Mascarpone Vs. Cream Cheese: Know the Difference!

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For those who are fond of different cheese types, mascarpone vs. cream cheese is a common analysis. It is one of the common questions that is asked at upscale cafes and restaurants. The question arises, as both these famous and tasty ingredients have a similar look, a subtle cheesy flavor, a creamy texture, a white color.

Mascarpone Vs. Cream Cheese

mascarpone vs. cream cheese

So, are they both same? Can they be used as a substitute for each other? Can you replace mascarpone by cream cheese while preparing tiramisu? Let’s find out!


Mascarpone is a kind of Italian cheese made using citric acid and whole cream. The acetic acid thickens the cream and gives it a smooth texture without resulting in lumps. The flavor is a mix of sweet, milky, and a slightly tangy taste. The taste is buttery due to great fat content, which amounts to 50%.

Due to 50% fat content, the shelf life is not that long. It is easy to make this cheese at home, which is a plus point for those who cannot readily get it in their living areas.

Due to its blend of flavor, mascarpone is used in various ways apart from being the most wanted ingredient for making the famous dessert, tiramisu. You can use it in making almost any pasta such as macaroni and lasagna. You can also use it in making pies or sweet tarts.

On the other hand, cream cheese is also a kind of American cheese that is prepared using cream and milk. It usually has almost 33% milk fat. The moisture content is below 55%. The taste is salty creamy and a bit sour, while its consistency is denser than butter.

Even cream cheese has a shorter shelf life due to which it should be had fresh. It is easy to make it at home if not available. Cream cheese is commonly used in bagels, chips, spreads, and side dishes like sushi. In desserts, it is a part of cookies and cheesecake.

Mascarpone vs. Cream Cheese: Fat Content

The quantity of fat milk marks the biggest difference between these two cheese types. As per the American law, cream cheese needs to have a minimum 33% milk fat. This is less than what is present in mascarpone.

Mascarpone vs. Cream Cheese: Taste

The Italian cream cheese is richer in milk fat than the American cream cheese due to which it is creamier in taste. Further, it is tangier too due to tartaric content.

Mascarpone vs. Cream Cheese: Alternative to Each Other

Actually, both are not the perfect substitutes for each other.  It actually depends on the kind of flavor you need. Still, it is common to replace mascarpone with cream cheese if you cannot get the Italian cheese.

To do so, just warm the refrigerated cream cheese to bring down its temperature to the room temperature. To ensure the mascarpone-like consistency, mix and smash it using a fork. Now, add an equal amount of sour cream or ¼ cup heavy whipping cream to it.

Bottom Line

Mascarpone and cream cheese have different quantity of milk fat content. They also have a bit different taste and consistency.

See also: Feta Cheese vs Goat Cheese