How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (2024)

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (1)

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WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE:MyHomemade Cream Cheese Recipeshows you the easiest way of how tomake cream cheesewhenever and wherever needed with the most commoningredientsyou likely always have in thefridge! The result is soft, creamy, tangy, and works just likestore-bought cream cheese! Nevercream cheese shortage!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated and improved on 3/29/2023, to include clear definition, additional step-by-step photography, FAQs (comparison with store-bought ones, why grainy, why milk not cream), and Pro Chef Tips( lactose-free option, how to use cream cheese).

To say I have received tons of requests for this recipe is an understatement because How toMake Cream Cheesehas been the most-requested recipe for myBold Baking Basicsseries. Since startingBigger Bolder Baking, you Bold Bakers have shown me whatingredientsare and are not available in the countries you live in. Cream cheese was one that was not available or is a completely differenttexturefrom country to country. I usually only like to useingredientsthat are accessible to you no matter where you are. However, someingredientsare still aren’t as mainstream as you would think. So what do we do? We make our own!

When researching “How toMake Cream Cheese,” I tried a lot of recipes and wasted a lot of milk. However, I couldn’t find a recipe that worked without having to buypacketsof activestarter cultureor hang a cream cheese for hours. I hate waste, and I don’t want you to waste youringredients, so I have a foolproof recipe for you that yields delicious Homemade Cream Cheese.


  • What is Cream Cheese?
  • Tools You Need
  • Ingredients List
  • How toMake Cream Cheese
  • How to Store Cream Cheese
  • Is This the Same AsStore-Bought Cream Cheese? Is This Real Cream Cheese?
  • FAQs
  • Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
  • Use Homemade Cream Cheese in These Recipes

What is Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese is a soft and creamy fresh cheese with a tangytastemade from milk and cream. It usually comes in two forms – firmer one in blocks or softer and more spreadable one from tubs.

In commercial production, lactic acid bacteria are added to pasteurized milk to coagulate casein to formcurds (most milk on the market available to most people is pasteurized to some pointto kill harmful bacteria that can lead to diseases).Heavy creamis added to adjust the fat content and add creaminess to the final product cream cheese.

Comparatively, thisdiy Homemade Cream Cheese Recipe uses lemon juice, lime juice or plain white vinegar and cream is optional.

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (2)


  • Whole milk:I use whole milk in this recipe to get the richness we all know and love about cream cheese. Itwill yield more and biggercurdsthan reduced-fat milk. I also always usewhole milk(full-fat milk) in my recipes for its richtasteand creamytexture.
  • Lemonjuice: You can also use lime juice or plainwhite vinegar
  • Salt: Brings outflavors!

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (3)

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

  • Heat the milk: Firstly, bring the milk to a rollingsimmerin a heavy-bottomedsaucepanonmedium-high heat. Do not let itboil.
  • Add acid: Secondly, reduce the heat to medium. Add thelemon juice1tablespoonat a time, in 1-minute intervals. Continue stirring constantly.
  • Curdle:Stirconstantly till themixturecurdlesand has separated completely, this should take just a few minutes.Remove from the heat.
  • Strain: Thirdly, lay asievewith 1 or 2 layers ofcheeseclothover alarge bowl. Pour thecurdmixtureinto thesieve. Let itstrainand cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Blend: Last, transfercurdsto afood processorand process foraround 3-4 minutes oruntilcurdshave come together and are totally smooth and creamy. Keep going and add leftover clearliquidback in gradually if your cream cheese is grainy.
  • Season: Addsaltto your liking. Additionally, now is also a good time to add dried orfresh herbs, garlic or any otherflavorsyou like.

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (4)

How to Store Cream Cheese

Since this contains fresh milk and has nothing added to preserve it, I suggest you store the cream cheese in an airtight container in thefridgefor 7-10 days.

Is This the Same AsStore-Bought Cream Cheese? Is This Real Cream Cheese?

