Homemade Cream Cheese

in Breakfast, DIY, Sides

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

Things that are close to my heart:

1. A Colombian emerald ring my grandma gave me

2. Amelia’s toes (bc they’re so chubby!)

3. My pager from childhood. My most used pager codes: 143, 80085, 123

4. A sweet note Joshua wrote me a few weeks ago

5. All carbs. Especially bagels.

So naturally, cream cheese is also very important to me. I’ve been wanting to make homemade cream cheese 4evrrrrr. I’m so glad I finally bought da stuff and decided to do it. It definitely took me a few times to get it exactly right. I ended up buying this animal rennet from Amazon. They also have vegetable rennet.

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese_5

I also bought cheesecloth off of Amazon because yes to anything that can be delivered right to my door.

There are plenty of things that I think are silly to make homemade. Cream cheese IS NOT ONE OF THEM. The texture is a million times better than the cream cheese you buy at the grocery store. It’s so much smoother, lighter, creamier. The main difference is that store-bought cream cheese usually has a gum listed in the ingredients (guar gum, xanthm gum, etc.) which means it’s a lot thicker and denser. Well, not this one.

It’s so good that I probably won’t ever go back to store-bought cream cheese ever again.

One thing I’m SUPER excited about is what I’m doing with the leftover whey. Be sure to save it. We’re gonna put it in something delicious.

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

Homemade Cream Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 16 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups of cream cheese

Homemade Cream Cheese


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk (ultra-pasteurized is ok!)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 drops liquid vegetable or animal rennet, dissolved into 2 tablespoons of water


  1. In a large pot, combine heavy cream, whole milk, buttermilk and salt. Heat to 75 degrees F. (Warm to the touch.)
  2. Mix in rennet being sure it’s evenly distributed. Cover with clean kitchen towel and allow to stand in place that’s 75 degrees for 14 hours. Just a heads up, I tried this once during the day and once at night. No surprise that the batch that sat for 14 hours during the day was MUCH better. It was just warmer and was overall a better environment for the cream cheese.
  3. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth; and then nestle it over a large bowl. Pour the cream/milk mixture into the cheesecloth and allow it to strain, on its own (don’t work it through), for about 4 hours to 5 hours. When it's completely drained, the final product should be a creamier, smoother and lighter version of cream cheese that you're probably used to. It keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks.


Save the whey! We're gonna do something cool with it next week.


{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren @ Lauren Caris Cooks June 24, 2015 at 3:17 am

Awesome! I never knew how to make cream cheese, it’s just something I’ve never thought of doing myself but it seems so easy! And if the result is as good as you say… it’s definitely worth it!


Tori@Gringalicious.com June 24, 2015 at 4:01 am

This is such an inspiration. Cream cheese is very expensive where I live so knowing how to make it would be wonderful!


Elle Bloggs June 24, 2015 at 5:50 am

This is far easier than I was anticipating – I worried it would be a real painstaking process but seems like it could be do-able even for me!



molly yeh June 24, 2015 at 7:18 am

whoa this is so cool. i’ve always considered cream cheese to be one of those magical objects that can only be factory made and store-bought (i used to think this about marshmallows too!), but now i have to try this, i’m so intrigued!


Adrianna Adarme June 24, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Same and marshmallows are also one of those things that are way better homemade!


Kait June 24, 2015 at 8:54 am

If I’m using vegetable rennet tabs, what’s the conversion from liquid drops?


Adrianna Adarme June 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm

I did some googling and this is the conversion that I found:

The conversion is 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet = 1/4 vegetable rennet tablet.


RLT June 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm

But your measurement is drops. How much liquid is in your “drop?” I too use the tablets.


JC June 24, 2015 at 9:13 am

Wow. Do you think this can be used for baking or just for spreading on toast/bagel?


Adrianna Adarme June 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Hmm…not sure completely since I haven’t baked with this but I personally wouldn’t bake with it because it’s just too good on its own.


Greg June 24, 2015 at 10:15 am

Do you have any recommendations on where to store the mixture at 75 degrees in a typical household? During summer, we keep the house cooler than 75 degrees and well under that in the winter. Looking forward to trying the recipe. Thanks!


Adrianna Adarme June 24, 2015 at 10:01 pm

I turned on the oven to 200 degrees F and put the cream cheese mixture on top of the stove (in the pot), covered it and it worked! It did take a bit longer (around 16 hours) but it was great.


