There are lots of cream cheese brands out there. Our Test Kitchen tried the most popular ones and found the best options for spreading on your bagel, turning into cheesecake or making into a tempting dip.
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Cream cheese is one of those necessary things that we keep in our refrigerators. Open up a package and you can easily turn it into the ultimate dip for your next party, an elegant cheesecake or served as-is for breakfast or brunch. But do you know which types of cream cheese are ideal for cooking, baking, and snacking?
This is where our Test Kitchen comes into play. As professional cooks and bakers, we want to know what brands will make recipes really sing. See which choices our experts preferred.
What Our Test Kitchen Looks for in a Great Cream Cheese
In this blind testing, we evaluated seven of the most popular cream cheese brands. All of them were normal, basic cream cheese brands (no added flavors, no low-fat options). Our Test Kitchen team sampled each brand while keeping the following criteria in mind:
- Flavor: What did you think of the cream cheese? Did it have a nice tang? Was it wealthy?
- Texture: Was the cream cheese very soft or overly firm? Was it bone dry? Was it completely smooth?
- Spreadability: How simple was it to spread the cream cheese? Did it easily smear across a bagel or did it crumble?
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Cream Cheese Brands
Our Test Kitchen discovered the finest cream cheese products for each taste by trying and slathering it on a variety of handmade bagels.
Tangiest: Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese
When you reach for a block of cream cheese at the store, you’re hoping to get a tangy, creamy spread perfect for your morning breakfast (or plenty of other cream cheese recipes). Philly does not disappoint! Our Test Kitchen team found the Philly brand to be pleasantly tangy with a very soft, smooth texture. This is the cream cheese to purchase if you want to put it over your bagel with some smoked salmon.
Mildest Flavor: Dutch Farms Original Cream Cheese
We understand that not everyone like the tanginess of cream cheese. Some people are just interested in the creaminess, and that’s OK! If this describes you, go for Dutch Farms Original Cream Cheese. This cream cheese has a fairly mild taste and a hard yet spreadable texture. Since this cream cheese is light, it works well in savory dishes and dips.
Best for No-Bake Desserts: Prairie Farms
If you like no-bake sweets, particularly no-bake cheesecakes, Prairie Farms cream cheese is a must-have. This cream cheese was the firmest of the bunch. While that made it harder to spread across bagels, our Test Kitchen tasters agree this quality makes it perfect for no-bake recipes. The texture helps recipes like No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake and Cookie Butter Pie maintain their shape while giving them that slightly tangy flavor we crave.
Best Budget Brand: Great Value Cream Cheese
If you’re buying a lot of cream cheese to create cheesecakes or other creamy desserts, you probably don’t want to spend any more money than necessary. The good news is that you can obtain superb cream cheese at Walmart for less money. Excellent Value cream cheese is less expensive than other brands (less than $2 for eight ounces) yet meets all of our standards. This cream cheese was really creamy and spreadable, making it ideal for incorporating into any dish. It didn’t have the strongest tang, so it might not be ideal for eating plain on a bagel—but it would be great paired with other toppings!
What to Make with Cream Cheese
Certainly, you can purchase a container of cream cheese to put on your bagel in the morning. Nonetheless, there are several applications for this chemical. Of course, cream cheese is a dessert staple—how delicious does this chocolate swirl cheesecake look? It’s also great for dips and snacks, like this five-cheese spinach dip. But, these are just the top of the iceberg! We have much more to play with.
Check out our irresistible cream cheese dip recipes.
Baked Crab Dip
We enjoyed this exquisite crab dip at my grandson’s wedding reception. It seems to be complicated, but it is not. Fill the bread bowl ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to serve. Just take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Go to Recipe
If you’re looking for more cheesy ideas, check out our favorite cream cheese dip recipes.
Obatzda (German Beer Cheese Dip)
Obatzda, also known as German beer cheese dip, is rich and creamy. It’s ideal for making the night before during a get-together.
Red Velvet Pound Cake
This delectable red velvet pound cake is the ideal marriage of flavors. Make sure the cake has cooled before icing it, and for extra crunch sprinkle some roasted pecans on top.
Heavenly Cheese Danish
This tempting cheese Danish bakes to flaky perfection’s shines with the simple gloss of an egg wash. It tastes like like a sumptuous morning pastry from a bakery or coffee shop.
