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Does Cheesecake Have Cheese In It? What Types?

Norah Clark
Cheesecake with burnt sugar

One ingredient that often confuses home chefs is the cheese used in cheesecake. Unlike traditional cheese dishes where blocks of cheddar or mozzarella are the norm, cheesecake requires a specific type of cheese that is creamy, tangy, and versatile enough to be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

The most standard cheese used in cheesecake is cream cheese, a staple in many American kitchens.

If you don’t like cream cheese or want something different, try ricotta, mascarpone, and Neufchâtel can add unique flavor and texture to your cheesecake.

In this article, I will delve into the different types of cheese used in cheesecake and the unique characteristics that each one brings to the dish.

What Cheese Is Used In Cheesecake?

The cheese used in cheesecake is typically cream cheese, a staple in many American kitchens. Other alternatives to cream cheese are ricotta, mascarpone, and Neufchâtel can add unique flavor and texture to your cheesecake.

Understanding the characteristics and qualities of each cheese and how they work together with other ingredients is essential to creating a delicious cheesecake that is bursting with flavor.

Lemon and lime cheesecake with blueberries.
Lemon and lime cheesecake with blueberries.

To choose the right cheese for your cheesecake recipe, it’s important to understand the characteristics and qualities of each type of cheese and how it will work with other ingredients in the recipe.

Experimenting with different types of cheese and adjusting the recipe accordingly can lead to a unique and delicious cheesecake.

1. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is the most traditional and classic type of cheese used in cheesecake. This type of cheese is made from a mixture of cream and milk and has a smooth, creamy texture.

It is often used in a 1:1 ratio with sugar in cheesecake recipes and provides a tangy flavor balanced by the sugar’s sweetness.

Cream cheese is also easy to find at most grocery stores and is reliable for cheesecake recipes.

2. Ricotta Cheese

Another popular choice for cheesecake is ricotta cheese. This cheese is made from whey and has a light, fluffy texture.

It is often used in combination with cream cheese in cheesecake recipes and provides a milder flavor and a lighter texture.

Ricotta cheese also adds a slightly grainy texture to the cheesecake, which can be desirable for some people.

3. Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone cheese is another option that can be used in cheesecake. This type of cheese is Italian cheese made from cream and has a rich and creamy texture.

It is often used in combination with cream cheese in cheesecake recipes and adds a distinct rich buttery flavor.

Mascarpone cheese can be a bit harder to find at grocery stores but can be found at specialty food stores or ordered online.

4. Sour Cream

Sour cream is a versatile dairy product not considered cheese but made by fermenting cream.

It is known for its creamy texture and slightly tart taste, which makes it a popular addition to other cheeses when baking cheesecakes.

The result is a denser, creamier cheesecake that is irresistible to many.

5. Neufchâtel cheese

Neufchâtel cheese has a creamy texture and a slightly tangy taste.

When used in a cheesecake, it can add a unique and subtle flavor to the dish. Some people may describe the taste as a milder version of cream cheese with a slightly tangy and tangy taste.

Some may also describe it as a slightly more buttery flavor than traditional cream cheese.

Overall, it can add a nice depth of flavor to the cheesecake.

6. Quark

Another dairy product often used in cheesecake is quark cheese, also known as quarg.

This cheese is made by warming soured milk until it curdles, resulting in a crumbly and creamy texture similar to cottage cheese but without the use of rennet.

Quark cheese is most commonly used in Germany and other European countries to bake cheesecakes, adding a unique and delicious twist to the classic recipe.

Alternatives To Using Cheese In Cheesecakes

While cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and mascarpone cheese are the most popular choices, many kinds of cheese can be used to substitute cream cheese in cheesecakes.

What alternatives are there for cheese in cheesecake? Cottage cheese, goat cheese, and even blue cheese can be used in cheesecake recipes.

However, these cheeses will add their unique flavors to the cheesecake and may require additional adjustments to the recipe.

Raspberry ganache-covered cheesecake.
Raspberry ganache-covered cheesecake.


What is cheesecake mostly made of?

Cheesecake is mostly made of cream cheese, a staple ingredient in many American kitchens. It is known for its creamy texture and tangy flavor, making it perfect for sweet and savory dishes.

Is Philadelphia used in cheesecakes?

Philadelphia cream cheese is one of the most commonly used brands of cream cheese in cheesecake recipes. It is known for its smooth texture and mild flavor, making it a popular choice among home chefs and professional bakers.

Is cheesecake better with cream cheese or mascarpone?

Cream cheese is a standard ingredient in traditional American-style cheesecake, known for its tangy flavor and creamy texture. On the other hand, Mascarpone is an Italian cheese known for its rich buttery flavor and can add a unique twist to the traditional cheesecake recipe. Depending on your taste preference, both can create a delicious cheesecake.


Understanding what cheese is used in cheesecake is an important aspect of being a good home chef.

Whether you prefer the classic tangy flavor of cream cheese or the rich buttery flavor of mascarpone cheese, many options are available.

With the tips and information provided in this article, you can make informed decisions when choosing cheese for your cheesecake recipe.

So, experiment, and enjoy making and eating your next cheesecake!

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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