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4.80 from 72 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
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Drain and Chill time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 oz
Calories 177kcal
Author Tracy


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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. Heat to approximately 165°-170° F, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and continue for a minute or two. Curds will begin to form and float to the top and the milk/cream will begin to simmer a bit and a gentle foam will start to form. Soft curds will start to form, but they won't be as firm as curds from mozzarella, they'll be much softer and cloud-ike. Once you start to see them form, turn off heat and let it sit for another minute and then remove from heat.
  • Let sit for 2 minutes and then use a large spoon to gently scoop curds into the cheesecloth, and then slowly and gently pour the rest of the curds/whey into the cheesecloth. Note: The curds will often seem very soft and cloud-like and it may seem like they're not scoopable. If that's the case, just gently pour into the cheesecloth and allow to drain.
  • Gather edges of the cheesecloth and suspend over kitchen faucet or just let drain in the cheesecloth lined sieve/colander. You can give the wrapped cheesecloth a gentle squeeze or release some of the whey. See recipe notes.
  • Let drain for at least an hour and up to four.
  • 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 as it chills.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap or add to an air tight container and let cool for at least 2-4 hrs, this will help it thicken.
  • Store in fridge for about a week or in freezer for up to 2 months.


Nutritional Value: Approximately per oz.
Yield: Approximately 12-13 oz.
Half and Half and Heavy Cream - You can just use all 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, or use any mixture of half and half and cream. 
Total milk/cream should be about 4 cups.  If you only have 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, you can use more half and half, and vice versa, just be sure to use at least 4 cups and that at least a majority of it is half and half or heavy cream, this is what will make it more spreadable like cream cheese vs. ricotta.
Lemon Juice - Bottled concentrate will also work fine.
Use Leftover Whey
You can use the leftover whey to cook pasta, put in soups, or even bread! 


Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 688IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1mg