Billy June 24, 2015 at 10:39 am



Eileen June 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Such a cool idea! I’ve never made cream cheese at home, but now I think I definitely need to try it out. :)


stuart b. June 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Being quite lactose intolerant, I have been unable to find lactose free heavy cream or buttermilk. But, I have found plenty of lactose free Half & Half and yogurt (unsweetened and unflavored with live cultures as a substitute for buttermilk). What do you think about using only the Half & Half as a sub for both the heavy cream and the whole milk. I would also use the yogurt in place of the butter milk. What do you think? I already make ricotta, Paneer and quark.


Adrianna Adarme June 24, 2015 at 10:02 pm

Hmmm…interesting. Not sure, it definitely will be a bit different. I imagine not as thick, not as tangy, not like cream cheese? But you’ll definitely end up with something interesting. If you try it, let us know how it goes!


Tracey June 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm

I’m also curious about the 75 degrees. We try to keep our house between 76 & 80 during the summer (outside is well over 100 most days) and the winter it rarely gets above 74. What happens if it doesn’t stay at 75 degrees? So excited to make cream cheese at home :)


Adrianna Adarme June 24, 2015 at 9:09 pm

A really good option is to put the oven on 200 degrees F and set the bowl on the stove. I did that for the overnight version and it took a bit longer (around 16 hours) but it still worked!


Tracey June 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm

That would be a great idea but I have a cooktop and oven that are separate :( Could I put it inside my yogurt maker or would that be too warm? Any ideas on why it needs to be 75 degrees? I’m wondering if the temp messes with the length of the process. For instance, does it take longer at lower temps?


Adrianna Adarme June 25, 2015 at 9:31 am

Ahh I see. The importance re: the temperature is that the good bacterias from the buttermilk need a warm environment to do their thing, much like when you make yogurt. The temperature absolutely affects the time it will take. If you had a colder environment, it would take probably 16 to 18 hours. You could also put the pilot light on in your oven and stick the pot in the oven. (I wouldn’t cover it with a towel in this instance, but instead a lid for the pot.) It should be about 80 degrees in the oven with the pilot light on.


Tracey June 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm

THANKS! I’m so excited to try this :)

CHRISTINE June 25, 2015 at 2:38 am

It is possible to use charcoal jiko for baking?


CHRISTINE June 25, 2015 at 2:50 am

Hope this homemade one will be cheaper for me than the shop one


FoA June 25, 2015 at 2:54 am

Very nice. I will try it at home


Mary Frances June 25, 2015 at 6:52 am

This looks fabulous! I love the idea of fresh homemade cream cheese that’s so natural without all the fillers.


John June 25, 2015 at 8:55 am

What a cool recipe! I love being able to know exactly what is in my food and this allows me to do that with this kind of cheese that I love so much.


Leslie Rossi June 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

YUM! I had no idea you would make your own cream cheese. I also love carbs! I secretly love bread baskets at restaurants and no meal is complete without bread!



Cynthia Bliss June 26, 2015 at 4:19 pm

This has got to be more EXPENSIVE than store bought cream cheese. You have to buy 2cups of cream and 2cups of milk plus the rennet and cheese cloth. And the time that it takes you to make it. Plus you left your oven on for 16 hrs., what about the electricity cost?
How much did you end up getting in the end?
Here where I live store brand cream cheese goes for about $2.00 for 8ozs.


Stephanie June 28, 2015 at 11:36 am

I am a cream cheese freak! I never thought about making it myself, though. It doesn’t seem like it’s that hard, either.

Thanks for sharing!



Jem June 28, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Can you further explain in depth the purpose and uses of gums in store-bought cream cheese? What are they made of and why are they bad to consume?

-Curious, Cream Cheese Lover


Adrianna Adarme June 28, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Guar gum is usually the thickener and stabilizer that’s used in cream cheese. I don’t think it’s like the worst thing in the world for you (we consume them all the time in all sorts of foods). Here’s more info on it:


I like this cream cheese not necessarily because “it’s better for me.” It more has to do with loving the texture without the gums. This is much lighter and fluffier, while store-bought cream cheese is a whole lot more dense.


Roxi June 30, 2015 at 7:34 am

What about fat free?


Adrianna Adarme June 30, 2015 at 8:29 pm

That sounds sad. :(


layla July 1, 2015 at 9:58 am

have you ever simply drained yogurt thru cheese cloth? its almost exactly like cream cheese and much easier and cheaper :-)


Adrianna Adarme July 1, 2015 at 10:56 am

Yes! It’s called lebneh! Very delicious but it tastes super different from cream cheese, in my cheese-loving opinion. 😉


layla July 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm

It may depend on the type of yogurt. I only had it in Egypt and it tastes the same to me. Perhaps the yogurt used is less tangy, I do add a bit of salt though. I also adore cheeses 😀 I hope I get the chance to try your recipe soon :-) thanks


Sue Sheriff July 16, 2015 at 11:27 am

I love homemade food and I also offten make cream cheese at home. Thank for your share. it ‘s very helpful.


