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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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Hi Bold Bakers!

To say I have received tons of requests for this recipe is an understatement. 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 different texture in every country.

Cream Cheese was always that ingredient that when I used it in a recipe I was immediately asked to show you how to make it. I only like to use ingredients that are accessible to you no matter what country, however some ingredients still aren’t as mainstream as you would think. So what do we do? We make our own!

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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, and I really do mean 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.

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Do you like Cheesecake? I have plenty of recipes where you can use my Homemade Cream Cheese like my No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake, my No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake and even my Tiramisu Cheesecake.

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Just a Note: 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. Once made it will live happily in your fridge for 10 days. And if you don’t have cheesecloth, you can find one on Amazon.

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Use my Cream Cheese in these recipes:

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4.66 from 92 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
 

Learn How to Make Cream Cheese at home with a few ingredients! Once you know this simple recipe, you can make your own for my cheesecake recipes & more!

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 themilk 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 happens within a few minutes.
  4. Lay a sieve with a cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the curd mix 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 day but can last as long as up to 2 weeks.
Recipe Notes

SMALL CURDS: I have heard feed back 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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800 Comments

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  1. Phenomenauts on August 15, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Hi Gemma

    I tried this a few days ago and I had a question. I processed the cheese for about three to four minutes and when I tried it while in the processor, it felt fine. However when I scooped it out into a bowl and examined it closely, it was a little grainy. Do you think I should have processed it more or perhaps used a little bit of the liquid to make it smoother.

    I really want this recipe to work as cream cheese is extremely expensive here and I want to try and make a Nutella Cheesecake.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 15, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Hi there,
      I think a little of the liquid, or a little fresh milk, or cream back to smooth it out.
      Vinegar makes a bigger curd too, and that is easier to cream, but you can proceed, all will be well,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Samia on August 13, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Hi Gemma
    I followed your recipe and got perfect curds but as I didn’t have a food processor, I used a blender. It didn’t turn out great. The cream had lumps and an unsmooth texture. Also tasted nothing like cream cheese! Any idea on what I could do?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 14, 2018 at 3:37 am

      Hi Samia,
      A creamed curd is cream cheese, and it should taste like it and have a similar texture.
      A processor is best for this purpose, and vinegar makes a larger curd too, and is easier to cream. A blender may struggle with this as the cheese creams, and an electric mixer will make a cottage cream style cheese, not so creamy.
      Prior to processors this cream cheese was made at home by farmers, as a way to preserve milk. They would have beaten this with a wooden spoon to get it to cream.
      I hope you try it again, it is worth it,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Lori on August 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Can you leave the salt out of the recipe? I’m on a low sodium diet for health reasons.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 11, 2018 at 11:50 pm

      Hi Lori,
      Yes! you certainly may omit the salt, in any recipe really.
      I hope you enjoy this one!
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Yasangi Siriwardana on August 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Hi Gemma..Greetings from SriLanka!! Thanks for sharing this recipe and it came out really well. Cream Cheese is very expensive here so I’m so happy that I found your recipe. I’m gonna try your microwave cheesecake tomorrow!! Cheers and thanks a lot for sharing this. Loads of love. P.s. I have tried your recipes and they are amazing. 😇

    • Gemma Stafford on August 9, 2018 at 10:08 am

      Hi there,
      Good, thank you for this kind review, it is good to have you with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Aya on August 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    So I had to stop for a minute between the 2nd and 3rd lemon juice spoon and now I’m not getting any more curdles 🙁

    • Gemma Stafford on August 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      That’s so kind, thank you!

  6. Donna on August 4, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I wonder if it would work to make the cream cheese then culture it to make it more gut friendly? Have you tried fermenting the cream cheese after it was made?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 5, 2018 at 2:32 am

      Hi Donna,
      No! I have not. I think you would start with a fermented milk, though I have not thought about this!
      Sorry, I do not have the answer. I do know that if you strain Kefir as in the cream cheese recipe, you get a curd/cheese. Really, I suppose adding a culture to a milk, and allowing it to ferment means that all cheese is a fermented food. Mmmm! Thinking hat on,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Maya on August 2, 2018 at 5:29 am

    Dear Gemma,
    I stumbled on to your site a while ago… already a fan of yours. And I’m ever so glad to find a recipe for making cream cheese at home because where i live, cream cheese is hard to come by in stores too.
    Just want to ask u, if instead of a food processor, can a hand-held blender bring the curds together to the creamy texture of cream cheese?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Maya,
      If you use vinegar to make the curd, it will be bigger, and easier to cream.
      Blend in small quantities too, so as not to overwhelm the stick blender, but this depends on the one you have. try it!
      Gemma 🙂

  8. legel on July 30, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I bought a bunch of Heavy whipping cream, can I use this instead of milk? If I can, is there anything I should do different?
    Love your site, and recipes

    • Gemma Stafford on July 30, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Yes you can use that. It will be pretty heavy but incredibly delicious.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  9. leah on July 26, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Can i use camel milk for this? thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on July 27, 2018 at 1:22 am

      Hi there,
      I understand that this is tricky with camel milk. It seems that it does not curdle in the same way as cow’s milk/goat milk etc.
      I do not have any experience of this milk, you will need to get some local advice, but I do not think it will work for you, sorry,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. NatInPW on July 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Like another commenter, I’m trying to reduce sugars and carbs in general (I have diabetes).

