Homemade cream cheese

By | April 30, 2013

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Look at this stuff! I am seriously never buying cream cheese again. How is it that it’s so easy — and so cheap — to make it at home, and I’ve never tried it until now?

The texture is wonderful. It’s thick (but light!) and creamy, and it’s perfectly spreadable. And did I mention cheap? This recipe yields 1 cup of cream cheese, and the ingredients cost me 5 shekels. Buying the same amount of ready-made cream cheese would cost 12 shekels. Big savings, guys.

Ready to start? You’ll need two containers (200 ml each) of 15% shamenet chamutza. The American equivalent would be sour cream, but since I haven’t tried this with American products, I can’t promise you the same results. (If you’ve tried it in the States or elsewhere, please leave a comment!)

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Mix ¼ tsp salt into each container. Sure, you could spoon them both into a bowl and then mix in a half-teaspoon. But why dirty an extra bowl, right? Right.

Now you need a cloth. You can use a cheesecloth, but a thin burping cloth is actually an awesome substitute. I know that sounds bad, but as long as you use a new cloth and designate it for the kitchen, you’re totally fine.

Scoop the shamenet out into your waiting cloth. It doesn’t look too pretty yet, but don’t worry. It’s going to get better.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Bring the ends together and tie the cloth to a faucet. The idea is that the liquid will drip out and drain into the sink, but you could also tie it somewhere else and just place a bowl underneath. About ¼ cup of liquid will drain out, so we’re not talking buckets here.


Leave it like that overnight, or for about 8 hours. I was worried about spoilage (who leaves sour cream out overnight??), so the fact that the kitchen was cool made me feel better. And when I opened it up eight and a half hours later, it looked like…

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

…that! Cream cheese! Woah!

At that point, I stuck the whole thing in the fridge until I was ready to check it out for real. Then I scooped it into a container and smushed it around with a fork. The texture was unreal…I might have said something about that already.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

And the taste? Awesome. Because it tastes like cream cheese! And you made it! With virtually no effort!

It’s ready to be used at this point, so if you prefer plain cream cheese, you’re all set. But if you like a little flavoring, the possibilities are basically infinite. Come back soon and I’ll show you one of my favorites.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

One year ago: almond supermodels


Gemma on April 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm.

Hey Tali,

I’m so excited to try this – I always wanted to, but didn’t know what cheesecloth was, or where to get it. But burping cloths (for some reason we call them “blechies”) – we have loads, B”H!

Do you have a recipe for homemade cottage cheese as well?


Tali Simon on April 30, 2013 at 10:17 pm.

Blechies — so funny! I’ll have to try calling them that. :)

I’ve never tried making cottage cheese, but now I’m curious.


Rachel b on April 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm.

Love this. Might help to offset the ridiculous price of lox.
PS I made a tuna pashtida for lunch today. It was pretty good
But I’m going to tinker with the recipe some. Ever made one?


Tali Simon on April 30, 2013 at 10:18 pm.

Nope, but I bet I’d love it. I’ll have to add it to The List.


OS on May 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm.

You can make lox at home cheaply too – just cure the salmon in salt for 3 days in the fridge. You can look up other gravelax recipes online.


dena on April 30, 2013 at 3:08 pm.

Ooh! A new use for my “yogurt cheese” strainer!


Sharon B on April 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm.

Looks great, I am looking forward to trying this out. How long does the cream cheese last?


Tali Simon on April 30, 2013 at 10:19 pm.

It’s only been two days so far so I can’t say with certainty, but I would guess at least a week.


Tali Simon on May 27, 2013 at 9:30 am.

Update: It does last a week. (I noted this in the directions above, too.)


Hindy on April 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm.

Love that you made your own cream cheese. Definitely going to try this!


stephanie/the kosher foodies on April 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm.

mind blown!! homemade cream cheese?!
burp cloth instead of cheese cloth!?
you’re a genius!


michele wechsler on May 1, 2013 at 8:43 am.

I used to make this when I lived in Israel 30+ years ago back in the day when we did not get Philadelphia. I think I am going to do it again. So much cheaper. I used to use clean panty hose or knee highs. Did the same as cheesecloth. Good luck and enjoy. YUM!!


jessica // the kosher foodies on May 7, 2013 at 1:29 am.

omg, amazing! and beautiful photos, too!


Rena on May 12, 2013 at 12:40 am.

I use a burp cloth too!!! But i lay it tied up on a pasta strainer over a bowl and put it in my fridge. I prefer it that way since it kind of weirds me out keeping it out overnight. I have it now in the fridge! By the way you can also make your own greek yogurt doing the same thing. I buy 0% plain yogurt and strain it 10-12 hours. Delish!


Tali Simon on May 12, 2013 at 8:54 am.

I’m definitely going to have to try this with yogurt. Thanks for the tip!


elana on May 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm.

just made my cheesecakes with my homemade cream cheese.
try this cheesecake and i promise u wont go back!
2 cups cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 T. lemon juice and a heaping 1/2 cup sugar. whip up til smooth and bake in pie crust (makes small pie pan) 1 hour at about 150.


Tali Simon on May 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm.

So glad you posted that. It sounds so much simpler than the one I was going to make, and I’m already running out of steam.


elana on May 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm.

oopsey-forgot to add to bake in a waterbath….


Rochelle on May 13, 2013 at 11:01 am.

I often make home made cream cheese for Pesach, since it is not always possible to find cream cheese KLP in Israel. You can leave out the salt if you must watch your sodium intake.


Ilene on May 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm.

Anyone tried this with American sour cream yet?


Ahuvah Taub on May 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm.

Just made homemade cream cheese from 3% Gevina Levana (Did not add salt as Gevina Levana already has salt.). Figured it should work as I wanted a lower fat cream cheese. It was a bit tart; nevertheless, I like it. Fun and really easy. Oh, can’t wait to try this method to make Greek yogurt.


Tali Simon on May 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm.

Cool! Thanks for this.


Elana K on May 21, 2013 at 10:52 am.

Just made this last night – my husband says it’s awesome – and a fraction of the price of store-bought. Thanks!


ariel-sara g on April 3, 2014 at 10:30 pm.

where do you buy cheese clothe?


Tali Simon on April 4, 2014 at 8:37 am.

It’s the kind of thing that a good kitchen supply store would carry, but honestly, a baby “burp” cloth does the job perfectly. I just bought a new pack to have them for Pesach and to have extras for during the year. I’ve also heard from people who use thin t-shirts or stockings.


erinne on April 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm.

We did this with plain yogurt in Egypt all the time to make a spread for bread……I think the Egyptians called it Ishta.


Tali Simon on April 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm.

Cool! Thanks for commenting.


michal on June 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm.

has anyone tried this with 9% sour cream?


Tali Simon on June 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm.

Yes! Works great. I’ll update the recipe, thanks for asking.


Devora on June 6, 2014 at 9:01 am.

Couldn’t have been easier. Or better tasting!!
Thanks for the great recipe! :)

A store nearby was selling a cheesecloth for 30 NIS- so I simply bought a cheap pair of stockings instead. Worked beautifully!!


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