Cream cheese is another one of those dairy products that we use a lot of at my house.
You can use it plain to spread on sourdough toast or English muffins.
You can flavor it sweet or savory to spread on crackers.
Or, you can use it for dips or frosting for things like my Pumpkin Poundcake or my Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls.
Or even for pin wheel roll ups or cheesecakes.
And especially for one of our favorite deserts, Cherry Cream Cheese Pie.
See, I told you. We use it a lot. 🙂
Homemade cream cheese from raw, grass-fed milk is nutrient dense, a good source of vitamins D and K2, calcium, and omega-3 fats.
And it’s just down-right tasty! As an added bonus, it freezes well. What more could you ask for?
OK, y’all, let’s step into the kitchen and make us some!
Pin for later
Homemade Cream Cheese
- 2 quarts whole milk (not ultra-high pasturized)
- 2 quarts heavy cream
- 1 package of cream cheese starter culture (this is the one I use) This starter culture has both the culture and the rennet in it.
- sea salt
- fresh herbs (optional)
- large non-reactive pot
- butter muslin
Culturing the milk
Put the milk and cream into the pot. Cover the pot and heat the milk to 86°.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Sprinkle the cream cheese starter culture over the top and allow to rehydrate for a minute or so.
Then stir the culture in well with an up and down motion to make sure it is disbursed through out. Don’t stir longer than 30 seconds.
Cover the pot and let it sit in a warmish (70° – 75°) spot to culture for 12 to 18 hours.
After the culturing time, the cheese should look like yogurt. Thick with some whey separating out.
Whey is a mostly clear liquid that can be anywhere from a light yellow to a dark green.
Straining the cheese
Now you need to put some butter muslin in a colander over a large bowl or over the sink. I usually double up my muslin.
Don’t try to use what they sell as cheesecloth now a days. That won’t do the job because the holes are too big.
Ladle or pour the cheese and whey into the butter muslin lined colander.
Pick up the corners of the muslin and carefully tie them in knots.
Now use the tied ends to hang the cheese so it can drain.
Let the cream cheese drain for 6 to 9 hours. The longer it drains, the drier it gets.
Once it’s to the consistency that you like in your cream cheese, put it into a bowl and add salt.
You can mix it in with a spoon or knead it in with your hands. It you are using fresh herbs like basil, mix them in now.
I like to separate it into different bowls and flavor it in different ways.
Store, covered, in the fridge for a week. I like to store mine in canning jars.
I’m sure that takes you all by surprise…lol.
I also freeze it in the canning jars. Just make sure you have about 2 inches of headspace so the jar doesn’t crack in the freezer.
I like to mix some pureed fruit into it to spread on stuff. I also like to add minced roasted garlic and chives.
It’s a pretty amazingly versatile cheese. What’s your favorite way to use cream cheese?
Hey Cery! This looks delicious and super easy! Do you happen to know if it would work with lactose-free milk? I’m lactose intolerant but I looove cream cheese 🙂
Hi Lauren! The information that I have found from my trusted cheese making sources tells me that mozzarella and ricotta work well with lactose free milk that has not been ultra pasteurized. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, those are the only 2 that are recommended. In this recipe, the cultures consume the lactose to provide the acidity needed for the curds to form, so I don’t think it would work. The good news is that ricotta and cream cheese are similar in texture so you could possibly use ricotta as a substitute for cream cheese in a recipe. The New England Cheesemaking Supply site has a kit to make mozzarella and ricotta that they have gotten good results with using lactose free milk. If you are interested you can follow this link https://www.cheesemaking.com/30-minute-mozzarella-ricotta-kit.html. I hope that helps!
Hi, where do you find heavy cream. All I can find is whipping cream. I can find table cream but that is ultrapasturized like so many products
Hi Jude! Whipping cream will work just fine in this recipe. Blessings!
Hi Cery, how much cream cheese does this make? I can’t wait to make this!!!!
Judy, this recipe yields 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of cream cheese. That may seem like a lot, but it freezes beautifully. 🙂
Thank you SO much for sharing your recipe and all the tips and info. I’m busy researching cheese making and any tips really help a lot. Kind regards, Joey (South Africa)
Hi Joey! I’m glad it was helpful to you. Thanks for stopping by!
Jennie Pratt says
Can you use the existing or frozen cream cheese as a starter culture to make more?
If the cream cheese you have says there are live cultures in it, then that would work as a starter. I’ve never tried using store bought as a culture though.
If you decide to give it a go, come back and let us know if it worked!
Can this be used for cheesecake?
This is great for cheesecake!
can I use a tablespoon of plain yogurt as the starter or a little bit of Philadelphia cream cheese?
Using yogurt will actually just give you more yogurt. And I haven’t checked, but I don’t think Philly has live cultures. If it does you can always give it a try.
Hi! I’ve been using my raw milk to make whey… by letting it sit out on the counter for 4-5 days. There is so much cream cheesey goodness made in the process that I am trying to figure out how to use. Will flavoring it with salt and herbs or salt and the fruits make it more palatable? Or is it the cream cheese starter that you speak of it that makes it more mild?
The starter makes is separate faster and that’s what causes it to be milder. But you can absolutely add salt and herbs or fruit to the natural “clabber” (weird word, right?) to make it more flavorful.
Hope that helps!
Oh yes! I’ve been looking for a cream cheese recipe and this one is the best one I’ve found! It was delicious, thank you!
I made this with plans to freeze it, but it didn’t last long enough lol my family devoured it!!!! So now I’m making another batch to freeze… do you know how long this can be frozen?
LOL I’m so glad your family enjoys it! I’m sure it will be fine in the freezer for at least 6 months, although I’m not 100% sure, because we use it pretty quickly as well.