Farmers Cheese Substitutes

Farmers cheese is a versatile fresh cheese that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Farmers Cheese Substitutes

With its crumbly texture and mild, tangy flavor, it adds something special to recipes.

However, it can be difficult to find in stores.

Luckily, there are plenty of tasty substitutes for farmers cheese!

What Is Farmers Cheese

Farmers cheese is a classic fresh cheese that originated in Europe. It goes by many names like basket cheese or pot cheese, but it all refers to the same type of cheese.

It's made by curdling milk and separating the curds from the whey. The curds are then pressed to remove excess moisture, forming the fresh farmers cheese. This results in a crumbly, spreadable cheese that is not aged.

Farmers cheese is:

  • A fresh, unripened cheese
  • Made from cow, goat, or sheep milk
  • Has a mild, tangy flavor
  • Has a crumbly yet spreadable texture

It's loved for its versatility. You can eat farmers cheese by itself, use it in dips, incorporate it into pasta fillings, or add it to desserts. The cheese also has a subtle flavor that allows other ingredients to shine.

However, as a fresh cheese, it has a short shelf life. So finding farmers cheese is not always easy, depending on where you live. When a recipe calls for farmers cheese but you can't find it, don't worry! There are plenty of suitable substitutions.

Top Farmers Cheese Substitutes

1. Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese makes an excellent substitute for farmers cheese. In fact, ricotta translates to "re-cooked" in Italian, referring to how ricotta is made by reheating whey.

The two cheeses have a very similar crumbly, grainy texture. Ricotta iscreamier and smoother than farmers cheese though. It has a mild milky taste that is slightly sweet.

Use ricotta cheese in any recipe needing farmers cheese. The Italian cheese works beautifully in pasta, desserts, spreads, and on pizza. For best results, choose fresh ricotta over aged varieties.

Key Takeaway: Ricotta's crumbly texture and mild flavor makes it the top choice for substituting farmers cheese.

2. Dry Cottage Cheese

Dry cottage cheese, sometimes labeled as pressed cottage cheese, makes for a tasty replacement. To make dry cottage cheese, the curds are washed and pressed until almost all the moisture is removed.

This leaves you with crumbly cheese curds that are very close to the texture of farmers cheese. Dry cottage cheese has a clean, milky taste like farmers cheese too.

Use it on salads, as a spread, or blend it smooth for a creamy farmers cheese substitute. Dry cottage cheese has barely any lactose, making it a dairy-free friendly swap.

3. Queso Blanco

The Mexican cheese queso blanco translates to "white cheese." It has a similar crumbly yet creamy texture as farmers cheese.

However, queso blanco is saltier and has a bolder flavor. It is made from cow's milk just like most farmers cheese.

Queso blanco melts wonderfully, so it can be used in casseroles or grilled cheesy dishes needing that farmers cheese tang. Just note that it has more flavor than the mild farmers cheese.

4. Paneer

Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese made from curdled buffalo milk. It shares the same white color, crumbly texture, and mildness of flavor as farmers cheese.

A key difference is that paneer does not contain salt while farmers cheese is lightly salted. So when using paneer as a substitute, season it with a bit of salt.

The Indian cheese holds its shape perfectly when cooked. Its similarity to farmers cheese makes it a great substitute in uncooked preparations too. Use paneer in curries or palak paneer for an authentic cuisine experience.

Key Takeaway: Queso blanco and paneer offer tasty substitutions for farmers cheese with a similar crumbly texture. Just adjust the saltiness and flavor as needed.

5. Part-skim Ricotta

Part-skim or low-fat ricotta cheese provides another excellent substitute for farmers cheese. It has a lighter texture and milder flavor than whole milk ricotta.

The lower fat content gives it a crumbly, drier consistency that mimics farmers cheese beautifully. Part-skim ricotta has a subtle sweetness that works in desserts too.

Use this ricotta in lasagna, manicotti, or ravioli fillings that call for farmers cheese. Or blend it into cheesecake or tiramisu for a lighter, fluffier texture.

6. Neufchâtel Cheese

Neufchâtel is a French soft cheese that originated in the Normandy region. It makes for a great replacement thanks to its spreadable texture and tangy flavor.

The cheese has a salty, nutty taste that is stronger than farmers cheese but still pairs well in recipes. Neufchâtel has less fat than farmers cheese too.

Use this French cheese on top of baked potatoes, stirred into omelets, or blended into dips needing that tang. The flavor pairs wonderfully with herbs like chives, dill, and basil as well.

7. Fresh Goat Cheese

Fresh goat cheese is an excellent substitute thanks to its crumbly texture similar to farmers cheese. Young goat cheese has a mild, tangy flavor when fresh.

Made from goat's milk, it contains less lactose than cow's milk cheeses. Goat cheese offers a bit more tang and gamey notes than the subtleness of farmers cheese.

Crumble fresh goat cheese over salads or use it in savory tarts and pastries for a tasty substitution. Allow goat cheese to age for a sharper flavor.

Key Takeaway: For a lower fat substitute, try Neufchâtel or part-skim ricotta cheese. Adjust the extra tang and saltiness by adding herbs or spices.

8. Pot Cheese

Pot cheese is very similar to farmers cheese but contains slightly more moisture. It has the same fresh, white appearance and crumbly texture.

