What can I use instead of cream cheese in frosting? The best substitutes for cream cheese in frosting are creamy white cheeses like marscapone, labneh, Neufchâtel, ricotta, and cottage cheese. Dairy alternatives are Greek yogurt and butter. Use cashew nuts or vegan cream cheese as plant-based replacements.
Cream cheese is a soft, smooth, white cheese with a mild flavor, making it a popular frosting ingredient. Cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, and red velvet cake are usually topped with a swirl of tangy cream cheese icing. Here are the 9 best substitutes for cream cheese in frosting.
The Best Cream Cheese In Frosting Substitutes
The ultimate substitute for cream cheese in frosting is marscapone.
This delectable Italian cheese is made from heavy cream and has a thick, luscious consistency and ultra-decadent creamy flavor. It is richer than regular cream cheese and perfect for desserts and treats.
Use marscapone to replace cream cheese in frosting, especially if it’s vanilla-flavored. Because marscapone isn’t as tangy as cream cheese, add a pinch of salt or a splash of lemon juice.
Replace cream cheese with the same quantity of marscapone when making frosting.
Another delicious soft cheese to use as a substitute for cream cheese in frosting is labneh.
Labneh is a soft cheese eaten throughout the Middle East and the Levant, with sweet and savory dishes. It is made by straining yogurt to remove the whey, which results in a smooth, creamy cheese.
Like cream cheese, labneh has a pleasant tang and thick texture.
Because you can use labneh like cream cheese for dips, toppings, and sauces, it makes an ideal alternative for cream cheese frosting, creating a light, flavorful topping.
It’s incredibly delicious when flavored with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices.
Replace cream cheese 1:1 with labneh.
Neufchâtel makes an excellent substitute for cream cheese in frosting.
Neufchâtel is popularly known in the United States as a low-fat type of cream cheese. It is smooth, mild, and slightly sour.
American Neufchâtel is not the same as the cheese it was intended to imitate: the original French variety is a crumbly, aged cheese more like Brie than cream cheese.
You can replace cream cheese with Neufchâtel in frosting if you want a lower-calorie or lighter topping. The slight differences in taste and texture will hardly be noticeable in a flavored frosting.
Use Neufchâtel as a direct replacement for cream cheese.
Try ricotta cheese as an alternative to cream cheese in frosting.
Ricotta is a reasonably dry, crumbly Italian cheese made as a by-product of cheesemaking – it is made by recooking the whey. Its mild softness makes it ideal for stuffings, sauces, and fillings for pasta, desserts, and pastries.
With a flavor similar to cream cheese, ricotta makes a delectable replacement when making frosting.
Because the texture of ricotta is different from cream cheese, combine a cup of ricotta with a cup of heavy cream to make up two cups of cream cheese for frosting.
Replace cream cheese in frosting with cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is cream cheese’s high-protein, low-fat cousin. It is made from cultured milk and tends to have a lumpier texture, with soft, puffy curds. Whipped cottage cheese is smoother.
Because cottage cheese tastes very much like cream cheese, it is an ideal and convenient substitute for frosting. However, you will need to strain it through muslin beforehand, or your frosting will be watery.
Plain cottage cheese will make a handy low-fat frosting.
To mimic the richness of cream cheese, combine equal parts of strained cottage cheese and heavy cream to replace two cups of cream cheese. The frosting won’t be low-calorie but will be delicious.
A convenient substitute for cream cheese in frosting is Greek yogurt.
Yogurt and cheese are both cultured dairy products. While cream cheese is made from cream and milk, yogurt is made from milk.
Yogurt is more acidic than cream cheese and generally contains more moisture, giving it a pouring consistency.
Greek yogurt is pressed or strained to remove the whey, making the consistency thicker and creamier. It, therefore, becomes spoonable, like sour cream.
Use Greek yogurt to replace cream cheese in frosting, as it has the same tangy flavor and richness.
Replace cream cheese with the same amount of heavy Greek yogurt.
Whether dairy or nut-based, butter is a delicious replacement for cream cheese in frosting.
Butter is thick, creamy, and mild-tasting, so ideal for frosting. Buttercream frosting is distinct from cream cheese frosting, but you can make it taste like cream cheese frosting.
To make cream cheese frosting using butter, blitz ½ cup butter until smooth. Almond and coconut butter are good vegan alternatives. Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat on low until combined.
Increase speed to medium. Pour in 1 tablespoon milk or cream (plant-based is fine), ½ teaspoon vanilla essence, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
These two ingredients make the frosting taste like cream cheese frosting. Add salt if you use unsalted butter. Whip until the frosting is smooth.
Use butter to make frosting as an alternative to cream cheese, but use a recipe that lists butter explicitly.
For a plant-based frosting, use cashew nuts instead of cream cheese.
Cashew nuts are a fantastic ingredient to mimic cream cheese, as soaked nuts will blend into a smooth, buttery cream.
Start by soaking a cup of cashew nuts in water overnight to make them moist and creamy. Blitz them in the blender to break them up with half a cup of the soaking water.
For flavor and consistency, add 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or maple syrup), 2 teaspoons vanilla essence, and 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
Blend the mixture until smooth, with the consistency of cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate until set, and decorate your bake as desired.
Cashew cream can’t replace cream cheese directly in a frosting recipe, as these recipes usually require other dairy products as well. Use a recipe based on cashew “cream cheese” frosting.
Vegan Cream Cheese
Plant-based cream cheese is a handy alternative to cream cheese in frosting.
Several brands of vegan cream cheese are available, with various main ingredients like cashew nuts, chickpeas, potato starch, tapioca starch, and coconut oil.
These products are cream cheese replacements with a tangy taste and velvety texture.
Replace cream cheese in the frosting with equal amounts of vegan cream cheese.
Remember also to replace the butter and milk with plant-based alternatives. Otherwise, choose a recipe that uses vegan cream cheese to start with.