Tammi T December 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

I have a yogurt machine. Could I just put the mixture into THAT machine for the 14 hours or so?


Adrianna Adarme December 7, 2015 at 8:28 am

In theory this would totally work. I’m just not sure because I obviously haven’t done it but I really don’t see why not.


Etiennette Fennell February 2, 2016 at 11:54 pm

Animal or vegetable culture can be replaced by lemon juice. I have tried it and it worked very well. The milk should be brought up to about 70 degrees.


Adrianna Adarme February 3, 2016 at 11:17 am

Oh this is awesome. Thanks so much for reporting back!


Linda February 3, 2016 at 9:02 am

Is the vegetable or animal rennet absolutely necessary? What would happen if I left that out?


Adrianna Adarme February 3, 2016 at 11:16 am

It is necessary or else you’ll end up with clotted cream. The person above tried it with lemon juice and had luck! I’ve made goat cheese (it’s in my new book) with lemon juice and it works great, just not sure about cream cheese because I haven’t tested it. But if you give it a try, please report back!


Linda February 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Ok thank you!


EileenD May 16, 2016 at 12:13 pm

I am just exploring the magic of internet – it is amazing – imagine making our own cream cheese – then quark?

I’m from an age and environment where we made our butter, and buttermilk was our beverage of choice with a delicious dinner of freshly dug potatoes, cabbage with slatherings of ‘country butter’. Soda farls were basic – and delicious.

I look forward to learning the ‘new/old’ methods from so many people. thanks in advance. EDXXX


EileenD May 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm

‘ awaiting moderation’ – what does this mean?. ED


Bill Godwin August 6, 2016 at 3:32 pm

I followed the directions …perfectly. After 12 hours….nothing. Any ideas on what went wrong?


Karen September 10, 2016 at 9:39 am

Hmm I don’t think mine is working: it looks like it didn’t “separate” ie what’s draining thru the cheesecloth and colander looks very like what is left behind….doesn’t look like watery whey, looks more homogenous and consistent. Wonder where I went wrong? Smells great tho’!


Adrianna Adarme September 10, 2016 at 11:29 am

Hmmm…the only thing I can think of is that perhaps it wasn’t warm enough? Did you do it overnight? Because sometimes there’s a draft at night.


Karen September 10, 2016 at 11:32 am

Started it yesterday morning, so it did sit overnight.


Adrianna Adarme September 10, 2016 at 11:42 am

I would let it keep going today for a bit longer, put it in a warm place in your home. Not directly in the sun but definitely near the sun! That should do the trick.


Karen September 10, 2016 at 11:44 am

Maybe I didn’t put enough layers of cheesecloth?


Adrianna Adarme September 10, 2016 at 11:46 am

That could be it too. So if you have more cheesecloth, I’d restrain it and put everything, whey, curds everything in a bowl and then pour it through more layers of cheesecloth and let is sit and see if that helps.


Brian September 10, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Do you know of any issues with using powdered buttermilk (reconstituted of course) instead of buying BM from the grocery store?


Dann September 17, 2016 at 6:07 am

I am also wondering about reconstituted buttermilk as well!!


Adrianna Adarme September 18, 2016 at 2:03 pm

i’ve never tried it. something tells me it might not work but who knows. i’d give it a whirl if you have some on hand!


michelle LaFayette November 28, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Hi if I may, I’m to cheap to buy cheesecloth, it’s a one and done. I have no use for that. I have come across dollar store plain white cotton pillow cases, 2 to a pack I cut them down on the sides, so one pillow case gives me two cotton pieces. with the two I have four. I have used these for years in cheese making and they wash beautifully and don’t cost me much. Also I’m able to press them better due to the closer weave. LUV EM.


Adrianna Adarme November 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

aewsome tip! thanks for sharing!


Dena Kanner January 5, 2017 at 7:38 pm

How does the taste compare to, say, Philadelphia brand?


Adrianna Adarme January 6, 2017 at 12:12 am

I would say a lot fluffier and lighter in texture. The flavor/tartness is similar…but better!


Dena Kanner January 7, 2017 at 6:21 am

Then I’m going to try it because I’m soon going to be moving to a country, Ecuador, where the cream cheese is awful!


Adrianna Adarme January 8, 2017 at 10:46 pm

This is great for Ecuador then! :)


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