This article originally appeared in Food52.
Cream cheese adds an all too familiar thick, creamy, rich tang to the cut sides of bagels, in between layers of carrot cake, in bowls of flavorful party dips, and more. But what if you’re halfway into a recipe only to realize that someone used your cream cheese to slather on their cinnamon raisin bread this morning, leaving you several tablespoons short?
While it’s hard to replicate the exact flavor and texture of cream cheese (especially all at once), there are some good substitutes available. Some can be used as is with pleasing results, and others need a few tweaks; some will work well as a spread or in dips, while others can handle more involved applications, like frostings and baked goods. In general, proceed with caution when making full-blown baked cheesecakes and other cream-cheese-heavy baking projects with anything other than full-fat, real-deal cream cheese.