Making homemade cream cheese is easier than you think! Follow our step-by-step how to make cream cheese tutorial and enjoy your own cream cheese in no time at all.
How to Make Cream Cheese
We love slathering cream cheese on top of a bagel to eat on the go, but we also love making cream cheese pasta sauce and tossing it with our favorite noodle. Cream cheese is mild in flavor and can be served savory or sweet like in our yummy chocolate cream cheese frosting.
But have you ever made your own homemade cream cheese? Today is the day!
What is cream cheese? Cream cheese is a soft cheese made from milk and cream. It’s mild in flavor and commonly used in baking and cooking.
why you’ll love it!
- Super easy to make
- Amazing to use in sweet or savory dishes
- Requires minimal ingredients
Homemade cream cheese can be made with 3 simple ingredients. Seriously, that’s it! You’ll need:
- Whole milk
- Fresh lemon juice
Equipment You Need for Homemade Cream Cheese
- Cheesecloth: cheesecloth is used to help separate the whey from the curd.
- Colander: a colander is used in conjunction with the cheesecloth to separate the mascarpone from the excess liquid.
- Large bowl: your colander needs something to rest in and that something is a bowl. Just make sure it’s bigger than your colander.
- Heavy bottom saucepan: you’ll need a saucepan that is big enough to hold all of the cream as you heat it.
- Food processor: you’ll need a food processor to blend the curd until it’s silky smooth.
- Thermometer: a thermometer isn’t necessary, but it is helpful to know the temperature of your heavy cream as you’re heating it.
Cream Cheese 101
All things cream cheese, all in one place! Learn everything there is to know about this amazingly creamy and mild cheese — cream cheese.
How to Make Cream Cheese
Boil whole milk
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a soft boil.
Add lemon juice & stir
Once the milk has started to boil, add the lemon juice. Using a slotted spoon, stir everything together. The curds should start to separate from the whey almost immediately.
Remove from heat and strain the curds using a cheesecloth and strainer.
Food process curd
Squeeze out any excess liquid and transfer the curd to a food processor. Add the salt and process for at least 3 minutes.
Refrigerate & enjoy!
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
How to Use Homemade Cream Cheese
Homemade cream cheese is so versatile! Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:
- Easy Cheese Ball
- Baked Cream Cheese Pasta
- Cold Crab Dip with Cream Cheese
- Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
- Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese
Top Tips for Perfect Homemade Cream Cheese
Homemade cream cheese is much more fool proof than many other homemade cheesemaking recipes. We made this recipe multiple times with different variations, and all of them worked:
- Using a thermometer
- Adding lemon juice at certain temperatures
- Boiling the milk (slightly, but not a rolling boil)
When adding lemon juice the milk should start to curdle within 15-30 seconds. Start with 3 tablespoons. If curd doesn’t start to form add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice.
Don’t have cheesecloth? Use paper towels or a tea towel. Both will work just fine.
What is cream cheese made of?
Cream cheese is made from a combination of cream and milk, and more specifically from unskimmed cows milk. This is why our homemade cream cheese separates the curds from the whey before blending to creamy perfection.
Is homemade cream cheese good?
It’s delicious! And easy to make. The only caution is to use whole milk (a higher fat content milk) to ensure a creamy and not a watery texture.
Is cream cheese the same as mascarpone?
Mascarpone is considered a cream cheese, but is made with heavy cream rather than milk like cream cheese is made from.
Store homemade cream cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Fresh cream cheese is not intended to be aged and will turn sour after about a week’s time.
Can you freeze cream cheese?
Cream cheese can be frozen for up to 1 month. Transfer it into an airtight container and seal. Place in the freezer for 30 days.
To thaw: place in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Make Cream Cheese
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a soft boil.
- Once the milk has started to boil, add the lemon juice. Using a slotted spoon, stir everything together. The curds should start to separate from the whey almost immediately. Remove from the heat.
- Strain the curds using a cheesecloth and strainer.
- Squeeze out any excess liquid and transfer the curd to a food processor. Add the salt and process for at least 3 minutes.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Tips & Notes
- The cream cheese may be a bit stiff when used after refrigeration, just stir with a spoon to loosen it up.
- We only used fresh lemon juice for this recipe
- When adding lemon juice the milk should start to turn within 15-30 seconds. Start with 3 tablespoons. If curd doesn’t start to form add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice.