Neufchatel Cheese Substitutes

Neufchatel cheese is beloved for its tangy, nutty flavor and creamy yet crumbly texture.

Neufchatel Cheese Substitutes

However, you may find yourself needing a substitute if you can't find it in stores or have dietary restrictions.

Fortunately, there are several excellent neufchatel cheese alternatives to choose from.

What is Neufchatel Cheese?

Neufchatel cheese originated in the Normandy region of France, with a history dating back to the 6th century. Traditionally shaped into a heart, it was seen as a symbol of affection.

Over time, neufchatel became popular across Europe and eventually made its way to North America in the 19th century. Today it is used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes like cheesecakes, pasta sauces, sandwiches, salads and more.

There are key differences between the French and American versions:

  • French neufchatel is made from raw cow's milk and has a crumbly texture with earthy, mushroom notes.
  • American neufchatel contains cream and more resembles cream cheese in smoothness and mild tang.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is the most common substitute for American-style neufchatel since they share very similar textures and flavors. The main difference lies in the higher fat content of cream cheese, making it richer and creamier.

However, it can generally be swapped into recipes calling for neufchatel in a 1:1 ratio without issue. Cream cheese works beautifully in cheesecakes, frostings, appetizers, pasta and more.

Just keep in mind the richness factor and balance other ingredients like sugar or lemon juice accordingly. Overall, it mimics neufchatel wonderfully.

Key Takeaway: With its smooth texture and tangy flavor, cream cheese makes an effortless substitute for neufchatel cheese in sweet or savory recipes.

Cottage Cheese

While not a perfect match texture-wise, cottage cheese can stand in for neufchatel cheese due to its fresh, mild flavor. Blending it first helps achieve a creamy consistency closer to that beloved tangy neufchatel.

Cottage cheese is lower in fat than neufchatel, making it a smart choice for those looking to lighten up their recipes a bit. Simply puree until completely smooth, then use in a 1:1 ratio when substituted into dips, salads, bakes and beyond.

For best results, choose full-fat cottage cheese and drain off any excess liquid before blending. This helps concentrate the creamy texture. The result may not be identical, but it imparts a similar light tang in dishes.

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese offers a fine substitute thanks to its delicate flavor and spreadable texture, though it contains slightly more graininess than neufchatel. Made from whey, ricotta has Italian roots and a mild milky essence.

When swapping ricotta for neufchatel, a 1:1 ratio works splendidly. Then for ultra-smoothness, consider mixing in a bit of yogurt or heavy cream. Ricotta shines in sweets like cheesecake and cannoli filling, and in savory dishes such as lasagna or ravioli filling.

While not exactly the same as crumbly French neufchatel, ricotta bemusedly stands in for recipes calling for the American cream cheese-like version. Give it a delicious try!

Mascarpone Cheese

Seeking an indulgent neufchatel substitute? Enter mascarpone, the dense Italian cream cheese behind tiramisu's silkiness. With over double the fat content of neufchatel, mascarpone provides a luxurious richness perfect for desserts.

Spread it on cakes, fold into cheesecake batter, or mix into fruit tarts and dip fillings. Just note its more subtle flavor and compensate with extra sweetness or acidity. For instance, bump up the vanilla or citrus zest.

Additionally, mascarpone melts beautifully, so mix it into hot pasta sauces or soups for a velvety texture. Though high in calories, its lusciousness excels when you desire an extra hit of creaminess.

Goat Cheese (Chèvre)

Goat cheese delivers a tangy, creamy neufchatel alternative with more distinct flavor. Its crumbly texture when fresh also mimics some characteristics of French neufchatel in particular.

Made from goat's milk, chèvre offers a sharper taste and bolder essence than neufchatel. It shines in savory applications like pizza, salads, bruschetta and omelets. For a milder effect, use young, fresh goat cheese.

Since goat cheese contains more fat than neufchatel, cut back the amount to 3/4 cup for every cup of neufchatel called for. This helps prevent overpowering richness. Then revel in its bright tang and luscious meltability!

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt’s thick, creamy body helps mimic neufchatel’s signature texture beautifully. Its tartness also resembles some flavor notes, though it remains muted by comparison.

Straining the yogurt first removes excess liquid, concentrating its rich body for an ultra-smooth spread, dip or filling. Then to boost tang, incorporate lemon juice, vinegar or other punchy ingredients.

Keep in mind Greek yogurt is lower in fat than neufchatel, so other recipe elements may need adjusting. But its probiotic content boasts digestive health benefits neufchatel does not offer. Overall an easy, nutritious substitute in various dishes!

