How to Make Cream Cheese

This is dairy week of my 31 day series on homemade recipes without all the preservatives and additives you find in store bought products. Did you know you can make cream cheese at home too? Yes, you can even make cream cheese at home. You have seen how to make Greek yogurt and know the by product of yogurt is whey. There are several different recipes you can make to use whey from making yogurt. Now let’s suppose you wanted to make homemade cream cheese. This is another one of my favorite things to eat and I am going to share with you how to make cream cheese today all by yourself.

How to make Cream Cheese

Homemade Cream Cheese

Directions on How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

1. After making a great batch of yummy homemade yogurt in a slow cooker, take about 2 cups of yogurt and place in a colander lined with cheese cloth.

2. Let this drain for about 30 min. At this point you have Greek yogurt. Scrape the bottom of the cheese cloth to get up the curd on the bottom and mix it until it is smooth.

3. Leave the cheese cloth lined colander with the yogurt inside preferably in the fridge for about 8 – 12 hours.

4. I like really thick cream cheese, so I let it sit for 12. I tried to show you how thick it comes out by holding the spoon upside down in the picture. Then tada you have cream cheese. If you start with 2 cups you will end up with a little over a cup of cream cheese, which is one block that you normally purchase at the store.

If you were like me, I never knew cream cheese came from yogurt. I never thought I could learn how to make cream cheese. This homemade version is a little more tangy than what you are used to eating. Let this rest for about a week or so in the fridge to let some of the tangy taste fade. Mine will last for several weeks in the fridge without any issues. I haven’t had any go bad yet. I use organic milk which has a longer shelf life than normal milk, so I am sure if this is why the cream cheese lasts longer. I try not to keep it past the organic milks expiration date.

This homemade cream cheese tastes great with anything you would like to make with cream cheese, but you have to wait and not eat it right away. I am going to try to make my ultimate cheese pie using this cream cheese to see if it will taste better than store bought cream cheese. You can also try Lime and Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies. Are you excited now that you know how to make cream cheese? I know I was.

Check out my Homemade recipes page to find tons more homemade recipes to make. Follow my Pinterest board for more Homemade Recipe and Pantry Staples you can make at home Like me on Facebook to learn more about simple living.

What do you plan on doing with your homemade cream cheese?

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  1. A.MA.ZING! I never heard of making cream cheese yourself. It’s my #1 FAVORITE ALL-TIME ingredient and I’m sure I would love this. Pinning until I can make it. Congrats on being featured at Mop it up Monday. I was too – how fun is that??? Have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I love this idea! I’ve made yogurt at home in my crockpot for some time now, but it’s HIGH time I try cream cheese. My husband will be crazy about this $ saving way to get his favorite toast topper at home.

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  4. wow, this is so great to know, I always make Greek yogurt and never knew it would be cream cheese if I just left it longer. Thanks!

  5. The reason your organic milk lasts longer is because it’s ultra high temperature pasteurized which actually makes it a worthless product. Read Nourishing Traditions and don’twaste your money onUHT products.

  6. Thank you so much for the recipe and the exact directions.
    We”ve finished a batch of 3 quarts in 2 days and are going to keep making it on the regular basis.
    It’s great tasting and is so good for our health!!! And not that expensive,too.
    I’ve followed each step in your recipe exactly and it turned out perfect.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

  7. Has anyone tried making something like cheesecake from the cream cheese? Mine sat in cheesecloth overnight-abt 11-12 hrs and seems the consistency of spreadable cream cheese and not brick cream cheese.

    • Nicole I have not tried to make cheesecake with it yet. I did make some Strawberry Cheesecake popsicles with it. They were a big hit at my house.

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  13. I’m stoked that I found this recipe but am curious to know if it get as stiff as regular cream cheese. The reason I ask is because I bake cheesecakes VERY often and I question if this cream cheese will set when baked like Philadelphia. If so, I am sold!!! Anyone???

    • Angela, it makes a lighter, a bit more creamier cheesecake and it is very good. It sets up without any problems. This type of cream cheese is what is called Quark in Germany. Germans use Quark in much of the same way as cream cheese and sour cream. Growing up in Germany, I had many cheesecakes made this way. I also bake cheesecakes very often and I am now substituting half of the cream cheese in my regular cheesecakes. Cuts a lot calories and fat without sacrificing any of the delicious flavor.

  14. I am confused. Will homemade greek yogurt turn to cream cheese if I don’t eat it quick enough? Or is it because it is kept drained that it turns to cream cheese?. Therefore once draining is done for greek yogurt and put in container it stops it from turning to cream cheese?

    • If you strain the Yogurt for 24 hrs is turns into a cheese. It makes it really thick and spreadable. If you don’t drain it is still considered Greek yogurt.

  15. Good grief. I had no idea it could be so simple. Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from Create and Share. Pinned and following you there!

  16. A friend just sent me the link to your homemade yogurt recipe, I have my first batch in the slow cooker now, thanks!
    What you are making here is actually yogurt cheese or labneh. You can use it in place of cream cheese in most circumstances but they aren’t the same thing.
    A great way to use labneh is to marinate it in oil and herbs:
    Real cream cheese is made with a culture or cultured buttermilk and sometimes rennet. Here is a recipe without rennet
    Have you ever tried homemade ricotta? It is fun, easy and delicious!

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  20. I can NOT wait to give this a try!! Quick question though … I make Greek yogurt in my instant pot. Milk, sweetened condensed milk, and a Greek yogurt starter. Could I use this yogurt to make the cream cheese? If so would I start at hour direction that mentions Greek yogurt and continue on from there

    Thank you,

    • I am so glad you make your own Greek yogurt Amanda. The most important part is letting it set to drain for 12 hours. This makes a firm yogurt cheese. Please post pictures and tag me @mainlyhomemade or Use the hashtag #mainlyhomemade. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out!