How Do Mascarpone and Cream Cheese Differ?

Several recipes call for either Italian mascarpone or American cream cheese, but when the costs of the two are compared, mascarpone looks to be more expensive.

But what’s the point if the price is higher?

Mascarpone is a kind of Italian cream cheese made with milk or cream and citric acid. It is the creamiest cheese made in Italy, with milk fat levels ranging from 60% to 75%.

American cream cheese, on the other hand, is prepared from cream and milk, as well as salt, stabilizers, and cultures. It has a minimum of 33% milk fat.

So, which flavor is the best? Are they equally creamy and spreadable? What about their nutritional habits? The war between two types of cheese starts here.

Difference Between Mascarpone and Cream Cheese

The main difference between mascarpone and cream cheese, as you may have noted, is their fat content: 60 to 75% milk fat in mascarpone vs. 33% milk fat in American cream cheese.

While they are both white, soft cheeses with a mild taste, they vary greatly in terms of origin, components, flavor profile, and texture. Let us look at each distinction independently.


Mascarpone is supposed to have initially developed in the Lombardy region of Italy, perhaps in the late 1500s or early 1600s.

Others think that the term mascarpone comes from the Spanish phrase más que bueno, which means “greater than excellent” and goes back to when the Spanish ruled Italy.

Another explanation is that the name was derived from the local dialect term for ricotta cheese, mascarpia, since ricotta and mascarpone are made in very similar ways.

Cream cheese, on the other hand, was invented about 1873 by William A. Lawrence, a dairyman from upstate New York.

In order to duplicate Neufchtel cheese, he added cream to the cheese-making process.


Mascarpone is made entirely of heavy cream and citric or tartaric acid. Mascarpone is made by boiling the cream and then adding the acid to solidify and thicken its texture. The excess liquid is then drained using cheesecloth.

The final product is a spreadable and exceptionally smooth cream cheese with a fat content of 60% to 75%.

Similarly, fresh pasteurized cream or a milk-and-cream combination is used to make cream cheese. Lactic acid bacteria are then introduced to lower the pH and cause curds to form.

Stabilizers are added after the whey is removed and the curds are cooked to give the cream cheese structure, which mascarpone lacks. The final product is a delicious and silky cream cheese with at least 33% less fat.


Mascarpone has a somewhat acidic and sweet taste since it is made using tartaric acid, citric acid, or both.

Since it is made with lactic acid, cream cheese has a little sour taste. Also, cream cheese has a notably saltier taste than mascarpone.

Mascarpone has a higher fat content, which gives it a richer, velvetier flavor. Because of the cream cheese’s lower fat content, its overall taste is significantly less noticeable.

As a result, cream cheese has a milder, tangier taste than mascarpone, which is richer and contains sweet and acidic overtones.


Cream cheese is also thicker than mascarpone. It’s popular in mashed potatoes, salads, as a dip, and as a side dish with sushi.

Cream cheese is also a popular spread for crackers and toast. The most well-known dish that is particularly indicative of cream cheese’s qualities is, of course, cheesecake.

Mascarpone, on the other hand, is noted for being much softer than cream cheese.

Mascarpone is the only cheese that spreads as well as mascarpone in pasta dishes. The same is true for pies and sweet tarts. Tiramisu, an Italian dessert, is possibly the best-known example of a meal that benefits from its velvety texture.


Cream cheese typically costs between $0.99 and $2.50. Mascarpone, on the other hand, may cost up to $7.

Mascarpone is at least twice as expensive as cream cheese since it is made with rich cream and has a higher fat content.

Mascarpone vs. Cream Cheese Comparison Table

Category Mascarpone Cream Cheese
Origin Italy USA
Ingredients Made with heavy cream, citric, or acetic acid Made with milk, cream, lactic acid, and stabilizers
Fat Content From 60% to 75% Around 33%
Flavor Richer flavor, slightly sweet and acidic Milder and tangier flavor
Texture Lighter and more velvety Denser and thicker
Use Included in tiramisu, pasta, and pie recipes Mainly used as a spread, frosting, or dip
Price More expensive Less expensive

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

By comparing the quantity of fat in the two cheeses (mascarpone has 24% more fat than cream cheese), we may decide which cheese is the healthier option.

Mascarpone has 23% more calories than cream cheese since it is fattier, therefore it may not be a smart choice if you are attempting to reduce weight.

In terms of protein content, cream cheese outperforms mascarpone by 72%. Cream cheese, on the other hand, contains 55% more carbs than mascarpone.

Mascarpone contains 47% more calcium than cream cheese, which is its most significant nutritional benefit in terms of vitamins and minerals. Mascarpone contains roughly five times the salt content of cream cheese.

Mascarpone vs. Cream Cheese: Nutritional Profile

Category (100g) Mascarpone Cream Cheese
Calories 429 350
Carbs 3.57 5.52g
Fat 42.86 g 34.44 g
Protein 3.57g 6.15g
Calcium 143 mg 97 mg
Sodium 54 mg 314 mg

Can I Substitute Mascarpone for Cream Cheese & Vice Versa?

Absolutely, cream cheese may be substituted for mascarpone or vice versa.

