As one of the best-melting kinds of cheese available, Neufchâtel is my go-to garlic bread spread. Its colorful palette of tastes is a welcome addition to most of my pizza recipes, and I absolutely adore having a slice with a bit of dry wine as an appetizer.
Although its flavor is irresistible to most cheese gourmets, you’ll need quite a bit of Neufchâtel cheese to feel full.
If you are looking for a substitute for Neufchâtel cheese that has a bit stronger taste, a cheaper alternative, or something completely different, I’ll give you a couple of recommendations that you may want to give a try.
Definition of Neufchâtel in a Nutshell
Traditional Neufchâtel is a rich-flavored cheese whose taste can be characterized as nutty, salty, and somewhat tangy the older it gets.
Its all-rounded taste is matched by its rich history, as it stands among the oldest kinds of cheese in Normandy. It was named after its birthplace, the Neufchâtel-en-Bray in Northern France.
Neufchâtel cheese boasts amazing melting properties (high moisture content), and it has a fairly low level of fat content.
10 Neufchâtel Alternatives for You to Try
Not many types of cheese can rival the combination of exquisitely rich taste, rock-bottom fat level, and the healthy benefits of Neufchâtel. However, since it is extremely soft, it simply won’t sit too well in certain recipes. Let me recommend 10 Neufchâtel alternatives that you can use in similar or identical recipes:
|No||Cheese Substitutes||Taste||Texture||Fat Level||Lactose Level|
|Reference||Neufchâtel||Mild, nutty with a hint of earthy undertones||Soft||<20%||<1%|
|1||Cream Cheese||Mild, slightly sweet||Soft||33%||2.5%|
|2||Ricotta||Mild, slightly sweet & nutty||Soft||10%||0.2-5.1%|
|3||Quark||Mild, slightly sour||Soft||5-6%||2-4%|
|4||Edam||Mild, slightly nutty||Semi-hard||27%||0-1.4%|
|5||Bel Paese||Mild, buttery||Semi-soft||8%||<1%|
|6||Gorgonzola||Sharp, salty, earthy||Soft||24.3%||0%|
|8||Goat Cheese||Mild, earthy, and somewhat buttery||Soft||26%||4.2%|
|9||Kite Hill Cream Cheese||Mild, sweet with tones of mushroom||Soft||6%||0%|
|10||Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Sticks||Mild, salty||Semi-soft||7%||0%|
Cheese with Similar Texture and Flavor
Neufchâtel is renowned for its rich but mild flavor and the types of cheese that are closest to its taste and texture are Cream Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, and Quark Cheese. Unless you have a habit of using these kinds of cheese regularly, it’s highly unlikely you’ll notice a difference when using recipes you’d normally use Neufchâtel in.
The flavor of cream cheese is just a tad milder compared to Neufchâtel while they are both ultra-soft and creamy. Subjectively, I would note that cream cheese is a bit sweeter-tasting, but it’s very hard to tell the difference once you throw other ingredients into the pot.
The main difference between Neufchâtel and cream cheese is that the former has a lower fat count and a higher moisture level. Neufchâtel is healthier to use and melts well, but when it’s not available, cream cheese is the closest 1-to-1 substitute.
Soft, spreadable, and mild in flavor, Ricotta is another kind of cheese that can easily replace Neufchâtel. Whether you use it as a dip, spread it on a sandwich, or glaze your spaghetti with it, Ricotta’s mild taste and smooth texture will make any meal richer.
I prefer Ricotta over cream cheese as a Neufchâtel substitute because it contains even less fat than the cheese it’s supposed to be an alternative for. The main reason it’s not at the top of the list is that certain Ricotta products tend to have high levels of lactose.
Neufchâtel Alternatives with Milder Flavor
There are multiple “degrees” of mild when it comes to cheese flavors, and Neufchâtel is somewhere in the middle. If you are searching for cheese that won’t change the taste of your dishes, you may want to give Quark, Edam, and Bel Paese a chance.
Quark, or as some would call it “Quarg”, is among the softest and mildest cheese types ever invented. I love that Quark cheese is so rich in protein, although I should note that its flavor is fairly bland and easily overwhelmed by even the simplest of cooking ingredients.
If you take a bite of Quark before dipping it into the skillet, you’ll notice a very faint dash of sour flavor. In my opinion, the best way to use Quark cheese is to make sandwiches, pasta, and otherwise rough-textured dishes a bit creamier.
Similar to Quark, Edam cheese has a very indistinct flavor. The salty and somewhat nutty undertones in its taste make it a bit different from other kinds of cheese on this list, and what makes it stand out is its semi-hard texture.
