How to Make Cream Cheese

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All you need is two or three ingredients, a little bit of time, and you’ll have a delicious serving of rich and soft homemade cream cheese – lickety-split!

homemade cream cheese

Hey, y’all! Today I am excited to bring you one of the easiest recipes for one of the most delicious ingredients on the planet! What the heck am I talking about? Yep, you guessed it! Cream cheese! Whether you can’t find it at the store or you just don’t feel like running out to get some, this super easy recipe will help you create a wonderfully creamy and rich cream cheese at home. 

This homemade cream cheese recipe is seriously easy, y’all I mean seriously! And everything you need to make this creamy concoction is probably already in your fridge right now. I’m talking about milk and lemon juice. Yep, that’s all you need to make cream cheese. Add a dash of salt if you like, and you’re good to go!

Use this recipe to make homemade, spreadable cream cheese for your morning bagel or add into your favorite dessert like Italian Cream Cake, Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins with Cream Cheese, Monkey Bread With Cream Cheese Stuffing, Cream Cheese Danish Recipe (Using a Cake Mix), and Cream Cheese Strawberry Cobbler.

Now, let’s learn how to make cream cheese at home.

Recipe Ingredients

First things first: the ingredients. Get ready, because if you blink you will miss it!

All you need is:

  • Milk (I use whole milk to get the rich and creamy texture)
  • Lemon juice
  • A bit of salt if you like

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

Add milk to saucepan.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 4 cups of milk on medium-high heat.

Stir milk constantly.

Stir milk constantly until it starts to simmer, and then boil for a bit.

Add lemon juice a tablespoon at a time.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time with 1 minute in-between each.

Continue stirring milk mixture.

Continue cooking and you will see it curdling (that’s good!)  

Remove from heat once the milk separates.

Stir constantly ’til 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 all happens real quick. I am talking only a couple of minutes so keep your eye on it!

Strain cream cheese with cheesecloth.

Place a strainer with a cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the cheese curd mixture into the sieve. Let it strain and get rid of the whey (that greenish liquid). Then let the curds cool for about 15 minutes.

Transfer curds to food processor or blender.

Transfer the cheese curds to a food processor or blender and mix until they are now a totally smooth and creamy creation. It will take around 3 to 4 minutes to make a perfectly whipped cream cheese. Keep going if your cream cheese is grainy.

Add salt if you like.

Add salt, mix, and taste. Add more if you want more flavor. Now is when you can add herbs too, (like garlic!) or any other flavors you like, depending if you want sweet or savory!

Perfect cream cheese texture in blender.

This is what the homemade cream cheese should look like once done.

wrap the cream cheese to store

Learning how to make cream cheese has never been easier. Enjoy!

Storage

Store your homemade cream cheese in the fridge. Try to use it within 7 days to be safe, but, if stored properly in plastic wrap or an airtight container, it will probably keep for up to 2 weeks. This is an excellent container to store it in after you make it. 

Recipe Notes

  • You can use white vinegar instead of lemon juice if you like, but I prefer lemon juice. But use whatever cranks your tractor.
  • There are so many add-ins you can add to your cream cheese instead of the salt, such as dried herbs, garlic powder, or sweet chili sauce.
  • For creamier cream cheese, you can do 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of milk, but of course, this will increase the fat content if that’s a concern.

Recipe FAQs

Can I bake with this cream cheese?

You sure can! Besides using it in our glorious cream cheese frosting, you can use it in lots of desserts we have on Southern Plate. Take this homemade cherry cream cheese pie, for example. This is one popular dish and now you know exactly how to make it from scratch. Use our cream cheese and your favorite fruit topping in a homemade pie crust (or you can certainly buy your own. We won’t judge!)

Cherry Cream Cheese Pie

Homemade Cream Cheese

Homemade Cream Cheese

Learn how to make cream cheese at home with these easy instructions. All you need is three ingredients to make this rich cream cheese.
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamcheese
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk I prefer whole milk
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch salt, optional

Instructions

  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 4 cups of milk on medium-high heat. Stir milk constantly until it starts to simmer and then boil for a bit.
    4 cups milk
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time with a minute in-between. Continue cooking and you will see it curdling. 
    2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 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 all happens real quick. I am talking only a couple of minutes.
  • Place a strainer with a cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the curd mixture into the sieve. Let it strain and get rid of the whey, then let the curds cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the curds to a food processor or blender and mix until they are now a totally smooth and creamy creation. It will take around 3 to 4 minutes. Keep going if your cream cheese is grainy.
  • Add salt, mix, and taste. Add more if you want more flavor. Now is when you can add herbs too, like garlic or any other flavors you like.
    pinch salt, optional
  • Store this cream cheese in the fridge. Use it within 7 days, but if stored properly it will probably keep for up to 2 weeks.
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

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124 Comments

  1. I would have never thought to make my own cream cheese! Wow! So is the only difference between getting these curds and cottage cheese, what you do to blend it and add the salt and stuff after? That’s what it reminds me of before you strain it.

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