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Top 13 Best Replacements for Ricotta Cheese

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Looking for a good replacement for ricotta cheese for when you’re out? We’ve got you. 

A collage of four images of cheese and cream with text title "Substitute for Ricotta Cheese".

Missing an ingredient shouldn’t derail you from making a delicious dish, and it’s no different with ricotta cheese. Just reach for one of the best ricotta cheese alternatives listed below and save yourself from an unnecessary dash to the grocery store.   

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What is Ricotta Cheese?

Did you know that ricotta is the Italian word for “recooked?” This is because ricotta is made by cooking the whey left behind when making other cheeses

Typically, when you make cheese from milk, it’s separated into curds (solids) and whey (liquids). Curds will be used to make other types of cheeses, like mozzarella and Parmesan, while the whey will be treated to make ricotta. Hence, it’s also called “whey cheese.”

Ricotta cheese has a creamy white appearance, a thick texture that’s both smooth and grainy, and a slightly sweet, mild taste. It has a relatively high moisture content, which can affect the outcome of dishes.

Fresh ricotta cheese topped with basil leaves on a green leaf.

It’s also loaded with protein and the high-quality whey helps in muscle growth and lowering blood pressure.

What is Ricotta Cheese Mainly Used for?

You’ll find many savory and/or Italian dishes out there that have ricotta cheese as a main ingredient to make them taste richer and smoother. Lasagna, pasta, casseroles, polenta and stuffed shells are just some of them.

Lemon ricotta pasta, ricotta lemon muffins, and the family-favorite homemade lasagna recipe with ground beef are a few examples of dishes I make with ricotta. 

Ricotta can also be used for making delicious desserts like cheesecakes, cakes and salads, too. Pancakes with ricotta cheese taste amazing. Try recipes like lemon ricotta waffles with mascarpone and blueberries and see for yourself.

Why do you Need Ricotta Cheese Substitutes?

Ricotta is fantastic to use for various recipes. However, it’s also good to be aware of last-minute swaps you can use for this type of Italian cheese.

Here are the reasons you need to know about alternatives:


Since it can be used in many dishes, you might be out of ricotta cheese one day. Especially during hectic days, you might not have enough time or energy to make a separate trip to the grocery store or supermarket to get some.

But, if you have these alternatives, you won’t have to. Use the best replacement for ricotta cheese, and your recipe is saved.   

Food Sensitivity

Some people who are allergic to milk may be allergic to whey

Since ricotta cheese is made from whey, consuming food with it may cause some individuals to experience adverse reactions. These include swelling of the tongue or throat, developing rashes on the skin, or, worst-case scenario, anaphylactic shock.

Thus, if any of your family members or guests are allergic to milk, it’s best to use non-dairy ricotta cheese substitutes.    


A pound of ricotta cheese may cost anywhere from $6 – $8. If you’re on a very tight budget, you can use a more practical and budget-friendly substitute instead.

13 Amazing Ricotta Cheese Alternatives

Here are 13 ricotta cheese substitutes that you can use for your recipes. We’ve divided them into two categories: dairy-based and dairy-free/vegan. 

Nine Dairy-Based Alternatives to Ricotta Cheese

If the presence of dairy isn’t a problem for you, then these nine replacements for ricotta cheese can make for great last-minute swaps. They may not have the exact flavor and texture of the real thing, but they’ll work when you’re in a bind.

Cottage Cheese

With both similar curdy textures and mild tastes, cottage cheese can be a great substitute for ricotta. However, cottage cheese might come off as a bit saltier than ricotta, so it’s best to save it for when you’re making savory dishes like pasta, lasagna, dips, and spreads.

A bowl of fresh cottage cheese, a replacement for ricotta cheese, garnished with basil leaves.

Also, if you find cottage cheese to be too chunky, you can quickly remedy that by using a blender or food processor to make it smoother.

Use the same amount of cottage cheese as you would ricotta. 

Cream Cheese

With its creaminess and mild, milky flavor, cream cheese works well as a substitute for ricotta. 

It’s a bit thicker, smoother in texture and tarter in flavor than ricotta. If your dish calls for adding something acidic, like lemon zest or lemon juice, you may need to adjust accordingly to keep the tanginess in check.

A bowl of cream cheese, a replacement for ricotta cheese, garnished with parsley on a wooden table.

Also, keep in mind that cream cheese has a higher fat content than ricotta.

Use the same amount of cream cheese for dishes where the ricotta melts into the sauce or for making cheesecakes.  


Making something sweet and creamy? Reach for mascarpone cheese if you’re out of ricotta. 

A wooden bowl filled with mascarpone, a replacement for ricotta cheese, on a dark wooden background.

Like ricotta, mascarpone has that fantastic richness and mild taste that makes it the perfect addition to cheesecakes, other desserts, and sauces. However, keep in mind that mascarpone is also richer and fattier than ricotta, so you may need to thin it out to get the desired effect. 

Use the same amount of mascarpone as a substitute in recipes that call for ricotta.

Sour Cream 

If you’re missing ricotta when making dips or baked goods, sour cream as a substitute will save the day. Sour cream has a similar milky, rich taste to ricotta but with the tanginess dialed up a notch. 

Bowl of sour cream with a spoon on a wooden table, alongside a cloth and milk.

