Simple recipe and process for making tangy, fresh house-made cream cheese. Ready in just one day!

house-made cream cheese and bagel chips

I know it’s incredibly easy to grab a package of cream cheese in the dairy department of your grocers.

But have you noticed, they aren’t as tangy and rich and they used to be?  The texture isn’t quite creamy enough, or it has a bit of grit left in it?

Other than the most expensive brand name cream cheese, I find that most others fall far short of what I expect from my cream cheese.

One day I just got tired of substandard taste and decided to try my hand at making my own house-made cream cheese.

And by researching articles on the internet and some trial-and-error (and I had a few of those!), I’ve come up with a process that produces a lovely, tangy and smooth house-made cream cheese that’s way over-the-top!

The secret ingredient is either lemon juice or white/cider vinegar.  I tried all three methods, and here’s what I thought of each version:

  1. Lemon Juice – this produced the best tasting version, with a tang that was just perfect, but it produced less curds that could be whipped into cream cheese
  2. White/Cider Vinegar – both cider and white vinegar gave much larger and more curds, but needed more salt to produce a nicely flavored house-made cream cheese


Here’s why this works: the milk and acid ingredients create a reaction which curdles the cheese. Then it’s just the process of straining the cheese from the whey, and what I have left is the beginnings of cream cheese.

After blending thoroughly, I transfer the mix to a covered crock and keep in the refrigerator.  It’s great for baking and cooking too! 


You can’t make house-made cream cheese and not make some fabulous bagel chips to go with it, right?

I feature this recipe with homemade “better” bagel chips that are so simple to make, but are so much more tasty that bagged chips.better bagel chips in basket with box of butter

Check out this fab post and get the recipes for:

  • Better Bagel Chips
  • House-Made Cream Cheese
  • Garlic Gorgonzola Spread
  • Crunchy Vegie and Cream Cheese Bagel Chips
  • Pomegranate or Balsamic Syrup Drizzled Fruit and Cream Cheese Bagel Chips

CLICK THIS LINK TO READ THE POST:  Better Bagel Chips with House-Made Cream Cheese & Spreads

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house-made cream cheese and bagel chips

House-Made Cream Cheese

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This fresh and tangy cream cheese is just perfect shmeared on a bagel or used as the base for a flavorful spread. It's easy and fun to make your own house-made cream cheese!


  • 6 cups whole, full-fat milk
  • 3-4 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice (strained of pulp) OR 3 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp. kosher salt (to taste)


    1. Heat the milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the milk comes to a full simmer.
    2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the lemon juice or vinegar, 1 Tbsp. at a time. Wait about 1 minute between additions, stirring constantly.
    3. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture starts to curdle. Keep stirring until the mixture has completely separated into curds and whey. Remove from heat. It should have curds floating on top of a greenish-tinted liquid.
    4. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and suspend it over a large bowl. Pour the curds into the sieve. Let it remain in sieve to drain and cool for 20 minutes.
    5. Move the cooled curds to a food processor and pulse until the curds break down and begin to form a smooth mixture. Continue to process until the cream cheese is smooth and no longer has any grainy texture remaining.
    6. Remove cream cheese and place in a bowl. Add kosher salt and taste, adding more to suit your tastes. If you're making a flavored cream cheese, add the ingredients at this stage, stirring them into the cheese.
    7. Store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 10-14 days.


Vinegar will yield a larger amount of curds. Lemon juice gives a fresher, and more tangy final product.

Nutrition Information
Yield 25 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 32Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 5mgSodium 147mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 2g
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