Ricotta vs. Mascarpone: What’s the Difference and Which Should You Use?

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When it comes to Italian cheese, two names often spring to mind: ricotta and mascarpone. Both are common ingredients in Italian cuisine, appearing in a variety of savory and sweet recipes. How do they vary from one another? Which cheese is superior, ricotta or mascarpone?

Mascarpone is a cream cheese formed by combining acid with milk, while ricotta is made from whey that has been separated. Mascarpone has a creamy texture and a milky, sweet flavor, while ricotta has a gritty, fluffy texture and a tangier flavor. As a result, mascarpone is preferable for sweets while ricotta is better for savory foods.

We’ll look at how both kinds of cheese are created, how they vary in flavor and texture, and how that influences a specific meal, as well as their nutritional worth and effect on our diet.

Ricotta vs. Mascarpone: Differences

Ricotta and mascarpone have distinct flavors in a meal and interact differently with other ingredients. As a result, it is critical to understand their individual features before incorporating them into a recipe.


Cheese may be produced in a variety of ways. And the methods used to create ricotta and mascarpone differ significantly. Yet, practically every cheese begins with a dairy, often cow’s milk, and both of these cheeses are no exception.

Mascarpone is prepared by combining pasteurized cow’s milk with acid (tartaric acid or a comparable chemical). The acid causes the milk to coagulate, resulting in the curd or solids that are eventually packaged as cheese. This is clearly different from manufacturing mozzarella or parmesan cheese. Since in this case, the acid works as a coagulant rather than an enzyme.

Ricotta is made in a way that is distinct from most other forms of cheese on the market. Instead of milk curd or solid, ricotta integrates whey, which is the liquid that remains after the curd is separated during the creation of other types of cheese.

Even after the curd has been separated, a significant amount of milk protein remains in the whey. Since ricotta is low in fat, it has a grainier texture than other cheeses. Fortunately, there are techniques to help things go more smoothly.


Ricotta cheese has a taste characteristic that is somewhat sweet and slightly tangy. Mascarpone, on the other hand, has a sweeter, milky taste that is akin to mozzarella or burrata.


Ricotta has a gritty yet fluffy texture owing to the nature of its manufacturing method. It’s comparable to cottage cheese in this regard. Ricotta’s soft and fluffy texture makes it suitable for dishes like lasagna or spaghetti.

Mascarpone, on the other hand, is smoother and creamier. It has the consistency of cream cheese or Crème Fraiche. This is mostly owing to its high fat content, which is more than that of ricotta and many other forms of cheese.

Also, ricotta is much more watery than mascarpone. This is because ricotta is formed from the liquid part (whey), while mascarpone is made from the solids (curd).


Mascarpone is a popular ingredient in a variety of sweets due to its pleasantly creamy and soft texture and sweet taste profile. Foods like tiramisu and cheesecake are perfect places to use mascarpone’s properties.

Ricotta, on the other hand, is considerably more suited to savory meals. Grate ricotta over pizza or lasagna for a deliciously light and cheesy experience. Ricotta is also simpler to spread on a plate. Ricotta is simpler to grate on top of dishes because of its granular texture.

This is not to say that ricotta isn’t used in sweets, or that mascarpone isn’t utilized in savory dishes. It’s simply that the usage of mascarpone in sweet foods is more well-known. The same is true with ricotta.


You can tell the difference between the two varieties of cheese merely by looking at them. Mascarpone has an ivory color that is not quite white. Ricotta, on the other hand, is milky white with a fluffy exterior.

Mascarpone also has a similar appearance to cream cheese due to its creaminess. As you scoop it up with a spoon, it will resemble cream rather than cheese.

Nutrition & Calories

Choosing the proper cheese is more than just a question of preference. You should also examine how it will affect your diet. Also, ricotta has a different nutritional value than mascarpone. The sample size for this comparison will be 1 cup, or about 250 grams.