ThisHomemade Cream Cheese recipeyields REAL traditional fresh cream cheese which does not contain commercialstabilizersor preservatives. It’s delicious and works as well asstore-bought cream cheeseincheesecakesor other baking and cooking.

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (5)FAQs

Why is my cream cheese grainy?

The milk was overheated due to inaccurate timing,which tends to separate fat from the cheese. This can be avoided in commercial production by addingstabilizerssuch as carob beangum, guar, orcarrageenan to make it creamier and smoother.

This can also be avoided/reduced in homemade cream cheese by heating the milk to asimmerinstead of aboil. If you find after blending the cream cheese is a bit gritty, just keep on going. The addedsaltwill season the cream cheese and help thecurdlesto break down farther into the most lovely smooth cream cheese. Adding morewheygradually back into thefood processorduring blending will also help.

Why is there milk in cream cheese making?

When the acidity increases from addinglemonjuice,calcium causes precipitation of the casein and thusdairy curdles.

Creamcontains virtually no casein or lactose. While in cow’smilk, approximately 82% ofmilkprotein iscaseinand the remaining 18% is serum orwheyprotein.

So milkcurdlesmore than cream in contact with acid and cream is added in some occasions for its creaminess and adjusting cream cheese’s fat content.

What’s the difference between cream cheese and other cheeses?

Chiefly, they differ in their nature and the last step of production.

CREAM CHEESE is fresh/non-aged strainedcurdsthat have to be processed until smooth; (;

COTTAGE is non-agedcurdsandwhey;

RICOTTA is non-aged or aged semisoftcurdswithwheystrained out ; (

PANNER is non-agedcurdsthat have to be pressed.

MASCARPONE is made with cream (no milk) and acid. ( .

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

You can use LACTOSE-FREE MILK but expect much smallercurds.

Lacose-free milk still contains casein whichcurdlesin contact with acid. Consequently, the denaturing process may make it not able tocurdleas normal.

How to Use This Cream Cheese, and Can You Bake With It?

This cream cheese can perform just like any other. It’s not only for toppingbagelsindifferentflavorsand eating plain, but also can it bake and cook with as well. I love to use this cream cheese in myBest EverCream Cheese Frostingfor myCarrot Cakeand of course, in the glaze I use to finish off myNo-Knead No-Machine Cinnamon Rolls!This cream cheese also acts as a great substitute for yogurt in lots of recipes, the versatility really is endless.

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (6)

This recipe yields 1 cup (8oz) of Homemade Cream Cheese, so check yourcheesecakerecipe and see how much Cream Cheese you need and then multiply. You can really easily double or triple this recipe accordingly.

If you enjoy making your own homemadeingredientsat home you will love learning how to make Homemade Butter!]

  • Best-EverCarrot CakeWith Best-EverCream Cheese Frosting
  • No-Bake StrawberryCheesecake
  • JapaneseCheesecakeSimplified
  • Best-Ever New YorkCheesecake
  • No-Bake StrawberryCheesecake

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated and improved on 3/29/2023, to include clear definition, additional step-by-step photography, FAQs (comparison with store-bought ones, why grainy, why milk not cream), and Pro Chef Tips( lactose-free option, how to use cream cheese).

Use your Homemade Cream Cheese in making the perfectcheesecakesand more with your copy of theBigger Bolder Baking Every Daycookbookavailable now.

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (7)

Try These Recipes

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How to Make Baking Powder and Baking Soda Explained
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Watch The Recipe Video!

