A form of unaged cheese originating from French cuisine, fromage blanc quite literally translates to the English words white cheese, a fitting name for the creamy and soft cheese produced primarily using cow’s milk or similar dairy products.
Fromage blanc is said to impart a sweet and rich flavoring to a variety of desserts alongside its characteristically creamy texture, though certain savory dishes may also make use of the yogurt-like French cheese product.
The best flavor substitutes for fromage blanc are queso fresco, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese. The best texture substitutes for fromage blanc are greek yogurt, quark cheese, and blender processed cottage cheese product.
Why Would Fromage Blanc Need to be Substituted?
A variety of reasons may exist that necessitate a replacement of fromage blanc, with such things like a sensitivity to the sort of compounds normally found in cow’s milk products and an intolerance to the various compounds added to fromage blanc all requiring that alternate food products instead be used.
Perhaps more commonly, however, a simple lack of availability due to geographical limitations is the most likely reason for the substitution of fromage blanc, especially considering the fact that it is a rather short-lived dairy product that does not survive the process of exportation very well.
Other reasons that fromage blanc may require substitution as a single ingredient meal or as an ingredient in a recipe are ethical or religious beliefs, a personal dislike of the cheese product and even the simple desire to try something similar but new.
Is Fromage Blanc the Same as Sour Cream?
Though fromage blanc possesses a similar physical integrity and texture to sour cream products, it is not in fact related in any way to the tart dairy cream, with a large distinction between their relative flavors being obvious upon even a passive taste testing.
As such, sour cream makes a rather poor substitute for fromage blanc for practically any purpose except that of a textural substitution, and even in such cases – there are still quite a few more suitable replacement ingredients available that do not impart a distinctly tart taste, unless that is the sort of effect the chef wishes to impart into their recipe.
Is Fromage Blanc the Same as Yogurt?
Much like how fromage blanc is distinct from sour cream in flavor but not quite in texture, yogurt is also quite distinct from fromage blanc, though their relative flavors may be somewhat similar owing to the sweetness found in certain cultures of commercially produced yogurt products.
While yogurt may act as a potential substitute to fromage blanc in certain situations, it is considered rather circumstantial, and may not replicate the required characteristics native to fromage blanc in a recipe, making using plain yogurt as a fromage blanc substitute entirely dependent on the chef’s personal opinion.
Flavor Substitutes for Fromage Blanc
Usually presenting a mildly sweet and otherwise delicate body of flavor often compared to cream, fromage blanc also presents a smooth taste profile with mild hints of citrus that may intensify somewhat depending on the particular method and cow’s milk product used during its manufacturing.
Fortunately, a variety of other cheese products can also recreate this smooth and ever so slightly tangy yet sweet flavor profile, allowing fromage blanc to be substituted with an ingredient that is likely already available within the chef’s own refrigerator, if needed.
Somewhat more texturally solid and cohesive than fromage blanc, queso fresco nonetheless may function in a substitutional capacity in concerns to fromage blanc’s own unique flavor profile.
This is due to queso fresco’s own characteristic tanginess that may be considered somewhat more intense than fromage blanc’s own sour and sweet flavor, making queso fresco the sort of substitute ingredient that must be used in somewhat lower volumes than the original ingredient to be substituted.
Queso fresco is best used in savory or otherwise solid dishes that require a similarly flavored ingredient to fromage blanc be used without much in regards to the substitute’s textural and physical experience.
Oftentimes confused for fromage blanc, cream cheese is in fact distinct from fromage blanc owing to the difference in ingredients used, the methods at which they are processed, as well as the texture and flavor of the end state dairy product.
Despite these minute differences, cream cheese is otherwise considered the quintessential substitute ingredient to fromage blanc, owing to the similarity in their flavor and texture and the fact that cream cheese may be used in practically any way that fromage blanc would ordinarily be used in a recipe.
