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25 Best Healthy Alternatives to Cream Cheese (2023)

Discover the best healthy alternatives to cream cheese (dairy & vegan). Find substitutes ideal for baking, cooking, pasta, cheesecake, frosting, dips, spreads, and more.

Cream cheese is thick, creamy, and luxurious. It can be a spread, dip, filling, frosting, or dessert. It stabilizes ice cream, thickens soup, and makes pie crusty sturdy. Baked goods with cream cheese are soft and moist.

What is not to love about cream cheese? Well… it is high in calories and fat. (100 calories and 10 grams of fat per ounce.)

Plus, many brands have lactose. This can be a problem for you if you have lactose intolerance.

The good news is that there are plenty of healthy alternatives to cream cheese! You are going to love this comprehensive list.

Whether you need to cut calories or are looking for a vegan choice, you are covered.

Cream cheese has many functions in a recipe. Not every healthy alternate has the qualities of cream cheese (although some are close). Nor do all healthy alternatives to cream cheese supply the same creaminess and favor.

When you give up the calories and fat in cream cheese, you might also lose the texture, change the taste, and forgo other benefits in the final product.

However, your dinners, snacks, and desserts will still be tasty and healthy. This article will explore several dairy and vegan cream cheese alternatives. Discover which cream cheese substitute is best for you.

Dairy Alternatives

If the authentic taste of cream cheese is essential to you, dairy products are the best substitutes. Several come close to the flavor of typical cream cheese.

Neufchatel Cheese

Anything cream cheese can do, Neufchatel can do lighter!

neufchatel and no bake cheesecake with neufchatel as a healthy alternative to cream cheese

If you want the closest substitute to cream cheese, choose Neufchatel cheese. It is one of the oldest French cheeses.

Although somewhat softer, it is almost identical in taste and texture to American cream cheese. Neufchatel in France comes in a heart shape.

In the United States, it is sold in a block, like cream cheese. In fact, the package is almost the same. Unless you read the label, you might think you bought the real thing.

It is a perfect replacement for both savory and sweet recipes. Really, anytime a recipe calls for cream cheese.

Nutrition: Neufchatel is like a low-fat cream cheese with ⅓ less fat, fewer calories, and lower sodium. One ounce has 70 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Find it in the refrigerated section right next to cream cheese.

Best Uses

  • Anywhere you would use cream cheese
  • Cheesecake, fillings, spreads, frosting, baked goods, soups, dips, ice cream, etc.

I prefer to use it in no-bake desserts. Neufchatel takes less time to soften and less time to set than cream cheese. The taste of the finished product is indistinguishable from cream cheese.

Cottage Cheese

Puree cottage cheese, and it becomes a great choice for cheesecake recipes.

Cottage cheese is a mild-flavored fresh cheese made with skim milk. The curds are soft, white, and creamy.

Although not the same texture as cream cheese, cottage cheese becomes smooth and thick when pureed.

The mild flavor lends itself well as a substitute. And the distinct taste of cottage cheese mellows after a few minutes.

Nutrition: You get various health benefits when you eat cottage cheese. It has calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients.

Even better, it has low calories and barely any fat. One ounce of cottage cheese has about 28 calories and 1 gram of fat.

Find it in the refrigerated dairy section, often next to sour cream and occasionally yogurt.

Best Uses

  • Pureed in cheesecake, soup, and dip
  • Filling (whole or pureed) in pasta

Don’t use it as a spread. Blended, it is thin and runny.

Ricotta Cheese

Nothing beats ricotta as a filler for sweet and savory recipes.

Ricotta Cheese is a soft, spongy delicate cheese with a light flavor. Its mild flavor and texture make it a good substitute for cream cheese. Easy to spread and easy to mold.

Traditionally ricotta is produced from the whey leftover after making cheese. However, in the United States, ricotta is usually made with whole milk plus an acid or enzymes to solidify it.

Nutrition: Ricotta is high in calcium and lower in fat and salt than cream cheese. It has only 50 calories and 4 grams of fat, plus 2 grams of protein per ounce.

Find it in the refrigerated dairy section, often close to the cream cheese. Galbani is the best brand, with only 3 ingredients. (And not one of them is a gum or stabilizer).

