You won’t believe how easy it is to make your own cream cheese. Perfect for all of your low carb and keto cheesecake recipes!
Little Miss Muffett, sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Who among us doesn’t know that nursery rhyme off by heart? I must have said that one over and over as a kid, but like the words of the Canadian Anthem in French, I didn’t exactly know what it meant. What the heck is a tuffet? And what are curds and whey, they sound utterly dreadful! Along the way somewhere, I found out what curds and whey were, but they still sounded dreadful. Clumpy cheese in some sort of watery, milky liquid? Um, no thanks. I think I will stick with your basic Cheddars and Monterey Jacks.
It wasn’t until just now that it occurred to me to look up the word “tuffet”. According to the almighty Wikipedia, it’s a kind of low footstool covered in cloth. I always imagined it as some sort of outdoor thing, like a little grass-covered mound or the stump of a tree. I envisioned Little Miss Muffett sitting outside under a tree from which the spider descended. I’ve read my fair share of English Lit classics and tuffet always seemed to go along with words like “heath” and “moors” and “hillock”. Words that conjure up images of a lonely, windswept English countryside with a single imposing stone house lording over it. With turrets, the house must of course have turrets. Turrets, tuffets…you can see where I am going with this, right?
I am now much more familiar with curds and whey. I am not about to sit down and eat a bowl of the stuff, but I know what both are and how to use them to advantage. And I’ve made my own yogurt and my own butter. It was time to step it up a notch and start making my own cheese. Which means making my own curds and whey, and then draining the whey away. A-whey!
I got this bee in my bonnet about a week ago and I googled how to make cream cheese. I came across a recipe from the Splendid Table and it seemed easy enough, so I gathered my cream, half and half, and milk, and away (a-whey?) we went. Except that as I was in the middle of it, I realized that the instructions from The Splendid Table were rather vague. Oh, and it said to gently simmer on medium-high heat. I don’t know about your stove, but on mine, medium-high usually results in a full boil. It did come to a boil, which I caught rather quickly and turned the heat down. I was so unsure of myself in the middle of the process that started looking up other resources. I found instructions for making ricotta, which said clearly to NOT boil the cream mixture. Uh oh. I also was worried that my curds weren’t forming properly so I added some vinegar. By the time I was scooping out my curds, I was quite certain this wasn’t going to work at all.
But I am happy to report that making cream cheese is quite a forgiving process! Once the whey drained out, I was left with a beautiful creamy cheese that tasted far better than any storebought version. I can’t believe how well it worked and I’ve corrected the instructions to reflect what I did, so that you can have the same results. This stuff is so good and it makes quite a lot (I think I got about 1 ¼ lbs of cream cheese out of the deal). We’ve been spreading it on everything. My husband used some to make his wonderful Boursin (recipe here) and I used a large amount of it to make some gorgeous mini pumpkin cheesecakes (recipe to come in a few days). And it was so easy, I am not sure I will ever buy cream cheese again.
Want to make more of your own cheese? Check out this recipe for Easy Homemade Ricotta from Texanerin Baking.
Homemade Cream Cheese
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon white vinegar
- Line 2 medium sieves with cheesecloth or cotton tea towels and place over bowls.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, half and half, milk and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently.
- Stir in the vinegar and continue to simmer until cream mixture separates and curds appear and float to the top. Curds will begin to clump together.
- Remove from heat. Scoop out curds with a slotted spoon and divide between lined sieves. When you are getting to the bottom of the pan and it's hard to scoop them out, feel free to pour all of the mixture into the sieves.
- Let drain until whey is removed, at least 4 hours. This is faster if you divvy the curds up into two sieves, as opposed to one. You can also hang the cheesecloth/tea towels filled with curds to encourage it to drain faster.
- Once curds have the consistency of room temperature cream cheese, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
- Keeps for about 1 week.
Clare Forshaw says
Thank you so much for this! We are living in Portugal now and cream cheese is hard to come by (except in very tiny packages!). I met you when you came to Toronto and have all your books, signed!!!
Just a quick question, dobrou think it would be possible to keep the way and dehydrate it? I cannot find unflavoured whey protein here anywhere and don’t want my lemon and blueberry cake to have hints of chocolate!
Thanks so much for all you do!
Clare Forshaw says
Sorry for the spelling issues. I have a very aggressive spellcheck!
“Do you think it is possible to keep the whey?…”
still cannot get any real curd development after adding the vinegar – approximately how long should it simmer before one sees curds (vs porridge texture)
Have made the Cream Cheese recipe several times & even allowing the mixture to simmer as long as 15-20 minutes I have never seen separation or curds developed – the mix resembles a semi thick porridge at best. What am I missing?
What kind of pan are you using?
So this mysteriously turns from curds to cream cheese consistency? No blending in food processor?
As it drains, the added liquid disappears and the curds come together into a smooth cheese.
What do you main hafe and hafe
Half and half is a north american product, meaning half cream, half milk, homogenized to make a great coffee cream.
Have you ever tried freezing the homemade cr.cheese?
No, sorry, I have not.
Jane Jouraida says
Hi, I was so happy to find this recipe BUT the vinegar just didnt do its magic and it didnt separate! Any idea why? I added some lemon juice to give it a boost and that didnt work so…..I ended up tipping it all away. I did taste it first and the vinegar taste was very strong! A total fail for me but I often make Ricotta so where did i go wrong???
I am lactose intolerant and I was wondering if I can use Lactose Free Whole Milk? If yes, do I use the same amount of liquid as stated in your recipe? Thank you.
I honestly have no idea, I have never used it and don’t know if it will curdle like regular milk.
What could be used in place of the half and half?
Nevermind. I see that someone already asked this question above, and you answered.
Veena Ramachandran says
This may sound strange to you but back in India, “curd” exclusively means yoghurt. Haha. It’s so funny how there are these little differences across the globe. : )
Homemade cream cheese sounds SO Healthy and delectable!
Isn’t this priceythough? On sale, Philly cream cheese is two for three dollars Am I missing something?
Do as you wish. I enjoy making my own and knowing I am getting real cream cheese, without additives.
Oh, no, don’t get me wrong, I’m with you on wanting to know what’s really in your food! Just curious how much per pound you would spend to make it, is all… I want to try it now!
I have a local creamery where I can buy a half gallon of cream for $7 so that helps. If you can source less expensive cream, I think this would be somewhat more expensive but not wildly so. A whole recipe of this makes more than a pound of cream cheese and you use milk and half and half too.
do you think this would turn out using only half and half?
It should, since it’s made from whole milk and heavy cream. But there might be something in the homogenization of half and half that affects it. Try a half-batch and see!
Ashley j says
Can you freeze this??
Yes, but like any cream cheese, it’s going to change in texture a bit when you thaw it.
About how much cream cheese will this recipe yield? 8 ounces? 16 ounces? I’d love to try it.
It makes a lot. I weighed it last time and the full recipe makes about 1 pound, 12 ounces of cream cheese. 28 ounces!