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13 Substitutes for Cream Cheese in Baking (Plus Healthy & Vegan Options)

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Whether you’re baking or looking for a healthier option, these substitutes for cream cheese are just as delicious and flavorful! Below we outline the best options in baking, making a cheesecake or frosting, as well as, healthy and vegan options for every day use!

substitutes for cream cheese

What can you use as a substitute for cream cheese?

The substitute will depend on how you were using the cream cheese originally. We like to use cottage cheese, nut cream cheese, hung curd, or Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese when we bake, and we like mascarpone on our bagels and toast. You may also find you like hummus, almond butter, or avocado on your bagel as well!

Healthy Substitutes for Cream Cheese for any situation

1. Cottage Cheese

You can use cottage cheese as a higher protein, lower fat option for desserts and frostings by adding an equal amount of heavy cream to it! 

2. Mascarpone

If you’re looking for a delicious substitute for cream cheese to go on a bagel or toast, mascarpone is delicious! We like to add in lemon juice or plain yogurt sometimes as well to make it taste more like cream cheese.

3. Nut Cream Cheese

You can also use almond or cashew cream cheese when you’re baking or cooking a soup. It’s also a paleo-friendly option!

4. Hung Curd

Hung Curd is something we had never tried before looking for substitutes for cream cheese, but it’s actually a great, healthier option! We add a little honey to make it sweeter, but it’s great when you’re baking or making frosting.

6. Full Fat Ricotta Cheese

You can use full-fat ricotta cheese with an equal amount of full-fat yogurt to achieve the same texture as cream cheese. You’ll just want to add in heavy cream if you’re baking with it.

7. Sour Cream

Sour cream is another great substitute for cream cheese when you’re making dips, but it doesn’t work too well on a bagel or in frostings.

9. Kefir

Kefir is one of the healthiest alternatives of cream cheese, but it’s also not the closest in flavor or texture. In order to make it thicker, you’ll need to add chia seeds to the kefir. Since it’s kind of weird, we recommend just using it in dips.

10. Greek Yogurt

Can I substitute Greek yogurt for cream cheese?

Greek yogurt is a healthier substitute for cream cheese, but it is more tangy in flavor. You’ll want to use a recipe like this Greek yogurt frosting recipe if you’re making the substitute.

Is there a non dairy substitute for cream cheese?

Yes, they make soy- and nut-based non-dairy and vegan cream cheeses that are delicious, flavorful, and creamy just like your normal cream cheese. Plus, they are lower in fat and cholesterol typically.  You can also make your own cream cheese substitute by using cashews, macadamia nuts, almonds, or tofu cream recipes. We like this vegan cream cheese recipe.

You can also buy vegan cream cheeses at most grocery stores. Our favorite varieties are Daiya Cream Cheeze, Kite Hill Cream Cheese Style Spread, and Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.

Substitutes for Cream Cheese in Cheesecake

The best substitutes for cream cheese in a cheesecake are Greek yogurt, hung curd, or full fat ricotta cheese mixed with heavy cream.

We’ve actually made a single serving cheesecake using Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese! It’s so delicious and felt just like having the real thing!

If you’re looking for a light cheesecake recipe, we love this light Greek yogurt cheesecake as well! It’s light and fluffy and lower in fat than a traditional dessert.

cream cheese frosting without cream cheese in a bowl

Substitutes for Cream Cheese in Frosting

There are a few substitutes for cream cheese in frosting. You can choose to make cream cheese frosting without cream cheese with Greek yogurt or using vegan butter and vegetable shorting in your vegan frosting recipe.

3 More cream cheese frosting without cream cheese options:

  • Non-Dairy Frosting: You’d want to mix 8 ounce non-dairy cream cheese and 2 tbsp. non-dairy butter alternative together until it’s fluffy and then add in 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar until it’s thick like frosting.
  • Creamy Pudding Frosting: You’ll blend 1 cup of milk, 3 1/2 oz package of instant pudding mix, and 3/4 cup powdered sugar together and beat it until it is thick like frosting.
  • Cashew Frosting:  For this recipe you’ll combine 1 1/2 cups cashews, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. agave, 1/2 cup filtered water, 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp. coconut oil together and mix it together on high until it’s smooth. Then you’ll need to refrigerate it to let it get thicker. 

To Recap, you can use the following 13 substitutes for cream cheese!

  1. Cottage Cheese
  2. Mascarpone
  3. Cashew Cream
  4. Almond Cream
  5. Hung Curd
  6. Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
  7. Sour Cream
  8. Kefir
  9. Greek Yogurt
  10. Non-Dairy Cream Cheese
  11. Cashew Frosting
  12. Creamy Pudding Frosting
  13. Avocado, hummus, or almond butter on toast

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