The two cheeses can be used interchangeably in recipes. Pot cheese is easier to spread onto bread or bagels thanks to the extra creaminess.

Some versions may be more salty than farmers cheese. Add a squeeze of lemon to brighten up the mild taste if needed. Use smooth pot cheese as a substitution in any dish needing farmers cheese.

9. Queso Fresco

Queso fresco translates to "fresh cheese" in Spanish. This crumbly white cheese made from raw cow's milk is a classic Mexican ingredient.

With its mild flavor and moist texture, queso fresco makes for a seamless substitution for farmers cheese. It offers a bit more saltiness that balances well when baking.

Crumble queso fresco over enchiladas, tacos, and salads that could use the creamy bite of farmers cheese. Queso fresco browns beautifully when pan-fried too.

10. Mild Feta Cheese

Feta is a classic Greek cheese usually made from sheep's milk. It has a crumbly texture and salty tang that fares well as a farmers cheese replacement.

For best results, choose a young, mild feta. Aged feta is drier and has a sharper, more pungent flavor. The milder taste ensures it won't overpower a recipe's flavors.

Crumble mild feta over salads, savory tarts, and grilled meats that could use farmers cheese. Add herbs like mint, parsley or dill to balance the extra saltiness.

Key Takeaway: Queso fresco and mild feta offer tasty salty substitutes for farmers cheese. Their crumbly texture mimics the fresh cheese beautifully.

11. Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi is a brined Cypriot cheese made from goat and sheep's milk. It has a distinctive salty flavor and a chewy, squeaky texture when cooked.

The firm texture of halloumi allows it to hold its shape well. Unlike farmers cheese, it can be fried or grilled beautifully.

Use halloumi in salads, sandwiches, and vegetarian dishes needing sliced farmers cheese. The salty, robust flavor pairs wonderfully with lemon, mint, and olive oil.

How to Choose a Farmers Cheese Substitute

With so many options for farmers cheese swaps, how do you choose? Here are a few tips:

  • Consider the flavor - Farmers cheese has a mild, subtle tang. Avoid strong cheeses like parmesan or blue cheese as the taste will overwhelm.
  • Compare the texture - The crumbly, spreadable texture is key. Choose fresher cheeses that aren't too firm or dry.
  • Think about cooking uses - Will the cheese be fried, baked, or eaten raw? Pick an option that fits the cooking method.
  • Adjust the saltiness - Many sub options like feta or queso fresco are saltier. Balance by adding cream or herbs.
  • Mind the moisture level - Dry, crumbly cheeses mimic farmers cheese best. Avoid options with extra moisture that will change the texture.
  • Consider diet needs - If you avoid dairy or want a lower fat cheese, options like paneer or queso blanco work.
  • Use fresh cheeses - The fresher and less aged a cheese, the closer it will be to the taste and texture of farmers cheese.

Tips for Using Farmers Cheese Substitutes

When cooking with a farmers cheese swap, keep these tips in mind:

  • Substitute at a 1:1 ratio - Use the same measured amount of your swap for farmers cheese.
  • Reduce added salt - Taste as you go, since some subs are saltier.
  • Add acid for tang - A bit of lemon or lime juice can brighten up milder cheeses.
  • Let cheese drain - Draining off excess liquid helps achieve a crumbly texture.
  • Blend it smooth - For a creamier farmers cheese, blend or whip until light and smooth.
  • Crumble it on top - For salads or tacos, crumble on the sub at the end for the fresh taste.
  • Adjust baking time - Increased moisture in some cheeses may impact baking. Keep an eye on moisture levels.

With a bit of tweaking, you can turn to a substitute cheese and still achieve the same delightful texture and flavor farmers cheese offers. Don't be afraid to experiment with different varieties in your favorite farmers cheese dishes.


What is the best substitute for farmers cheese?

The best direct substitute is ricotta cheese. It mimics the crumbly texture beautifully and has a clean, mild taste like farmers cheese. For cooked dishes, queso blanco is an excellent replacement as well.

Is dry cottage cheese the same as farmers cheese?

Dry cottage cheese is very close to farmers cheese in terms of taste and texture. The moist curds are washed and pressed to remove moisture, leaving crumbly curds perfect for substituting in any farmer's cheese recipe.

Can I use goat cheese instead of farmers cheese?

Fresh young goat cheese makes an excellent stand-in for farmers cheese thanks to its crumbly texture and mild tangy flavor. Let the goat cheese age for a more pungent taste.

What is a good vegetarian substitute for farmers cheese?

Paneer is the best vegetarian and vegan farmers cheese swap. The mild Indian cheese holds its shape when cooked but offers a similar crumbly texture. Queso blanco also works well.

Can I use halloumi instead of farmers cheese?

Halloumi makes for a great salty, robust farmers cheese substitute. Unlike farmers cheese, it holds its shape wonderfully when cooked or grilled. The squeaky texture differs but absorbs flavors well.


Farmers cheese is an incredible ingredient, but isn't always readily available. Luckily, there are so many options like ricotta, paneer, queso blanco, feta, and cottage cheese that can be used instead.

When choosing a substitute, opt for fresh, crumbly cheeses with a mild, subtle flavor. Adjust saltiness, tang, and creaminess by adding herbs, citrus, or cream.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions