How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

Making your own cream cheese is so freaking easy to do. And it’s one of the first things you need to learn how to do, in order to have your own supply of liquid whey, which is needed to make your own fermented drinks and food.

First off, watch this video to get a good idea of what to do. This video is where I learned how to do this, she gives you everything you need to know. She’s my guru.

You MUST only do this with RAW MILK. It will not work with regular, pasteurized milk. Raw milk sours and is still very good for you to consume, pasteurized milk goes bad. Check out this page for more info about the benefits of drinking raw milk. If you are local, you can get raw milk from New Leaf Market. You must ask for it and they go and get it for you from the back. It has a sticker on it that says For Pet Consumption Only. Do not be alarmed, its the farmers way of not being held liable to the FDA.

First you pour your sour milk into a container, or just leave it the milk container it came in, and set it on the counter to clabber (it’s your vocab word for the day!) for 24 to 48 hours. If your milk is not sour to start out with, it will take much longer. Keep your eye on it. When it’s thick and chunky, it’s ready.

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese

Then you pour the chunky, clabbered sour milk into a clean (with non-toxic detergent), rag and tie it up with a string or rubber band. Then you hang the rag up somehow, I just hooked the rubber band over a cabinet door knob, and let the liquid drip out into a bowl. In Nourishing Traditions, they have a crazy picture of the rag tied to a wooden spoon held over a glass pitcher…but this is MUCH easier.

What drips out is whey. Once the dish rag is done dripping, you open it up and you what’s left over is cream cheese! Every time I do it, the cheese tastes a little different and the consistency is different, so don’t be alarmed if yours doesn’t look like mine or Sarah’s.

You can eat it plain, but its a little too different than store bought for me to eat it straight, but I like it with strawberries or nuts and a little maple syrup with a slice of bread. I also use it plain in baking and cooking when a recipe calls for cream cheese or ricotta cheese. Delish!

Then you bottle up the whey, I use a mason jar, label it and put it the fridge. It will last about 6 months in the fridge.

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  • Jennifer
    January 10, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    I made a huge batch of yogurt in my crockpot one time using a half gallon of homogenized organic whole milk. It was so much yogurt that I had to find another use for it and found that I could make cream cheese out of it too. I strained it overnight and it was awesome. I was able to save the whey also and use it for several things. I agree, homemade cream cheese is amazing!!

  • Stephanie
    January 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Hey Jennifer!

    I am going to start making yogurt soon, my new yogurt maker is on its way. I had heard that you can make cheese and whey from yogurt but I forgot, thanks for the reminder!

  • Cassandra
    January 12, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Cassandra
    January 12, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    I screwed up previously. You bottle up the whey and that lasts for 6 months correct? Sealed, like for canning, or just regular old lid on jar? What about the cream cheese?

  • Stephanie
    January 12, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    Hey Cassandra! Yes, I just use a mason jar and put the lid on like normal, no canning procedure to seal it. I take the lid off and on all the time as I go to use the whey in recipes.

  • Cassandra
    January 12, 2011 at 2:49 AM

    What about the cream cheese? Would freezing keep it longer?

  • Stephanie
    January 12, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    According to Nourishing Traditions, the cream cheese will last about a month in the fridge. I never seem to keep it that long, because I use it up, so can't vouch for the statement, but I am sure its right.

    Not sure how it would taste after freezing…if you try let me know!

  • Seminole Sitters, LLC
    January 13, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    This is really neat – thanks!

  • beingconformed
    May 29, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Love the post, but am confused. You mention watching a video, but I can't seem to find a link. Am I missing something? And to Cassandra, I have kept raw milk-based products for up to 3 months without having a problem. I've heard that freezing can cause them to lose some of the nutrient value, but can't cite a specific source for that info.

    Thanks for a great post and hopefully for a link to the video. 🙂


  • Amy
    July 27, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    I just started making kefir with kefir grains and have been straining the kefir to make it thick like your talking about. I don't have easy access to raw milk, but I got some and OMG did the kefir grains grow like mad! Sadly I am back to regular milk right now, but plan to hopefully gt some more soon.

  • Stephanie
    July 28, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    Amy, that sucks you don't have easy access to raw milk. I think about that all the time when I go buy my raw milk from our local natural foods co-op. I know that others are not as lucky as I.

  • Carolyn
    December 12, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    I learned how to make yogurt and cream cheese from powdered milk in the slow cooker from this blog: She has a video tutorial & a free printable handout. It took some experimenting, but it is awesome!

  • Patty
    January 29, 2012 at 6:17 AM

    OH, how I wish I had all this information when my girls were growing up. They will both be graduating High School this year, but I’m still going to make the cream cheese for baking and do the month of meals…I’m trying to get rid of all the preservatives and processed foods in our house due getting VERY sick. If you don’t have your health, you really don’t have much!
    Thank you for being such a blessing!

  • Gabi
    January 31, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Hi, I am from Romania and I found your blog when I was looking for some recipes for babies. We do this kind of chees for the babies and not only…We call it “cow chees” and give it to our babies when introducing dairy product in their diet. The difference is that we keep it in that rag longer, so the chees has a more solid consistency. We also use to cook the milk first, and when is close to boiling point, we add gluconic calcium or lemon juice in order to coagulate the milk into chees. That is because our concerne is that the raw milk might not be very safe for babies, but that way, all milk’s properties and beneffits will be reduced. I will make chees with raw milk when my baby will be a little bit older. We mix this chees with vegetables. Some moms are mixing it also with fruits, but I am not agree with mixing fruits with anything…
    You can try it also with goat milk, or sheep, if like, but the smell is stronger and the chees will have a higher % of fat, of course, but is very tasty too…

  • Jaime Kiser
    February 11, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    Any idea how to make this non-dairy/non-soy? The only milk I can have is Almond and bagels just aren’t the same without cream cheese.

    • Stephanie
      February 12, 2012 at 3:24 AM

      So glad you said non-soy too! I do not know this for sure, but I am pretty sure you can make this from Almond milk, if you render the almond milk yourself (unpasturized). Let me know if you try it and how it goes!

  • Erin
    September 24, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Mmm, sounds so good. I wish I could get some good local milk in my area. I’ve looked and most places are pretty out-of-the-way for me. Perhaps in the future I’ll be able to find some in my local grocery store–that would be fantastic! I’m on the lookout anyway, since I just got a kit for making mozzarella and ricotta, and it requires unpasteurized milk. We shall see.

  • MaryAnn
    October 2, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    I just received my copy of Nourishing Traditions and I’m making my first batch of cream cheese. I got excited when I saw you mentioned the book. I’ve been buried in it since I’ve gotten it. Your site answered my question right away – I saw you have the lid on the glass jar to let the milk sour. I wasn’t sure if I should have covered it with fabric to let it breathe or leave it tightly covered. I look forward to browsing your site. Thanks, Mare

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2012 at 2:37 AM

      Welcome! And welcome to Real Food!