Last Updated on March 12, 2023 by Toya
Run out of cream cheese and want to make a frosting recipe? Don’t know what you can use as a good substitute for cream cheese in frosting. I’ll show you how!
Thankfully, there are many ways to replace cream cheese in frosting. Even if you want to swap it out for a tasty, dairy-free alternative, or you don’t mind the dairy, but you have no access to cream cheese at the moment, I’ve got you.
Not every cream cheese substitute works for sweet creations like frosting, but there are multiple options that get it right.
Even though these may sound a little unbelievable, some of the best cream cheese alternatives for a frosting recipe include ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt, in addition to vegan options like silken tofu and even a blend of vegan butter and non-dairy milk.
Check out this full list of the top 10 cream cheese substitutes for frosting that are sure to help you out in a pinch. Each sub below can make thick, fluffy yet sturdy, and pipeable frosting with a few little tweaks.
What are the best cream cheese substitutes for frosting?
The short answer includes:
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Heavy cream
- Goat chevre
- Vegan butter and non-dairy milk
- Silken tofu
I’ll expound on each below. Including substitute ratios and how to use or make them.
Common ways to substitute for cream cheese in frosting
One of the best ingredients to substitute for cream cheese in frosting is cottage cheese. While cottage cheese has a thicker texture and lower fat percentage, cottage cheese puréed with lemon and vanilla does a decent job as a stand-in for the real thing.
Cottage cheese frosting is nowhere as popular as cream cheese frosting, but it is easy to make.
To make it, you will need ½ cup of cottage cheese, 4 cups of powdered sugar, ⅓ cup of softened, unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and ⅓ teaspoon of salt.
Mix all the ingredients except the powdered sugar with an electric mixer till they’re properly combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar into the mixture on low until it is properly combined. Use this cottage cheese frosting on cooled cupcakes, muffins, or cakes.
It may surprise you that Greek yogurt works well in frosting but it does.
Pour Greek yogurt into a cheesecloth and let it drain overnight to get the thick texture of cream cheese. Discard the excess liquid and spoon the yogurt into a large bowl.
Then, pour a cup of powdered sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract into the bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer.
Place it in the refrigerator for about an hour while you make your cake, muffins, or cupcakes. Let the baked goods cool properly first. Then serve this easy greek yogurt frosting over anything that calls for frosting.
With a soft consistency and sweet, tangy flavor, ricotta is another good alternative to cream cheese. While it won’t have the same thick texture, it does a decent job in frosting, especially if it’s mixed with heavy cream or yogurt.
To start on your ricotta frosting, place a large bowl in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Then gather your ingredients. That is 1 ¾ cups of ricotta cheese, ½ cup of powdered sugar, ½ – 1 cup of yogurt of heavy whipping cream, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
In the bowl, beat the ricotta cheese and powder sugar until fluffy. Then add the vanilla extract and whipping cream and whip until fluffy. Refrigerate, for an hour or more, then serve over cooled baked goods.
Heavy Whipping Cream
Heavy whipping cream is an ingredient that’s often kept on hand. It also makes a good cream cheese frosting substitute, especially if mixed with ricotta, cottage cheese, or some cornstarch to thicken up its texture.
To make it place a large bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove the bowl from the fridge, then pour in 2 cups of cold, heavy whipped cream, and 1 cup of powdered sugar and whip until fluffy. Then add 2-3 teaspoons of cornstarch and whip again until the frosting thickens. Add in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, mix then place in the fridge for up to an hour or until you’re ready to use it.
Use this high-fat type of cream cheese that’s made from cream instead of milk with some powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract to get the ultimate frosting substitute.
You’ll need, 1 cup of mascarpone cream cheese, 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 2 ¼ cups of cold heavy cream. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk for a few minutes (5 or so) until it is fluffy.
This low-fat cream cheese version is an excellent choice for a cream-cheese frosting substitute.
To make Neuchatel frosting, you will need 1 cup of cold Neufchatel cream cheese, ½ cup of room temperature butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 cup of powdered sugar.
Place the low-fat cream cheese into a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Then, add the butter gradually and beat until it is properly incorporated into the Neuchatel cream cheese. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk for a few more minutes until it is smooth.
Place the frosting in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Goat cream cheese, or chevre, has a crumblier texture than cow dairy cream cheese, but you can make it silkier by blending a little milk to make a good frosting alternative.
Whether you choose a dairy option or a dairy-free swap, butter is a delicious substitute that’s perfect for buttercream frosting. If you want to make it taste like cream cheese frosting, blend ½ cup of butter with 2 cups of powdered sugar with lemon or vanilla extract.
You will need ½ cup of unsalted butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of milk, and 2 cups of powdered sugar.
Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl for about 5 minutes until it is light and airy and its color has lightened.
Then add in the powdered sugar – half a cup at a time, and beat until smooth. When you’re about to mix in the last ½ cup of powdered sugar, add in the tablespoon of milk and the vanilla extract to help give the buttercream frosting its perfect consistency and flavor. Mix until it is well combined.
Vegan butter and non-dairy milk
This easy substitute just blends some unsalted vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and non-dairy milk like almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk.
You will need ½ cup unsalted vegan butter, 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of almond milk or a nondairy almond milk replacement.
Place the butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the vegan butter doubles in size and turns whiter. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and nondairy milk and beat until all the ingredients are properly combined.
This silky option offers a soft texture that works well for frosting. Try adding a dash of lemon, some powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to help create the perfect flavor for your frosting needs.
Found a good cream cheese alternative for frosting on this list? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, if you found this list helpful, you may also want to check out this post where I share my favorite cream cheese substitutes for creamy pasta as well.