Flavored Cream Cheese

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To kick off the DIY Convenience Foods series, we’re chatting about flavored cream cheeses. It’s a fun food you can make yourself.

Flavored Cream Cheese Recipes | Good Cheap Eats

I’ve always liked cheesecake, but I didn’t like cream cheese until I was an adult. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t. But, once I fell in love, I fell hard. Nowadays, one of my favorite breakfasts/snacks/desserts is a bagel with cream cheese and jam. Super yum! Or if I’m feeling a little savory, cream cheese with onions and sliced tomatoes. Double yum!

One of the things that I’ve noticed about bagels and bagel shops is that they rarely offer you the cream cheese for free. It’s a hefty price to get a little cup of schmear, as they say. In reality, it’s an easy and economical thing to make yourself at home.

Making it yourself

Making flavored cream cheese is not difficult. Simply soften a block of cream cheese and stir in fresh herbs, spices, chopped vegetables or fruit, jam, or fruit zest. You can choose any number of combinations and flavors. Flavored cream cheeses make perfect smears for bagels, crackers, sandwiches, muffins, and quick breads. You can even go as simple as to mix a bit of honey into the cheese.

These things are simple, yet so, so good.

I’m sharing three varieties with you today: Green Onion, Strawberry and Brown Sugar Spice. These flavored cream cheeses are great to make the night before you have a bagel brunch. Serve them at tea time with biscuits or muffins. Spread it on quick bread for a tasty bedtime snack.

Three kinds of flavored cream cheese

Making it cheaper

Now, a container of cream cheese spread costs about $4 at the bagel shop and about $2-3 at the store.

I buy Trader Joe’s light cream cheese for $1.69 per 8 ounce package. I like knowing that the cream cheese has been made without rbst hormones. Target’s brand is hormone free and often goes on sale for $1. When it does, I stock up. Other brands of cream cheese can be had for as little as a dollar per package throughout the year as well.

So, we know there’s gonna be a great price break if we make our own . The amount of extra ingredients that we’re going to mix in is minimal, maybe bringing the price to $2 per half-pound. When we make it ourselves, we get the additional perk of controlling the ingredients. Yay for DIY!

Three Flavored Cream Cheese Recipes

I’ve based these recipes on half a block of cream cheese. I don’t like to keep something like this longer than three days, so I want  a small amount that we can use up before it’s past its prime. The method is easy enough, you could mix up more in a jiffy if need be.

Start with 4 ounces softened cream cheese. I use light, or neufchatel because of its highly spreadable texture. You don’t really need to let it soften much before you can spread it easily. Add in whatever mix-ins you like. Really, your imagination is the limit.

Strawberry Cream Cheese

What’s your favorite flavored cream cheese?

diy-convenience-150This is part of the DIY Convenience Foods series.

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. I make my own version of Boursin cheese with regular cream cheese, parsley, and garlic. To gild the lily a bit, I usually beat in some heavy cream, which makes it a bit more spreadable and adds some richness.

  2. sarah says

    These look yummy! My favorite is cream cheese with finely chopped green olives so good!!!

    • This is my favorite also!! Olive/Pimento cream cheese on an everything bagel. YUUUUM!!! I could eat the cream cheese with a spoon…and sometimes do! 😉

    • I don’t know that I’ve ever had that. Interesting.

      • sarah says

        Everything bagel with this spread is the best… but plain bagel with olive cream cheese and a tiny sprinkle of garlic powder hits the spot too. you should try it if you like green olives. Or any olives for that matter. love them ALL:)

  3. Claire says

    My children are going to love this!!!!!

    Me too 🙂

  4. Vanessa B says

    These all sound delicious. I see a bagel purchase in my future.

  5. Cherie says

    Here’s one from NY deli world – I get very reasonable smoked salmon (sometimes called kippered salmon it’s hot smoked) and mix it into cream cheese for a fab spread with bagels – so much less than the bagel store!

  6. Brenda says

    I do various jams; prepared pesto or cinnamon sugar.

  7. See…this is why I enjoy you so much! Such a simple idea, but why have I never thought about doing this? I’m going to be trying this soon because (like you) I stock up on cream cheese when I get it for $1. It’s always in my fridge, too!

  8. Nicole says

    I am so glad you are doing this series, it is these little tricks that makes eating at home satisfying. I was so proud of myself because I made my own brown sugar when I ran out instead of going to the store. Took a minute to mix and worked great.

    One of my favorite treats is salsa and cream cheese on crackers. Or for a really treat pepper jelly. I love pepper jelly!


  9. Susan says

    My boys love honey almond cream cheese on cinnamon raisin bagels so I keep a container of finely chopped almonds on hand (I ran them in the blender for a few seconds) so I can easily mix up some. I don’t measure but it’s probably a teaspoon of almonds and a teaspoon or so of honey for every ounce of cream cheese.

  10. Jen says

    Jalapeno and cilantro!

  11. Karen says

    When I was in college, my favorite bagel place had an Italian cream cheese that I just loved. Then I discovered it was nothing more than cream cheese mixed with spaghetti sauce seasoning. So I got the big jar at Costco and started mixing up my own. i haven’t made it in years (don’t eat bagels much anymore) but I remember it fondly!

    • Isn’t that great? And you can even unpack the spaghetti sauce mix which is likely just herbs and cornstarch.

  12. cwaltz says

    Target’s brand no longer has the hormone free label on it(little cow with line through it). My assumption is that anything without that label may very well have those hormones. As a matter of fact, Vermont just got a hefty settlement after Cabot admitted that the cheeses that don’t have labels on them specifically stating hormone free have hormones in them. So be careful.

  13. Breanna says

    I LOVE to use roasted garlic (roast your own, or buy the Christopher Ranch brand near the mushrooms/oriental noodles in the produce dept.), a little italian seasoning, and about 1/4 cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese.

  14. Jennifer Millward says

    The bagel place i love has an olive cream cheese as well…so good!!!!! And they have a bacon scallion cream cheese. Just finely chopped bacon pieces and fresh scallion mixed in. It’s really delish!!

  15. magnoliasouth says

    For the fruity types where you can use jam, preserves or jellies, I just skip mixing it. I whip it up with some milk, but save the fruits for day of. I just spread a thin layer of jam, preserves or jelly over the bagels then the whipped cream cheese on top. This way I’m not locked into one flavor or one type.


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