30+ Recipes That Start With a Block of Cream Cheese
Chances are there's a block of cream cheese in your fridge right now, and it's being underutilized. The super spreadable dairy product can do so much more than top your bagel or toast, and it's time to give cream cheese the recognition it deserves. Whether you're looking for a can't-lose cheesecake or cheese ball recipe or just want to try cream cheese in a completely new way, these cream cheese recipes will help you make the most of this versatile ingredient.
Buffalo Chicken Cheese Ball
The buffalo flavor that we all know and love is typically made by combining vinegar, butter, and a cayenne pepper-based hot sauce. Skip the intense prep that buffalo wings require-- get all of the flavor you crave with a buffalo cheese ball. Prepared Buffalo wing sauce makes it easy to make and the blue cheese gives each bite an addictive richness. Serve while watching the next big game with your friends.
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
The butter you spread on the rolled-out dough should be very soft so that the dough won't tear.
Cookie Butter Cheesecake
This decadent cheesecake harnesses the addictively toasty power of speculoos cookies in the crust, in a layer of the filling, and in an over-the-top delicious caramel sauce you’re gonna want to pour over everything (we highly suggest you do). Perfect for a holiday gathering or other special occasion, this cookie butter cheesecake recipe is guaranteed to please. We tested using Biscoff cookie butter, but feel free to use your favorite brand of speculoos spread.
Swirled Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Bars
Bacon-Goat Cheese Jalapeno Poppers
Salty bacon, rich goat cheese, savory-sweet jelly, and roasted jalapeño--it takes teamwork to make the dream work. If you already have the grill going, these dreamy little bites are equally easy to cook outdoors.
Orange Sugar Cookies With Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting
Orange zest lends a delicate floral, citrus flavor to this delightfully crisp and light shortbread cookies. Finished with a vibrant orange and cream cheese frosting, they’re the perfect treat to deliver a taste of sunshine on a chilly winter day.
Miso-Infused Cream Cheese Spread
Cooks in Japan cure all kinds of food in miso, from fish to tofu. Inspired, chef David Myers uses the fermented soybean paste to flavor cream cheese.
The Cheesecake Factory Original Cheesecake
Browned Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
Old-school form meets new-school flavors in this twist on carrot cake. Browning the butter intensifies its flavor, making it nutty and caramel-rich. The Bundt cake form makes for a much easier—but still delicious—dessert, freeing you from the fuss of stacking and frosting layers. We call for shredding the carrots on the smaller holes of a grater for more delicate strands that incorporate better into the batter. You can bake the cake ahead and freeze it, unglazed; wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze in a ziplock plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months (glaze the thawed cake).
Cream Cheese Pancakes
Cream Cheese-and-Olive Pecan Bites
Strawberry-Rose Cream Cheese Danishes
Perhaps my favorite weekend occupation is puttering, quiet here-and-there noodlings between my waking up and my being ready to enter the world. Things like sweeping my apartment, doing some writing, doing last night’s dishes, but mostly making coffee. That, and finding some little something to go with my coffee. Had I my druthers, it would be danishes. Which, as it turns out, are nothing like the cakey, enjoyable but slightly congealed Entenmann's thingies we are sold as danishes. No, they’re flaky, not necessarily very sweet, and are ideally anchored by the tangy heft of cream cheese. (I love cream cheese, and cannot be trusted or left alone around it.)
Making danishes is the idea sort of party trick to whip out for a brunch. The fillings can largely be made ahead, and the puff pastry dough (which you can absolutely buy frozen, as I do) needs to thaw. That means you can pull it out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge before you go to bed, and it will be ready for you by the time you’ve sipped from your first mug of coffee the following morning.
These danishes do have a good smear of cream cheese enriched with an egg yolk, which makes the resulting filling custardy and lighter than you’d expect a cream cheese-egg yolk mixture to be, almost fluffy. I do not sweeten the cheese because I like the slight savoriness of it against the sweet fruit, but you could add a little sugar or honey if you'd like.
