Cream cheese is an American invention that dates back to 1872. Aside from being the key ingredient in cheesecake, the smooth, soft cheese is served with fruit, crackers, or on breads such as bagels. See more about vegetarian and vegan cream cheese alternatives below.
Cream cheese is made from cow's milk and is considered an unripened (fresh) cheese and by definition, must contain at least 33 % milkfat. The cream cheese product is available in full fat, low-fat, or light. A similar product is Neufchatel cheese, which is lower in fat (about 23%). There is also a spreadable version, which is simply whipped cream cheese, which gives the product a light, easy-to-spread texture.
The most well-known American brand is Philadelphia Cream Cheese, whose roots date back to 1873. The brand is now owned by Kraft Foods.
If you need an alternative to cream cheese, you can use:
Equal parts of cottage cheese, drained, blended with half-and-half or cream + a little butter
metric conversions →
There are many alternatives to cow's milk cream cheese, and the best substitution will depend on how you intend to use the ingredient. Here are a couple of the most common uses for cream cheese and the best replacement for each:
The classic frosting for carrot cake is cream cheese mixed with butter, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla.
Brand: Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese: Pasteurized nonfat milk and milkfat, cheese culture, whey protein concentrate, salt, stabilizers (xanthan and/or carob bean and/or guar gums).
I don't know about you, but there are many times a recipe calls for softened cream cheese, and I invariably forget to pull it out of the refrigerator. You can soften cream cheese quickly by placing it in a microwave-safe dish, microwave on high for 15 seconds. If you have an older microwave, it may take a few seconds more, but just keep heating 2-3 seconds at a time. Use the cream cheese and any accumulated whey in your recipe.
Need to convert cream cheese from cups to grams or grams to cups?
2 tablespoons of cream cheese are 99 calories