Despite the fact that cream cheese is somewhat less frothy and possesses a slightly stronger note of sourness in its taste profile, it may still act as a substitute to fromage blanc in a one to one ratio where every cup of cream cheese is equivalent to one cup of fromage blanc.
Possessing a thicker and more creamy physical integrity than fromage blanc, ricotta cheese can otherwise replicate the subtly tart and slightly sweet flavors of fromage blanc, albeit in a weaker and more mild capacity, making ricotta cheese an excellent substitute in recipes that find the flavor of fromage blanc far too intense and overpowering.
The primary drawback to utilizing ricotta cheese as a fromage blanc substitute is in the nature of its texture, presenting a significantly more creamy and substantial physical form that differs quite greatly from fromage blanc’s otherwise soft and fluffy characteristics.
This is not entirely a drawback, however, as certain purposes such as baked goods or smoothies may in fact benefit from this distinctly richer texture, perhaps even benefitting the recipe by ways of substitution.
Texture Substitutes for Fromage Blanc
Known for its soft and spreadable texture, fromage blanc may be substituted with a variety of other dairy products that can recreate or at the least approximate this smooth textural experience, allowing any recipe that utilizes fromage blanc for its textural qualities to instead use the following alternative ingredients.
However, it is important to remember that even if a particular ingredient may act as a substitute texture-wise for fromage blanc, it may not always recreate the same flavors or function in a recipe, making the choice of what particular substitute to use entirely a situational one.
Likely already available in the chef’s refrigerator or easily found in any nearby grocery store, Greek yogurt makes an excellent texture and flavor substitute to fromage blanc, sharing a similarly fluffy and smooth mouth-feel alongside a similar type of tartness (though flavored Greek yogurt or Greek yogurt with additives may taste somewhat different).
However, depending on the concentration and the presence of additional ingredients, Greek yogurt may occasionally be somewhat less viscous or adhering than fromage blanc, and as such may require the addition of certain other ingredients or processes in order to thicken it enough to substitute fromage blanc.
Though not quite a perfect textural and cohesive replication for fromage blanc, quark cheese nevertheless may act in an approximate fashion to the former cheese product, allowing it to be used in much the same way despite the somewhat lower viscosity of quark cheese itself.
In terms of flavor substitution, quark cheese does not possess many similarities, especially in the finer notes of tartness that would normally be found in fromage blanc.
Despite this, quark cheese is generally found to still be an excellent addition and substitution to any recipe that would ordinarily call for fromage blanc to be used instead, likely due to the fact that at a larger scale quark cheese can present a tart and somewhat savory flavor that pairs quite well with a variety of ingredients.
Blender Processed Cottage Cheese Product
Though cottage cheese makes for a poor textural substitute to fromage blanc due to the lumpiness and general dissimilarity between their textures, processing cottage cheese so as to create a smoother and more cohesive product through the use of a blender or food processor creates an excellent substitute.
This subsequent processed cottage cheese product, if processed appropriately and with a suitable brand of cottage cheese, can come quite close to the texture and physical integrity of fromage blanc, also presenting a neutral flavor that can mesh extremely well with any other flavorings or ingredients that are added alongside it.
1. The Cheesemonger’s Seasons. Google Books. Published 2011. Accessed December 16, 2021. https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=ctEWAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA80&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
2. Litopoulou-Tzanetaki, E. (2007). “Soft-ripened and fresh cheeses: Feta, Quark, Halloumi and related varieties”. Improving the Flavour of Cheese. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. pp. 474–493.
3. Camier B, Beaucher E, Gaucheron F, Gassi JY, Konuspayeva G, Faye B. Fabrication et caractérisation physico-chimique d’un fromage “blanc” fabriqué à partir de lait de chamelle – Une comparaison avec le lait de vache. AGRIS: International Information System for the Agricultural Science and Technology. Published 2014. Accessed December 16, 2021.
4. Fox, P.H., ed., Fundamentals of Cheese Science, 2000, Springer Science & Business Media, ISBN 0834212609, 9780834212602