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4.72 from 52 votes

Cream Cheese From Scratch

Making your own Cream Cheese From Scratch is a lot easier than you’d think!
Course Cheese
Diet Gluten Free
Servings 3 8 oz servings
Author Tracy


  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 quart half and half*
  • 2 quarts heavy cream*
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  • Line a large sieve or colander a large cheesecloth and position over the sink or over a large bowl or pot if you plan to use the whey later. Be sure that your cheese cloth hangs quite a bit over the edges of the sieve - plenty for gathering when you drain.
  • Rinse a large pot with cold water. Add milk / creams and salt to the pot and heat over medium heat. Bring it all to a gentle simmer. Give the pot an occasional stir to ensure it's not burning.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and continue to simmer gently for a minute or two. Curds will begin to form and float to the top. They'll wont be as firm as curds from mozzarella, they'll be softer and cloud like. Once you start to see them form, turn off heat and let sit for another minute.
  • After a minute or two, using a slotted spoon, gently pull at the soft curds. When it starts to separate from the liquid, you can start scooping into the cheese cloth. You can also give it another minute or two to let the liquid become less cloudy.
  • Using a large slotted spoon, gently scoop the soft curds into the cheese cloth. If your curds are very soft, you can use a large spoon and scoop liquid too - it will just take longer to drain. See recipe notes.
  • Gather edges of the cheese cloth and suspend over kitchen faucet or just let drain in the cheese cloth lined sieve/colander. You can give the wrapped cheese cloth a gentle squeeze or release some of the whey. See recipe notes.
  • Let drain for at least an hour, but time to drain will depend on how well your curds formed and how much of the whey you added to your cheese cloth lined sieve/colander.
  • Gently open cheese cloth and turn cheese into a large bowl. If it seems a little loose still, that's ok it will thicken a little more in the fridge.
  • Store in fridge for about a week or in freezer for up to 2 months.


Yield: Approximately 1 1/2 lbs of cheese, or three 8 oz servings.
Half and Half and Heavy Cream - You can just use one gallon of whole milk, although then you'll really get more of a ricotta cheese than cream cheese. 
Heavy Cream - You can also just use half and half.
Lemon Juice - A bottled concentrate will also work fine.
Reduce Yield: To make a much smaller batch, you can cut amounts.  
1 cup Whole Milk
1 cup half and half 
2 cups heavy cream
5 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
This will make approximately 6 oz of cream cheese.
Use Leftover Whey
You can use the leftover whey to cook pasta, put in soups, or even bread!