texture in comparison to ricotta.
Mozzarella is produced from cow’s or buffalo’s milk and is mostly used as a pizza topping. On the other hand, ricotta is an unsalted whey cheese.
What is a Good Substitute for Ricotta Cheese in Lasagna?
The best substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna is cottage cheese because of its similar flavors. You should look for small curd cottage cheese in order to get the perfect ricotta texture.
Pro Tips: How to Keep Ricotta Cheese Fresh
- Transfer It into A New Container: The less air that gets to your cheese, the better! So, if your cheese is taking up less than half of the container, transfer it to something smaller.
- Store It Upside Down: Flip your container upside down. This way, the lid will have a better seal and it will also help your cheese last much longer.
- Freeze It: While freezing can somewhat change the consistency, you can freeze your cheese for up to two months! If you’re worried about the consistency, make a few extra batches of the recipe you are making so that you can use up all the cheese in them and then you can freeze the entire meals instead of just the cheese.
Ultimately, there are several different options available for you to use as a ricotta cheese substitute. It is most important to look for a similar texture that matches ricotta. If the texture of the substitute cheese is off, there is a danger that the texture of the entire dish will be affected. While the flavor is also important, it can usually be covered up in most recipes.
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How to Substitute Ricotta Cheese
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- optional other substitutes
- Replace ricotta cheese with cottage cheese or other substitutes