Decadent Spinach-Stuffed Shells
I created this comforting stuffed shells dish to serve on Christmas Eve, but it’s so good we enjoy it all year long. It’s simple to assemble and freeze for later baking. If you have any leftover cheese mixture, it can be served as a dip either cold or spooned into ramekins and baked until brown. If you don’t like roasted red peppers, use chopped sun-dried tomatoes in the stuffing and any other spaghetti sauce instead.
Key Lime Blondie Bars
Here’s my tropical spin on a classic dessert. These key lime bars combine the taste of the classic pie with a blondie batter and cream cheese frosting. If desired, create a thicker crust.
Strawberry Pretzel Pie
This cool no-bake strawberry pretzel pie is the perfect antidote for your sweet tooth this summer. Made with pantry staples, and well, as easy as pie to make, it’s become one of my family’s most requested warm-weather treats.
Apples ‘n’ Cream Pancake
This warm meal is ideal for breakfast or brunch. I normally double the recipe since everyone wants more! With our own orchard, we have plenty of Delicious and Winesap apples—they make this a true midwestern meal.
Colorful gelatin salad adds a spot of brightness to any table. That goes great with this Christmas spread. We children didn’t know if it should be a salad or dessert, with its smooth texture and delicate flavor.
Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
These little cheesecakes make a fun dessert that’s just right for cooks who don’t have a lot of time for fussy recipes. Furthermore, you get to devour a whole little cheesecake!
Pumpkin Swirl Bread
This golden pumpkin cream cheese bread is made with a blend of pumpkin, almonds, and dates. Within, a deep creamy swirl is like a delectable layer of cheesecake in each slice.
The flaky cream cheese pastry adds sensational texture to these hot appetizers—and just wait until you taste the wonderful filling. I usually fix a double batch and freeze some to have on hand in case unexpected guests drop by.
Pineapple Sheet Cake
This sheet cake is ideal for feeding a large group. It keeps so well that you can easily prepare it a day ahead and it will stay moist. I often bring it to church potlucks, and I have yet to take much of it home.
Duo Tater Bake
I made this creamy and comforting potato dish for Thanksgiving and it was a winner with my family. They said to be sure to include it at every holiday dinner. This one is a keeper!
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Sweets are a must-have in my kitchen as a mother of three boys! I buy ripe fruit on sale and freeze it to make this cake. My banana cake with cream cheese frosting is a favorite among loved ones at my family picnics and dinners.
Baked Simple Meatball Stroganoff
If you like meatball subs, you’ll love this tangy casserole that has all the rich flavor of the popular sandwiches with none of the mess. Italian bread is spread with a cream cheese mixture, then topped with meatballs, spaghetti sauce and cheese.
Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
These colorful sugar-coated red velvet cookies are ideal for the holidays. They’re as tasty as they are pretty.
Shrimp Appetizer Spread
There’s no secret to this creamy seafood appetizer—it’s simply delicious! I originally tasted it at a friend’s house, and I liked it so much that I requested the recipe. Since then, it’s been a family favorite.
Pecan Pumpkin Dessert
This is a Thanksgiving tradition for me. The recipe was given to me by a friend, and I’ve subsequently shared it with many people.
When I serve these canapés, I usually receive requests for the recipe. The finger sandwiches are dainty, with a creamy herb spread and festive red and green garnishes.
Easy Cheese-Stuffed Jalapenos
A few years ago, I saw a man in the grocery store buying a big bag full of jalapeno peppers. I asked him what he intended to do with them, and he shared this recipe for stuffed jalapenos with me right there in the store!
One of the ladies in our church quilting group brought this savory potato soup to a meeting, and everyone loved how the cream cheese and bacon made it so rich. It’s simple to put together in the morning so it can simmer all day.
Red Velvet Jar Cake
These red velvet jar cakes are a favorite of mine to bake for friends, family, and instructors. Red velvet is my favorite during the holidays, but you can use your favorite cake and frosting flavors. Finally, for presenting, decorate the jars with handcrafted labels and ribbons. Don’t forget to attach a spoon to the jar; everyone enjoys digging straight in!
Spinach-Beef Spaghetti Pie
With its angel hair pasta crust, this cheesy ground beef, tomato and spinach pie is always a hit when I serve it. Layers of pasta, cream cheese filling, and spinach top each tidy slice.
My mum is an excellent chef who enjoys recreating (and improving on!) restaurant food. That’s what I did with these blintzes, and my family loves my fruity version even more than the original.
Puff Pastry Chicken Bundles
Inside these golden puff pastry “packages”, chicken breasts rolled with spinach, herbed cream cheese and walnuts are a savory surprise. When we have company or are celebrating a holiday or special event, I prefer to prepare this exquisite meal.
