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The 10 Best Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese in Stuffed Shells

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The ten best substitutes for Ricotta cheese are:

  1. Cottage cheese
  2. Parmesan
  3. Mozzarella
  4. Clabber cream
  5. Fromage blanc
  6. Sour cream
  7. Pot cheese
  8. Requeson cheese
  9. Mascarpone
  10. Tofu.

You can try these alternatives if you run out of Ricotta cheese or don’t like its taste. In this article, I’ll explain them in detail and give some of their health benefits. Read on.

1. Cottage Cheese

Plate of stuffed shells made with cottage cheese

Cottage cream is a less creamy ricotta cheese substitute. Also, it has a milder taste and is low in fat and calories, making it a suitable alternative to ricotta.

It comes in large and small curd forms, but its small-curd version resembles ricotta. It’s a good substitute for ricotta in preparing cheese additives for mild flavor dishes such as lasagna.

Cottage cheese is extracted from milk curd, while cheesemakers extract ricotta from whey. Therefore, cottage cheese is lumpier than ricotta, which has a fine consistency. You can sieve it before use to remove the excess milk curd to achieve a more refined product.

2. Parmesan

Pasta shells stuffed with parmesan

Parmesan is another dairy substitute for ricotta that’s particularly good for a lasagna dish.

Parmesan comes off as dry, so blending it with other cheese options such as Bechamel sauce and mozzarella would be best. This mixture will help you achieve the same ricotta cheese feel in lasagna.

Unlike ricotta, parmesan doesn’t leave your lasagna dish dry with a cracked surface. It adds a nutty and salty flavor instead.

If you’re into ricotta’s grittiness but want to keep it down a bit, you should try a blend of parmesan and cottage cheese.

Parmesan is a functional food in Europe, meaning they classify it as one of the foods with medicinal value. Its high bioavailable calcium content makes it attractive in promoting bone health and development and counteracting osteoporosis.

3. Mozzarella

Grated Mozzarella Cheese

I’d call mozzarella a close cousin to ricotta cheese. Cheesemakers extract ricotta cheese from the whey that remains after making mozzarella.

However, mozzarella tends to become clumpy and stringier than ricotta cheese. But its taste isn’t as strong as ricotta.

It would be best to pair mozzarella with other cheese options to end with a result close enough to ricotta. And when you go shopping for mozzarella, ensure you pick a creamier brand to reduce the chances of being clumpy and stringy.

Mozzarella contains probiotic bacteria and strains of Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus casei. Human and animal clinical trials show that these bacteria help fight inflammation, improve gut health, and enhance immunity.

4. Clabber Cream

Homemade clabber cream milk

Cheesemakers prepare clabber cream from sour milk. Traditionally, they extracted this cheese from unpasteurized milk, but now they can remove it from pasteurized milk.

You can use clabber cream in place of ricotta cheese in pasta fillings. You can also use it as scones toppings.

Commercial clabber, sour milk, or buttermilk is added to unpasteurized milk to make clabber cream. The end product is a slightly yellow sour cream with a consistency comparable to ricotta.

Clabber cream has vast supplies of minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. Its lactic acid promotes intestinal peristalsis and improves the functions of the pancreas. It also produces antibiotics that help fight off microbes that might cause gastrointestinal complications.

5. Fromage Blanc

Fresh romage blanc

Fromage blanc is an expensive buttery ricotta cheese alternative with a consistency similar to yogurt. It’s a tasty fresh cheese you can use as a dessert topping.

Its mildly sweet and tangy flavor makes it ideal for use as a cheese spread. You can also use it as a cream cheese substitute or eat it with fruits. On heating, it doesn’t liquify too much. Therefore, it’s suitable for cooking. Whip it before use in preparing sauces with spices and herbs.

Fromage Blanc, a French word meaning ‘white cream,’ is a blessing to many who wish to cut down their calorie intake without sacrificing taste. A cup of fromage blanc has 100 calories, while sour cream and heavy cream have 400 and 800 calories, respectively.

6. Sour Cream

Container-of-Sour-Cream-Large

Sour cream, formed by fermenting natural cream with lactic acid bacteria, is an excellent alternative to ricotta cream. It substitutes ricotta cream well in making dips for potato chips, crackers, and veggies.

You can add herbs and other species to boost this cream’s flavor. You can also use it as a topping and filling to bake cakes, potatoes, and cookies.

Sour cream contains vast supplies of phosphorus, calcium, vitamins, and other essential nutrients that promote good health.

7. Pot Cheese

Making pot cheese on a stove

Pot cheese is a dry curd cheese from the dairy tree like its counterparts, goat and cottage cheese. Its whey content makes it a suitable ricotta cheese alternative and substitutes ricotta cheese in lasagna and stuffing pasta shells.

Pot cheese is way firmer and dried than cottage cheese, so you might need to add moisture to your dish to replicate ricotta cheese’s consistency. To add moisture to your food, try adding some cream.

Pot cheese contains less fat and salt, so it’s an excellent choice to reduce your fat intake to keep your weight in check. It’s also rich in protein, making it ideal if you want to build muscles.

Unfortunately, pot cheese isn’t readily available in most stores, but you can make some at home. You only need three ingredients:

  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Sour cream.

Watch the YouTube tutorial to make homemade pot cheese:

8. Requeson Cheese

Requeson cheese is a lumpy Mexican cheese similar to ricotta cheese. It’s a yellowish-white creamy cheese that’s considered the equivalent of ricotta cheese.

Cheesemakers prepare Requeson cheese by mixing leftover whey with milk. It has a deep salty flavor and is a popular filling for tostadas, tacos, and bolillos. You can serve it with beans or use it as a ricotta substitute in desserts and beans.

Requeson cheese is rich in calcium and provides other essential nutrients, including:

  • Riboflavin
  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus.

9. Mascarpone

Mascarpone cream cheese close-up

Mascarpone shares ancestry with ricotta. Cheesemakers prepare it from cream as the primary protein source. The cream is heated, thickened, and then they add tartaric acid to form a delicious curd. The product is slightly sour than ricotta, becoming an ideal substitute for ricotta in combating garlic’s flavors.

Mascarpone is much denser than ricotta, so you might need to blend it with other creams to achieve the same ricotta’s consistency and texture. Unfortunately, mascarpone wouldn’t be a good fit if you’re looking for a low-fat substitute. It contains more fat than ricotta.

Mascarpone has the same health benefits as natural milk. It’s a good source of calcium, vitamins A and B12, and riboflavin, among other essential nutrients.

Mascarpone might not be a good choice for your health, being among the highest-fat cheeses. It contains 40% fat, 30% of which is saturated.

10. Tofu

It might seem strange to substitute ricotta with tofu, which isn’t a type of cheese. But it’s crafted to have the same texture and consistency as ricotta. Therefore, you can use it in place of ricotta cheese.

Tofu isn’t a dairy product, which is why it has become popular among vegans. So if you can’t find ricotta at your nearest store or want to avoid dairy products, tofu will do much the same as ricotta.

Make sure you press tofu to drain excess water and mix it with other creams to achieve the same consistency as ricotta.

You can use tofu to fill pasta dishes, manicotti, ravioli, cannoli, and baking. Its egg-like flavor disappears when you use it in baking.

Tofu contains higher protein and lowers cholesterol levels and fat than cheese. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients, adequate amino acids, magnesium, and potassium.

Organic tofu would be a good choice if you’d like to avoid genetically-modified soybeans and exposure to hexane used in conventional soybeans production.

For more, don’t miss The Best Substitutes for Milk in a Recipe | Ultimate Guide.

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