    Do you have nutrition counts on the resulting cream cheese (calories and carbohydrates)? Just curious what removing the whey does to the nutrition counts in regular whole (full fat) milk (I have no idea).

    Is it possible to use Heavy Cream instead of milk? That has fewer carbohydrates to begin with.

    • Gemma Stafford on July 22, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Hi, I’m guessing you could use cream. I didn’t so I can’t really advise.

      I use myfitnesspal.com to calculate calories etc. It’s really easy to use.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  11. Seawitch on July 20, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Hi,
    Tried the recipe and it didn’t look anything like your picture. Yours looks nice and fluffy like it was beaten. I used the cheesecloth but lost a lot of the curds when it was time to put it in the processor. Next time I will forgo that step as my strainer is very fine. I also will use vinegar as the curds were so tiny. That being said I love your recipes and will make the cream cheese again. Being a senior on my own the size is just right and trying new recipes will – fingers crossed – keep the brain cells working. Cheers!

  12. Elizabeth Pukerud on July 17, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Gemma. Can I use raw milk and/or the heavy cream on top to make this? THEN second part can i use this cream cheese to make a baked cream cheese cake as in a new york style cream cheese cake? Thanks so much for your wonderful site! I love it!

    • Gemma Stafford on July 18, 2018 at 2:41 am

      Hi Elizabeth,
      thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate them.
      Yes, you can use raw milk, and enrich it too with cream. Mascarpone is a simple farmers cheese too, fresh cheese, made with cream. That wil lgive you the idea.
      For a larger curd use vinegar, a good quality white vinegar will be good, cider vinegar/white wine vinegar etc. This is easier to cream.
      Then it is a creamed curd/cream cheese like any other. Use it as you wish.
      Thank you for this question,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Leyanne Taylor on July 8, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Do you use the same method when using raw milk for this?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 8, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Yes Leyanne, follow the same method.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  14. Anna on July 7, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Can the leftover liquid be used for anything ?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 8, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      I would think it would make a great marinade for meats. The acid in it will tenderize meat like chicken, pork or beef really well. :).

      I usually marinade my meat in a ziplock bag and then freeze it. Nigella thought me that 🙂
      Gemma.

  15. Nakinya Robinson on July 7, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Hello you guys,
    I used a coffee filter instead of Cheesecloth, and everything turned out fine.

    • Gemma Stafford on July 9, 2018 at 1:06 am

      Thank you for this great tip, I am please to hear this,
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Nancy on July 6, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Hello Gemma

    This cream cheese seems a lot like home made cottage cheese but I would love to try making it as cream cheese is hard to come by in my place……do you think your cream cheese can be used for creating cream cheese mousse ? Would it mix well with white chocolate???

    • Gemma Stafford on July 7, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Hi Nancy! Yes, it would mix just fine with white chocolate and you can use it in my cheesecakes too. I hope you enjoy!

  17. kalea on July 5, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    hi, could I use almond milk for this recipe because I am trying to go dairy free? would it still work?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 5, 2018 at 11:56 pm

      Hi Kalea,
      There is a way to make a cream cheese from almond milk. There is a site called Plantpusher, which you can google. It is a little different to what we do here as nuts so not naturally curdle, but it is possible, take a look,
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Brenda on July 5, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Can this cream cheese be used in any recipe that calls for blocks of cream cheese?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Brenda,
      Yes. Full fat milk, with vinegar as the acid will make a larger curd, this is easier to cream. Try a little of this, see how it works for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Carole Lloyd on July 5, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I had full fat milk with the expiration date quickly approaching so thought I would try to make this recipe. I did not have lemons so used white vinegar. The directions and process was very easy but mine came out with the texture and taste of Ricotta and not cream cheese. I actually like it a lot, but wonder what I did wrong? Thanks Gemma I love your videos!

    • Gemma Stafford on July 6, 2018 at 12:24 am

      Hi Carole,
      The answer is in the first line of your comment, the milk was already on the point of turning.
      You need to be careful to use fresh milk. In the old days when milk was not pasteurized it would curdle and sour in a natural way, and it was used for all sorts of things. Now it goes bad, and is not good to use.
      Fresh is best for all these recipes, even for the sour cream recipe, start with fresh milk!
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Joan Dmello on July 3, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Hi Gemma
    Could i use this cheese cream to make a red velvet cake.

    • Gemma Stafford on July 4, 2018 at 3:04 am

      Hi Joan,
      Yes! this is a typical farmers cheese, a fresh curd if you will. This will work well in your recipes.
      If you make this with full fat milk, and vinegar, you will get a bigger curd too, easier to cream.
      I hope this works well for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Fanie on July 1, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Dear Gemma,

    Thank you for the recipe make me inspirate for make puding with creamchesse .
    I love that and can you give another recipe for make heavhycream (mexican cream) and whipecream ….

