If you like Italian foods and desserts, then you probably know mascarpone cheese by now. This food is a great addition to both savory and sweet dishes, but sometimes it can be hard to find. If you need to find an alternative for mascarpone, it should be one that brings the same texture and flavor.
What Is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese that is coagulated by using lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid. This cheese is silky, creamy, and smooth, with a slightly sweet flavor. It is a favorite in making sauces, pasta, and desserts because it is very creamy and high in fat.
This cheese is common in stuffed shelled pasta, lasagna, tiramisu, cheesecake, and as a spread for bagels, bread, and anything else. This cheese is now more common everywhere, but it is a bit pricier than other choices.
Why Replace Mascarpone, Anyway?
There a few reasons why someone would need to avoid mascarpone cheese, here are some:
- Lactose intolerance: If an individual is highly intolerant to lactose, then any dairy product is out of the question. This includes mascarpone, which is a fresh and creamy cheese that could cause indigestion and discomfort.
- Dairy allergy: If you have a severe allergy to any dairy product, then any cheese must be avoided. In this case, even the tiniest bit of mascarpone can cause an allergic reaction, so it must be replaced.
- Vegan diet: Following a plant-based diet means that any animal product has to be out of the equation, that means mascarpone cheese as well.
What Can I Replace Mascarpone With?
Regardless of the reason why you need to choose another option, consider these mascarpone substitutes for any of your recipes:
For Baking, Lasagna, Gnocchi, and Ravioli
#1. Ricotta Cheese
This choice is a great replacement for mascarpone, particularly if you can find the low fat or whipped kind. Ricotta is a bit thicker and drier, but it is also a healthier choice that is lower in calories and fat. Use this cheese when baking any dish, making lasagna, gnocchi, and ravioli.
You can find ricotta in any grocery store, usually by the delicatessen or deli meats section. You can use the same amount as you would mascarpone, but keep in mind that it is a bit less creamy and crumbly.
See More: Ricotta Cheese Substitutes
#2. Cream Cheese
This American cheese comes from milk but it is soft and fresh. Usually, cream cheese is used as a spread, in dips, or desserts. Use this option to make creamy pasta filling and sauces.
Cream cheese is everywhere these days. You can try q local grocery or convenience store. Use the same amount that the recipe indicates, but take into account that this cheese is much softer and a bit sweeter.
See More: Cream Cheese Alternatives
#3. Creme Fraiche
This choice is a French version of cream cheese, but this one is a bit sour so many compare it to sour cream. However, unlike sour cream, this option does curl if simmered, which creates tasty cheese-like results. Use this choice if you need to make stuffed pasta, like shells or ravioli, and in dips or sauces.
Creme fraiche may not be available everywhere, but you can try a delicatessen or organic market. This choice works perfectly in many recipes, as the flavor once curdled is very similar to mascarpone. Use the same amount, though it may be a bit too creamy.
See More: Creme Fraiche Replacements
#4. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
While this choice may seem a bit odd, low-fat cottage cheese is a great replacement as it has a mild and sweet flavor. The consistency, though, may not be the same, so you should consider that. Use low-fat cottage cheese when making pasta, sauces, and lasagna.
You can buy low-fat cottage cheese almost anywhere, but surely your local grocery store or delicatessen will have it. You can use the same amount, but maybe reduce it a little if you feel like it’s too watery.
For Baking Pancakes, Cannoli, and Making Sauces
#5. English Clotted Cream
This yellow cream has a silky texture and is a bit sweet. Normally, English clotted cream accompanies scones, fruits, and cakes. You can use this sweet cream in baking all sorts of things, including pancakes, cannoli, waffles, and sweet sauces.
Finding this cream may be a bit trickier, but a delicatessen or specialty store may have it. We suggest you use about half a cup for every cup of mascarpone. Keep in mind, too, that this choice is already very sweet.
#6. Plain Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is one of those versatile and delicious foods that just works great in plenty of recipes. In this case, you can use plain Greek yogurt when baking things like pancakes, cannoli, sauces, and cakes. This choice is also a very healthy substitute, as it contains lots of protein, low fat, and many vitamins and minerals.
Buying Greek yogurt shouldn’t be a problem as you can probably find it at any grocery store. Make sure you add more sugar, but you can use the same amount or a bit less when replacing mascarpone.
#7. Sour Cream
Even though the flavor is a bit more tart than the rest of the choices in this list, sour cream is still a very good option when you need a quick replacement. This choice is less creamy as it contains less fat, but it is a great ingredient to use when baking things like cannoli, pancakes, and when making sauces or frosting.
Sour cream is everywhere, so just try the local grocery or convenience store. Use ½ cup of sour cream for every cup of mascarpone. Remember to also add sugar, as this option contains more liquid and is less sweet.
See More: Best Substitutes for Sour Cream
Yes, you can use mascarpone instead of ricotta and vice versa. Remember to go with the low-fat and whipped kind of ricotta for a more similar texture and flavor. Mascarpone is a little more creamy, but this isn’t bad when you need to cook pasta, sauces, or desserts.
If you are planning on making tiramisu and can’t find any mascarpone, the closest ingredients to use are cream cheese, heavy cream, and a bit of sugar. Mixing cream cheese with cream can create a very similar flavor and texture.
Yes, you can eat mascarpone as you would any other cheese, but the flavor may be a bit too plain. This cheese is meant to go with other flavors, so you can try using it with fruit or granola for better taste.
Many of us use mascarpone in many dishes, like pasta, sauces, and desserts. Yet, sometimes finding this cheese can prove to be difficult. Instead, try any of these 7 alternatives that all create creamy textures and delicious flavor.
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