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How to make Cream Cheese - 2 ingredient Homemade Cream Cheese. No cultures needed and it takes minutes to make.

How to Make Cream Cheese (Bold Baking Basics)

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My Homemade Cream Cheese recipe could not be easier to make, because everything you need to make rich, creamy, and tangy cream cheese is most likely already in your fridge.


Hi Bold Bakers!

To say I have received tons of requests for this recipe is an understatement because How to Make Cream Cheese has been the most-requested recipe for my Bold Baking Basics series. Since starting Bigger Bolder Baking, you Bold Bakers have shown me what ingredients are and are not available in the countries you live in, and cream cheese was one that was not available or is a completely different texture from country to country.

I usually only like to use ingredients that are accessible to you no matter what country you’re in, however, some ingredients still aren’t as mainstream as you would think. So what do we do? We make our own!

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

This Homemade Cream Cheese could not be easier to make, because everything you need to make rich, creamy, and tangy cream cheese is most likely already in your fridge.

Believe it or not, myHomemade Cream Cheese is actually made with milk. I use whole milk in this recipe to get the richness we all know and love in a thick cream cheese. It starts with milk, then I use lemon juice. That’s right: these 2 ingredients create a reaction which curdles the cheese. Then it’s just the process of straining the cheese from the whey, and what I have left is the beginnings of my cream cheese.

After blending thoroughly, I transfer the mix to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. This way, I always have cream cheese waiting on me for baking, cooking, and of course, spreading onto a freshly toasted bagel!

Is This the Same As Regular Cream Cheese?

When researching “How to Make Cream Cheese,” I tried a lot of recipes and wasted a lot of milk. I couldn’t find a recipe that worked without having to buy active cultures or hang a cream cheese for hours. I hate waste, and I don’t want you to waste your ingredients, so I have a foolproof recipe for you that yields delicious Homemade Cream Cheese. My one piece of advice would be to add a generous amount of salt and try eating it warm.

It is just heaven on a cracker.

If you find after blending the cream cheese is a bit gritty, just keep on going. The added salt will season the cream cheese and help the curdles to break down farther into the most lovely smooth cream cheese.

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

This cream cheese can be used just like any other, it’s not just for topping and eating plain, it can be baked and cooked with as well. I love to use this cream cheese in my Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting and of course in the glaze I use to finish off my No-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.

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

How to Store Cream Cheese

This recipe yields 1 cup (8oz) of Homemade Cream Cheese, so check your cheesecake recipe and see how much Cream Cheese you need and then multiply. You can really easily double or triple this recipe. Just like any other dairy product, it’s important to store the cream cheese in an airtight container in the fridge. Since this is made with fresh milk, and has nothing added to preserve it, I suggest you use it within 10 days of making it.

 

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4.41 from 264 votes
How to make Cream Cheese - 2 ingredient Homemade Cream Cheese. No cultures needed and it takes minutes to make.
How to Make Cream Cheese
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

My Homemade Cream Cheese recipe could not be easier to make, because everything you need to make rich, creamy, and tangy cream cheese is most likely already in your fridge.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (32oz /1000ml) whole milk (full fat, not low fat)
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (lime juice or white vinegar)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt (read notes)
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk on med-high. Stirring constantly until it starts to a rolling simmer.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time, in 1-minute intervals. Continue stirring constantly.
  3. Continue cooking until the mixture curdles. Stir constantly till the mixture has separated completely, this should take just a few minutes. There will be a green liquid on the bottom and thick curdles on top. Remove from the heat. This should happen within a few minutes.
  4. Lay a sieve with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the curd mixture into the sieve. Let it strain and cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer curds to a food processor and process until curds have come together and are totally smooth and creamy. It will take around 3-4 minutes. Keep going if your cream cheese is grainy.
  6. Add salt and taste. Add more if you want more flavor. Now is also a good time to add herbs, garlic or any other flavors you like.
  7. This cream cheese must be stored in the fridge. I always use it within 7 days but can last as long as up to 2 weeks.
Recipe Notes

SMALL CURDS: I have heard feedback that lemon juice yields a smaller amount of curd than vinegar, and this may very well be true for pasteurized milk. Choose a white vinegar, cider vinegar/white wine vinegar will do it. When using lemon juice use it fresh from the fruit.

