Mascarpone is a creamy Italian sweet cheese used to make tiramisu. While there are no 1-to-1 substitutions that provide the exact taste and texture of mascarpone, you can use whipped heavy cream, cream cheese, or a combination of the two. Mascarpone is a smooth and creamy cheese. It’s difficult to come by and quite expensive. The recipe will taste slightly different regardless of which option you use; you may need to tweak these recipes to find something that suits your taste.
What exactly is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is an Italian cheese made in the Lombardy region of northern Italy by curdling cow’s milk cream with citric or acetic acid. Mascarpone cheese is a great way to add a silky, creamy touch to a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Although mascarpone is best known for its use in the famous Italian dessert Tiramisu, it is also delicious in a wide range of other dishes.
It is a thick, double or triple cream soft cheese that melts in your mouth and enhances the flavor of any recipe. Mascarpone: what’s not to love? One major disadvantage of mascarpone is its extremely high fat content, which ranges from 60% to 75%. To put that into perspective, one serving (30g) of mascarpone cheese has 13.2 grams of fat and 129 calories.
As a result, if you’re trying to be more mindful of your diet and fat intake, mascarpone may be the last thing you want to eat.
When looking for a close mascarpone cheese replacement, keep in mind that the goal is to achieve a similar smooth, silky texture with the dish that you are making. Although it’s difficult to replicate its creamy texture, it’s not impossible, and you’ll be surprised at how close some of these substitutes are!
Mascarpone Cheese Substitute for Tiramisu
1. Crème Fraîche
Crème fraîche, which literally translates to “fresh cream,” is a common French ingredient that can be used in place of mascarpone. It is typically made from soured dairy cream that has been thickened and acidified by bacteria from a starter culture.
However, crème fraîche is not as thick and fatty in texture as mascarpone, nor is it as rich. It also has a slight tang and is more acidic than mascarpone. Nonetheless, despite these minor differences, it is an excellent substitute for mascarpone.
Not only is crème fraîche a close substitute for mascarpone, but with only 30% fat as opposed to 60-75 percent fat in mascarpone, one serving of crème fraiche contains less than half the calories and fat of mascarpone!
2. Whipped Cream
Cream cheese is a common ingredient that you’re likely to have on hand, and it works well as a substitute for mascarpone cheese.
However, cream cheese alone will not replicate mascarpone, so it must be combined with a few other ingredients. Keeping this in mind, if you’re substituting cream cheese for mascarpone, you’ll need to add both heavy whipping cream and sour cream to achieve the silky texture of mascarpone.
3. Clotted English Cream
English clotted cream has a milky, sweet, buttery flavor, is rather rich and smooth due to its high fat content, and can be a good substitute if you don’t have Italian cheese on hand.
Clotted cream is made by heating unpasteurized cow’s milk for several hours in a shallow pan. Simply rising to the surface, the cream thickens and clots. It has about 55% milk fat and a buttery texture and flavor, making it an excellent substitute for mascarpone.
4. Full Fat Greek Yogurt
Because it is so widely available, Greek yogurt is another excellent option. It is a good source of probiotics, which help keep a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
Greek yogurt, on the other hand, is less creamy and smooth than mascarpone and has a tangier flavor. As a result, it’s ideal for a variety of savory dishes that call for mascarpone cheese.
5. Lemon Juice and Coconut Cream
Any cream with acid in it can produce a Mascarpone-like texture. On the plus side, it is extremely simple to prepare. Simply combine the coconut cream and the acid (in this case, lemon, but you can also add a little white vinegar for a softer texture) in a blender, and you’ve got yourself a Mascarpone cheese with simple ingredients.
Ricotta is a soft cheese with a grainy, crumbly texture and a tangy flavor similar to cottage cheese. This cheese is traditionally made from cow’s milk, but there are many variations that can be made from other types of milk.
Ricotta cheese is a whey cheese that is made with a small amount of curd to give it a solid form and texture.
This cheese can be used in everything from pasta to bruschetta to desserts like cheesecake and tiramisu.
7. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese has become very popular in the diet and fitness world over the last decade due to its lower calorie and fat content, as well as being much healthier than other type of cheeses. This mild-flavored cheese has soft and creamy textures.
Cottage cheese is a type of fresh cheese. This means that it does not need to be aged before being consumed; it can be eaten “fresh” or immediately after being made.
Cottage cheese has no distinct flavor and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes such as tiramisu or cheesecake. This creamy cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk curds.
Cottage cheese is available salted or unsalted. Unless you’re making savory dishes, I recommend using the unsalted version.
8. Sour Cream
Sour cream is another option for mascarpone cheese substitution. Sour cream has a similar texture to mascarpone, but it’s not as creamy because it’s less fatty. It also has a tangy flavor, so it is best used in savory dishes rather than sweets and desserts.
However, you can use it for cake frosting to achieve a similar effect. Soups, salads, dips, and sauces can all benefit from this flavorful mix.
9. Vegan Cream Cheese and Soft Tofu
In either savory or sweet recipes, a mixture of vegan cream cheese and soft tofu can be a very healthy, low fat substitute for Mascarpone. It’s not your typical substitute, but it can make your life easier if you’ve run out of Mascarpone.
10. Vegan and Plant-Based Cream Cheese
If you’ve recently made the switch to a plant-based diet, you may not be aware that there are plant-based cream cheeses that can be used in place of mascarpone. Although this dairy-free substitute is likely to taste and have a slightly different texture to mascarpone, it’s ideal if you follow a vegan diet or are hosting a vegan guest.
Mascarpone cheese is made by combining lemon juice and heavy cream and then cooking it. However, a simple substitution is to use a plant-based, fat-based, dairy-free cream.