When substituting mascarpone for cream cheese, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Following that, mash and combine the cream cheese with a fork until it has a runny consistency similar to mascarpone.

For every 8 oz. of cream cheese, use 4 cup heavy whipping cream. Use equal parts sour cream and cream cheese for the sour cream. Next, fold in sour cream or heavy whipping cream. Use up to one

If you wish to create a cheesecake using mascarpone instead of cream cheese, add a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice to give the cheesecake a characteristic acidity.

When you’ve learned all there is to know about these two delectable varieties of cheese, it’s time to start looking for recipes. These are the most popular mascarpone and cream cheese dishes.

Mini Cheesecakes

These small cheesecakes are a nice treat for those of you home cooks who don’t have much time for intricate preparations. They taste and feel the same as classic cheesecake. Also, you are free to utilize your creativity and add any toppings you like!

Cheese Danish

Even the greatest cheese Danish pastry from the grocery store can never outshine one cooked from scratch. The good news is that you don’t need to be a competent chef to make one since you just need a few basic ingredients.

The outcome is a buttery, flaky top with a creamy inside. It’s perfect for important events like Christmas, but it’s also easy enough for a weekend breakfast.

Mascarpone Tomato Soup

As the winter months arrive, comfort food, particularly soup, should be on your mind. This mascarpone and tomato soup is the comforting hug we all want. It’s soothing, pleasant, and brings back childhood memories. Here are some ideas for side dishes!

Tiramisu Berry Trifle Cups

Summertime sentiments are best evoked by fresh berries. Make these tiramisu berry trifle cups with mascarpone the next time you have fresh or frozen berries! Berries, mascarpone, and ladyfingers coated in strawberry puree are called for in the recipe. Serve in attractive glasses and enjoy!


Now that you know the difference between mascarpone and cream cheese, you may wow your guests with some unique mascarpone or cream cheese treats!

Remember to use mascarpone if you want a fuller flavor. It’s sweeter and more acidic than cream cheese, but not as sour.

Use cream cheese if you’re on a diet and want to limit your calorie consumption. Keep in mind that mascarpone contains a lot of calcium!

That’s it. Have fun while cooking!


What is the taste difference between mascarpone and cream cheese?

Mascarpone has a buttery taste that makes it ideal for desserts. It provides richness as well as a creamy texture, while cream cheese gives a creamy consistency and a slightly sour flavor to foods. As a result, cream cheese is ideal for both sweet and savory dishes.

Can I substitute mascarpone for cream cheese?

Mascarpone may be used in place of Cream Cheese.

Mascarpone, sometimes known as “Italian cream cheese,” is a popular option. While this is not entirely correct, they do function similarly in recipes. Mascarpone is creamier and richer than cream cheese, yet it works well in dishes such as cake icing.

Is there a big difference between mascarpone and cream cheese?

Cream cheese is substantially lower in fat than mascarpone. Although the USDA requires cream cheese to have at least 33% milk fat, mascarpone cheese often has 60 to 75%. Because of the huge disparity in fat content, the textures and taste profiles are quite different.

Is mascarpone or cream cheese best for cheesecake?

Mascarpone is a creamy, buttery Italian cheese that may be substituted for cream cheese in cheesecake recipes. This fresh-tasting replacement has a rich and creamy texture that combines nicely with other ingredients, making it a perfect cream cheese substitute in cheesecake recipes.

Is Philadelphia cream cheese like mascarpone?

American-style cream cheese is harder and more flavorful than Italian-style cream cheese. Cream cheese has a smooth, creamy, and readily spreadable texture. Mascarpone has a softer, velvety texture and a richer mouthfeel than double-crème brie.

Is mascarpone or Philadelphia better for cheesecake?

Mascarpone may be preferable to cream cheese in unbaked cheesecakes like Nigella’s Cherry Cheesecake. You might add more lemon juice to balance out the richness of the mascarpone.

Which is healthier mascarpone or cream cheese?

Mascarpone cheese is not healthier than cream cheese since it includes 25% more fat. Mascarpone cheese, on the other hand, is exclusively favored for its unusually smooth texture. Cream cheese and mascarpone cheese may be used in both salty and sweet cuisines.

What do you use mascarpone for?

For a good substitute, combine a dollop of mascarpone with some honey.
Mascarpone Toast should be made. You don’t have time for French toast or cinnamon buns? …
Make it into pizza sauce.
… Mix it with Nutella to round off your pasta sauce….
Fill a tart with this.
Create an Icebox Cake.
Make a thicker Chicken Marsala.
Feb 3, 2016

Why is mascarpone so good?

Cream cheese is prepared from whole milk, while mascarpone is made from heavy cream. Mascarpone gets its high fat content and richer, creamier texture from this. Cream cheese has a fat percentage of 30 to 40%, but mascarpone has a fat content of 60 to 75%.

Is mascarpone the same as ricotta?

What Is the Different Between Ricotta and Ricotta? Ricotta and mascarpone cheese are both manufactured from fresh milk, but they vary in texture, flavor, and substance. Mascarpone has a smooth, creamy texture akin to heavy whipping cream, while ricotta has a gritty texture similar to cottage cheese.

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