This recipe for Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese couldn’t be simpler! Plus it’s high-protein, filled with gut-friendly probiotics, and SO much cheaper to make it yourself than to buy Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese from the store. Can’t wait to show you how easy it is to make this.
Did you know that you can strain your yogurt at home into CHEESE?
Wait. Come again?
YES. Boom. Mind blown. Well, at least my mind was when I first found out. I am fully aware that you may be a much more in-the-know food connoisseur than I could ever hope to be.
But really, guys. It made my head explode. Okay, not really but it did metaphorically burst open with sheer joy when I realized that this was a DIY-able thing. REAL people were just doing this casually in their own kitchens. Humble culinary heroes just makin’ cream cheese like it’s no big deal.
Turns out it really isn’t a “big deal” to make it. You too can take creamy, thick, protein-packed, low-fat Greek yogurt, and strain it into a soft set cheese. At home, on the cheap, in your very own fridge.
If you’ve ever had Labneh from a Middle Eastern restaurant, you know exactly what kind of yumminess I am referring to. Labneh is a strained-yogurt cheese that uses full-fat yogurt (not Greek yogurt) and it is absolutely scrumptious for dipping and spreading.
This strained yogurt cheese has a thick and creamy texture, a mellow tanginess, and is easy to spread. Just like your favorite store bought bagel schmear.
A totally worth-eating swap for that trusty, classic cream cheese that may or may not be chillin’ in your fridge at this very moment.
The most wonderful part is that this thick probiotic-filled yogurt spread (masquerading as cream cheese) is super simple to make.
Like stupid simple. Verging on effortless. No rocket science required.
It is so darn stress-free to assemble that I feel silly for buying Greek yogurt cream cheese from the store before. Now that I’m “in-the-know”, I can make way more for way less.
All you need is a strainer, some cheesecloth, a container of your favorite Greek yogurt, a heavy can (or jar), a dish for catching the drained liquid, your fridge, and a few days of waiting eagerly for it to be ready. And voila! You will have homemade Greek yogurt cream cheese.
When it comes to making this, your own patience might really be the toughest part.
In its most basic unfussed form, this is a ONE INGREDIENT recipe.
Only ONE. How often does that happen?! Besides almost never.
The method involves turning this one solitary ingredient into something else. Something richer and denser by removing some of the liquid. The whole process is fairly lazy because all we are doing is using gravity to do our dirty work.
It’s not like we’re making the actual yogurt from scratch (for now, I will happily leave that business to the infinitely-craftier-than-me yogurt making experts). But there’s plenty of ways to dress up your homemade cream cheese to make it look like maybe you did do all of the hard work and are the creator of fancy cream cheese miracles.
Here are some of my favorite twists on the basic recipe:
Cinnamon Honey Cream Cheese = A bit of sweet honey + a sprinkling of cinnamon spice
Strawberry Cream Cheese = Swirl some fruity preserves right into it
Garlic-Herb Cream Cheese = Combine with minced garlic + herbs + salt + pepper + EVOO
Spicy Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese = Stir together chopped sundried tomatoes + fresh basil + pinch of red pepper flakes
Fruit & Nut Crusted Cream Cheese Log = Roll in crushed salted pistachios + chopped dried cranberries // tart cherries + finish with a drizzle of honey. Serve glamorously with artisan crackers at parties (things I assume fancy people do)
Classic = Do absolutely nothing except add a toasted bagel underneath and salt as needed? Yes. I do believe we have a winner.
So many options, so little time to devour them all. I just want to put it on EVERYTHING.
Every. Single. Flipping. Thing.
- Spread on a toasted English muffin and top with fresh fruit slices
- Layer on bread and top with thin avocado slices, sesame seeds, and sprouts
- Use as a stuffing for baked chicken breasts (just make a little pocket and tuck a dollop inside with pepper + lemon zest + fresh herbs)
- Layer inside of a crunchy veggie wrap as a creamy cold spread
- Sprinkle on top of salads to add a bit of cream cheese goodness to every bite
- Mix with spices and olive oil to make an easy cracker, pretzel, or veggie dip
- Bake a swirl of it into the center of fruity pastries or muffins
*Dreamy sigh* – Oh the possibilities…
Give it a go at home using your favorite yogurt and let me know what tasty combinations you end up with!
MORE GREEK YOGURT RECIPES:
This 1-ingredient recipe for Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese couldn’t be simpler! Plus it’s high-protein, filled with gut-friendly probiotics, and SO much cheaper to make it yourself than to buy Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese from the store.
- 32 oz Greek Yogurt
- SET UP STRAINER: Set a strainer inside of a dish. Make sure the base of the strainer fits comfortably inside and sits flat. Choose a dish with sides that is deep enough to catch the drained liquid (about 3 inches or more). Layer two pieces of cheesecloth in the strainer, one on top of the another. Make sure that it covers the holes in the strainer and is centered so that the corners are draped over the sides of the strainer.
- ADD YOGURT: Open your Greek yogurt, pour out any of the liquid that has collected on top. Then using a spatula, empty the entire contents of the yogurt container into the cheesecloth. Dig in with that spatula, more yogurt in the cheesecloth means more cream cheese for you later! Fold the corners of the cheesecloth over the yogurt so that it is fully covered.
- WEIGH DOWN + STRAIN IN FRIDGE: Place a heavy can (or I use a big tomato sauce jar) on top of the folded cheesecloth. Place entire dish into the fridge and let drain for 2-3 days. You can drain the liquid out each day as needed. Once the cheese is firmed up and drained you can fold extra ingredients into it. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
If you want to have pretty presentation that is easy for slicing or dipping, place the cream cheese onto wax paper and use to form into either a large round disc OR a log shape. Store in the wax paper inside of a plastic bag to keep it fresh.
If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use a very thin flour sack style dishcloth. The only issue may be that some of the liquid will soak into the towel itself instead of down and out through the cheesecloth. Give it a few good squeezes each night to try to avoid this.
I tend to use full (whole milk) or low fat Greek Yogurt (2%) but I imagine it would be equally delicious with non-fat yogurt (0%) too if that’s more your thing.