Homemade ricotta cheese often tastes better than commercial. Your best bet is to make your own with a jug of whole milk plus lemon juice and a dash of salt.

Best Uses

  • Cheesecake
  • Filling for pasta (lasagna) or dessert (cannoli)
  • Ice cream (churned and no-churn)
  • Frosting
  • Dips, spreads, mashed potatoes

Ricotta is more perishable than some other cheeses, so pay attention to the expiration date.

Kefir Cheese (Labne)

Kefir cheese makes a perfect dip with a texture thick enough to cling to your veggies. Season, stir, and dunk your carrots.

Kefir cheese is a thick creamy yogurt cheese spread. The texture is like a blend of yogurt and cream cheese, and the flavor is tangy but milky. You will often find it in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes.

Kefir cheese is made with milk and a bacterial culture called kefir. It is not technically a cheese because the curd has not been separated from the whey. Instead, it is a yogurt that has been strained until thick. Thicker than even Greek yogurt.

Nutrition: Kefir is rich in probiotics and living microorganisms that can help improve gut health. It is high in calcium and potassium and has active enzymes.

One ounce of kefir cheese has about 60 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Find it in the refrigerated section near the soft cheeses in fine grocery stores or health food stores. Kefir cheese can be hard to find.

You can also make your own kefir using kefir granules. Add nutritional flakes to the kefir if you are after more of a cheesy taste.

Best Uses

  • Spread
  • Dip
  • Filling
  • Cheesecake

Brie Cheese

Make pinwheels with Brie instead of cream cheese for a hearty appetizer.    

Brie is a soft, fluffy cheese that is soft at room temperature and runny when melted. It tastes salty, milky, and a tad bitter with fresh mushroom notes.

Bring the Brie to room temperature before using it for a spread or dip. At room temperature, Brie mimics the smoothness of cream cheese.

Nutrition: Brie is marginally lower in calories and fat than cream cheese. One ounce has 95 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Find it in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store.

Best Uses

  • Spread
  • Dip

Burrata Cheese

With a soft center and the ability to melt, burrata cheese is perfect substitute for cream cheese in baked dips.

Burrata cheese is mozzarella’s sister. It is an artisanal fresh cheese made with cow’s milk, rennet, and cream.

During production, mozzarella curd is dipped in hot whey forming a pouch. The leftover cheese strings and cream trapped are trapped inside the pocket.

Burrata is silky on the outside. But when pierced, a rich and creamy middle is revealed. It tastes like mozzarella, but the center has the texture of ricotta. You will want to spoon it to serve.

Nutrition: Burrata is lighter than cream cheese because it is made with milk and cream. One ounce has 70 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Find it in the deli section with the specialty cheeses. It comes in balls floating in water to maintain freshness.

Best Uses

  • Hot dip
  • Spread

Farmer Cheese

Make a sweet tasty filling with farmer cheese. Puree to get the milky smoothness you need.

Farmer cheese is a fresh milk cheese, like a pressed cottage cheese. The taste and texture resemble dry cottage cheese.

Nutrition: Farmer cheese is lighter in fat and calories than cream cheese. One ounce has only 40 calories and 2 grams of fat.

Find it in a health food store in the specialty cheese section. Farmer cheese can be tough to find.

Best Uses

  • Filling
  • Dip
  • Jello salad
  • Cheesecake

Queso Fresco

Fill an enchilada or make a queso dip. Mexican recipes shine with queso fresco in place of cream cheese.

queso fresca and stuffed jalapeno peppers

Queso fresco is the Mexican version of farmer cheese. Crafted from raw cow’s milk, it tastes milky and salty.

The crumbly texture has the mouthfeel of ricotta cheese. The light cheese contrasts perfectly with heavy enchiladas.

Nutrition: Queso fresco is a lighter cheese than cream cheese. One ounce has only 80 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Find it in the refrigerated Mexican cheese section of the grocery store.

Best Uses

  • Filling
  • Dip
  • Dressing
  • Sauces


Use quark when you are dying for an authentic crustless German cheesecake.

Quark is German for “fresh curd.” It is a fresh, lightly drained cow’s milk cheese like old-fashioned cream cheese. If you cross cottage cheese and yogurt, you end up with quark.

