Goat Cheese vs. Ricotta Cheese

Goat cheese and ricotta cheese are both popular choices in recipes and cooking.

Goat Cheese vs. Ricotta Cheese

But what exactly sets them apart when it comes to nutrition, taste, texture, and best uses?

Nutrition Profile

When looking at the nutrition facts, goat cheese and ricotta cheese have some distinct differences:

Calories and Macronutrients

Goat cheese is much higher in calories and fat than ricotta, while ricotta contains more carbs and protein.


  • Goat cheese has over twice as many calories per 100 grams - 364kcal vs 156kcal in ricotta. The extra calories in goat cheese come mainly from the higher fat content.
  • Goat cheese also packs nearly 3 times as much fat as ricotta - 29.8g vs 10.4g. This includes more saturated and unsaturated fats.
  • However, ricotta wins when it comes to carbs and protein. Ricotta has 4g of carbs per 100g compared to virtually zero in goat cheese. And ricotta has about half as much protein, with 11.3g vs 21.6g in goat cheese.

So in terms of macronutrients, goat cheese is higher in fat and calories, while ricotta contains more carbs and protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

When looking at vitamins and minerals in goat cheese vs ricotta, a few differences stand out:

  • Goat cheese contains more Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, and Vitamin K than ricotta. However, ricotta has more Vitamin B5, folate, and B12.
  • For minerals, goat cheese wins hands-down. It has more calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese than ricotta per 100 grams.
  • The only mineral where ricotta beats goat cheese is selenium - ricotta has nearly 4 times as much.

So if you're looking for more vitamins and especially minerals, goat cheese emerges as the winner over ricotta cheese.

Key Takeaway: Goat cheese is higher in calories, fat, and many vitamins/minerals than ricotta. But ricotta contains more carbs, protein, and select B vitamins.

Flavor and Texture

In addition to nutrition differences, goat cheese and ricotta vary in terms of their flavor, aroma, texture and overall eating experience:

Taste and Smell

The most noticeable difference is that goat cheese has a stronger, more pungent flavor and smell compared to mild ricotta:

  • Goat cheese tastes tangy, tart, and earthy with a distinct grassy, goaty aroma. Its flavor depends on the age, with younger cheeses milder and older ones more crumbly and complex.
  • Ricotta has a delicate sweet, milky taste and scent. Its smooth, creamy flavor is subtle enough that it takes on ingredients its paired with.

So people tend to have a love or hate relationship with goat cheese due to its bold, barnyard-like flavor. Meanwhile ricotta is more universally enjoyed for its faint sweetness.


Goat cheese also differs from ricotta in its texture:

  • Goat cheese has a crumbly, moist texture that ranges from soft to semi-firm, depending on age and type. Its curds break apart easily.
  • Ricotta is creamier and smoother, with a fine, soft curd similar to cottage cheese. It has a lighter, airier texture than goat cheese.

The firmer, dense texture of goat cheese gives it more structure for cooking compared to delicate ricotta.

Key Takeaway: Goat cheese has a tangy, tart flavor with grassy aroma compared to the mild, sweet milkiness of ricotta. It also has a crumbly, moist texture vs the airy smoothness of ricotta.

Best Uses

Due to their differing flavors, textures, and nutrition profiles, goat cheese and ricotta excel in different culinary applications:

Goat Cheese Shines In:

  • Salads: Its bold flavor and crumbles beautifully over greens, grains, veggies or fruit.
  • Appetizers: Goat cheese is delicious fried, baked or stuffed into phyllo dough as an appetizer.
  • Added to pasta dishes: Its tanginess livens up otherwise plain pasta. It also is great in raviolis or gnocchi.
  • Pizzas and flatbreads: Sprinkled over top or baked into the crust, goat cheese adds kick.
  • Breakfast: Pairs nicely with honey and fruit on toast or biscuits.
  • Desserts: Its tang offsets sweetness nicely in tarts, cheesecakes, etc.

Ricotta Works Well In:

  • Italian dishes: Ricotta is right at home in calzones, manicotti, lasagna, or served atop pasta.
  • Cheesecakes and desserts: Ricotta's mildness allows other flavors to shine through in sweets.
  • Dips: Its smooth, spreadable texture makes an easy chip, veggie, or bread dip.
  • Stuffings: Mixed with herbs and baked into vegetables or pasta shells.
  • Breakfast: Great topped with fruit or jam, or in sweet cheese blintzes.

So in summary, goat cheese adds a flavor punch and stands up to bold ingredients, while mild ricotta works well letting other flavors come through.

Price Differences

One final difference between goat cheese and ricotta is typical pricing. In general:

  • Goat cheese costs $2-3 more per pound than ricotta made from cow's milk. This holds true comparing same-styles of fresh, aged, or flavored varieties.
  • The price gap stems from larger global supply of cow milk for ricotta production versus relatively lower goat milk supply.
  • Specialty goat cheese can cost $5-6 more per pound than mass-market ricotta, but provide an elevated eating experience.

So pound-for-pound, ricotta typically costs noticeably less than goat cheese. But for some, the added flavor and nutrition boost of goat cheese justifies the higher price.

Key Takeaway: The bolder flavor and nutrition of goat cheese comes at a premium price over milder, widely-produced ricotta cheese.

Comparison Chart

Nutrition or AttributeGoat CheeseRicotta
Calories364 kcal156 kcal
Vitamin A407μg120μg
FlavorStrong, tangyMild, delicate
TextureCrumbly, moistSmooth, creamy
Price Per Pound$6-$12$3-$6


Can I substitute goat cheese for ricotta?

Yes, you can substitute goat cheese for ricotta in many recipes. However, be aware the tangy flavor and crumbly texture of goat cheese will change the dish more compared to mild ricotta. Adjust other flavors to compensate if needed.

What kind of goat cheese is best for baking?

Fresh, soft chèvre style goat cheese is ideal for baking recipes like pizza, flatbreads or tarts. The smooth, spreadable texture melts evenly. Aged goat cheeses may become too crumbly or overpower other flavors when baked.

Can I replace ricotta with goat cheese in lasagna?

You sure can use goat cheese instead of ricotta as lasagna filling. The tangy flavor will come through so consider adjusting herbs or spices to balance it out. Also mix goat cheese half and half with cream cheese or mascarpone for a smoother, creamier texture if desired.


While goat cheese and ricotta have some similarities, their differences in nutrition, flavor, texture, and best culinary uses set them apart.

Goat cheese offers a nutrition boost thanks to higher protein, calcium, vitamins A, B, K and more. It packs a tangy, aromatic punch that livens up pastas, salads, and desserts.

Meanwhile, smooth and delicate ricotta lets other ingredients shine in Italian dishes, appetizers, and sweets.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!