Quark isn’t an ingredient that we would regularly find ourselves looking for in the supermarket, yet, for some, it is a central part of their cooking. So, what exactly is it? Quark is a low fat alternative to yoghurt which is made by warming soured milk until the desired amount of curdling happens. It is then strained. The end product closely resembles a nice, creamy cottage cheese.
In this sense, quark is best classified as a soft cheese and finds itself as a staple in plenty of German kitchens. However, for some reason it has never attained worldwide popularity, despite its usefulness and rather amusing sounding name. Its main strengths as an ingredient are that it is high in protein and yet manages to only contain less than 4% fat.
Is quark healthy?
Quark is more nutritious than even Greek yoghurt and is great for those who are trying to maintain or drop a little weight, but who also want to enjoy dairy produce every now and then. It contains much more protein than Greek yoghurt, is high in Vitamin K2, and has less salt than cottage cheese!
Can I make quark at home?
Yes! Quark is relatively easy to make at home, negating the need to go through the complicated hoops to purchase it. There are several excellent recipes online which will ensure that you never run out again.
Best Substitutes for Quark
Being as it is the case that quark has an incredibly neutral flavour, it is particularly to substitute for in most recipes. It has no bitterness or sweetness that needs to be replicated, nor does it have any strong notes of saltiness. In fact, it is one of the least offensive ingredients we can think of.
So, whether you are intending to use quark as a filling in a ravioli, as an ingredient in the classic German cheesecake – the Kasekuchen, or even just as an alternative spread for your bagels and bread, we have the substitutes for you! Don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on the quark that your recipe demands, here’s our list of easy substitutes. And, they are all generally much more readily available than quark!
1. Greek Yoghurt
Given that there are so many viable substitutes for quark, many of which are much fattier in nature, we thought we would begin with an ingredient that won’t add much to your caloric intake, Greek yoghurt. It is also relatively easy to substitute in for spreads, dips, and sauces and won’t hijack the flavour of the other ingredient like a stronger cheese-based substitute might.
However, there are some clear differences between the two that are worth pointing out. For example, there is a clear disparity in texture, with the quark being quite a bit thicker. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t substitute quark for Greek yoghurt in every case. Instead, we would just advise that you substitute cautiously in some cases and consider mixing the yoghurt with one of the thicker substitutes listed below when seeking a thicker, creamier end product. Naturally, Greek yoghurt can be found pretty much everywhere – but why not add a bit of fun to the proceedings with this super-easy make your own Greek yoghurt kit?
- So simple, and tastes great!
- Feels as healthy as quark
- Relatively easy to use as a substitute for quark
- Runnier texture than quark
2. Sour Cream with Ricotta
Next up is another substitute which is likely to be far easier to find than quark itself. Sour cream shares quite a few of the properties of quark. It has a certain smoothness and a lack of any overwhelmingly strong flavours.
That being said, it does also share the same setback as Greek yoghurt does – it is just that little bit runnier than quark. To combat this, the best way to mimic quark is to cut the sour cream with some ricotta if you are seeking a thicker texture. You will also notice that blending it in this way will bring you closer to replicating the flavour of quark. Considering that there are very few creameries outside of Germany that manufacture quark (only 2 in the US), this substitute could well become your long term go-to substitute for the rarely spotted quark. Sour cream can be purchased almost anywhere. Ricotta can be a bit trickier to source, with creamier versions being much better suited for this purpose.
- Remarkably similar flavour
- Much easier to source at your local market
- Thickness can be altered to suit different recipes
- Does require buying two products instead of one
3. Cream Cheese
In terms of availability, you probably couldn’t ask for better than this substitute. It is stocked pretty much absolutely everywhere. But, this is far from the only reason why cream cheese makes this list. Texturally, it is remarkably similar to quark – so close that most won’t notice the difference. Its main strength as a substitute lies in recipes that require baking, as it behaves in much the same way.
However, there are some slight differences in flavour, with the cream cheese lacking a little in the tanginess department. Such small gaps are easy to fix though, and you’ll find that if you add a touch of lemon juice into the cream cheese, the flavour should be a close match.
- Incredibly easy to source
- Cheap and cheerful
- Texturally as close to a match as you could hope for
- Can be quite a bit fattier than quark
- Lacks a small bit of tanginess
Next up is another solution that will only really work for you if you are willing to disregard the health benefits of quark entirely. Mascarpone, another smooth and creamy dairy product, is naturally quite fatty, but aside from this doesn’t really have any drawbacks as a substitute. It can be used in place of quark in pretty much any context, at a 1:1 ratio, and delivers great results.
This is in no small part due to the fact that its texture is close to identical to that of quark. Because of this, we would have no hesitation recommending it as a substitute – particularly in cheesecakes and other baked recipes. Again, another plus is that it is generally much easier to source than quark.
· Excellent substitute in terms of texture
· Can do pretty much everything that quark can do
· Arguably better than quark in terms of taste
· A little more expensive than the other suggested substitutes
· Much higher fat content
5. Cottage Cheese
Last up on our list of the best substitutes for quark is the humble and often overlooked cottage cheese. We should note, this list isn’t necessarily in a descending order of usefulness. Cottage cheese is actually a better substitute in some regards than the others on this list!
For the health-conscious among us, this is probably the best substitute on the list and replicates quite a few of the health properties of quark. It is high in protein whilst also having a low calorie count and a low fat content. However, this does come with a caveat; the grainy texture. Well, don’t fret, there is a work-around for this. Simply mix the cottage cheese with some Greek yoghurt to achieve the desired consistency, whilst also minimising caloric intake!
- Much healthier than some others on this list
- Quite similar flavour profile
- For most, easier to find than quark
- The grainy texture
We hope that you found this guide to substituting for quark to be an invaluable and informative source as you embarked on your quest for an alternative option. As you can see, there are several decent substitutes out there – one or more of which may already be lurking in your kitchen as you read this!