What can I use instead of creamcheese in a cheesecake?

Just tired of a boring cheesecake. I would love to use goat cheese, but I'm not sure it's a 1:1. I could also use quark like they do in Germany (I live part time in Germany, but not sure i can get the quality of quark in the US)

Phil Capasso


Linda December 2, 2018
I've lost the recipe, but one of the big food magazines once posted a recipe using yogurt cheese. You strained the yogurt for 2-3 days until it was the consistency of cream cheese. Greek yogurt would take less time to strain, but this was published before Greek yogurt was a thing. It was one of the best cheesecakes I've ever eaten. I wish I'd not lost the recipe because I'd love to make it again.
louisez November 28, 2018
Phil, would you consider posting the old family recipe for ricotta pie? Thanks!
Phil C. November 29, 2018
So at this point, the recipe is a bit different. Her recipes largely consisted of "regular amount of sugar" and "tea cup of that" so I've had to fill in some gaps to get it close to what she used to make. I have very much adapted her way of measuring, just not with baking. And across my family, there are very hotly debated variations. So that being said, here is my hobbled together recipe with variations:

My Grandmother's instructions:

Make the regular pie crust.
My version of the crust:
190 g flour. (My grandmother INSISTED on King Arthur. Not sure it makes a difference, but she would not tolerate any other brand!)

65 g of sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
6 tbsp crisco
2 eggs, lightly beaten

(I have stolen this from an online source, I honestly don't remember what it was, but it was the best one I tried. Sorry to whomever I lifted it from!!!)

The filling:

About 64-96 oz of ricotta (this can vary greatly. You should strain it, over night if possible to strain out as much liquid as possible, so if you start with 64 oz, you'll lose some weight.

PLUS...this is where debate comes in. My grandmother didn't use a crust on the top, but some in my family do. I personally prefer the crust on top. If you are going to do a crust on top, you'll want less filling.

4 eggs
100 g of sugar

Now..more debate. Some in my family prefer grated rind of lemon, others orange. It's really your preference. Some also like a dash of cinnamon, others don't. This is all personal preference.

More debate....some in my family would use a small handful of chocolate chips, my grandmother like to add a small amount of chocolate pudding (from scratch of course) And I mean SMALL. She would just pour in a little, and then use a toothpick to swirl it in slightly. PERSONALLY I prefer the chocolate chips, but my father will wax poetically about how it MUST be chocolate pudding.

For the dough, mix all the dry ingredients in a food processor, then add the shortening. After you mix that together, add in the two eggs last until incorporated. Put on a lightly floured surface, shape it into a ball and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

For the filling, my grandmother insisted on mixing it by hand, and I do as well. Just add it all together and mix with a wooden spoon. (Another insistence by my grandmother!)

I use a 9" pie pan, I use about 2/3 of the dough for the bottom crust roll it out on a floured surface (about 1/4" thick) Dust if needed with flour. Place the dough in the pie plate, pour in the ricotta mixture and then roll out the last 1/3 of the dough add on top and crimp the edges.

Bake for about 50 min- 1 hour at 350F. After it's cooled, dust lightly with powdered sugar.

Phil C. November 28, 2018
Fantastic! For the record, I just made 1 pie for the party. I made other desserts that were easier, but by the end of the night people were more interested in our cocktail offerings anyway ;)
Lori T. November 27, 2018
It isn't that difficult to make quark at home. I do it frequently, using cultured buttermilk and a bit of lemon juice, and also with junket tablets when I can find them. You can control the fat content and richness by choosing to use whole, 2%, or skim milk. Once you have it mixed up, it sits overnight to form curds. After draining in a fine mesh strainer, you've got quark. I get about 1 1/2 -2 cups of quark per quart of milk, and it works fine in all the recipes I inherited from my German grandmothers. In fact, it's the way they made it. You should give it a try, because it's way better homemade.
Phil C. November 27, 2018
That's great to know! I am asking for my New Years Eve party I do every year. I cook for about 100 people, and last year I did made a ricotta pie (old family recipe) and made my own ricotta. Very similar actually to what you're describing.
Lori T. November 27, 2018
If you've made ricotta, then this will be a walk in the park. It's pretty much the same procedure, really. Technically what you want is a mesophillic culture, which is what your cultured buttermilk will provide. You can purchase a dry form from a couple of cheesemaking supply places on the web- the one I use is New England Cheesemaking Supply. They also sell tartaric acid which you can use to make your own marscapone as well, much cheaper than you will purchase it for. None of the fresh cheeses, like cream cheese, ricotta, or such are hard to make, and most of the time it does take is hands off. Not sure I'm brave enough to make ricotta sufficient for pie for 100 people- but I can tell you that what I make for my family is miles above anything I can buy. The cost savings means we can eat it more often as well. Which may or may not be a good thing.
Phil C. November 27, 2018
Nancy - I understand, but I have an old recipe I wanted to update, that's why I was interested in how to sub, of course there are many options online, but they aren't in line with what I wanted to do.
Mindalena November 27, 2018
A good cream cheese sub is marscapone cheese which you can use to make a baked cheesecake or instead try a marscapone and whipped cream version with gelatin to set it. For marscapone and cream cheese: 1:1. For cream and marscapone gelatin: 1:1 or if you really like cream like me 2:1. I make a goat cheese/greek yogurt cake for my sister who cannot have other dairy (Use 2:1 for baked and 1:1 for gelatin fridge version). If you are using cream cheese and goat cheese I recommend: 12 oz (1 1/4 c) goat cheese to 8 oz (1/2 c) cream cheese.
Phil C. November 27, 2018
Thank you for such a thorough list! I was hoping to do all goat cheese, but that may be too much for a whole baked cheesecake.
Nancy November 27, 2018
Phil Capasso...there ARE recipes out there for all goat cheese cheesecake, both as dessert and as savory side.. You can make such a dish.
amybanana November 26, 2018
use full fat (14% or higher) Polish twarog mixed with eggs, sugar, vanilla and raisins (optional)
search for polish cheesecake on line
Nancy November 22, 2018
There are recipes using stronger flavored cheeses, mixed with the usual cream cheese. Two I really like feature either stilton or parmesan (in pesto)
Hana A. November 22, 2018
Hi Phil - American quark in cheesecake is great (try Vermont Creamery brand, which you can get at a number of stores, including Whole Foods). Otherwise, would you consider mascarpone? My favorite cheesecake is a mix of equal parts mascarpone and Philadelphia cream cheese, and it is wonderful (and a bit lighter in texture than traditional cheesecake). Good luck and happy Thanksgiving!
Phil C. November 22, 2018
Great! Thank you! I was thinking mascarpone, but I was worried about it being too sweet. Good tip on the quark! I know the farmers market has it, but it's a small container for a lot of money, so I'd have to take out a second mortgage to get enough for a whole cheesecake! Thank you!!!
Recommended by Food52