Cream cheese substitute

Cream cheese is often placed as an important ingredient of many recipes. Unfortunately, cream cheese is really high in fat, bad cholesterol and several others. It also may contain substances such as carob bean gum or carrageenan. It does not offer a lot of nutrients or vitamins good for our health as well.

All those facts can be a reason why we often look for substitution. Here is the list of the most recommended cream cheese alternatives:

 

  • Plain yogurt drained overnight – One of the best substitutes for cream cheese. The history of this dairy product dates back to the Neolith (about 6 thousand years B.C.). It has a taste quite similar to cream cheese, but it’s a bit sourer. The most important fact is that it provides many health benefits. First of all, it’s high in probiotics – bacteria that is good for human’s guts and helps digestion. Secondly, consumption of yogurt can help in the prevention of osteoporosis due to the high content of calcium. Other facts worth mentioning are that it may lower blood pressure and help fight infections. It’s also a cheaper alternative for cream cheese.
    Overall rating: 4/5
  • Quark – Dairy product made by warming soured milk, which is popular in Europe, and can also be successfully used as a substitute for cream cheese. It contains virtually no fat and is a great source of vitamin K2. This vitamin is responsible for maintaining healthy levels of bone mineral density and is considered to prevent osteoporosis. It’s also high in protein, which plays crucial role in cells creation and repair process. It has texture similar to a cream cheese, so there is not much difference in appearance. Moreover, quark is considered a good choice for people with lactose intolerance.
    Overall rating: 4.5/5
  • Cottage cheese – Another healthy substitute for cream cheese. It’s an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus and “good” fatty acids. Moreover, it is quite high in vitamin A, which is especially important for the maintenance of the immune system and vitamin B, which supports cells metabolism. It is also low in calories (about 100 calories in 100 grams) in comparison to the other kinds of cheese. Definitely worth recommending!
    Overall rating: 4.5/5
  • Neufchatel – It is considered one of the oldest kinds of cheese in France. It has less calories and about 30% less fat content than cream cheese, with quite similar taste at the same time. It is definitely worth a try. It’s a type of soft cheese with mushroomy taste and yeasty aroma. Neufchatel also contains a fair amount of vitamin A mentioned before and vitamin B-12, which keeps the nerves and red blood cells in good condition. Overall rating: 4/5

Great substitute for cream cheese

 

  • Mascarpone – Another often mentioned cream cheese substitute with a very similar texture, but a little different, and has a little sour taste. However, it is less recommended because it contains large amounts of saturated fats (about 2/3 of its total fat). It’s also full of bad cholesterol. This is what generally rules it out as the best choice from a health point of view. On the other hand, like other kinds of cheese, it can be a good source of calcium and vitamin A. Overall, it’s suggested that you limit your consumption of mascarpone to a little portions only.
    Overall rating: 3/5
  • Yogurt cheese – No doubt it is a healthier alternative for cream cheese. It’s a wonderful source of nutrients such as calcium, protein and natural probiotics. It’s free of lactose and low in calories and sodium. Some sources even say that it helps in weight loss. Moreover, it has a great soft taste, which when combined makes it a good choice.
    Overall rating: 4/5
  • Goat cheese – Next good source of vitamins and nutrients with a very wide range of tastes. It is full of protein and calcium as well as vitamins A and K. This cheese contains less lactose, which is what makes it easier to digest. Moreover, there is far less calories and cholesterol in comparison to the other kinds of cheese (for example, it has about half cholesterol and one-third calories less than in cow milk cheese).
    Overall rating: 4/5
  • Good quality ricotta cheese – This is kind of an Italian cheese made mainly out of sheep milk whey left from the process of cheese production. The taste is mild and slightly sweet. Unfortunately for its fans, there are large amounts of saturated fats, which may lead to high bad cholesterol levels and cardiac issues. On the other hand, it is a good source of selenium. Healthier option might be to select low-fat versions.
    Overall rating: 3/5

Some nutritional information (in 100 grams):

Calories

Total fat

Cholesterol

Sodium

Cream cheese

350

34g

110mg

321mg

Plain yogurt

56

0g

2mg

77mg

Quark

145

11g

27mg

145mg

Cottage cheese

98

4g

17mg

364mg

Neufchatel

253

23g

74mg

334mg

Mascarpone

429

46g

125mg

54mg

Yogurt cheese

300

24g

60mg

380mg

Ricotta cheese

174

13g

51mg

84mg

Goat cheese

364

30g

79mg

515mg

Just to sum it all up, if you are looking for cream cheese substitute with possibly similar taste, you should choose mascarpone (which also has a similar texture) or Neufchatel. The second one has higher nutrients and vitamins content.

If someone wants to find healthy substitute for cream cheese, the best choice is a plain yogurt. It is very low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. You also do not have to worry about calories, as 100 grams of that product contain about 60 calories only, whereas mascarpone is about 400 calories and Neufchatel about 250. Quark is worth recommending too due to its vitamin content and texture, which is similar to cream cheese. You can also experiment with ricotta cheese or goat cheese because of their special taste.

Of course, you can also look for different versions of cream cheese such as lactose-free cream cheese, which is a good alternative for those that are lactose intolerant, healthier organic cream cheese or the fat-free one.

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