It has a strong tart flavor, so sour cream is best used in moderation. Add a bit to your dips, sample it first, then adjust as necessary.   

Fresh Goat Cheese 

If you’re making savory dishes like lasagna or pizza, replace ricotta with fresh goat cheese. They both have similar textures and add cheesiness to the dish, making fresh goat cheese a good replacement for ricotta cheese.

A whole goat cheese, a replacement for Ricotta cheese on a wooden table outdoors.

Use a 1:1 ratio for substituting fresh goat cheese for ricotta. However, goat cheese may come off as tangier and saltier in flavor, so you may need to adjust if the recipe also calls for more salt. 

Pot Cheese

Crumbly yet creamy, pot cheese is quite similar to cottage cheese, though it has less whey. Compared to ricotta cheese, however, both have similar tastes and textures.

This makes pot cheese an excellent 1:1 alternative for ricotta when making sweet recipes like desserts, baked goods and tarts. Do keep in mind that pot cheese is a bit drier and firmer than ricotta.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt can save your dish as a substitute when you’re out of smooth ricotta cheese, thanks to its similar creamy nature. It’s tangier than ricotta in flavor, making it suitable for making dips or spreads or even recipes that won’t use too much ricotta cheese.

A jar of greek yogurt, a replacement for Ricotta cheese, with a spoon on a wooden surface.

Due to its tartness, you may want to start with ¾ cup Greek yogurt for every cup of ricotta cheese, then adjust as necessary.

Buttermilk Cheese

Made from cultured buttermilk, buttermilk cheese can be an alternative when you’re out of ricotta. Buttermilk cheese is curdled and moist but has a slightly sour, acidic flavor. 

It can work if added to savory pasta dishes or added as a salad, pizza or casserole topping.  Use a 1:1 ratio when using buttermilk cheese as a swap in ricotta recipes.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is a popular pantry staple, making it a readily available and acceptable substitute for ricotta cheese when you’re in a pinch.

Wedge of parmesan cheese with a cheese knife on a wooden board, accompanied by tomatoes and basil.

While Parmesan lacks the creaminess and moist texture of ricotta, this substitute makes up for its strong flavor. However, because of this, you may want to use it sparingly.

As a general rule, you can follow a 1:1 ratio, but we suggest adding a small amount of Parmesan first, then increasing the amount if needed.

It’s best used when making savory dishes with sauces like pasta and lasagna or if you’re already adding other cheeses like mozzarella to make them even cheesier.     

Four Dairy-Free/Vegan Ricotta Cheese Alternatives

If using dairy alternatives is out of the question, you can opt to use the following vegan ricotta substitutes instead: 

Tofu and Silken Tofu

Tofu is widely known for being a meat alternative, but it can also work as a good alternative to ricotta for vegan folks and those allergic to dairy products. You can use this on practically any plant-based recipe calling for ricotta cheese. 

Three blocks of silken tofu and a closer view of tofu, a replacement for Ricotta cheese.

When blended, tofu will have the same crumbly ricotta texture. But if you’re after ricotta’s sweet taste and creaminess, go for silken tofu instead. Use a 1:1 ratio when using tofu as a substitute. 

Soy Yogurt

If you’re after the sweetness of ricotta for making dips, sauces and salads, soy yogurt can be a great vegan replacement for ricotta cheese. 

Since it’s more liquid in texture, it may not work for dishes needing the firm texture of ricotta. In this case, opt for yogurt with thicker consistencies to match the ricotta better. Start with ¾ cup of soy yogurt for every cup of ricotta cheese and adjust as needed.  

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is a fantastic ricotta alternative thanks to its rich, creamy texture and mildly sweet taste. You can even mimic ricotta’s grittiness if you add some coconut shavings.

Jar of coconut cream with a spoon on a wooden plate next to fresh coconut pieces.

It’s fantastic to use in a 1:1 ratio when making soups, sauces, and desserts like cakes and puddings. 


Cashews work as an amazing ricotta replacement. You can achieve a creaminess and texture similar to ricotta by letting the nuts soak up water and then blending them afterward.

A bowl of cashew nuts as a replacement for Ricotta cheese on a woven mat.

For this purpose, you can use about two to three cups of water to soak a cup of cashews in the fridge for up to eight hours.

Cashews can be used in place of ricotta in dishes like pasta, pizza, lasagna and even desserts in a 1:1 ratio.

Tips for Choosing the Best Substitute for Ricotta Cheese

Not sure which substitute to use? Here are some handy tips:

  • For baked goods, you can use cottage cheese. If you’re making something sweeter, opt for cream cheese, mascarpone, or pot cheese. For vegans, tofu works best for baking. 
  • Use cottage cheese or parmesan cheese as a ricotta substitute in lasagna. For vegans, tofu works best as a substitute ingredient. 
  • For creating savory dishes, you may use cottage cheese, fresh goat cheese, buttermilk cheese, soy yogurt, coconut cream, or cashews. 
  • For making dips and dishes that can use a tangy flavor, add goat cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or soy yogurt.

Use the Best Ricotta Substitutes for Your Recipes 

No need to panic when you find yourself out of ricotta cheese.

Thanks to these 13 handy replacements for ricotta cheese, you can go about making your sweet or savory recipes without the real thing. You might even find a new spin on an old recipe that will wow everyone.  

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