It has a mild, milky sweet flavor, perfect for dessert recipes. The consistency of quark is thinner but comparable to softened cream cheese. Use it to lighten cream cheese recipes.

Nutrition: Skim milk is the main ingredient in quark. This means it doesn’t have as many calories or fat as cream cheese. One ounce of quark has only 40 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Find it with difficulty unless you live near a farm that produces it. Or you can order it online. Expect to pay more than you would like to get it shipped to you.

Best Uses

  • Dips and dressings
  • Pasta
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Baked goods like cupcakes
  • German cheesecake

Goat Cheese

Use a tiny bit of goat cheese plus another ingredient to make a smooth and creamy textured cheesecake. No gummy cheesecake sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Goat cheese, also known as chevre, is a dairy product made from goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk. It can be an excellent alternative to cream cheese for those allergic to cow’s milk.

It is soft and spreadable like cream cheese. However, it has a very distinct taste. It is a touch tart with a dairy farm flavor (to put it nicely). When you taste it, you will think, “goat.”

Stella Parks (author of Bravetart), replaces some cream cheese with goat cheese in her cheesecake. The cheesecake does not have enough goat cheese to give it a funky goat taste. Her purpose is to eliminate the gummy texture some cheesecakes have.

A side benefit is the reduced fat and calories. In cheesecake, goat cheese behaves in a similar way to cream cheese, although the taste is different.

Nutrition: While similar in calories to cream cheese, goat cheese has less fat. It also has healthy fats and probiotics. Plus, it can be more filling than cream cheese. Even better, it is lower in lactose and easier to digest.

Find it in the refrigerated soft cheese section of the grocery store. Often in the specialty or health food section.

Best Uses

  • Spread
  • Filling
  • Cheesecake, when combined with something else

Sour Cream

Add creaminess to soup and tenderness to baked goods with sour cream.

Sour cream is tangier than cream cheese, though just as rich and creamy. It can’t be shaped or molded because of its thin texture.

However, its smooth consistency makes it a great alternative to cream cheese in cooking and baking. It gives softness to baked goods and makes soups or sauces creamier, like cream cheese.

Nutrition: Although made from cream, sour cream has lower fat content than cream cheese. One ounce has about 43 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Find it parked next to butter and cottage cheese in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store.

Best Uses

Plain Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt will meet your requirements when you need a creamy tang but don’t want to add any fat.

Greek yogurt is a cultured yogurt that has been strained to remove most of its whey. It is thicker and sourer than regular plain yogurt.

Too thin to spread, plain Greek yogurt can be a healthier choice for a dip, sauce, or soup. And it shines in baked goods, making a tender crumb.

Nutrition: Most Greek yogurt has no fat and only 15 calories per ounce, depending on the brand. This is quite a bit lighter than cream cheese.

Find it in the refrigerated yogurt section.

Best Uses

  • Baked goods
  • Dips
  • Sauce
  • Soup

Mexican Crema

Do you want ultra moist baked treats? Bake with Mexican crema to achieve a tender crumb in quick breads, muffins, and more.

Mexican crema is a combination of cream and buttermilk (or milk). It is not as thick as sour cream but has a similar consistency.

Crema is vaguely tangy. Its taste is a good replacement for cream cheese. It doesn’t curdle when heated, so it is an excellent stabilizing ingredient for hot dishes.

Nutrition: Since milk replaces some cream, crema has fewer calories and fat. There are only 50 calories and 5 grams of fat in one ounce of crema.

Find it in the refrigerated Mexican cheese section.

Best Uses

  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Baking

Table Cream

Whip up table cream and use it to thicken pudding and custard.

Table cream is a light cream containing milk fat between 18 and 30%. This is less than the minimum 30% milk fat in cream cheese. Thickeners and stabilizers are also added.

Nestle makes a shelf-stable table cream called media crema. It is used in many Mexican recipes.

Though not as easy to whip as heavy cream, it cooperates better when chilled first. Although it will never be as luscious as whipping heavy cream.

Nutrition: Table cream is comprised of lighter cream than the cream in cream cheese. One ounce has 80 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Find it on the aisle with other canned milk, like evaporated and condensed milk.

