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Favorite cream cheese stand-in

  • b

We consume a lot of whipped cream cheese in our house. I would like to find a lower-fat substitute, but not a reduced-fat cream cheese. We have tried a bunch of these, including the Tofutti version, and they're pretty awful. What I'm looking for is another cheese entirely--that behaves like whipped cream cheese, is lower in fat and has a nice taste and consistency of its own. Any thoughts?

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  1. Neufchatel. Fat content 6.5g/oz. vs. 10g/oz. for full-fat cream cheese.

    5 Replies
    1. re: GG Mora

      I believe that cream cheese was invented by Breakstone trying to reproduce Nuefchatel

      1. re: GG Mora
        Science Chick

        I thought that Neufchatel WAS the same things as "Light Cream Cheese"....??!!

        1. re: Science Chick
          Caitlin Wheeler

          It depends on the brand. Light or Low Fat, or (shudder) nonfat cream cheese is NOT Neufchatel. And it's disgusting. Neufchatel is sold under the Philadelphia brand 1/3 less fat cream cheese, which I think is different from their light cream cheese, and I haven't seen it in other brands.

          1. re: Caitlin Wheeler

            An Neufchatel does not taste like a "light" cream chese, though it is 1/3 less fat. Good alternative with full creamy flavor.

        2. re: GG Mora

          Neufchatel is great, not just a less-fattening cream cheese substitute, but a great cheese in its own right. I like it better than cream cheese.

        3. Yoghurt cheese, made from plain or flavored yoghurt (if you like flavored cream cheese).

          Line a fine mesh strainer or colander with a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or unprinted paper towels, place strainer over a bowl, pour in favorite brand of yoghurt, and let drain. I usally let it drain overnight. The longer it drains, the thicker the consistency. If you really like it, they make a container with strainer just for making the cheese.
          It's good in other recipes calling for cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta as well.

          1. How about a very mild, spreadable goat cheese like Chavrie?

            1. Can you tell us more about what you're using it for?

              1. Quark. Which I think is basically yogurt cheese, for those too lazy to do their own straining.

                1. Very different texture and flavor, but try both cottage cheese (I like the large curd) and ricotta. Either with a grind of fresh pepper and a sprinkle of fresh or freeze-dried chives . . . mmmm.

                  1. I love fromage blanc--it's mild-tangy and creamy, with a thinner consistency than cream cheese, but still highly spreadable. It is amazingly low-calorie yet still tasty and good. Here in Boston I buy Vermont Butter & Cheese Company brand at Whole Foods or the bigger Star Markets.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sarah W-R

                      I second fromage blanc. In So Cal, I get Bellwether Farms at Trader Joe's or natural foods stores.

                    2. Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions: neufchatel, fromage blanc, jazzed-up cottage cheese, strained yogurt... I will try them all.

                      We use the cream cheese as a spread, mostly on our daily bagels (poppy or multi-seed from Iggy's, our local wonderful baker), though my two-year-old daughter is quite fond of it on graham crackers.