Homemade Cream Cheese

by lydia on August 31, 2011

I learned to make my own homemade cream cheese a few years back and found it to be a far cry from the store-bought version of cream cheese. Homemade cream cheese, for one thing is not typically pasteurized, thereby retaining far more nutrients, enzymes and beneficial bacteria. The resulting cheese from the process of dripping yogurt or allowing milk to separate then drip through cheese cloth, is very fresh and tart. I don’t use cream cheese very often, but when I do, it’s worth it to me to make it fresh. Additionally, having whey on hand is very beneficial in a real food kitchen namely for making fermented foods. Though whey has many other uses than fermenting and indeed is a very nourishing food in and of itself. Loaded with minerals and is a great tonic for digestive ailments. It also stores for a long time, which is a great bonus.


Homemade Cream Cheese
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 2 cups
  • 2 quarts organic plain whole milk yogurt (preferably homemade with raw milk from grass-fed cows), OR
  • 2 quarts raw milk
  1. If you are using raw milk, you need to plan ahead, as it will take 1-4 days to let your milk separate.
  2. Place the milk in a glass container on the counter and allow it to stand at room temperature until it separates.
  3. Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dish towel.
  4. Pour in the yogurt, or the separated milk, whichever you are using.
  5. Cover and let stand at room temperature for several hours (the yogurt will take longer than the milk). The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer.
  6. Tie up the towel, being careful not to squeeze.
  7. Tie this sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a tall container, like a pitcher so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready.
  8. Store the whey in a mason jar in the fridge. You should get about 2 cups of cream cheese.
  9. The easiest option for this recipe would be using the yogurt. The whey will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.

If you are on the GAPS protocol or need to heal your gut using the option with yogurt is best, as the fermented milk will be more digestible. Here’s how to make your own homemade yogurt from raw milk.

(photo credit)



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Suzanne August 31, 2011 at 10:00 am

Sounds wonderful.

Brandi August 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

If the whole milk is left out to separate, isn’t it fermented? You said for GAPS it;d be better to use yogurt, as it’s fermented…but I thought letting it sit out to separate would also ferment. I’m wrong, huh? :/

lydia August 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm

That’s a good question Brandi – in a way I guess it is fermented, but I do know it’s not allowed on the GAPS protocol, but the yogurt cream cheese is because the yogurt has been cultured. Culturing dairy makes it more digestible and tolerable for those who may have trouble with lactose.

Christy August 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Quick question – you say “you will need to do this twice”. What do you do twice?? Thanks I have raw milk sitting on the counter as I type!

lydia August 31, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Oops sorry Christy – I pulled this from one of my recipes that I doubled the batch, so you don’t need to do anything twice. Carry on………..lol!!

Peggy September 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for posting this. I would like to repost it on our Women’s Health community on livejournal. Of course, you’ll get full credit and have a link posted on the public entry. Thanks again!

stephanie March 5, 2013 at 2:29 am

Thanks for this simple recipe. I am teaching my GAPS class how to make this and am linking them back to this page.

lydia March 5, 2013 at 6:40 am

Sure thing Stephanie!

Jackie May 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm

In trying this recipe it took 3 to 4 days for the milk to separate. I followed the rest of the instructions.
However, the cheese was horribly sour tasting. (as was the whey) I’m not sure what I did wrong.

lydia May 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

It will be much more tart than the cream cheese you may be used to from the grocery store.

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