Manouri is a Greek semisoft cheese that is produced by using leftover whey from feta production. Its flavor is similar to a low-tang fresh yogurt – clean and milky with a slightly nutty, citrusy undertone. The best part about manouri is its texture, which is compared to feta, but creamier. It is perfect for salads, crumbled over pasta, pastries, or used as a dessert cheese.
Finding manouri outside of Greece isn’t easy unless you have a well-stocked specialty cheese store nearby. If you can’t find any or you don’t want to pay the big bucks, then you’ll need an alternative. We’ve created a list of our suggested manouri substitutes that are similar and much easier to source in the major grocery stores.
What can I use to replace manouri cheese?
The best replacements for manouri that can easily be found in grocery stores are goat cheese, farmer’s cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, or cream cheese. Feta is okay for savory use, but keep in mind it is saltier. Finally, Mizithra or Anthotiro are excellent substitutes but they can be a challenge to find outside of Greece. While all these options have subtle differences, they are close enough to be used in the same applications you’d use manouri.
1. Goat cheese
Goat cheese is a much easier to find replacement that provides a similar creamy, soft texture that you can get from manouri. Use this delicacy in any recipe that calls for the original ingredient, but we suggest reducing the quantity a little. Goat cheese has a stronger acidic, tangy flavor that can overwhelm a dish if too much is used.
A small wedge of goat’s cheese comes with a hefty price tag so this may not be within everyone’s budget.
2. Farmer’s cheese
Farmer’s cheese is a fresh variety that is similar to cottage cheese, only firmer and more acidic. It’s great for topping salads, bagels or toast and can be used in dips, for filing pierogies and blintzes, or eaten on its own with a liberal dose of honey.
Mascarpone is an everyday ingredient found in almost any grocery store in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is a mild, Italian cheese that is soft and spreadable. Use mascarpone in savory recipes to add a rich, creamy texture to sauces and stews. It’s also ideal for cheesecake making or for topping desserts like pancake stacks and fruit salads.
Use mascarpone in the same quantities as you’d use manouri.
For a less creamy, lower-fat option then try ricotta in your cooking. It can be used in much the same way as you’d use manouri in desserts and as an excellent lasagna filling. Keep in mind that many brands of manouri have around 47g of fat per 100g; ricotta only has 13g per 100g making it a much healthier option for those looking to reduce their fat intake.
Note: Although a different type of cheese, Ricotta Salata is also an option if you choose the fresh variety.
5. Cream cheese
Cream cheese is a cheaper, easier to find option when compared to manouri. Its most popular use is cheesecake making, but this ingredient is also great for pastry fillings, soups, dips, sauces, moussaka, and filling desserts like cannoli or crepes.
The texture of cream cheese differs from manouri as it is more spreadable. It isn’t the best replacement if you’re looking for a similar style of table cheese.
Tipe: Tired of finding moldy cream cheese at the back of the fridge? Find out if cream cheese can be frozen to avoid wastage.
6. Feta cheese
Feta is a readily available cheese that also comes from Greece. It makes a good manouri replacement for topping baked dishes and salads. However, avoid using this backup option for soups and sauces as it doesn’t melt.
You’ll find feta is less creamy and noticeably saltier. Although you can’t fix the texture, you can reduce the saltiness. Much of this flavor comes from the brine that the cheese is packed in. Rinsing the feta in cold water will help reduce the saltiness, making it more comparable to manouri.
Fresh Mizithra is a very similar cheese to manouri and is made from sheep’s milk, which makes it a useful alternative. Its characteristics vary depending on its maturity so selecting a non-aged product will provide a slightly sweet and tart, mild cheese. Its texture is soft, similar to cream cheese.
Use Mizithra for filling pies, adding to baked desserts and pastries, or for a classic Greek cheesecake. It can be used in the same quantity as you’d use manouri.
Finding Mizithra in stores outside of Greece isn’t always easy. You can try Mediterranean grocers, cheese specialty stores, or online. Be sure to check out our article on Mizithra substitutes to learn more.
Fresh Anthotyro, or anthotyro fresco, is made using the milk and whey from the milk of goats or sheep. We recommend this option as a table cheese or added to baked goods. It is also tasty combined with apples, figs, pears, and honey.
Like Mizithra and manouri, this cheese can be hard to find in many parts of the world so be prepared for a search. Avoid using the matured version of Anthotyro as it has a much saltier flavor with a crumbly texture.
Summary of manouri substitutes
|Goat cheese||More acidic and tangy|
|Farmer's cheese||Firmer and more acidic|
|Mascarpone||Smoother and more spreadable|
|Ricotta||Lower fat option|
|Cream cheese||Smoother and more spreadable|
|Mizithra||Choose the fresh option. Hard to find|
|Anthotyro||Choose the fresh option. Hard to find|
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Fast facts about manouri
- It is a Controlled Denomination of Origin cheese so it must be made in Thessalia or Western/Central Macedonia – other products aren’t genuine.
- It is an excellent cheese for spanakopita filling or to crumble over pasta and salad.
- Recipes that call for rich, sweet cheese will benefit from manouri.
- Some people find its texture a little greasy and grainy.
- Dodoni and Kourellas are two producers of manouri that have built a solid reputation for making quality cheese.
Like many other Greek cheeses, manouri is a fresh, white cheese with a soft texture and a subtle flavor that’s ideal for sweet desserts. If you’ve got none in the refrigerator then try using goat cheese, farmer’s cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, or cream cheese. They’re all easy to find in stores and won’t be out of place in most recipes that call for manouri. If you have a cheese retailer nearby with an extensive range then try to find Mizithra or Anthotiro which are similar styles of Greek cheese.
What is your favorite Greek cheese? Please let us know in the comments below.