Difference between Mascarpone and Cream Cheese

January 10, 2017 by Editorial Team

Cheese is an essential ingredient in many cuisines. Cheese can be classified as either aged or fresh, depending on its intended consumption period. Among the fresh cheeses, some people can not differentiate mascarpone from cream cheese. What is the difference between mascarpone and cream cheese? Let us find out in this article.

Descriptions

Mascarpone vs Cream Cheese
Mascarpone used as filling in pie pockets

Mascarpone is a type of cheese that originated from the Lombardy region in Italy. It is made from whole cream and citric or acetic acid. Citric or tartaric acid thickens the cream. Mascarpone’s texture is smooth, without grains or lumps. Its flavor is milky and sweet with a hint of tangy taste. Mascarpone contains 50% fat, 5% carbohydrates, and 3% protein. It has a buttery taste because of its high butterfat content. Because of this, its shelf life is short and it can go bad quickly. Mascarpone can be made at home, especially for those living in countries where it is not readily available. If this is too taxing, French creme fraiche or English clotted cream can act as substitutes.

Because of its unique flavor – sweet and milky with a tangy finish – it can be used in different ways. It is best known as an ingredient in tiramisu. Mascarpone can also be added to pasta recipes such as macaroni and cheese, rigatoni, and lasagna. In desserts, it can be used in tiramisu or sweet tarts or pies.

Cream cheese
Cream cheese used as frosting on a cake

Cream cheese is a type of cheese made from milk and cream. In industrial production, a stabilizer called carrageenan is added. It contains at least 33% milk fat and has a moisture content of less than 55%. It has a slightly sour and salty creamy taste with a consistency that is thicker than butter. Cream cheese was accidentally invented by an American dairyman named William Lawrence. Laurence was trying to reproduce a French cheese but instead accidentally produced cream cheese. Unlike aged cheese, it has shorter shelf life and needs to consumed fresh. Cream cheese can also be made at home if it is not readily available in the market.

Cream cheese can be used as fillings in bagels during breakfast. It can also be used as a dip for chips and can be mixed with other ingredients to make spreads. In desserts, it is often used with butter to make cheesecake or cookies. Cream cheese is also used as a frosting on cakes. Cream cheese is also used in side dishes such as mashed potatoes and sushi rolls.

Mascarpone vs Cream Cheese

While mascarpone and cream cheese are both classified as fresh cheese, they have a lot of differences in terms of their history, content, taste, and forms of consumption.

History

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese that originated from the Lombardy region. Cream cheese was accidentally produced in the United States by William Laurence while he was trying to reproduce a French cheese.

Content

Mascarpone contains 50% fat, 5% carbohydrates, and 3% protein while cream cheese contains at least 33% milk fat and less than 55% moisture content.

Taste

Mascarpone has a milky and sweet flavor with a hint of tangy taste because of the citric or tartaric acid added into the whole cream. On the other hand, cream cheese has a slightly sour and salty creamy taste.

Consumption

Mascarpone can be added to pasta or desserts such as tiramisu or in pies while cream cheese can be eaten as fillings in bagels or used as a frosting on cake.

Comparison Chart

MascarponeCream Cheese
Originated in ItalyDiscovered in the United States
Made from whole cream and citric or acetic acidMade from milk, cream, and stabilizer called carrageenan
Contains 50% fat, 5% carbohydrates, and 3% proteinContains at least 33% milk fat and less than 55% moisture content
Sweet, milky flavor with a hint of tangy tasteSlightly sour, salty, and creamy taste
Added to pasta or desserts such as tiramisu or piesEaten as fillings in bagels or used as frosting on cakes

Video

Here is a video showing you how mascarpone can be made at home: