What’s a substitute for ricotta cheese? We always want to have our fill of Italian dishes, pasta included, and some of them call for ricotta cheese. The problem is that we don’t always find it ready when cooking is underway.

So to prevent a kitchen [and taste] disaster, you’re looking for a substitute for the ingredient. Don’t worry because you have pretty good chances than not to find the perfect alternative for that, depending on the flavor intensity you want to bring out.

I love ricotta because it has the distinct texture that makes it a standout. In some cases, though, we might prefer something subtle, something vegan, something low in calories and so on.

And of course, I recognize that some of us here may be lactose intolerant. So there…we have our reasons for substituting the cheese, just like when we’re looking for beans substitute, aside from it might not be available when we need it.

Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese​

1. Welcome French Cooking with Béchamel Sauce

Just as you can find a sage substitute with carrot tops, Béchamel is your kitchen ally when you don’t have ricotta cheese. For a little trivia, it is used in French cooking, and it is usually a component of many other sauces. A versatile one, isn’t it? You can make yourself one by combining flour, butter, and other ingredients, and then mixed with a little bit of cream or milk.

If you want a better consistency in your sauce, for instance, then it may be the right choice for you. This sauce can also hold longer in the entire cooking process. But take note regarding consistency, you just have to add some more milk if you want yours to runnier or reduce the milk if you want it thicker.​

2. Vegans, Tofu Is For You!

A versatile recipe ingredient, tofu is another great addition to this list, just like a meat slicer in your kitchen. It is used in many vegan recipes, especially among those that gave up meat in their diet.

So if you want to add a little twist to your conventional lasagna, check out how tofu could make things so different for you. The result will be remarkable, I must say. The reason is that it has the same grit and consistency as ricotta. And if you’d love to add more life to your dish, why not add other herbs, basil included?​

READ  How To Reheat Risotto Like A Pro

3. Get Your Recipe Started with Yogurt

In case you don’t know yet, it has been used in many parts of the world regarding cooking sauces and recipes requiring white cheese. You don’t have to fear a little experiment; yogurt can also make your sauce alive with its tangy taste. It makes a good replacement when ricotta cheese isn’t around.

In fact, yogurt is loaded with antioxidants, which keep your immune system strong and it comes with essential nutrients, including vitamin B12 and potassium.

Bring out a unique taste in your dish with the rich and creamy texture of yogurt that also has a different flavor profile due to its combined cream and mayonnaise taste and texture.

Remember to use the Greek style plain yogurt, not the flavored or fruit varieties in the grocery. In the group, it comes with low calories as compared to any other types of cheeses.​

4. Give Way for Whey

Yes, you might be a little surprised, but it can replace ricotta. When processed, it can be made into ricottone, a type of ricotta cheese. But then, you’ll end u adding more fresh milk in your sauce for some density and flavor for amazing results!

The main benefit of using whey is that you will have 100% control on the consistency of the outcome due to the drying process, which then results in a close texture to ricotta cheese that you’re looking for.​

5. Try Some Goat Cheese, and You’ll Forget Your Name

On this list, goat cheese is probably what comes the closest to ricotta; it’s cheese, remember? It is almost the perfect substitute for ricotta when it comes to mouthfeel and texture, except that the former’s tangier.

So, without even saying, goat cheese is sharper in flavor. In this case, you may want to watch out on the quantity you’re using if you’re looking to get a subtle flavor. Take note, though. Remember that it melts fast, which is why it may pose a problem to dishes, which require a longer cooking time.​

READ  This Is the Definitive Guide on How to Cook Quinoa Like a Chef – And 15 Best Quinoa Recipes

6. Feel Refreshed with Queso Fresco

Sometimes called Queso Blanco, Queso Fresco is fresh cheese made from raw cow’s milk. You can substitute ricotta cheese with it for its creamier texture than the cheese, although it is a bit crumbly in texture. Take note that it might be a bit salty and sour, all because of its processing—the same used in making clabber milk.

When it comes to the flavor profile, Queso Fresco is close to ricotta, making it a perfect replacement. The problem is that it might not be easy to find unless you’re living somewhere in Spain, or near a market selling Spanish products.

Remember that it turns into a runny state fast, so it might not be advised for a long cooking time. While you may also use it for pasta dishes, including lasagna, it is not recommended for stuffed shells.​

7. Are You Ready to Chew with Some Cashew?

Yes, it is another vegan alternative to ricotta cheese. Wait, but you may be doubtful what nuts have to do on this list, right? Try cashews; they are one of the best alternatives for the cheese. For the best results, they’re used for stuffing shell dishes that call for ricotta.

Just like cheese, cashew nuts are loaded with protein. So if you’re looking to build muscle or lose weight, this may be the replacement that’s perfect for you.

Note: Mash cashews to achieve the same consistency as you would get with ricotta cheese.​

8. A Surprise Is In with Crème Fraîche!

You will find that it is similar to sour cream but not as sour as the latter. You will love its desirable texture and runniness, especially if you’re from an English-speaking country that is used to that consistency that ricotta brings. It is also an excellent alternative for béchamel sauce when cooking lasagna and it has high-fat content. When it comes to cooking times, Crème Fraîche has high-fat content, which may not sound great news among those on a diet.

9. Have Fun with Parmesan!

It is another substitute for cooking dishes cooked on a pellet grill, stovetop, oven or microwave that calls for ricotta cheese. And who does not love parmesan, anyway?

READ  What Is Chicken Base That You Need to Know Now?

It’s a classic Italian ingredient that is a staple in many homes, although it can end up dry in long cooking times. But then, you can combine I with other ingredients I’ve already shared on the list to achieve a similar outcome as with ricotta cheese.​

10. Use Clabbered Milk

It is milk allowed to become sour—making it tangy, thick and rich. You can find it in the grocery store, and it is usually referred to as buttermilk. [Clabbered milk is a cultured dairy product that has been consumed for centuries and as a spread in Ireland and the UK].

If you want to trigger the curdling of milk, then you may want to add a tablespoon of lemon juice/cup of milk or use vinegar if you don’t have a lemon. Alternatively, you can use the cream of tartar.​

Final thoughts

We all love ricotta cheese, but it may not be around all the time. So for stuffed shells and lasagna calling for it, I feel that the list above could help. Depending on the flavor’s intensity and consistency you’re looking for, refer to this list and of course share it with friends who also need some cooking resourcefulness, and to keep the ball rolling [and the dishes] cooked without ricotta cheese.

Did you find today’s list valuable? What substitute for ricotta cheese have you tried so far? I would love to know what you have to say. Share your experience with us today!​

About the Author

Austin Sims

Currently Executive Chef at famous NY restaurant, Austin began his tenure with as Chef de Partie. He has over eight years of experience, including tenures at two- and three-Michelin star restaurants. Austin is passionate about all things cooking – products, supply chain, management, menu design, and budgeting.

View All Articles