Paddy’s Reuben Dip
This slow-cooked spread is reminiscent of the classic Reuben sandwich. I end up with an empty plate even when I double the recipe.
Cool Strawberry Cream
This delicious, delectable dessert is a perfect way to cap off a spectacular night. When fresh strawberries are not available, substitute two packages frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed and drained, for the fresh.
Walnut Pumpkin Cake Roll
This is one of my family’s favorite dessert recipes, especially for holiday gatherings.
Pineapple Ham Casserole
Since I live in Hawaii, I wanted to share this pineapple-based dish with you. It is our primary fruit crop.
Cherry Cheese Windmills
These lovely cookies seem to be labor-intensive, but they are not. They’re appropriate for any occasion.
Creamy Strawberry Crepes
Take summer-ripe strawberries plus a creamy filling and tuck them into these delicate strawberry crepes for an elegant brunch entree.
Italian Cream Cheese Cake
Buttermilk makes every bite of this awesome Italian cream cheese cake recipe moist and flavorful. This is a recipe I use all yea
This delectable chicken burrito recipe yields two casseroles, so you can have one today and freeze the other for a busy weekday. They’re great for last-minute dinners or to bring to potlucks.
Broccoli Potato Supreme
My family insists on having this two-in-one casserole at all of our big occasions. Every mouthful is twice as tasty!
Berry-Cream Cookie Snaps
My mom and I made up this recipe by combining two others. These adorable cookies have a crunchy outside and a soft and fluffy inside. You could also bake the cookies flat and serve the filling as a cookie dip if you like.
Cheesecake with Berry Sauce
This rich cheesecake is a family favorite, and I’ve even sent it to my daughter as a special treat. It’s a fantastic dessert any time of year since it uses frozen seasonal berries.
Creamy Grape Salad
When I bring this delicious, creamy grape salad to potlucks, everyone praises. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans for a wonderful finishing touch.
Peanut Butter Pudding Dessert
This is a delightful tiered dessert that will appeal to people of all ages. If you want it even nuttier, you can use chunky peanut butter, and if you’re not a fan of cashews, substitute your favorite nut. One of my favorite pudding treats is this peanut butter lasagna.
Hash Brown Broccoli Bake
Here’s a perfect dish for a potluck or holiday buffet. It complements fish, poultry, pig, and beef. Swiss cheese may be replaced with cheddar. Often, I double the recipe to serve a crowd.
Five ingredients are all you’ll need for my popular creamed corn recipe. It’s amazing whatever the occasion. Try it on a barbecue buffet or holiday menu.
Marshmallow-Almond Key Lime Pie
Summer is peak season for Key limes—a must for this pie’s distinctive sweet-tart flavor. My Key lime pie features a smooth marshmallow coating on top, unlike other Key lime pies. This distinguishes it as a fan favorite.
Baked Onion Cheese Dip
This cheddar-Vidalia dip gets a nice kick from an added cup of pepper Jack cheese. It goes well with a variety of crackers and breadsticks.
Contest-Winning Raspberry Cream Pie
This dish works well with either fresh or frozen raspberries. That means you can make it year-round. One bite of raspberry pie will instantly turn winter to summer.
Pina Colada Fruit Dip
Your visitors will appreciate a taste of the tropics. The cool and creamy dip can be served as an appetizer or a dessert.
Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon Frosting
When I spread these spicy gingerbread rounds with my lemony cream cheese frosting, I knew I had a hit. Cardamom and allspice provide a chai tea taste.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
These vanilla bean cupcakes are a hit with my kid! Vanilla bean flecks in the soft, delicate cupcakes elevate them to special-occasion quality.
Crab & Artichoke Dip
My girlfriends and I almost always get together with this delicious and creamy snack and our favorite bottle of wine. It’s so convenient to use the slow cooker to make this recipe—it’s a perfect fit for our relaxed friends nights.
Classic Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
On Christmas Day, these pre-made mashed potatoes save me a ton of time. There will be no more feverishly whipping the potatoes as hungry relatives and visitors gather in the kitchen!
Spinach Dip-Stuffed Mushrooms
I hollow out the mushroom caps with a melon baller to make them simpler to fill. For traveling, the applications fit easily into muffin tins or a deviled egg tray. —
Lemon-Blueberry Pound Cake
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a piece of this luscious lemon-blueberry cake. It’s a must-have for our family barbecues.
