Homemade Yogurt Cheese and Cream Cheese Alternatives

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Are you looking for a good cream cheese alternative? Learn how to make cream cheese from yogurt with this Homemade Yogurt Cheese recipe!

Are you looking for a good cream cheese alternative? Learn how to make cream cheese from yogurt with this Homemade Yogurt Cheese recipe! #homemadecreamcheese #creamcheesealternative #yogurtcheese #howtomakecheesefromyogurt

Homemade Yogurt Cheese

I absolutely love cream cheese. Each month I order it in bulk from our co-op because we use it for so many things, everything from a simple fruit dip to my Queso for our Chicken and Queso dish. Cream cheese is almost always present at our house!

But, for the last several months, my cream cheese hasn’t come in with my co-op order. It’s been out of stock and I’ve been stuck trying to make my favorite meals and baked goods without that all-important ingredient.

–Have you ever ordered from a Co-Op? Looking to learn more? Here are some ideas for What to Order From a Bulk Foods Coop

Actually, it hasn’t been a terrible experience. In fact, we’ve been able to find several cream cheese alternatives we like so that we didn’t have to buy the cream cheese from the store with all of the added ingredients that we don’t like. We also saved money by not having to buy ultra-expensive organic cream cheeses.

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Since yogurt is more readily available to us, my first experiment was making homemade Yogurt Cheese. This cream cheese alternative is simple to make and you only need one ingredient, Greek Yogurt.

–Did you know you can make yogurt at home too? Here are 3 Ways to Make Homemade Yogurt

How to Make Yogurt Cheese

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First, take a piece of cheesecloth and secure it over a jar or bowl, making a little “strainer basket” from it. Use a rubber band or some string to keep it in place. Take a large scoop of Greek Yogurt and place it carefully on the cheesecloth so it can drain.

Let it sit on the cheesecloth (either on the countertop or in the fridge) for at least 24 to 36 hours.

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After that time, carefully remove the homemade Yogurt Cheese from the cheesecloth and place it in an airtight container or wrap it in wax paper and store it in the fridge.

Homemade Yogurt Cheese is tangier than regular cream cheese but has a similar texture. If you use a Greek Yogurt with probiotics you will have a nice, cultured Yogurt Cheese when you are done.

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You can mix the Greek Yogurt with a bit of maple syrup before you strain it for a slightly sweeter version or add in a few herbs for a savory version, depending on what you plan on using the end product for.

Homemade Yogurt Cheese is a good alternative for cream cheese in its raw form for spreading on bagels, bread, etc. however, I’m not sure that I would use this to bake with.

–I love this cream cheese spread on my Homemade Bread Machine Bagels, for a sweet treat it’s great on these Homemade Chocolate Chip Bagel Recipe too!

Other Cream Cheese Alternatives

I haven’t tried it yet but I’m also hoping to make a dairy-free version of Homemade Yogurt Cheese for our dairy-free Farmer Boy. For this I’m going to use the full fat canned Coconut Milk, scoop the “fatty” part off the top of the can and use the same method as the Yogurt Cheese above for it to drain and thicken.

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Another cream cheese alternative that we made was Creamed Cottage Cheese. To make this, we took a plain, full fat cottage cheese and placed it in the blender for a few minutes. After it was creamy we tried it. Unlike the Yogurt Cheese, it’s not quite as smooth but I did give this version a chance in baked goods (like my Easy Chocolate Cookies) and I was very happy with how they turned out!

The Creamed Cottage Cheese had a similar taste to cream cheese and was not tangy like the Homemade Yogurt Cheese. It held up well after baking (and no, you could not tell the baked goods had cottage cheese in it) and we thought it was a good alternative cream cheese for that purpose.

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Looking to make more homemade dairy products? Here are a few to try out:

Homemade Butter
Homemade Yogurt
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
How to Make Buttermilk
Frozen Yogurt
Homemade Whipped Cream, 3 Ways

Have you ever made something as a replacement for cream cheese? What did you use, and how did it work?

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This recipe for Homemade Yogurt Cheese was originally published on Little House Living in February 2015. It has been updated as of October 2019.

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14 Comments

  1. I have made this yogurt cheese for years. I use it in any recipe that calls for cream cheese. It is especially good to make cream cheese frosting. YUM!!! I have also used it to cook and bake with and have had excellent results.

    1. I have been making my own organic yogurt and straing part of the yogurt to cream cheese like ( Labneh) I have it every morning for breakfast on a toast topped with A water, I bake and cook with labneh when it’s called for sour cream or cream cheese. Love it

  2. Sounds Great! I use strained yogurt for a Indian desert called ‘ShriKhand’ but never used it in this way.

    Thanks for sharing at Turn It Up Tuesday. I have nominated this post as one of the best entries and my personal favorite! πŸ™‚

  3. I strain Greek (or Balkan Style) Yogurt overnight and use in place of sour cream for a “Sour Cream Coffee Cake” recipe – it’s light and delicious.

  4. what great ideas! so glad you tested these alternatives to cream cheese out and shared your results! I am interested too in the dairy free version! Kristina has been experimenting with making cheese at home so this will be something we can both try πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  5. I have a question about the cottage cheese version: do you drain the whey before you blend it, or leave it in? If left in, do you then drain it off like the yogurt cheese?

    1. I leave it in and blend together and do not drain like the yogurt cheese. It’s not as thick as the yogurt cheese alternative but works well in recipes where you need softened cream cheese.

  6. Could you stir into the yogurt some herbs (fresh or dried) before straining to make an herbed spread?

  7. Hi, we call this cheese β€œ labneh” here in the middle east…
    we eat it daily .. just add a dash of salt and serve it with olive oil and sprinkle of thyme and toasted bread πŸ˜‹…
    Also you can eat it with sticks of cucumbers or carrots.. or use it as dip for your nachos

  8. While blending cottage cheese for substitution for cream cheese, add about 1Tablespoon of very hot water,
    will be smooth and creamy not grainy.