The most evident distinction is their fat content. 1 cup of ricotta cheese has around 20 grams of fat, but 1 cup of mascarpone may have up to 150 grams of fat. [1] [2] Ricotta cheese typically has a fat concentration of 10 to 15%, but mascarpone may have a fat content of 45-55% or more.

Mascarpone’s high calorie content is due to all of this fat. Mascarpone cheese has 2 to 3 times the calories per serving as ricotta cheese, depending on the source. If you want to limit your daily calorie intake, this is something you should absolutely think about.

In keeping with this tendency, mascarpone will have greater cholesterol and saturated fat levels than ricotta. Mascarpone cheese, in fact, has up to five times the cholesterol of ricotta cheese.

Another notable nutritional difference between our two choices is their protein intake. Whey, which is mostly leftover milk protein, is used to make ricotta. One cup of ricotta has 28 grams of protein. Mascarpone, on the other hand, contains 14-18 grams of protein per cup, which is less than half of what ricotta has.

Ricotta also has a lower carbohydrate content than mascarpone. A cup of ricotta has 13 grams of carbohydrates, but a cup of mascarpone contains around 7-8 grams. As a result, ricotta has 50% more carbs per gram than mascarpone.

They both contain a good quantity of calcium since they are made from cow’s milk. Ricotta contains far more calcium than mascarpone.

Mascarpone has one important benefit over ricotta in terms of vitamins. Mascarpone contains a comparatively high amount of vitamin A due to its higher fat content.

Ricotta Mascarpone
Slightly acidic and tangy flavor Sweeter and creamier flavor
Fluffy and grainy consistency Smooth and thicker consistency
Made from leftover whey Made from the curds
High in protein Low in protein
Low in calories Very high calorie content
Low in fat and saturated fat High in both cholesterol and saturated fat
Has more calcium Has more vitamin A
Has a milky white appearance Has an ivory white hue
Better for lasagna and pizzas Better for cheesecake and tiramisu

Which Is Better, Ricotta or Mascarpone?

That actually depends on the dish you’re doing in terms of utility in cooking. Mascarpone is the way to go when creating tiramisu or a non-baked cheesecake. It will be similar to adding cream in the shape of cheese to your cuisine.

Nonetheless, ricotta is definitely a better option for a pasta dish or filled pizza. Ricotta is simpler to put on top of these meals than mascarpone and provides a lighter, less sugary final.

In terms of nutrients, however, ricotta cheese clearly outperforms mascarpone. Ricotta not only has less saturated fat and calories, but it also has much more protein than mascarpone. Ricotta is also an excellent provider of calcium. [1]

Although mascarpone contains some vitamin A, its total nutritional worth is lower than that of ricotta. Hence, if you were to pick between these two cheeses for a healthy alternative, ricotta would be the better choice.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Cannoli?

Cannoli pastry is traditionally made with a sweet ricotta filling. Nevertheless, mascarpone may be used to make the filling creamier and smoother. When it comes to creating cannoli, though, ricotta is the cheese of choice.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Pasta?

Ricotta is commonly favored for pasta, particularly lasagna recipes, because to its fluffier and more spreadable texture. Mascarpone may be used on spaghetti for a sweeter flavour and creamier consistency.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Tiramisu?

Mascarpone cheese is often used in tiramisu because it is smooth and creamy. This works great with tiramisu since the cheese acts as heavy cream. Ricotta has a greater water content, which may interfere with the structure of the tiramisu if used.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Cheesecake?

Cheesecake, like tiramisu, is another excellent way to use mascarpone. It may also be used to make non-baked cheesecakes. Nevertheless, if you’re preparing baked cheesecakes, you may also use ricotta. Just use ricotta with extremely fine curds to get a nicer texture in the cake.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Pizza?

Ricotta is an excellent choice for any pizza because of its spreadable nature and delicious taste. If accompanied with a sour and acidic ingredient, mascarpone might be put on top of the cheese.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Lasagna?

