Last Updated on December 10, 2022 by Lauren Beck
If you’re a cheese lover, it may be hard to keep track of all the different varieties and types. Ricotta and cream cheese are two popular cheeses, but they’re also quite different from one another
Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from either whey or milk. It has a mild flavor and a slightly grainy texture, and is often used in dishes such as lasagna and stuffed shells. Cream cheese, on the other hand, is a soft cheese made from milk and cream. It has a richer flavor than ricotta and is creamier in texture. It’s commonly used as a spread for bagels or toast.
Ricotta is also lower in fat than cream cheese, with around 12-15 percent fat compared to 33 percent fat in cream cheese. Ricotta is a good source of calcium and protein, while cream cheese has slightly fewer nutrients.
What Is Ricotta?
Ricotta is a type of cheese that originated in Italy. It is made from whey, which is the liquid that remains after the curds are separated from cow’s milk during the cheese-making process. Ricotta has a mild flavor and a soft, creamy texture. It can be used to make dips, spreads, and sauces, as well as to fill ravioli and lasagna.
What Is Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is a soft, mild-flavored cheese made from milk and cream. It has a velvety texture and can range in flavor from plain to sweet or tangy. It is commonly used on bagels and in baked goods like cheesecakes. It is also used to make dips and spreads.
Key Differences Between Ricotta and Cream Cheese
The difference between ricotta and cream cheese lies in their texture, ingredients, fat content, flavor, and nutritional value
- Texture: Ricotta is grainy and creamy, while cream cheese is velvety
- Ingredients: Ricotta is made from whey or milk, while cream cheese is made from milk and cream
- Fat Content: Ricotta has 12-15 percent fat, while cream cheese has 33 percent fat
- Flavor: Ricotta is mild in flavor, while cream cheese can range from plain to sweet or tangy
- Nutritional Value: Ricotta is a good source of calcium and protein, while cream cheese has slightly fewer nutrients
Can You Substitute Ricotta for Cream Cheese?
Though both cheeses have a mild flavor and can be used to make dips, spreads, and sauces, they cannot be used interchangeably in recipes. Ricotta is much softer than cream cheese, so it does not work well as a spread or dip. Conversely, cream cheese is too firm to use in dishes like lasagna. Therefore, it is best to stick with the cheese a recipe calls for.
Is Ricotta Good for Cheesecake?
Ricotta can be used to make a cheesecake, but it’s not the best option. Ricotta is much softer and less flavorful than cream cheese, so it will produce a cake with a more subtle flavor and texture. For the best results, use cream cheese for a richer, creamier cheesecake.
Is Lasagna Better With Ricotta or Cream Cheese?
Lasagna is traditionally made with ricotta cheese. Ricotta has a mild flavor and creamy texture that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients in lasagna, such as noodles, sauce, and meat. Cream cheese will also work in this dish, but it won’t have quite the same flavor or texture as ricotta.
Ricotta or Cream Cheese for Cannoli?
Cannoli are usually filled with ricotta cheese. Ricotta has a mild flavor and creamy texture that works well with the sweetness of the cannoli shells, while cream cheese is too firm and tangy for this dish.
Which Cheese is Healthier?
When considering the difference between ricotta and cream cheese, health should be taken into consideration. The difference that stands out most is the fat content in each type of cheese. Ricotta has about half the fat of cream cheese, with 6 grams per 1/4-cup serving as compared to 12 grams for cream cheese. That makes ricotta a healthier option when it comes to cheese.
Nutritional Content Comparison
The following table compares the nutritional content of ricotta and cream cheese .
Nutritional Content | Ricotta | Cream Cheese
- Calories (per 1/4-cup) | 123 kcal | 283 kcal
- Protein (per 1/4-cup) | 14.2 g | 4.3 g
- Fat (per 1/4-cup) | 6.0 g | 12.2 g
- Carbohydrates (per 1/4-cup) | 3.5 g | 4.9 g
- Calcium (per 1/4-cup) | 300 mg | 175 mg
Ricotta and cream cheese are both soft, mild-flavored cheeses. But when it comes to difference between ricotta and cream cheese, they have different textures, ingredients, fat content, flavors, and nutritional values. Ricotta has a grainy texture and is made from whey or milk. It is lower in fat than cream cheese and is a good source of calcium and protein. Cream cheese has a velvety texture, is made from milk and cream, has more fat than ricotta, and can range in flavor from plain to sweet or tangy.
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