Best Uses

Crème Fraîche

When you crave no-churn, use crème fraîche to stabilize it and add a silky texture.

creme fraiche and creme fraiche ice cream

Crème fraîche is made with a bacterial starter added to cream. The starter thickens the cream creating a substance close to sour cream. However, it is not as sour as sour cream and has a fresher milky taste.

Nutrition: Its higher fat is excellent in sauces because it won’t curdle when heated. One ounce equals 110 calories and 11 grams of fat.

Find it in the refrigerated specialty cheese section.

Best Uses

  • Custard
  • Sauce
  • Dip
  • Ice cream
  • Frosting

Dairy-Free Alternatives to Cream Cheese

Plenty of vegan choices are available to replace cream cheese. Many commercial imitations can mimic the texture of cream cheese. But in terms of taste, not many come close to the real thing.

However, you gain health benefits when you give up the real thing in favor of plant-based alternatives. You avoid high-fat content and may get fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Nut Cream Cheeses

A nut cream cheese makes an excellent creamy spread. Many brands come in flavored spreads too.

3 nut cream cheese packages

You will be amazed at the number of nut and seed cream cheese options you have. Almond and cashew are the most common.

Nut cream cheeses have a grainier texture and a tangy flavor. They are often made with probiotic cultures and thickeners like xanthan and guar gums.                                            

The good? They are vegan, and they spread like soft cream cheese. The texture is similar, though they are usually tangier than cream cheese.

The bad? They are pricey. This makes it expensive to use in a cheesecake. They can also be hard to find.

Here’s a quick run-down on three popular brands of nut cream cheeses – Kite Hill, Miyoko’s, and Spero. They are all slightly different in color, texture, and taste. However, their function was identical.

Let your personal preference for appearance and taste guide which one you choose.

Almond Cream Cheese (like Kite Hill)

almond cream cheese spread on a bagel

Kite Hill brand uses almonds to make their line of vegan dairy products. Their almond cream cheese has only been around since 2015. Almond cream cheese is white, tangy, grainy, and very spreadable.

Cashew Cream Cheese (like Miyoko’s)

cashew cream cheese spread on a bagel

Miyokos was founded in 2014, introducing a variety of nut-based dairy alternatives. The cashew cream cheese is not as easy to spread as almond cream cheese. It is cream-colored and tastes a bit cheesy.

Sunflower Cream Cheese (like Spero)

sunflower seed cream cheese spread on a bagel

Spero Foods was founded in 2016. They use seeds to imitate dairy, believing that sunflower seeds cost less and are more sustainable than dairy or nuts. Spero sunflower cream cheese is grey, easy to spread, and tastes like sunflower seeds.

Find any nut cream cheese near the nut yogurt or in the vegan refrigerated section. Specialty grocery stores also carry these products.

Best Uses (for all nut cream cheeses)

  • Spread
  • Dip

Plant-Based Cream Cheese

Use as a filling or dip. But first, flavor, flavor, flavor.

plant based cream cheese with bagel

Daiya debuted their first plant-based product in 2009 and the company has grown since then. Their cream cheese product has a crumbly texture like ricotta cheese.

This was my least favorite of all the imitation cream cheese products. It tastes artificial and has a “trying-too-hard” desperation, not present in nut or seed cream cheese alternatives.

I don’t recommend eating it plain. But as a filling or a dip mixed with other flavors, it would satisfy.

Find it in health food stores or the refrigerated vegan section of your local grocery store.

Best Uses

  • Filling
  • Dip

Tofu Cream Cheese (silken tofu)

Blend silken tofu to get the thick texture of softened cream cheese. Its neutral taste is ideal for absorbing flavor.

bowl of pureed tofu and tofu cheesecake

Tofu is a low-fat vegan alternative to cream cheese made from coagulated soy milk. The resulting curds are pressed into a block. Blocks of tofu range in softness from silken, soft, firm, and extra firm.

Tofu is known as bean curd in Japan. In the United States, tofu called bean curd refers to firmer tofu.

Tofu has a creamy, spongy texture, similar to cream cheese. It is usually thinner and lighter when blended. With a mild flavor, it absorbs other flavors in recipes very well.

Its custard-like texture is an excellent substitute for cream cheese in recipes like no-bake cheesecake.

However, you will need to press it to get the water out before using it. After the water has drained, blend or puree it. Then you can flavor it and use in your recipe.