On top of that goes a spoonful of a quick strawberry compote since it’s spring, almost summer, after all. Honey sweetens without it tasting overly sweet, strips of lemon zest brighten and help it gel just slightly, and adding half the strawberries at the very end of cooking gives you identifiable strawberry shapes in a glossy sauce.
But the special ingredient here is rosewater. Strawberries are a part of the rose family, and the flavors really sing together. You won’t taste it much in the final danish, but it lends a floral quality that feels very summery to me. And no, it’s not absolutely necessary, but rosewater is inexpensive, widely available—especially at Middle Eastern groceries—and you’ll find lots of uses for it, like adding it to icings, rice pudding, or a smoothie.
But don’t let me forget to talk about the pastry itself. Find the best-quality puff pastry you can, roll it very thinly to ensure crispy, flaky layers, score around the edge to give the pastry a guideline for puffing up and taking shape, and keep the dough as cold as you can. When the cold butter in pastry hits the hot oven, it will turn to steam, and that’s what makes pastry light and delicious. Don’t skip the freezer time before baking the pastries because it helps them maintain their shapes.
Strawberry-Rose Cream Cheese Danishes
Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins
These pumpkin cream cheese muffins were made for the perfect first bite, with a crumbly streusel topping with a melted cream cheese morsel right in the center. The cream cheese filling ensures these pumpkin muffins stay moist and delightful up until the minute they’re devoured—no butter spread necessary. Whether you’re making these for company or to satisfy your own sweet tooth, these pumpkin cream cheese muffins are the perfect treat for fall mornings.
Crab Rangoon Cheese Ball
Praline-Cream Cheese King Cake
If you’re looking for a new king cake recipe to celebrate Mardi Gras, you must try this one. Our resident queen of confections, Pam Lolley, puts a new twist on this celebratory dessert. If you’re a little intimated, don’t be. Follow this recipe and don’t forget to put the baby in!
Fig and Cream Cheese Bars
With the honeyed flavor of dried figs, a sweet cream cheese layer, and a buttery, crumbly crust, these bars garnered our Test Kitchens' highest rating. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Stuffed Celery with Cream Cheese and Walnuts
For Test Kitchen director Robby Melvin, it’s not Thanksgiving until his Granny’s “old-school” relish tray hits the table. Her celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese are a multi-generational favorite. While it’s hard to improve upon a classic, he used her recipe as inspiration when creating this delicious version. His cream cheese filling is flavored with honey, toasted walnuts, and a touch of cinnamon. Pipe the filling into the celery stalks with a ziplock bag for a neater presentation. Serve as a holiday appetizer with drinks or as a fun between-meals snack.
Raspberry-Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
This is the perfect coffee cake. The lightly tangy raspberry gives a pop of flavor and the decadent cream cheese filling provides texture for a rich, moist cake. Be sure to use raspberry preserves; jam or jelly will sink to the bottom of the pan during cooking. A springform pan allows this cake to rise for a beautiful presentation. Enjoy with family and friends in the morning with coffee or as a snack in the afternoon.
Salted Caramel Gingerbread Poke Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
The flavors of gingerbread, salted caramel filling, and pumpkin cream cheese frosting marry to become the ultimate fall and holiday poke cake. This cake is a great snack cake or dessert and it's pretty enough to serve to guests. One taste and you're sure to bring this cake to potlucks all season long.
Pinecone Cheese Ball
This unusual cheese ball recipe uses toasted pecan halves and rosemary sprigs for a creative presentation that's sure to delight party guests.
Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños
Searching for that perfect, crowd-pleasing appetizer for you next get-together? Look no further than these stuffed jalapeño poppers. The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar nicely contrasts the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This grilled appetizer recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version. If you’re looking to keep your stuffed jalapeño poppers vegetarian-friendly, you can eliminate the bacon or replace it with coarsely chopped nuts, like smoked almonds or toasted pecans.