Salt: Just add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and then taste. If you would like it saltier then feel free to add more.

 

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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1 Comments

Write a Comment and Review

  1. TamLinn on September 15, 2019 at 9:35 am

    How is this recipe different from ricotta?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 15, 2019 at 10:03 am

      Hi TamLinn. Ricotta uses cream. Hence, it’s creamier compared to cream cheese.

  2. SUZANNE QUALLS on September 14, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I have a problem and I think you are the only one who can answer my question. This has nothing to do with making cream cheese, but know that you can help me.
    I have finally found my old recipe for Oatmeal Cookies which I’ve made dozens and dozens of times, especially for my kiddos when they were still living at home.
    My problem is this. The original recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups margarine. I haven’t bought margarine for years and don’t know what to use to replace the margarine.
    Can you tell me what the magic replacement is?

    Thanks so much,
    Suzanne

    • Gemma Stafford on September 14, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Suzanne. I would use butter in place of margarine. I personally prefer salted butter because it’s tastier. But a lot of bakers use unsalted butter for baking.

  3. Ninanana on September 13, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Hello, can this cream cheese be used for baking a cheese cake? I usually get full fat Philadelphia to do this. Does it work the same?
    Another question, how would you adapt this cream cheese to make the chocolate cream cheese you buy in a shop?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 13, 2019 at 11:46 am

      Hi. You can use this for baking cheesecake or with any recipe that requires cream cheese. I hope it works well for you. Go give it a go!

  4. Gemma Stafford on September 11, 2019 at 3:01 am

    Hi there,
    we do not see this tree so much here in the US, and I think the fruit is very acidic, like lemon and lime. I think you can try it for sure.
    If you have a good vinegar local to you, like rice vinegar, for example, that will give a good result, and produce a large curd.
    Do try it, it is worth it,
    Gemma 🙂

  5. Nykel on September 10, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Can I use Calamodin (AKA Calamansi in the Philippines) as an alternative to Lemons and Limes? Another question, are whole all milk applicable for this? Our groceries here usually displays “UHT Processed” Milk so I’m not sure if its okay. Thank you for this recipe by the way!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 11, 2019 at 8:32 am

      Hi Nykel,
      I know I told you yes for this citrus fruit, the alternative being a good white vinegar. The issue is the UHT milk. This has been Ultra Heat Treated in order to preserve it. This effectively denatures the milk making it almost impossible to form a curd.
      I am sorry, I do not think this will work well for you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Sam on September 17, 2019 at 2:06 pm

        You can obtain regular non but milk in the Philippines however it’s more expensive and harder to find , I have found as a foreigner the SM Manila hypermarket to have a lot of hard to find items , at this moment I can not remember if they have the milk you’re looking for since I haven’t been there since 2012.

  6. Nykel on September 10, 2019 at 4:28 am

    Good day Gemma!

    Can I use Calamodin (AKA Calamnsi in the Philippines) as an alternative for Lemons and Limes? Another question would be, our milk cartons here have labels “UHT Processed”, would the affect the cream cheese output? If there other suggestions please let me know. I really appreciate your process and really did help me realize why not make my own cream cheese which way cheaper. I’m glad I found your blog!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 12, 2019 at 2:28 am

      Hi Nykel,
      I think I answered this, can you confirm that you got this response as I am concerned they are not going through.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Nykel on September 12, 2019 at 3:27 am

        Yes I have received the comment. Sorry that time the site got buggy which I need to re enter again. I think it 3 times. Thank you for your answer about this. I will try white vinegar next time. Thank you Gemma!

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