The 6 Best Substitutes For Ricotta Salata

Finding the right foods to meet our specific dietary requirements can be tricky, especially if those needs are somewhat restrictive, or based on distinct health problems.

Thankfully though, we have never had so many options available to us – allowing those with even the most specific needs to enjoy their food to the fullest.

But what about when the food in question is cheese such as ricotta salata, a distinct and important ingredient of Italian cuisine? What alternatives are available then?

The 6 Best Substitutes For Ricotta Salata

What Is Ricotta Salata?

Ricotta salata is a versatile cheese of the Pecorino family, which is used throughout Italy and the surrounding regions in numerous dishes and recipes – including salads, pastas, and pizza, roasted vegetables, and beans.

Usually made from the milk of sheep, cows, goats, or Italian water buffalo, ricotta salata is characterized by creamy (often soft) texture, mild nutty flavor, and slightly salty aftertaste.

This makes sense, seeing as the exact translation of ‘ricotta salata’ means ‘recooked, salted’.

As with most cheeses, ricotta salata is aged for a period of months, and there are various types that can be purchased – with the younger cheese being softer in texture, and mature ricotta being drier and more crumbly.

The 6 Best Ricotta Salata Alternatives

Now that we know a little more about ricotta salata, and the processes through which it is made, let’s take a look at some of the best substitutes available on the market right now.

We have included a good mix on this short list, including similar tasting cheeses, vegan alternatives, and dairy free products – ensuring that everyone can experience cheese dishes to their full potential without compromising their own dietary requirements.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Goats Cheese

Goats Cheese

One of the most common substitutes for ricotta, and one that also has pride and place within Mediterranean cooking, is goats cheese.

Known for having a characteristic salty flavor, and a soft, crumbly texture, goats cheese serves a lot of the same purposes as ricotta cheese, albeit without some of the nutty flavors associated with it.

What’s more, goats cheese is also quite versatile, meaning you can easily add it to all manner of dishes and flavor palettes and enjoy it as a cheesy addition to your favorite food.

However, goat cheese works better in salads and similar dishes, making it a great finger food for the summer months.

2. Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese

With a similar flavor palette, and a consistency that is reminiscent of young, unaged ricotta, cottage cheese can be a great, low cost substitute for those wanting to prepare Italian cuisine on a budget.

It is relatively versatile, good for thickening dishes and giving them that creamy texture you look for in a cheese dish.

What’s more, it is relatively easy to find, meaning that most grocery stores will stock it one form or another.

While cream cheese doesn’t work for everything – for example in salads – it can really make a difference to Italian dishes, and you wouldn’t even be able to tell that it wasn’t true ricotta.

3. Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone Cheese

Another similar Italian cheese is mascarpone, and this has a very similar flavor palette to ricotta salata, and makes a great addition to various dishes – either as a thickener, or as a source of cheesy goodness.

Made from cream cheese, and bearing a similar texture to cottage cheese, mascarpone might be a little more expensive, but has infinite uses within Mediterranean cooking – allowing you to create great tasting food in the comfort of your own home.

Hailing from Italy, mascarpone can be added to numerous dishes, including pizza, pasta, salad, and any other dish you could think of – adding a much needed jolt of wholesome cheesy goodness to any recipe.

4. Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese

One of the most popular and commonly used cheeses in the world, mozzarella cheese has origins in Italy, and is a common ingredient in pasta, pizzas, and all manner of other dishes.

Unlike other cheeses, mozzarella is also not aged in any way, making it a fresh, light option for those looking to spice up their food.

Mozzarella also has a versatility that means it can be included in salads, pastas, pizzas, and any number of other dishes across numerous forms of cuisine.

What’s more, it is available in numerous different forms, and at a varied range of prices, making it not only versatile, but incredibly affordable too.

5. Tofu


However, for those who follow vegan diets, dairy products in general are off limits.

Luckily though, there are many vegan friendly options available on the marketplace to ensure that they are never left out when it comes to enjoying great food.

One such example is tofu – and stands as the oldest vegan substitute, having been invented in 17th century China, where it remains popular to this day.

While being a protein supplement for meat in most cases, tofu also makes a good substitute for dairy, and bears a texture and taste similar to that of cheese.

As such, tofu can be a great alternative for ricotta cheese, and can be added to numerous kinds of dishes.

6. Lactose-Free Cheese

Lactose-Free Cheese

Last on this list, but by no means least, we have lactose-free cheeses – products that are available in numerous styles and forms, and which can be great substitutes for those with allergies and intolerances to lactose and dairy.

These might be harder to find in more basic grocery stores, but your larger outlets will have numerous products in this line – and in fact most brands offer lactose free ranges within their stock.

For something similar to ricotta, you could also try lactose free cream cheese, which can be used on sandwiches, for thickening dishes, or for a much needed explosion of comforting, cheesy goodness in cooked dishes.

Why Might People Need Alternatives?

Of course, there are a few reasons why people might need alternatives to ricotta salata, and these could be dependent on personal preference, dietary decisions, or something more serious like an intolerance or allergy to dairy.

Lactose Intolerance

One of the main (and most important) reasons why someone might need a viable substitute for ricotta salata is lactose intolerance – a common reaction wherein the digestive system cannot properly process lactose, an enzyme found in dairy products.

Sufferers of lactose intolerance can experience sickness, flatulence, digestive distress, and nausea as a result of consuming lactose, and as such, valid alternatives are required to bypass these nasty side effects.


Those following vegan diets and lifestyles do not eat traditional dairy products – due to the fact that they contain animal products, and are derived through the controversial dairy industry.

As such, vegan options are needed, and there are numerous vegan cheeses available on the market nowadays to provide a much needed alternative to traditional dairy products like ricotta.

Personal Preference

Of course, people just might not like the taste, smell, or texture of ricotta salata, and if this is the case then different choices need to be available.

As a mild cheese, ricotta can easily be replicated in one form or another, meaning that those with different preferences can still enjoy Italian cuisine without compromising their palette.

Limited Choices

The problem could also be a matter of financial limitations or a lack of choice in the stores where you live, and as such, you might have to make different choices if you want to enjoy Italian cuisine in your own home.

As such, a variety of similar cheeses are required to give people more choices, and to let them make informed decisions based on their circumstances.

Making The Right Choice For You

When it comes to making the right dietary choice for you and your loved ones, you first need to bear in mind what your specific dietary requirements are, and what alternatives you will need to look for.

If you are vegan, then non-dairy products are available, and quite numerous on today’s market.

Likewise, if you or a family member suffers from lactose intolerance, then there are numerous products to try and experiment with.

Or if you’re just looking for something different and new to your regular ricotta, then there are countless options you could choose from – each of them offering something a little different, and enabling you to create great, wholesome food.

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about ricotta salata, what it is, and the best alternatives on the market.

It’s true that finding the right alternative to suit our specific dietary needs can be tricky at times, but thankfully, we have never had more options available to us – allowing those with even the most restrictive nutritional demands to enjoy their food to the fullest.

So if you are looking for viable alternatives to ricotta salata, then be sure to give some of these a try. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!

The 6 Best Substitutes For Ricotta Salata

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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Cooking time






  • Goats Cheese

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Mascarpone Cheese

  • Mozzarella Cheese

  • Tofu

  • Lactose-Free Cheese


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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