Apple Bundt Cake with Apple-Cream Cheese Glaze
This incredibly moist bundt cake gains its strong apple flavor from 4 cups of shredded Granny smith apples baked into the batter, as well as a concentrated apple liquid (made by reducing apple juice and apple liqueur) that is brushed over the warm cake after baking and used to create the cake’s sweet-tart apple and cream cheese glaze. Grating the apples, as opposed to chopping them into pieces, makes for more even distribution of moisture and apple flavor throughout this dense and delightful cake. While we opted to keep the spice factor simple here (to avoid overpowering the apple) with just a teaspoon of cinnamon, feel free to mix it up and add other favorite spices—such as cloves, ginger, nutmeg, or allspice. You can also swap the vanilla bean paste for 11/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. If you can’t find apple liqueur, simply substitute apple flavored brandy or 1/4 cup more apple juice.
Everything Bagel Cheese Ball
The mega-flavor of an everything bagel can be rolled into a savory, satisfying cheese ball that your guests are sure to love. Prep the cheese ball in advance and roll it in everything spice blend just before your friends arrive for an easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Celery
We can’t decide what we love more about these Buffalo celery bites—the fact that they require zero cooking, come together in about 15 minutes, and are roughly the easiest appetizer ever OR the sheer magnitude of how delicious they are. But then, that’s the beauty of these seriously upgraded stuffed celery sticks, you don’t have to choose between convenience and full-on flavor. Crisp celery sticks are loaded with a creamy Buffalo chicken mixture—made entirely from store-bought staples—and topped off with crumbled blue cheese, making every bite the perfect Buffalo bite. Perfect for game day, these got-it-all snacks are sure to score more than a few devoted fans.
Raspberry and Cream Cheese Danish Roll
Make holiday mornings even more special with this raspberry danish. Tender, golden dough filled with fruity jam enriched with cream cheese creates the perfect pastry to serve family and friends. Master the jelly roll technique by following the steps in this simple recipe.
Our Cannoli Cheesecake has that classic cannoli flavor you love, but with a creamier, more palatable texture. It’s super smooth, and easier to make than full-on cream cheese-based cheesecake. The secret to the unbeatable texture is adding a dish of water to the oven—the steam helps set the cheesecake without overcooking it. Garnish with whipped cream for a little extra pizzazz, or dust with powdered sugar right before serving to play up the cannoli factor.
Cream Cheese-Olive Spread
Dainty sandwiches filled with cream cheese-olive spread is a staple for ladies' teas in the South. This recipe can also be served with crackers or crudités.
Cranberry Pull-Apart Bread with Orange-cream Cheese Icing
The entire family will love the sticky-fingered fun of tearing apart these sweet layers filled with tangy cranberries and bright orange zest. The recipe makes two loaves of bread; give one as a gift, and take the other to brunch.
French Onion Cheese Ball
Rather than serving French Onion soup topped with bread to a crowd, serve a more easily-shared, portable version with all of the same flavor. A French Onion Cheese Ball with toasted baguette slices makes the perfect game-watching appetizer and it much less likely to spill during the celebration of a big play.
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
For a family-friendly weeknight dinner that feels comforting but loads in the good stuff (A.K.A. fresh vegetables), Buffalo chicken spaghetti squash is where it’s at. Featuring shredded chicken, carrots, celery, blue cheese, Buffalo sauce, and a drizzle of ranch (for good measure), these hearty, flavor-packed spaghetti squash boats deliver the best of a Buffalo chicken experience in a convenient, cheesy bake. We love using the hulled spaghetti squash as a vessel, but you could just as easily spoon the for the Buffalo chicken-spaghetti squash mixture straight into a casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake as instructed.
Chai Swirl Cheesecake Bars
These eye-catching dessert bars taste like your favorite chai latte, reimagined in cheesecake form. Featuring flavorful swirls of chai-infused cream cheese filling, each bite offers richly aromatic, spiced flavor set against a cool and creamy vanilla cheesecake backdrop. They’re a simple dessert to make, but undeniably impressive.