    • Gemma Stafford on July 3, 2018 at 3:51 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your kind words, I am happy that you like this recipe.
      The cream which I use for most of my recipes is fresh dairy cream. This needs to be at least 35% fat content to whip well. This is from cows milk. It is a liquid product found in the chill cabinet in your store. It will spoil in a few days, even when refrigerated. It has no additives, it is just natural cream, skimmed from milk.
      In some places, where there is no dairy industry, there are manufactured products, usually made with milk powders and fats. These are good for some applications, but they are not fresh cream. I am sorry, it cannot be actually made!
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  22. Karolina on July 1, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.
    Our cheese turned out absolutely fantastic!
    If I wanted to use it to bake a cheesecake would it still work out well?
    I notice your recipes are no bake cheesecake styles, but I’d love to do a New York style cheesecake with this cheese !

  23. Chalalai on June 29, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Hi Gemma
    Just want to say thank you for you great recipes, I made Crazy dough pizza last night, that’s turn out great and today I made cream cheese and delighted with the result, will never buy cream cheese again

    • Gemma Stafford on July 1, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Hi there,
      That is vert good to hear, I am really happy that oyu like the recipes,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Julie12 on June 27, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Can I smash the milk curdles and use a mixer to blend it?
    I don’t have a food processor.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 28, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      You can try and use a blender yes. It should work well.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  25. Chelsea on June 24, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I use a lot of store bought cream cheese since my husband & I are Keto (low card no sugar.) Whole milk has a lot of sugar in it, but the cream cheese we buy at the store doesn’t. Does the cooking process in this tutorial remove the sugar? I’d like to make my own… but don’t want the sugar to ruin our diet.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 25, 2018 at 4:55 am

      Hi there,
      There is 12g of sugar in 225g/1 cup of whole milk. It is slightly higher in low fat milk, and the same in no fat/skimmed milk.
      The sugar in milk is called lactose. Lactose is a problem for some people so there are lactose free dairy products available, which should be no sugar. The act of removing the lactose from the milk makes it a struggle to get it to form a curd for cheese. Your best chance will be with vinegar, rather than lemon juice, yet it may form a really small curd.
      The lactose in milk makes it gut friendly too, it benefits the good bacteria.
      I do not know how much cream cheese you use, it sounds like you are really following this KETO diet really carefully, and it will have great results too, but sometimes it means sacrificing things we love, sadly! I may not have been much help here, but it was a great question,
      Gemma 🙂

  26. Gail Hodge on June 24, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Can you make fat free cream cheese or know of a recipe for it ?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 25, 2018 at 5:19 am

      Hi Gail,
      Yes! You can obtain a curd from a skimmed milk, use vinegar instead of lemon juice for best results,
      Gemma 🙂

  27. Alex on June 23, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Any idea if this would work with lactose-free whole milk? I am lactose intolerant and am always trying to find alternatives to traditional dairy products. Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on June 24, 2018 at 3:20 am

      Hi Alex,
      Lactose free milk is highly processed to remove the lactose. This makes it a bit of a struggle to get a curd. It is not impossible though. Do try it, use vinegar rather than lemon juice. A good quality organic vinegar will work best for you. It is worth a shot,
      Gemma 🙂

  28. Coleen Mielke on June 22, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I made this today, and while it was very easy and the cheese came out nice a smooth, it was unbelievably salty (probably because I used table salt? I’m assuming your recipe MUST have meant kosher salt? I will definitely make this again, but with lots less salt.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 23, 2018 at 12:52 am

      Hi Coleen,
      I am happy that you tried this recipe. As you say I usually use sea salt, but the amount in this recipe is suggested at 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon, so I am surprised you found it too much, I am sorry. I would not have thought table salt would make a big difference, thank you for letting me know,
      Gemma 😉

  29. MamaCat on June 21, 2018 at 2:10 am

    On the UHT milk: I only ever use UHT milk to make this, because it is what is easily available to me. You just need a little patience,and sometimes a little more lemon juice. You just need to watch the pot and not rush the process and add lemon juice in little bits. It works fine for me, all the time. I get decent sized curds and I have used it in cooking. You can also just drain it completely and weigh it down to get to paneer.
    Thank you for the great recipe.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 22, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      I’m really glad you made this comment. Others will find this really helpful.

      Thanks
      Gemma.

  30. Fabio on June 15, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    What % of fat is recommended? I am using 4% milk, will see how it goes 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on June 16, 2018 at 3:11 am

      Hi Fabio,
      The higher the milk fat % the better the result. 4% is high, whole milk here in the US is usually 3.5%, so it should give a good result.
      Vinegar makes a bigger curd too, so you can experiment with this.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  31. Nis on June 15, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Hi.. Can I use spoilt milk.. T make this cream cheese?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 16, 2018 at 3:28 am

      Hi Nis,
      NO! there is a difference between organic/raw milk which has naturally fermented/soured, and modern pasteurized milk which has gone bad. You can use the first one in baking etc, but the latter will make you sick, you need to dispose of it.
      cream cheese is generally made with fresh curd, and is the beginning of all cheese production. It is always made with fresh milk.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

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