Vegan Cream Cheese

Vegans rejoice over dairy-free cream cheese options made from nuts like cashews and almonds or soy products like tofu. These offer the velvety texture of neufchatel without animal products.

Most vegan cream cheese mimics the tanginess of dairy-based too, though some brands impart a subtle nutty essence. It spreads, melts and bakes up satisfyingly for recipes spanning sweet to savory.

Pay attention to fat and protein variances between brands when substituting, as traditional neufchatel offers around 23% fat while vegan alternatives range quite a bit. But for ethical or health choices, vegan cream cheese beautifully fits the bill.

Cheddar Cheese

In a pinch, sharp cheddar cheese slices or shreds can mimic some melting and flavor qualities of neufchatel cheese due to similar fat contents. The tastes differ, with aged cheddar bringing a sharper, more salty profile.

However, when incorporated into hot toasted sandwiches, melty omelets or creamy sauces, cheddar’s silky, concentrated texture when melted makes it a convenient substitute. Mixing in cream cheese or goat cheese helps balance the flavors closer to neufchatel too.

Just adjust accompanying ingredients to complement cheddar's saltiness if needed. Then enjoy its shiny melted strands in your favorite hot dishes!

Other handy alternatives include farmer’s cheese, paneer, queso fresco, Monterey jack and manchego. Feel free to get creative mixing milks, textures and taste profiles until you land on a desired effect.

Key Substitution Considerations


When evaluating substitutes, first consider neufchatel’s signature nutty, mildly tangy flavor. American-style tastes closest to cream cheese; French leans earthier with mushroom essence from aging.

Then assess options like goat, cheddar and blue cheese that offer more sharpness, and balance them out in recipes with cream, sugar or salt as needed. Nut-based vegan cheeses contribute subtle sweet flavor.capture


Decide whether you require the smooth creaminess of American neufchatel versus the delicate crumbliness of French style. Then select cheeses like full-fat cottage, ricotta or mascarpone for velvety richness over tangy cheeses lending more denseness or chalkiness.

Blend chunkier alternatives ahead for a smoother consistency closer to neufchatel. Striving for an ultra-creamy feel? Consider yogurt or dairy-free cream cheese.

Fat Content

Pay mind to the fat percentages in substitute cheeses, which directly impact richness and mouthfeel. Neufchatel hovers around 23% milk fat, while heftier options like mascarpone, cream cheese or brie register far higher.

For lighter, healthier recipes focus on lower-fat ricotta, goat cheese or yogurt-based alternatives. Boosting flavor elsewhere may compensate for less perceived richness.

In the end, context impacts suitability. Cheesecakes demand ample velvety fat content while a pasta may welcome sharp bursts from crumbled goat cheese. Let your total desired tasting experience guide perfect stand-ins.


Is cream cheese the same as neufchatel cheese?

While extremely similar, American-style neufchatel differs from cream cheese by containing less fat/calories (23% vs 33% milk fat) and more moisture. So cream cheese is richer and more velvety. Otherwise, the two share an uncanny resemblance!

Can I use ricotta cheese instead of neufchatel?

Yes! With a delicate, fresh dairy flavor similar to neufchatel, ricotta cheese makes an adaptable substitute, especially for dishes benefiting from a fluffier, drier curd. Expect a slightly grainier, drier texture than ultra-rich neufchatel unless blended with cream or yogurt first.

What's a good vegan substitute for neufchatel cheese?

Popular dairy-free neufchatel substitutes include:

  • Tofu cream cheese - Made from silken tofu, it offers a blank canvas for flavorings.
  • Cashew cream cheese - Soaked, blended cashews develop a lush texture with natural sweet richness.
  • Almond and soy-based cream cheeses - Various brands provide different fat contents and textures.
  • Vegan yogurt - Adds tang and luxurious thickness for a healthy neufchatel dupe.

Can I use goat cheese instead of neufchatel?

Yes! Both fresh and aged goat cheese offer delicious substitutes thanks to a creamy body and tangy essence. Expect a more crumbly texture and assertive flavor from goat cheese. Using less neutralizes overpowering potency if desired.


Finding a rich neufchatel cheese stand-in is highly doable thanks to many alternatives spanning rich creaminess to plant-based ingenuity.

Consider factors like tang intensity, fat content and final texture goals when substituting.

With options like smooth cream cheese and ricotta, decadent mascarpone, tangy goat cheese or ethically-minded vegan cream cheese, you can replicate luscious neufchatel cheese wonderfully.

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!