Cheesecake Disaster or Success? Our Experts Weigh in on Cream Cheese vs. Spread

How often have you wondered, can I use cream cheese spread instead of cream cheese for cheesecake?

Surely they are pretty much the same thing?

Will cheese spread actually affect the taste of the dessert?

Will the cheesecake be healthier if made with cheese spread?

What other cheese can you use for making cheesecake?

So many questions about cheesecake!

Let’s check out the truth about cream cheese spread!

Although it is possible to use a cream cheese spread for cheesecake, it is not recommended. The spread contains specific additives, such as whey protein, that make it softer and easier to spread. The aeration used in the manufacturing process also contributes to the overly soft texture. A mix of drained yogurt and cream cheese spread would make a better consistency for cheesecake. Always whip up the cream cheese spread first to make it smooth; otherwise, it will clump together with the other ingredients. There is a possibility that the cheesecake won’t be set when made with cream cheese spread, in which case gelatin can be added to the recipe.   

For Cheesecake, Can I Use Cream Cheese Spread? 

If you don’t have any cream cheese to hand, then you may be tempted to use cream cheese spread instead for cheesecake. 

They look and taste similar, so what could go wrong?

To be fair, it is possible to use a cream cheese spread, but you would need to prepare the recipe in a different way.

And the cheesecake may not turn out as expected.

First of all, there are a couple of reasons why cream cheese spread is actually easier to spread if that makes sense! 

It is softer than ordinary cream cheese, and that is due to additives, such as whey protein.

The whey protein changes the texture.

Plus, during the cheesemaking process, more air is added to the cream cheese spread, known as aeration, again making it softer and easier to use.

So, you need to change the consistency of the cheese spread before using it for cheesecake.

First of all, whip the spread so it’s very smooth.

Otherwise, it will stick and form clumps with the other ingredients.

Next, add plain yogurt to the whipped spread, but make sure you drain it first.

Once combined, add the rest of the ingredients. 

There is one further question as regards using cream cheese spreads for cheesecake – will it actually set?

The lighter, softer texture of the spread doesn’t set easily, and you may need to add a small amount of gelatin to the recipe to encourage the process.

Do You Need Cheese for Cheesecake?

It is possible to make cheesecake without any cheese at all. 

This sounds a bit unlikely, as clearly, this delicious dessert is called cheesecake for a reason and is typically made with cream cheese.

But surprisingly, you can substitute the cream cheese for sour cream.

When you think about it, sour cream is made in a similar way to cheese; it is fermented, and of course, it’s still a dairy product.

You might expect the cheesecake to have a sour taste to it, but when the other ingredients are added, especially the sugar, it’s actually much the same.

Maybe a little creamier, slightly less sweet, and not as heavy as some regular cheesecakes can be.

Using sour cream for the cheesecake filling goes well with citrus flavors such as lemon.

What Can I Substitute for Cream Cheese?

Final Thoughts

Cream cheese spread can be used for cheesecakes but needs an additional ingredient for the correct texture.

Drained yogurt will change the cheese spread to the right consistency.

The cream cheese spread also needs to be whipped first; otherwise, it clumps together with other ingredients. 

If the cheesecake doesn’t set, then gelatin can be added to the recipe.

And if you don’t have any suitable cheese products, you can use sour cream for your cheesecake.

So, there is always an option if cheesecake is on the menu!  

If you are wondering about other substitutions for your favorite dessert, check out my article on using cottage cheese in cheesecake.

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