Mascarpone vs. Ricotta Cheese: What’s the Difference?

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Mascarpone and Ricotta are both Italian cheeses known for their delightful soft texture. Unfortunately, the other distinctions are not always clear. This article compares mascarpone and ricotta in depth. Continue reading to learn all you need to know.

What is Mascarpone?

Mascarpone is an Italian soft cheese. It is milk-white in color and is technically classified as a Cows cheese.

It originated in the Italian area of Lombardy and is used in cheesecakes, tiramisu, and other dishes. Mascarpone may be used to thicken chicken marsala, add to pasta or scrambled eggs, and more.

Mascarpone, like cream cheese and ricotta cheese, is thick and smooth. Nonetheless, it has a sweeter taste with a bit more acidity than many of the comparable cheeses and dairy products.

What is Ricotta?

Ricotta is another soft Italian cheese prepared from the milk of sheep, cows, goats, or buffalos. Importantly, this cheese is manufactured using surplus milk from the creation of other whey cheeses.

Ricotta is also often used in numerous Italian sweets, including as cannoli and cheesecake. Ricotta may also be used as a filling cheese for cannelloni, ravioli, and other pasta dishes.

Ricotta has a creamy, mild flavor and a smooth, thick texture. Since it is low in salt, it is often used in sweet recipes.

Ricotta is often oven-dried or air-cured to make it firm and suited for grating.

Mascarpone vs Ricotta: Compared

Category Ricotta Mascarpone
Origin Italy Italy
Type Soft cheese Soft cheese
Flavor Mildly sweet and creamy Sweet and tangy
Texture Soft but a little harder Smooth like cream
Appearance Milk-white in color Ivory in color
Uses Desserts, Pasta fillings Desserts


Both of these cheeses may be traced back to Italy, and both have historical antecedents. Ricotta has a long history dating back to the Romans.


Ricotta and mascarpone are both soft cheeses. Although both are whey cheeses, the key distinction is that ricotta is made from sheep, cow, goat, or buffalo milk, whilst mascarpone is exclusively made from cow milk.


Mascarpone is more sweet than ricotta, which is why it is mainly used in desserts. It also has greater acidity, which makes it better suited to many of the sweets in which it is used.

Ricotta contains a slight sweetness, but less acidity than mascarpone. Ricotta is often aged and dried, which gives it a stronger taste with more salinity.


Mascarpone cheese often resembles ice cream. It has a buttery, creamy appearance and is incredibly soft and silky.

Although being soft and creamy, ricotta cheese has a more gritty appearance. It isn’t as smooth as mascarpone, and the difference is visible in the look.


Mascarpone ranges in color from white to ivory, depending on how long it has been aged. Mascarpone may transform from an ivory to a yellow tint if left out and not kept fresh.

Ricotta is white in color, comparable to milk or cream cheese. If different colors can be visible in the ricotta, it is a clue that it is not particularly fresh.


Mascarpone cheese may be used in a variety of desserts, including tiramisu. It is often used in lieu of butter or cream to thicken sauces and add richness to a dish’s taste. Mascarpone’s heavy cream component implies that the fat concentration is roughly 60-70%, which is much higher than that of ricotta.

Ricotta cheese is used in sweets such as cannoli, but it is also used as a filler in pasta dishes like as ravioli and cannelloni, coupled with vegetables such as spinach or red pepper. As compared to mascarpone, ricotta is considered lower in fat.


Can I substitute mascarpone with ricotta?

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.

Which is healthier ricotta or mascarpone?

Ricotta, which is created from milk and whey, is a significantly lighter alternative than mascarpone in terms of calories and fat.

Which is thicker ricotta or mascarpone?

Mascarpone has around four times the fat content of full-fat ricotta, making it significantly heavier and creamier.

Can I use mascarpone instead of ricotta for lasagna?

You may also use different cheeses to make an unusual lasagna. Mascarpone or cottage cheese may be substituted for the ricotta. Instead of mozzarella, you may use goat cheese, blue cheese, gruyere, swiss, cheddar, or muenster cheese.

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. It’s what distinguishes this ricotta tiramisu.

What is the closest cheese to mascarpone?

Crème fraîche: In terms of taste and texture, crème fraîche is perhaps the closest equivalent for mascarpone. Crème fraîche is somewhat more acidic than mascarpone and has a slightly sour taste. 2.

What is mascarpone cheese used for?

Uses. Mascarpone may be used to lend a rich and creamy touch to both sweet and savory meals. Use it to top a bowl of fruit instead of whipped cream, or as an icing for cakes or cupcakes. Make a cheesecake with it, or use it for sour cream in banana bread or muffins.

Why is mascarpone so delicious?

Mascarpone cheese is often likened to cream cheese, ricotta cheese, crème fraiche, and clotted cream, although it is sweeter and less acidic than its competitors. Mascarpone is mildly sweet and slightly acidic. Its rich, creamy texture lends itself well to both sweet and savory meals.

What is the healthiest cheese for your heart?

Lower-fat cheeses, such as mozzarella, feta, cottage cheese, or reduced-fat cheeses, have less saturated fat.

Can I use mascarpone instead of ricotta in cannoli?

Cannoli are traditionally cooked with ricotta, but over time, people began to add mascarpone, which I thought was the ideal ingredient for this delicious dip. Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese comparable to American cream cheese but richer and creamier due to the use of whole cream.

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