Artichoke Phyllo Cups
I intended to make a little version of a rich, creamy artichoke dip. These beautiful phyllo cup appetizers were a huge hit!
Cream Cheese Spritz
A hint of orange and cinnamon highlights these Christmastime classics. Before baking, I like to top them with multicolored sprinkles. The recipe is from a booklet that came with a cookie press in the 1950s…and I still have the press!
Garlic-Herb Bagel Spread
This creamy spread is loaded with oregano, basil, garlic and feta. The flavorful, savory combination is perfect slathered on a toasted bagel. Nevertheless, don’t stop there. You can also use it as a dip for crispy breadsticks.
Pink Lemonade Stand Cake
If you like a delicious and creamy cake, this is the recipe for you. The lemon juice and lemonade give the layers a tangy, citrusy touch, and the cream cheese frosting with sprinkles makes it extra pretty. Milwaukee,
Carrot Cake with Pecan Frosting
My hubby often asks for this simple, old-fashioned carrot cake. Even without the nuts, the icing is delicious.
Mediterranean Pastry Pinwheels
These simple appetizers are delicious. The aromas of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto complement each other well.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cheesecake
My mother cooked pineapple upside down cake all the time, but I like something creamier. This recipe looks just like her cake, but it becomes much more delicious as pineapple upside down cheesecake. Citrus Heights, California resident Marilyn McGinnis
Fontina Rolled Chicken
Delicious cuisine has the ability to take you to other lands. My chicken with fontina and cream cheese tastes like a relaxing vacation in Italy.
Cranberry Cream Cheese French Toast
My friend makes this French toast bake with blueberries, but I make mine with cranberry sauce. It’s wonderful either way. It makes a great brunch dish for Christmas morning.
Heirloom Tomato Pie
My green-thumbed neighbors are generous with their vegetables. I repay the great courtesy by making tomato pies for everyone.
Creamy Taco Dip
You’ll know this snack is a hit at your next gathering when you come home with an empty pan!
Creme de Menthe Squares
This layered bar hits all the sweet spots: It’s airy, creamy, crunchy and the perfect mix of cool mint and rich chocolate. No one in our household can resist its antique dessert allure.
Cool and Creamy Fruit Salad
My mom found this recipe in a magazine 25 years ago, and my family has been enjoying it ever since. I chill it overnight before serving. It looks especially pretty in a trifle dish.
Parmesan Creamed Spinach
This rich and creamy spinach meal comes together in minutes. If I’m having company, I’ll double or treble the recipe.
Bagel with a Veggie Schmear
I got this recipe from my favorite bagel shop in New York City. Now I make this every time I’m craving a quick and healthy breakfast. I prefer to top the schmear with chopped pitted green olives.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Coffee Cake
A Mother’s Day breakfast would not be complete without a vanilla cake with cream cheese filling and strawberry rhubarb sauce. This was designed to commemorate our mothers and grandparents.
Star-Spangled Lemon Icebox Pie
This no-bake lemon pie becomes a potluck favorite with a little cool time. My children like arranging the berries in a patriotic style.
Dilly Cheese Ball
My whole family enjoys this herby cheese spread, even my chef son. Serve with your favorite crackers.
Appetizer Tortilla Pinwheels
This recipe was given to me by a friend, and anytime I serve these tortilla pinwheel sandwiches, folks ask for the recipe as well! The cream cheese pinwheels can be made ahead of time and sliced just before serving, leaving you time for other last-minute party preparations.
Is generic cream cheese as good as Philadelphia cream cheese?
It would be cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Not only are they the original block as they invented cream cheese in 1872, but in my opinion, it cannot be replaced with generic. The flavor and texture of the generic brands are way off, and it once ruined a cheesecake that I was baking.
Is President cream cheese good for cheesecake?
Président top grade cream cheese may be used in both cold and hot dishes for endless taste and variety: from spreading (on crackers, sandwiches, bagel, sushi roll…) to baking delectable cheesecakes.
What is the most popular cream cheese?
Popularity 1 Cream Cheese, Original Philadelphia 1 oz 2 Spreadable Creamy Spicy Pepper Jack Cheese The Laughing Cow 1 wedge 3 Whipped Cream Cheese Spread Philadelphia 2 tbsp 4 Cream Cheese Spread, Original Philadelphia 2 tbsp
What kind of cheese is used for cheesecake?
A cheesecake is a delicious dish with one or more layers. The main, and thickest, layer consists of a mixture of a soft, fresh cheese (typically cottage cheese, cream cheese or ricotta), eggs, and sugar.