5-Minute Homemade Cream Cheese

I never thought of the possibility of making cream cheese at home until I came face to face with the much discussed cream cheese shortage of 2021

Because of this shortage, Kraft, the maker of Philadelphia cream cheese, was offering $20 to people to find an alternative to using cream cheese around the holidays. Twenty dollars not to make your favorite cheesecake?

Well, I thought, there must be a way to make cream cheese at home. You know, take things into our own hands and bypass the shortage altogether.

And, lo and behold, there is!

To get started, I relied on two cream cheese recipes: Gemma’s at Bigger Bolder Baking and Rifika’s at Rafika’s Kitchen.  By taking something from each of these recipes, I was able to get a nice whipped homemade cream cheese.

But would it taste like Philadelphia cream cheese? — that was my biggest concern. Because some things are just so seared into our tastebuds as the standard, that sometimes homemade doesn’t seem to live up to store-bought.  

So How Does It Taste?

It’s still delicious, but it tastes much more like fresh milk than the original. And it doesn’t have as much acidity as the Philadelphia — it’s missing that tanginess that I associate with cream cheese. I’m guessing that if it were made with vinegar rather than lemon juice it would have a more pronounced tanginess to it. 

It’s also less salty, so you could bump up the salt content a smidgen to get a more pronounced salt flavor. 

In terms of consistency, or texture, it’s more grainy than the original. But, all-in-all, still delicious and well worth making if you’re experiencing a cream cheese shortage!

Homemade cream cheese in a blue and white dish.

Homemade 4-Ingredient Cream Cheese

Here's how you can make fresh cream cheese at home.
4.20 from 10 votes
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Blending 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Condiments
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 115 kcal


  • food processor


  • 4 C. whole milk
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter


  • In a large saucepan bring the milk to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice in 1 tablespoon at a time stirring between additions. The milk will begin to curdle and separate.
  • When the whey is clear, with a slotted spoon strain the curds into a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Drain for 2-3 minutes.
  • Place the hot curds to the food processor, add salt. Blend for 1 minute.
  • Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, add the butter. Blend for 3-4 minutes or until smooth.
  • Serve immediate or store chilled in an air-tight container for 3-5 days.


This recipe was inspired by Bigger Bolder Baking and Rafika’s Kitchen


Calories: 115kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 324mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 318IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 179mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cream cheese, dairy, Homemade, milk, spread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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