If you adore Neufchâtel’s taste but dislike the fact that it’s too hard to grate atop lasagna, using Edam will solve this problem. Use it when preparing hearty meals, as it boasts a decently high level of healthy fats and minimal (or no) lactose content.
Bel Paese Cheese
Bel Paese is the ultimate appetizer. As a buttery-flavored semi-soft cheese that melts nearly as well as Neufchâtel, having a couple of slices on the plate next to a salad is all you’ll ever need for a delicious meal.
Neufchâtel Alternatives with Stronger Flavor and Firmer Texture
There are many recipes where the supple, contained flavor and aroma of Neufchâtel won’t shine as much. For dishes where even half a cup of cheese would suffice to completely overtake the taste of the meal, I suggest trying Gorgonzola, Roquefort, or Goat Cheese.
I’m ashamed to admit that I was sheltered from Gorgonzola for decades because of my penicillin allergy. Upon accidentally eating a slice of pizza with a bit of Gorgonzola on it, I fell enamored with its outstandingly powerful salty taste.
Like most types of blue cheese, Gorgonzola is quite crumbly. It is a soft cheese that melts amazingly well. Aside from being great on pizzas, Gorgonzola can be shredded or grated atop any meat, veggies, or both.
Similar to Gorgonzola, Roquefort is a blue cheese with an overwhelming taste and aroma. It’s almost incomparable to Neufchâtel, which couldn’t be any more different in terms of flavor and texture.
Even so, I warmly recommend you try using Roquefort instead of Neufchâtel when making a hearty dish, such as goulash, chicken roll-ups, or pork chili.
If you’re not keen on blue cheese variants and want the kind of cheese that is just a tad stronger-flavored than Neufchâtel, you’ll probably love Goat Cheese. It is very soft and boasts a mild, buttery, and somewhat earthy flavor, making it an ideal substitute that you can use instead of Neufchâtel in almost all recipes.
This might also be interesting for you: Can You Freeze Goat Cheese?
Dairy-free and Vegan Neufchâtel Alternatives
Neufchâtel is considered among the healthiest types of cheese, boasting minimal or non-existent lactose levels and low fat. However, if you’re searching for dairy-free or vegan alternatives, the best options at your disposal are Kite Hill’s Cream Cheese and Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Sticks.
Kite Hill Cream Cheese
I can’t think of a closer 1-to-1 vegan substitute for Neufchâtel than Kite Hill’s Plain Cream Cheese. This almond-based delicacy contains no dairy products whatsoever and offers a perfect blend of mushroom extracts and Xanthan gum to give it a smooth, sweet, and mildly tangy taste.
Kite Hill’s Cream Cheese has a different, distinctly weaker taste and somewhat creamier texture than Neufchâtel, but it is the ultimate option for people looking for a dairy-free, fully vegan alternative to Neufchâtel cheese.
Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Sticks
If you are making a vegan pizza and want the kind of cheese that melts almost as great as Neufchâtel, let me recommend Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Sticks. Pre-packaged, pre-shredded, and lactose-free, these Mozzarella Sticks have a very mild taste.
Tips for Substituting Neufchâtel
Some of my favorite Neufchâtel cream cheese recipes revolve around finding the right combination of flavors since Neufchâtel is quite mild-tasting and barely noticeable in the mix. The best recipe that any of the 10 alternatives can fit into is homemade lasagna.
Homemade Lasagna Using Neufchâtel SubstituteCourse: MainCuisine: Italian, Other world cuisineDifficulty: Easy
The best recipe that any of the 10 Neufchâtel alternatives can fit into is homemade lasagna, which you can easily make by following these steps:
750g of minced beef
125g of the cheese of your choice
A bottle of tomato sauce
A pack of olive oil
300g of lasagne sheets
Pre-made white sauce
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil; glaze the frying pan and cook minced beef for approximately 10 minutes
- Stir and pour over the tomato sauce
- Bring the mix to a boil
- Simmer the mix for half an hour
- Heat your oven to 356°F
- Add ⅓ of the sauce onto the bottom sheet, and then cover it with a second lasagna sheet
- Repeat the process until all lasagna sheets are used, with the last ones covering the top layer of the dish
- Shred 125g of cheese atop the lasagna
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes
No matter how much I love Neufchâtel, its mild nature makes it a poor match for certain recipes. The good thing about its “neutrality” is that you can replace it with a broad range of different types of cheese.
If you’re looking for something similar, I recommend Ricotta or Cream Cheese. When making sharp-left turns and seeking sharper tastes, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Goat Cheese are great alternatives. If, by some chance, you want a cheese that’s even milder and less impactful, try using Quark, Edam, or Bel Paese.
If this guide about Neufchâtel Substitute for Various Flavors and Dishes has been useful, please share it with your friends! If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comment section below.