Scientifically checked

Cream Cheese

By Kira Tessel
Updated on 28. Sep. 2020

Hardly any other dairy product is as versatile as cream cheese. Unlike other types of cheese, it does not need to mature and can be consumed fresh from the carton, and tastes delicious in sweet and savory recipes alike.

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Cream Cheese...

  • ...is a good source of protein. A small package of cream cheese contains about 5 grams of protein.
  • ...doesn't have to be high in fat. While cream cheese has a reputation as a high-fat food, many low vat varieties are now available in the supermarket.
  • ...helps keep bones and teeth strong. Depending on the type, 100 grams of cream cheese can contain up to 120 milligrams of calcium, an essential mineral for bone and tooth strength.
  • ...contains very little lactose. 100 grams of cream cheese contains on average 2-3.5 grams of lactose, making it one of the lowest-lactose cheese on the market. content of 2 - 3.5 grams. Those who are lactose intolerant can usually consume cream cheese without any side effects.
  • ...molds quickly. Once opened, pure cream cheese only lasts a few days, even in the refrigerator. The reason is the high water content (around 70 percent). More pasteurized, big-brand cream cheese generally stays fresh for substantially longer, up to a few weeks.

What You Should Know About Cream Cheese

Origins

The first mass-produced cream cheese comes from Chester, New York, where a dairyman named William A. Lawrence first began selling it in 1872.

Season

Cream cheese is available all year round.

Flavor

Cream cheese has a delicious, tangy flavor and smooth consistency.

Varieties

While cream cheese has a reputation for being a high-fat food, you can generally find reduced fat creem cheese in most grocery stores, which contain up to 1/3 less fat per serving. These lower-fat varieties generally have a less strong flavor than traditional whole fat cream cheese.

Find all our recipes with cream cheese here.

How Healthy is Cream Cheese?

Traditional cream cheese packs a huge punch of fat, with nearly 30 g in a small package (85 g). Reduced fat varieties tend to contain about a 1/3 less fat, which is still considerable. It's also high in calories, with nearly 300 calories in an 85 g serving. And while cream cheese is rich in calcium and protein, the health drawbacks do outweight these benefits. Ultimately it's best to keep cream cheese as a snack eaten in moderation than a diet staple.

CREAM CHEESE NUTRITIONAL INFO (FULL FAT) (85 g)  
Calories 298
Protein 5.2 g
Fat 29.27 g
Carbohydrates 4.7 g
Fiber 0 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Mass-produced cream cheese is available in any grocery store. Small-batch cream cheese has a more intense flavor, and is definitely worth seeking out. Local farmers markets or dairy farms should generally have it in stock.

Storage

Cream cheese should always be kept cold in the refrigerator. Leaving it out for even a few hours can lead to contamination and mold.

What To Make With Cream Cheese

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cream cheese. It makes a beatiful spread on bagels with smoked salmon, or even just on crackers, with some berries or herbs. Cream cheese can also be used to add flavor to an array of savory recipes, or even as a base for desserts such as cheesecake.

Scientifically checked by our EAT SMARTER experts
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