How to Make Cream Cheese (The Easiest Cream Cheese Recipe) (2024)


What do I do if I don't have enough cream cheese? ›

8 Easy Ways to Make a Cream Cheese Substitute
  1. Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is yogurt that's been strained to remove the liquid whey, resulting in a thicker yogurt that's higher in protein and lower in fat. ...
  2. Sour Cream. ...
  3. Cottage Cheese. ...
  4. Neufchatel. ...
  5. Mascarpone. ...
  6. Ricotta Cheese. ...
  7. Kefir. ...
  8. Cashew Cheese.
Apr 6, 2021

How do you make cream cheese not thick? ›

Add milk or cream to soften the cheese without changing the taste. Place 8 oz (225 g) of cream cheese in a bowl, then add about 1 tsp (4.9 mL) of milk or unsweetened cream to the cheese and stir it well. If you need to, add a little more until the cream cheese is the consistency you're looking for.

What are the ingredients in cream cheese? ›


How was cream cheese originally made? ›

In 1872 William Lawrence, a dairyman from Chester, New York, attempted to make Neufchâtel, a tangy, crumblier cheese product that was popular in Europe at the time. Instead he accidentally added an excessive amount of cream and created a richer, more spreadable cheese, which would eventually be called "cream cheese".

What if I don't have enough cream cheese for my cheesecake? ›

  • Neufchatel.
  • Dairy-Free Cheese.
  • Mascarpone.
  • Greek Yogurt.
  • Ricotta.
  • Sour Cream.
  • Other Soft Cheeses.
Mar 1, 2024

Why is my homemade cream cheese not curdling? ›

If you see a bunch of rice-like curds that won't stick together, this means that the cheese is not curdling properly. It is often caused by low-quality milk. However, if you are using fresh raw milk with sufficient calcium, the reason might be due to improper temperatures.

How to make softened cream cheese? ›

Pretty Fast: In Warm Water
  1. Place the unopened aluminum-foil-wrapped cream cheese in a ziplock bag.
  2. Push all of the air out of the bag before sealing it.
  3. Fill a large bowl (or the sink) with warm water.
  4. Place the bag of cream cheese in the warm water.
  5. Submerge it for about 10 minutes or until the cream cheese is soft.
Nov 21, 2023

Why is my homemade cream cheese runny? ›

Stop mixing the frosting as soon as the ingredients are mixed, as over-mixing can cause the frosting to become runny and less sticky. If you do over-mix the frosting, place it into the fridge for 1 hour to harden.

What thickens cream cheese? ›

Heavy Whipping Cream

Heavy cream is what gives cream cheese the thick consistency and flavor that lead to the perfect bagel topper.

What are the 4 ingredients of a basic cheese? ›

Natural cheese is made from four basic ingredients including milk, salt, a “good bacteria” and rennet, an enzyme. From there, cheesemakers can adjust the basic recipe by adding other ingredients to make all of the cheeses we know and love.

What are the 4 main ingredients used to make cheese? ›

To sum up, cheese is made with four basic cheese ingredients: milk, starter culture, coagulant, and salt. How these ingredients are combined determines how strong or mild the flavor will be.

Is cream cheese just blended ricotta? ›

Cream cheese: Cream cheese is made with milk and cream, while ricotta is made with just milk. The lower fat content makes the latter cheese slightly less creamy. However, cream cheese can still be substituted for ricotta.

Is homemade cream cheese the same as store-bought? ›

Its texture is a million times better than the cream cheese you buy at the grocery store. It's so much smoother, lighter, creamier. The main difference is that store-bought cream cheese usually has a gum listed in the ingredients (guar gum, xanthm gum, etc.) which mean it's a lot thicker and denser.

Is cream cheese healthy? ›

Cream cheese is a versatile dairy spread. It's a good source of vitamin A and doesn't provide much lactose. However, it's low in protein and high in fat and calories, so it's best to use it in moderation. Notably, versions like whipped cream cheese are lower in fat and calories.

Is cream cheese processed or natural? ›

Cream cheese is a fresh, natural cheese that can be used as a spread or dip, as well as in sweet or savory dishes. Smooth and creamy, its primary ingredient is cream rather than milk. A starter culture is added to the milk and cream. This causes it to ferment and creates cream cheese's unique texture and flavor.


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