The Cream Cheese Substitute: List You Need for Cooking

If you know me well enough, I’m sure you already know by now that I LOVE cheese! One of my favorites would be cream cheese, which can be used as a spread or in many recipes, especially when baking. But there are times I run out, or when other people ask about a cream cheese substitute to accommodate their diet or needs. Fortunately, there are a lot of alternatives to this ingredient that will have you still enjoy the flavor and consistency of your recipes.

So if you’re looking for the ideal cream cheese substitute, may you be baking, cooking, or using it for spread and dips on your food, then read on as I show you all about cream cheese and what you can use to replace it.

You know what cream cheese is, but what do you use it for that makes it a favorite for many people to use for cooking? Here are the ways one can use cream cheese:

  • One of my favorite ways to use cream cheese is on its own! I would usually spread it on various types of food, from bread, crackers or even bagels.
  • Cream cheese can be used as a dip for potato chips and snacks, or also as a dressing for salads. You can also mix it with other ingredients to make spreads taste better and according to your palate
  • The most popular way to use cream cheese is when making cheesecake and other baked products, such as cream cheese frosting or filling on your cakes and cookies.
  • Cream cheese is used to help thicken various sauces and make it taste and look creamier. Sometimes, it replaced butter or olive oil when making mashed potatoes or sushi rolls (westernized, of course).
  • For savory dishes, you can find it as a filling in crab rangoon, which is an appetizer from U.S. Chinese restaurants.

​So you can see that cream cheese has a lot of uses (which you can also try out with a cream cheese substitute!).

Cream Cheese Substitute List​

There will be times that people are either allergic to cream cheese and its components, or don’t have any at home. It can even be something to help accommodate their diets, as individual meal plans do not allow cream cheese or dairy products. Whatever may be the case, I’m here to help with the various cream cheese substitute, depending on what you’re making or what you cannot consume. Here are the top six best ones:

Kefir and Chia Seeds

Kefir and Chia Seeds

This is a perfect combination that keeps the consistency and acidic taste. Simply mix a quarter cup of chia seeds and a bowl of kefir (according to the amount of cream cheese you need). Stir until well-combined and allow the seeds to absorb with the refit. It may take about an hour, so just wait. It may not be the best for those who need the substitute quickly, but a very healthy option!

Cottage Cheese

This substitute has the similar taste of the cream cheese, but not the consistency. To change that, get the amount of cottage cheese you need (which is equal to the amount you need for your recipe that requires cream cheese) and pour it in the mixer until it has a fine consistency. Let it chill in the freezer for about three to four hours. Do take note it has more calories than cream cheese, so it isn’t the best for those looking to lose weight.

Greek Yogurt

For those who want to make a delicious dip and love the texture and flavor of the cream cheese, then this is the ideal substitute for you. To make it as thick as cream cheese, drain the yogurt by using a clean cheesecloth and putting the yogurt over it. Let it chill overnight, and it will be thicker. You can add various ingredients for a garden cream cheeses style dressing or dip. It’s also a healthier substitute of cream cheese, as it contains a high amount of protein and less sugar. It keeps you full for longer!


hummus on English muffins or bagels

It doesn’t taste exactly like cream cheese, but they taste good on English muffins or bagels. It’s best for spreads rather than baking or cooking. I recommend you to use this over cream cheese for dips, as it has the perfect consistency and the similar texture. It may not have the exact same taste, but it does have the delicious flavors anyone will appreciate.


vegan tofu cream cheese variations

Yes, tofu can work as a substitution of cream cheese. Simply mix 3/4 cup of tofu, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and a quarter cup of margarine to replace one cup of cream cheese. Combine until it’s a smooth paste and place it in the fridge for about two to three hours to use. Tofu is high in protein and a great way to boost your intake, especially if you are a vegetarian. Just like Greek Yogurt, it’s another healthy alternative to cream cheese.


Go for part-skim ricotta cheese replace the cream cheese by draining it as you do for Greek yogurt. Then puree it using a blender until it’s smooth and without any bits. For one cup of cream cheese, use a cup of ricotta.

​But take note that while these substitutes can help create your recipe, they may alter the taste or consistency a bit. Don’t expect it to be exactly like the cream cheese flavor you expect, but not to worry- it’s still delicious and may even be better!

Tips When Substituting Cream Cheese​

Now that you know what you can use as a cream cheese substitute, what are other things you should consider when using these ingredients? Here are some tips to follow when handling your alternative ingredients to cream cheese:

  • Take note that some of these substitutes are also types of cheeses or with a high acidic content, so you will need to make sure that you store it well. Place it in proper containers that are well-covered and put it in the fridge. Take note of their expirations dates, if any.
  • When you use any of these substitutes, take note of the outcome and how you and others think about it. Check what needs to be tweaked or how you can improve its taste, whether you can add more seasoning or more/less of that substitute to enhance its taste and consistency. This will help prevent mistakes in the long run.
  • After trying these alternatives, it took me a lot of patience and experimentation until I got my recipes perfect. These are used for your reference, though the outcome may be different as we don’t have the same tastes. So be patient and continue to tweak your recipe until you get it right!

​In Conclusion

While I do love cream cheese, I understand that some of my readers cannot use it for various reasons. And not to worry, as there are cream cheese substitutes you can try out and still get the perfect outcome from your food. Not only will it accommodate your diet, but you’ll enjoy what you are having as well. If you are more of a fan of hard Swiss cheese, you should check out our Gruyere Cheese list and pick the best cheese for your taste.

I hope that this article on the best cream cheese substitute list helps you become more knowledgeable about what you can use instead of cream cheese. So what are you waiting for? Start making your favorite recipes today with any of these substitutes.