So, famous and recognizable feta cheese. Surely, this is the one that you will often find in your fridge.
But, what if a group of friends suddenly appear at your door late in the evening, for whom you once promised to make a tasty Greek salad or some other famous Greek dish? You open the fridge and – what a surprise – no feta.
You’re in big trouble! Or are you? Of course, you’re not. Within the following, you will find that you have plenty of excellent options that can be quite a worthy substitute for feta cheese.
And The Best Substitute For Feta Cheese Is…
But First, A Few Interesting Facts About Feta Cheese
Initally, let’s find out a bit more about feta cheese itself. Feta cheese originates from Greece.
This sharp and salty type of cheese is made from sheep’s milk, which is two times higher in fat content than cow’s milk. I also have to mention that, in some cases, it can be a blend of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk.
This incredible Greek cheese is also very healthy because it is lower in fat and calories than most cheeses like, for example, parmesan or cheddar. It is also highly nutritious, as it contains a large amount of B vitamins and calcium.
There are a lot of exciting options for feta cheese alternatives. And actually, it is a very difficult task to decide which is the best substitute for feta cheese with such a wide range of choices. But those are just sweet worries, of course. So let’s begin, shall we?
1. Goat Cheese: Your Best Option
As I already mentioned, feta cheese can be made from a combination of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. This fact alone makes goat cheese a reasonable substitute for feta cheese.
There are many similarities between these two types of cheese, and one of them is their mildly salty taste. But, there are a few differences. First, feta cheese has a sharper and richer taste than goat cheese.
The second difference is in texture, due to feta cheese having a more crumbly texture. On the other hand, goat cheese is much more creamy and has a mild taste.
However, goat cheese can add a lot of flavor to your favorite salads, pasta, or cheesecake, and it is also an ideal solution for those people who follow a low-calorie diet.
2. Ricotta Cheese: Italian Finest
The best kind of cheese to choose for your favorite lasagna with a pinch of oregano and olive oil, ricotta cheese is one of Italy’s finest products. When it comes to flavor, ricotta cheese represents a great substitute for feta cheese.
Both of these types of cheese have a tangy taste and strong flavor which is ideal for pasta, salads, ricotta salata, and our all favorite burgers.
Ricotta has a bit more sweetness making it a better choice for some sweet dishes like sweet salads or pancakes.
They are a bit different in terms of texture because ricotta is considered more cream cheese than feta cheese.
3. Iconic Greek Halloumi Cheese
The first thing that connects them is their Greek origin. The second one is the ingredients from which they are made, and those are goat’s milk and sheep’s milk.
They also have a similar flavor, with halloumi cheese being a little closer to mild flavor than feta.
But when you get to the texture, you still come across some slightly bigger differences. The biggest one is that halloumi has a much more firm texture and it’s even chewy compared to feta. So, baking is a very good option.
However, if you want a little milder alternative to feta cheese, you can find it in halloumi as a very good substitute.
4. Cottage Cheese: Health Powerhouse
Although feta cheese is very healthy, there is always better. And it is better in the form of cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese contains a much lower proportion of salt and fat, which makes it an incredibly healthy option in general, not just as an alternative to feta cheese.
Cottage cheese also contains a vast amount of protein, and it is also packed with nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, riboflavin, calcium, and folate. This makes it an ideal option for athletes and for those people who prefer a healthy lifestyle.
It also has a similar texture to feta cheese, so it can be a great feta cheese substitute for health enthusiasts and other people in that line.
5. Queso Fresco: A Lesser Known Mexican
This Mexican cheese is usually made from raw cow’s milk, but it can also be a mix of cow’s milk and goat’s milk.It has a bit of a milder taste. It is fresh, soft, and mild, and it is an indispensable ingredient in most Mexican dishes.
Queso fresco is very similar to feta when it comes to texture, so it is a good substitute in wraps and salads. It is also a great option for pasta, pizza, lasagna, and burgers.
Just like cottage cheese, it has plenty of health benefits. It has a low sodium and fat content, and it is high in calcium and proteins.
It is also very nutritious, due to the fact that it contains a large amount of vitamins B12, A, and D. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in this type of cheese.
6. Roquefort: French Classic
France, a country with great chefs and enormous tradition in cookery, gave birth to one of its best products, Roquefort cheese. This classic blue cheese is one of the best types of cheese in France. It is even protected by French law.
These facts alone tell us what an incredible cheese it is. Fresh unpasteurized sheep milk is its maker. It has a complex production process from curd to the final product.
Roquefort is a biting and creamy cheese with a tangy flavor. It is also very salty. So, if the flavor is first on your priority list, it is a very good substitute for feta cheese.
But, it should be said that texture is still somewhat different, considering that Roquefort is much creamier.
7. Cotija Cheese: Another Mexican
This is another popular Mexican cheese. It is made from good old cow’s milk. It has a crumbly texture, and that is one thing that put this cheese on the list.
On the other hand, the taste is not quite similar to that of feta. It is pretty strong and pungent.
It is more simple, for example, to parmesan, especially the aged cotija cheese.