Beware: Tofu has a faintly beany flavor. Maybe this won’t bother you. But if it does, try this.

Press it and then puree it. Add real vanilla or another strong flavoring. Keep it in the fridge overnight to let the tofu absorb the flavor. Then use it in your desired recipe.

Nutrition: A healthy alternative to cream cheese, it is rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, and iron. And it is low in calories and fat. One ounce of tofu has only 17 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.

Find it in a block in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store. It could also be in the health food or vegan area.

Best Uses

  • Spread
  • Dip
  • Filling
  • Dressing
  • No-bake cheesecake

Cashew “Cheese”

Use cashew cheese in savory or sweet dips. It is non-dairy, but it delivers creaminess second to none.

Homemade cashew cheese is thick, pureed cashews. You can blend them as thick or thin as you need. To get a cheesier taste, mix in some nutritional yeast.

Nutrition: Cashew cheese is an excellent source of essential nutrients such as protein and dietary fiber. Cashew cheese is a simple, non-dairy cheese perfect for vegans, lactose-intolerant people, and those sensitive to dairy products.

Find cashews at the grocery store. Soak them overnight to make blending easier.

Best Uses

  • Cheese sauce
  • Veggie dip
  • Alfredo sauce

Coconut Cream or Coconut Cream Cheese

Whipped coconut cream makes a tasty frosting or a sweet filling. With the addition of probiotics, it makes cream cheese.

The fat content in coconut cream makes it a good alternative to cream cheese. It can mimic the smooth and creamy texture of softened cream cheese.

Pureed coconut meat makes coconut butter. However, it isn’t as good of a cream cheese alternative as coconut cream.

You can buy coconut cream and cream cheese. However, it is easy enough to make your own at home.

Nutrition: Any coconut cream alternatives are dairy-free. One ounce of coconut cream has 93 calories and 9 grams of fat.

Although it has high fat, it is a healthy fat your body uses as energy instead of storing. It also lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL).

Find canned full-fat coconut milk in the Asian food section of the grocery store. You can also make homemade cream cheese with coconut cream and probiotic powder.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Refrigerate the coconut milk for 1 to 2 days and chill the whipping bowl for 30 minutes. Then scoop the cream out of the can, leaving the coconut water.

Beat the coconut cream for up to 5 minutes until smooth. Add a small amount of maple syrup to sweeten. If it is chunky, add a tiny bit of coconut water and beat until it is the right texture.

Coconut Cream Cheese

No need to refrigerate the coconut milk. Simply pour it through a cheesecloth to collect the cream. Mix in the probiotic and let it sit in a warm place for 24 hours. Then chill it in the refrigerator until it sets.

Best Uses

  • Frosting
  • Fruit dip
  • Filling (coconut cream cheese)


Spread, dip, or fill with hummus. Suitable for sweet, great for savory.

Hummus is an excellent alternative to cream cheese as a dip, spread, or filling. It doesn’t taste like cream cheese. But it can fill the role of cream cheese if you are trying to eat more nutritiously.

Nutrition: Hummus is created with cooked pureed garbanzo beans. It is high in protein, fiber, and iron. And it has zero cholesterol. This is good news if you have high cholesterol.

Find an assortment of hummus flavors in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores.

However, it is easy to make hummus at home too. There are very few store brands of hummus that taste better than homemade. You do need a Vitamix or food processor to make smooth hummus, though.

Pureed garbanzo beans are used most often in hummus. However, pinto beans and black beans work just as well.

Best Uses

  • Spread sweet or savory hummus on bagels and toast.
  • Thicken chilis, soups, and sauces.
  • Dunk fruit or veggies in a hummus dip.
  • Chill a no-bake cheesecake. Cheesecakes made with hummus are often frozen to hold them together. Otherwise, the consistency is closer to a dip.

Fruit Spreads

Fruit spreads do not taste like cream cheese. Instead, they are alternative spreads with a different flavor and look.

Fruit spreads are dairy-free. They also are often fat-free. However, some have sugar added, so check the ingredients. Check out some of the best fruit spreads.

Chia Jam

Chia jam is a combination of pureed fruit and chia seeds. The seeds absorb the fruit juice and thicken the mashed fruit.

