Cottage Cheese Works As A Last-Minute Cream Cheese Substitute

Cottage cheese is having a bit of a moment. It's making its rounds as the new healthy, yet tasty ingredient for numerous dishes, whether it's cottage cheese queso or cottage cheese-packed pasta sauce. Even better than its healthy benefits and dreamy texture, it's a versatile ingredient that can be swapped in for other dairy products you may be missing. One easy substitute? Cream cheese. 

Though the textures and fat content seem vastly different, a few little adjustments can make cottage cheese a perfect dupe for heavy cream cheese. There are two different ways to substitute it. For recipes that require little to no cooking, like a cold dip, pureed cottage cheese can be used in place of cream cheese 1:1. In the event you need cream cheese to bake or cook something, like a cheesecake or casserole, you'll need to doctor up your cottage cheese with a bit of heavy cream or half and half to up the dairy fat in the mix.  

How to use cottage cheese as a replacement for cream cheese

When using this tip, you should first consider the excess moisture that cottage cheese is packing. While this milky texture makes for a satisfying morning parfait, you don't want to bring this liquid to whatever recipe you make. So before substituting the ingredient, you'll want to thoroughly drain it with a strainer before using it. Next, if you're using cottage cheese in a non-baked recipe, you'll want to purée the mix with an immersion blender or regular blender until creamy, in order to better imitate the smooth texture of cream cheese. At this point, your cottage cheese is ready to use, cup-for-cup, like cream cheese for an unbaked recipe. 

For the baked and cooked projects, cottage cheese needs a little more outside help to mimic the magic of cream cheese. While the excess dairy fat isn't essential in a non-baked dip or sauce, it's crucial when constructing the rich texture of a cheesecake or cream cheese pound cake. To make up for this fat deficit, mix one cup of heavy cream with one cup of strained cottage cheese to replicate the richness of one cup of cream cheese. Half and half will also work in a pinch, but heavy cream should be your go-to. With this clever hack in your back pocket, you should have a solid cream cheese backup whenever you need it.