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4.66 from 40 votes

Cream Cheese From Scratch

Making your own Cream Cheese From Scratch is a lot easier than you’d think!
Servings 1 lbs
Author Tracy


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


  • Line a large colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place in the sink or over a bowl if you want to save the whey. Wet the cheesecloth to hold it firmly in place.
  • Over medium-high heat, bring the milk/creams and salt to a gentle simmer in a heavy large pot. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to simmer gently until curds begin to form and float to the top, 1 to 2 minutes. They will first look like spatters of white, then gather into soft, cloud-like clumps.
  • When you see the liquid begin to clear of cloudiness and the curds are firming up but not hard, scoop them out with a slotted spoon or sieve. My liquid didn't really clear and my curds didn't really firm up so I just poured all of the liquid into the cheese cloth lined colander and a sieve. This seemed to work just as well, but it required draining over night. I let the sieve sit out covered with a cloth napkin and I gathered the ends of the cheese cloth and suspended it on the kitchen sink faucet to drain. My house is kept pretty cool at 55-60 degrees though so I had no problem leaving it out- if your house is pretty warm, I'd suggest suspending them in a cooler place if leaving overnight.
  • Let the curds drain thoroughly in the lined colander. If very soft, press gently to extract a little moisture, but take care not to dry out the cheese. Turn into a bowl, cover and chill.  Store in fridge up to a week.


Will yield approximately 1 1/4- 1 1/2 lbs of cheese.
*You can also replace the half and half and heavy cream and just use one gallon of milk, although then you'll really get more of a ricotta than cream cheese. 
"Cook to Cook: Rinsing the pot with cold water before pouring in the milk will save you some serious cleanup! The liquid whey can go into soups, stews and curries, and be used to cook pasta and rice." -Lynne Rossetto Kasper