Mix a pound of fruit with ¼ cup of chia seeds. Within minutes, it transforms into a spreadable jam.

Chia jam is a great replacement as a spread. Smear it on bagels, toast, or pancakes. Or use it as a filling in muffins or quick bread.

Nutrition: Chia jam has about 25 calories and less than 1 gram of fat in each serving. Chia jam is full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, manganese, iron, magnesium, and calcium.  

Apple Butter

Apple butter has no dairy in it at all. Instead, it is a very concentrated applesauce. The apples are cooked with sugar, cider, and spices. They cook so long that they caramelize and turn brown.

After being pureed, apple butter is ready to spread. Apple butter takes the place of cream cheese as a spread and a dip.

Nutrition: No dairy, low fat. It has about 50 calories and less than 1 gram of fat in one ounce. In addition, apple butter has fiber, vitamin C, copper, potassium, and vitamin K.  

Fruit Preserves or Jams

Any homemade preserves or jams can be used in place of cream cheese to spread on bread. Combining preserves or jams with other healthy substitutes for cream cheese makes a good frosting, filling, or even cheesecake.

Non-Fruit Purees

Cauliflower Puree

Cauliflower puree is lighter than cashew cheese but can imitate its role as a cream cheese replacement.

cauliflower head, pureed cauliflower, and cauliflower mac and cheese

Steamed and pureed cauliflower florets become an unexpectedly healthy alternative to cream cheese.

Its pureed form resembles the smooth texture of cream cheese. However, it does not have the rich feel of added fat.

Cauliflower puree must be flavored and behaves better when combined with other ingredients. If you are after vegan cream cheese substitutes, cauliflower puree is a lower-fat option than cashew cream.

Nutrition: One ounce of cauliflower has under 10 calories and no fat. It is also low carb and full of antioxidants. It gives you fiber, vitamins C, K, and B6, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.

Find raw cauliflower in the produce section or find riced cauliflower with the frozen foods. Steam it and make your own puree.

Best Uses

  • Spread
  • Filling and dip
  • Sauces and soups
  • Cheesecake: Yes, it is possible to make a no-bake cheesecake with cauliflower. But it must be combined with something else to hold it together (like almond butter, cashew butter, or tahini). And it should be frozen or at least chilled for several hours to hold its shape.

What to watch out for: When steaming cauliflower, do not overcook. Overcooking cauliflower gives it an unpleasant bitter taste.


Guacamole is rich and decadent. It holds its own as a spread in place of cream cheese.

Guacamole’s taste is entirely different than cream cheese. However, if you want to smear something healthier on your toast, try guacamole.

Nutrition: One ounce has 40 calories and 4 grams of healthy fat. You get healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals when you eat guacamole.

Find it in the refrigerated deli section at the grocery store. It is near other dips and spreads.

If you don’t want to buy it, try making your own guacamole. It is easy and customizable. Start by picking the best avocado and then prepare it to your taste.

Best Uses

  • Spread
  • Dip
  • No churn ice cream

Mashed Potato Puree

Use mashed potatoes as a no-fat thickener in place of cream cheese. It is especially good as a creamy soup thickener.

potatoes, potato puree, and thick potato soup

Potato puree is as thick and can be as creamy as cream cheese. Mashed potato puree can thicken soup, chili, and pasta dishes without adding fat.

Not all mashed potatoes can replace cream cheese. Potato starch can make some mashed potatoes gummy.

Nutrition: One ounce of potato puree has only 22 calories and no fat. In addition, potatoes are loaded with potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Find Yukon gold potatoes in the produce section. You will have to make your own potato puree for a cream cheese alternative.

Best Uses

  • Thickener in soup
  • Filling in pasta

Tips to Make Mashed Potato Puree

Use waxy potatoes, which have lower starch than floury potatoes. You will get good results with Yukon gold potatoes. Cook the potatoes with a technique from Heston Blumenthal (a British chef).

  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them in quarters.
  • Soak them in water for 5 minutes to remove starch.
  • Cook them in a large pot of warm water (160° F) for 30 minutes. Don’t let the water temperature rise. You may have to take the pan off the heat and place it back on again to control the water temperature.
  • Drain and rinse the potatoes.
  • Boil the potatoes in a large pot until they are well-cooked and falling apart.
  • Run them through a rice masher.

