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What is the best cream cheese brand for a cheese cake?

We discuss the differences between cream cheese and Neufchatel cheese, as well as the finest cream cheese brands to purchase.

jumbo size of philly cream cheese

You can guarantee I always have a block (or many) of cream cheese in the fridge!

Cream cheese is a keto essential. You can whip it up into sweet frosting, slather it on a keto bagel with keto berry jam, and even throw it in the Crockpot with chicken for a rich, tasty dinner. It’s also naturally low-carb, so you may eat guilt-free.

keto bagel with cream cheese

Needless to say, we’re obsessed with it over here.

Now for the question many of us ask – Is Neufchatel cheese the same as cream cheese?

cream cheese products on shelves in grocery store

If you’ve seen Neufchatel cheese in the grocery store right next to the regular cream cheese, you may be wondering what the difference is. The differential, like the one between heavy cream and whipped cream, boils down to fat and moisture levels.

Neufchatel is a typical French cow’s milk cheese. In the United States, Neufchatel makers typically add cream into the mix as well, which makes Neufchatel taste more like cream cheese than the original, milk-only version you’d find in France.

Neufchatel and regular Philadelphia cream cheese

Neufchatel cheese must include between 20% and 33% milkfat and a maximum moisture level of 65% by weight, according to FDA standards. Cream cheese, on the other hand, must have at least 33% milkfat and a moisture level of no more than 55% by weight. That’s why you’ll see phrases like “1/3 Reduced Fat” on Neufchatel cheese containers all the time

They taste similar and can be used interchangeably, but I prefer cream cheese since the increased fat content is beneficial on keto.  Fortunately, cream cheese is readily accessible, with most (if not all) grocery stores stocking at least one type.

cream cheese with everything but the bagel seasoning

Here are some popular cream cheese brands and our thoughts on them:

Philadelphia Cream Cheese is good enough to eat by itself.

Philadelphia cream cheese

Philadelphia is most likely the most well-known and renowned brand out there! It’s also deliciously smooth and tangy, and even though it can be spendier than store brands, you can really taste the difference. It’s also a favorite of numerous Hip team members!

keto cream cheese frosting in a bowl


“My favorite cream cheese is Philadelphia. I always know it’s going to have the best test and texture for things like cheesecake and frosting. But I also use generics from my local grocery store, Winco, and the generic Kroger one and have never had any issues with them. Nonetheless, I believe Philadelphia has the finest overall flavor.”

Needless to say, if your recipe relies heavily on high-quality cream cheese, sticking with Philadelphia is a safe decision.

Member’s Mark cream cheese is budget-friendly but doesn’t taste like it.

Member's Mark cream cheese

If you need a significant quantity of cream cheese for a dish (such as this Keto Churro Cheesecake, go to Sam’s for their Member’s Mark brand, which is less than $7 for 3 lbs.

Member’s Signature cream cheese is fresh and tangy, but reviewers noted the only downside is that it dries out more easily than some other brands, even if tightly re-wrapped.

Raskas at Costco is another great bulk buy!

packages of Raska's cream cheese

Costco, like Sam’s Club, offers a wonderful store-brand cream cheese, but it’s also a terrific place to get decent deals on Philadelphia and other brands. Raskas is of comparable quality to Philadelphia, but at a significantly lower price, particularly when purchasing for the family. My Hip teammate, Stacy, picks up Raska’s along with a couple of other brands.

air fryer bacon jalapeno poppers

“There’s a Costco store-brand cream cheese that’s delicious!” I generally use them, but I’ll pick up the ALDI version as well. I can’t tell the difference between them and Philly. We use them a couple of times a week in keto waffles, bacon-wrapped jalapeños, and cream cheese fluff.”

Happy Farms cream cheese from ALDI is both tasty AND under $1!

cream cheese at ALDI

Jennifer on our staff prefers ALDI’s Happy Fields brand as a cheaper option to Philly since it lacks the lumpy texture that Great Value has.

easy keto cream cheese frosting

Here’s what she said about it:

“I purchase ALDI’s Happy Farms brand because it tastes delicious. The block doesn’t keep its form as well as Philadelphia, but it’s still fantastic. The pricing is the reason I go to ALDI. They are just 79, but have lately increased to 99. We use so much in our house it’s the most economical way to get it.”

If you need excellent cream cheese on the cheap and want to create keto cream cheese frosting or any dish that requires a smooth texture, avoid Great Value and choose ALDI’s Happy Farms brand instead!

Walmart’s Great Value Cream Cheese doesn’t have the best texture, but it’s still worth a try.

hand holding walmart cream cheese

Walmart’s Great Value Cream Cheese has pretty good reviews online, but the Hip team tends to steer clear of this particular brand. Jennifer and Shane, my Hip teammates, dislike the regularity. When used in recipes, it curdles and is difficult to make completely smooth.

Target’s Good & Gather brand is cheap, but reviews are mixed. 

Good & Gather plain cream cheese

Although some reviewers praised it, many others complained that the cream cheese was somewhat sticky and lacked acidity. While it may be worth buying at least once to try for yourself, especially when it’s less than $2 per 8 oz. block, but you may be better off sticking with the pricier brands if you really want a rich, tangy taste & silky texture.

rich and creamy keto cauliflower chowder in bowl

Regardless of brand, cream cheese is a versatile, tasty, and must-have keto fridge staple!

Try out some of our favorite cream cheeses in these recipes:

  • Keto Waffles
  • Pine Cone Shaped Cheese Ball Keto Appetizer
  • Creamy Keto Cauliflower Chowder
  • Fettuccine Alfredo Keto with Sausage and Cabbage Noodles
  • Easy Keto Cheesecake

keto cheesecake plated with berries


Related Questions

  • What brand of cream cheese is best for cheesecake?

    Philadelphia Cream Cheese

    Philadelphia Cream Cheese, $2.54 for eight ounces at Jet, is the best generally accessible option. This is the cream cheese I purchase when I need it for a recipe, such as cheesecake or icing. The special fresh cream flavor of the Gina Marie would be lost in a recipe, so there’s no sense paying a premium for it.

  • Which cream cheese is best for bakery?

    The Test Kitchen-preferred cream cheese brands

    1. Tangiest: Philadelphia Original. A Taste of Home
    2. Mildest flavor: Dutch Farms Original. A Taste of Home.
    3. Best for no-bake desserts: Prairie Farms. A Taste of Home.
    4. Best budget brand: Great Value. Taste of Home.
  • Why is Philadelphia cream cheese the best for cheesecake?

    The flavor is tangy and balanced.” Scaff-Mariani emphasizes Philadelphia’s high silkiness and low moisture content in comparison to other brands. “In many respects, it has the consistency of butter,” she explains. She has also used it in macaron fillings and cookies, in addition to cheesecakes.

  • What is the most popular brand of cream cheese?

    Original Philadelphia

    Cream Cheese beta

    1 Cream Cheese, Original Philadelphia 1 oz
    2 Creamy Spicy Pepper Jack Spreadable Cheese The Laughing Camel 1 wedge
    3 Whipped Cream Cheese Spread Philadelphia 2 tbsp
    4 Cream Cheese Spread, Original Philadelphia 2 tbsp