Ricotta complements lasagna beautifully since it melts easily in the oven. Alternatively, mascarpone may be used for a creamier texture.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Sauce?

Ricotta is often used to make pasta sauces and other meat-based sauces because its flavor compliments the more savory flavors of meat and tomatoes.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Sernik?

Sernik is a Polish cheesecake made using curd cheese rather than cream cheese. The texture of this crushed curd cheese is more closer to ricotta than mascarpone. As a result, extremely curdled ricotta is the superior option for sernik.

Ricotta or Mascarpone for Dip?

Ricotta is probably the best option for making a dip for nachos or chicken fries. Ricotta cheese contains more moisture than mascarpone and hence performs better as a dip. Mascarpone may clump together like thick cream, making it difficult to dip your fries in.

Can You Use Ricotta Instead of Sour Cream?

In a pinch, ricotta may be substituted for sour cream. The texture is the most difficult challenge here. Ricotta is gritty and fluffy, but sour cream is smooth and thick. Thus, to better duplicate the flavor and texture of sour cream, combine 1 cup of cheese with 1 cup of milk.

You may also substitute sour cream in a recipe that asks for ricotta cheese, but only if the ricotta is not a dominant ingredient. Instead of ricotta, sour cream may be used as a dip. But, if you want to replace ricotta in a lasagna or pasta dish, use cottage or goat cheese instead.

To summarize, ricotta and mascarpone are excellent ingredients for every cook, expert or novice, for a variety of reasons. And understanding their differences and similarities might help you choose the best cheese for your next recipe.


Which is better ricotta or mascarpone?

The biggest nutritional difference between ricotta and mascarpone is the fat level. Mascarpone has around four times the fat content of full-fat ricotta, making it significantly heavier and creamier.

Do you use ricotta or mascarpone for lasagna?

Ricotta and Mascarpone Cheese Make the Finest Lasagna

Adam agreed, therefore for the most delectable cheese lasagna, we favor a blend of ricotta and creamy mascarpone cheese. The mix of ricotta and mascarpone creates a thick and creamy layer between the noodles and sauce.

Does mascarpone taste like ricotta?

Mascarpone, a rich, delicious, and extremely spreadable cheese with a subtle tang, is the outcome of two distinct procedures. Ricotta, on the other hand, is lumpy and mushy, with a mild, milky taste.

Is ricotta or mascarpone better for tiramisu?

Mascarpone adds a faint tang and creaminess to tiramisu, but I like the smooth and mild taste provided by ricotta. This is a little tweak, but it makes a huge impact.

Can I replace ricotta with mascarpone?

Mascarpone and ricotta should not be used interchangeably in all recipes due to variances in texture, flavor, and fat content. In a pinch, you can substitute ricotta for mascarpone, particularly in baked dishes, although the biggest difference will be in texture: Seek for ricotta with extremely fine curds from a high-quality brand.

What can 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

Can I replace ricotta with mascarpone in lasagna?

Mascarpone: Mascarpone, another Italian cheese, is an excellent ricotta alternative. Mascarpone, on the other hand, is more sour and delicious, thus it should only be used in recipes with other strong characteristics. Milder components may be overpowered.

Do Italians in Italy use ricotta in lasagna?

Lasagna is often cooked in southern Italy with dried sheets of pasta stacked with thick beef ragu, ricotta, and mozzarella. The most popular kind of lasagna in the north, particularly in Bologna, contains fresh egg noodles tinted green with spinach and layered with meat, bechamel, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Can I substitute ricotta for mascarpone in pasta sauce?

Ricotta has a neutral flavor that may take on sweet ingredients, although other people like it primarily in savory meals. To begin, combine a little amount with your sweetener to see how it tastes. Ricotta cheese may be used in place of mascarpone in a 1:1 ratio.

Which has more fat ricotta or mascarpone?

Ricotta, which is created from milk and whey, is a significantly lighter alternative than mascarpone in terms of calories and fat. In terms of fat, one normal Arby’s signature roast beef sandwich (14 g).

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