The result? Ultra-creamy mashed potatoes without the addition of butter or cream. A healthier alternative to cream cheese.

Substitutes for Cream Cheese



Neufchatel cheese

Neufchatel cheese

Cottage cheese

Greek yogurt

Farmer cheese

Sour cream


Crème fraîche





Best Substitutes for Cream Cheese in Cheesecake

What can you substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake? Lots of alternatives exist for both baked and no-bake cheesecake.

The best substitutes for a baked cheesecake:

  • Neufchatel
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Farmer cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Mascarpone

Best substitutes for no-bake cheesecake:

  • Tofu
  • Neufchatel

Best Substitute for Cream Cheese in Baking

What is the best substitute for cream cheese in baking? If you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or don’t like cream cheese, no worries– there are plenty of substitutes that can be used for this versatile ingredient.

These healthy alternatives to cream cheese make the baked good soft, tender, and moist.

  • Neufchatel cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Crème frâiche
  • Mascarpone

Best Substitute for Cream Cheese in Cooking

What is the best substitute for cream cheese in cooking? There are many alternatives to cream cheese for a sauce or a soup.

Consider these:

  • Sour cream
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cream
  • Crème frâiche
  • Mascarpone
  • Tofu
  • Cauliflower puree
  • Mashed potato puree

What to Put on Bagels without Cream Cheese

Bagels are a favorite breakfast or lunch go-to for many people. But, when you try to cut calories, cream cheese is often the first thing to go. Is there a healthy alternative to cream cheese on bagels?

Here are a few cream cheese alternatives for bagels.

  • Ricotta
  • Cashew cheese
  • Vegan cream cheese
  • Guacamole
  • Hummus
  • Fruit preserves, chia jam, apple butter

Alternatives to Cream Cheese



Bagel Spread

Cottage cheese

Sour cream



Greek yogurt

Cashew puree "cheese"

Queso fresca


Vegan cream cheese

Goat cheese

Crème fraîche







Fruit preserves

Chashew puree "cheese"

Mashed potato puree

Chia jama

Cauliflower puree

Cauliflower puree

Apple butter

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best substitute for cream cheese in pasta?

There is no shortage of substitutes for cream cheese in pasta – both dairy and vegan. These alternatives simulate low-fat cream cheese effectively.

Dairy replacements with a thicker consistency: Cottage cheese, ricotta, queso fresco, Brie, goat cheese, and mascarpone.

Dairy with thinner consistency: Plain yogurt, crème frâiche, kefir, crema, and sour cream.

Dairy-free alternatives: Nut or seed cream cheese, tofu, cauliflower puree, and cashew puree.

Can I use heavy cream instead of cream cheese?

Heavy cream can be used in place of cream cheese in some instances. Use it in soups or sauces in place of cream cheese.

Whipped, it can substitute cream cheese as a frosting. When whipped and mixed with other ingredients, it can be a dip or even a spread.

Can I use milk instead of cream cheese?

Depending on the recipe, milk can be used instead of cream cheese. Milk adds a light creaminess to soups and sauces.

However, milk can’t be substituted for cream cheese in many other recipes. It would not make a good dip, spread, or frosting.

What type of cheese has a similar texture to regular cream cheese?

Goat cheese
Gournay cheese

Any Special Mentions?

These may not be healthier than cream cheese, but they are wonderful substitutes.


Although it is not a healthier option, mascarpone is an almost identical substitute to cream cheese. You may even prefer triple cream cheese mascarpone.

It is richer, smoother, and has a creamier texture than cream cheese. It makes a drool-worthy cheesecake. See this recipe. And it is a great choice for faux cream cheese frostings – vanilla or chocolate.

Boursin (Gournay Cheese)

Boursin, a type of Gournay cheese, is a creamy, spreadable cheese flavored with herbs and spices. It is a great substitute as a dip and spread. Although crumbly, it also melts smoothly, making it ideal for sauces.  


Cream cheese is an ingredient that adds velvety richness to sweet and savory dishes. It also adds lots of calories and fat.

Fortunately, many kinds of dairy cheese and vegan alternatives exist. Explore some and find your new favorite healthy alternative to cream cheese.

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