8. Gorgonzola: Italian Blue Cheese
Gorgonzola, well known cheese to most of you, comes from the City of Gorgonzola in Italy.
It is made of pasteurized cow milk. It is a soft blue-veined cheese that possesses nutty aroma and firm crumbly texture.
This kind of texture is the main reason for choosing this cheese as a good substitute for feta cheese. When it comes to taste, this cheese has a bit of a pungent taste, and it is stronger in flavor.
Gorgonzola is an ideal option for pizza, soups, salads, pasta etc. It is also a great pair with honey, grapes, or pistachios.
9. Mizithra: Greek Whey Cheese
Mizithra, or Mizythra, is a traditional Greek cheese. Its main ingredient is whey of goat milk or sheep milk.
It has a significant tradition and history in Greece, so it is no wonder that it is considered the father of all whey cheeses.
Mizithra cheese is a fresh soft cheese. It has a creamy, crumbly, and firm texture. Its flavor is tangy and salty, and that is exactly what ties it to feta cheese.
However, this mizithra cheese has a bit milder taste than its feta cousin. So, if you are interested in something similar to feta cheese, but a bit milder, mizithra is the ideal solution.
Mizithra is a fantastic thing as an integral part of pizza, spaghetti, and pasta.
10. Famous Italian Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella is a name that rings a bell in most of your ears. It represents an Italian culinary classic.
This fact alone makes mozzarella an excellent choice in almost all dishes. When I add to that the fact that it has certain similarities with feta cheese, you get a perfect result.
So, lets say a few words about it. First of all, mozzarella is made from unpasteurized or pasteurized water buffalo milk or cow milk. It is a semi-soft cheese, with a supple, springy, and stringy texture.
However, mozzarella has a similar taste to feta cheese, although somewhat milder. It has a bit of a sweet aroma, and I have to mention that it has a lower melting point.
So, if your goal is a more melting feta-like cheese on your dishes, mozzarella is certainly a good option.
You all know that mozzarella is an irreplaceable ingredient in pizza, but it can also be used in some other dishes such as, for example, salads, meat meals, and various types of sandwiches.
11. Panela Cheese: Strong And Salty Substitute
What a surprise, Mexican cheese again. There is something with these Mexicans, and that is the quality of their cheeses, of course. And certainly their versatility.
It is a fresh, firm cheese, made from skimmed or pasteurized cow milk. It is a chewy cheese, more like halloumi, but in some cases, it can have a creamy and crumbly texture just like feta.
Its strong and salty flavor is the main reason for choosing this cheese as a great substitute for feta cheese. It is also a kind of fresh cheese with a milky aroma.
Panela cheese is an excellent choice for quesadillas, sandwiches, and tortas.
12. Cheddar Cheese: Young And Sharp
England is the country of origin of cheddar cheese. This cheese is always made from cow milk, and is the most widely eaten cheese worldwide.
It can be produced by any artisan or manufacturer because it is not protected by law, but of course that does not call its quality into question.
It has a compact crumbly texture. It has a flavor of feta, which is tangy and sharp with a touch of creaminess. A young, white version is the best substitute for feta cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese is an ideal choice for meat dishes, but it can be also used in soups, sauces etc.
3 Best Vegan Alternative For Your Feta Cheese
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you who have lactose intolerance, and all of you who cherish a vegan diet. There are a few dairy-free and vegan options, aside from vegan feta cheese itself, from which you can choose the one that best suits your palate.
1. Cashew Cheese
Cashew cheese, also known as almond cheese, is the ideal vegan alternative to feta cheese because of the very similar crumbly texture.
The taste is also what connects them to some extent, with this cheese having a specific nutty flavor. Certainly a good vegan recommendation.
Tofu is a very popular name in the world of healthy eating. Among many health benefits, tofu’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are the most important ones.
This cheese also possesses some important nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and manganese. And let’s not forget one top health fact about tofu, and that is the vast amount of complete protein that it contains.
It is also gluten-free, so it is an excellent choice for those people who suffer from celiac disease or who are just gluten intolerant.
Tofu has a solid crumbly texture and fermented taste just like feta cheese, but with a lower amount of calories, which makes it an ideal replacement.
Some of the best types of tofu are firm tofu, extra-firm tofu, soft tofu, and silken tofu.
3. Nutritional Yeast
Talking about health, I can’t help but mention the amazing nutritional yeast.
It is often called a natural B complex due to the high content of all B vitamins, except B12. It is also packed with proteins and fiber, and some important minerals like iron and potassium.
But, what is interesting is that it is not cheese at all. However, it has a cheesy feta-like taste which makes it an interesting substitute for feta cheese itself.
One Extra Tip For Feta Cheese Lovers
One very important piece of advice to all of you who regularly buy feta cheese is to keep it in the fridge all the time.
The exact reason is its taste. It is a very sensitive cheese, so if you keep it for too long outside of its natural cold place, it may lose what it is most recognizable for – and that is the taste.
You don’t want to search for a substitute if it is not necessary, so keep this fact in mind.
In the end, there is not much to say, except that if you happen to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any feta cheese, don’t worry, there is a wide range of options, each of which is a very good substitute for feta cheese in its way.