Why You Should Start Smoking Your Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is one of the most versatile cheeses. Cream cheese is a soft, processed cheese made from cows' milk. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and is easily spreadable. Cream cheese may be most known as the preferred spread for a morning bagel. A block of cream cheese can be used in sweet applications, like cream cheese brownies, or savory dishes, like sausage balls with cream cheese. Cream cheese has an incredibly long shelf life, making it perfect to store for multiple recipes. Lacademie reports that Philadelphia cream cheese stays good if unopened in the refrigerator for one month past the "best when purchased by" date. But once opened, it should be consumed within 10 days.

If you're headed to a party or family gathering, it's a faux pas to show up empty-handed. Sure, you could use your cream cheese to whip up a New York-style cheesecake, but if you're looking for something a bit easier and more unique, try cooking your cream cheese in a surprising way.

Amp up the flavor with smoked cream cheese

Smoked cream cheese is exactly what it sounds like. It's cream cheese that has been cooked on a grill or smoker. The cooked cream cheese can easily be made into a dip or used in a dish to add some sweet and smoky flavor. According to MasterClass, many people flavor their cream cheese with sweet or savory spices or even fresh herbs before smoking. Smoked cream cheese can be made into an array of different dips. To have success smoking cream cheese, you need to choose the right smoker and wood. This will depend on personal preference and also what is accessible to you. You'll want to use a block of cream cheese and score it to ensure the smoke penetrates the block evenly.

According to A Grill for All Seasons, a rub can be put on the cheese block prior to cooking, which makes for a tasty cheese dip. As they explained, a spicy taco seasoning will amp up the flavor, as it uses cayenne pepper to offer a bit of heat.

If you've ever had a jalapeño popper, there's a chance you've unknowingly had smoked cream cheese. Jalapeños poppers are a popular appetizer made from jalapeños that are stuffed with cream cheese, shredded cheese, and wrapped in bacon (per Traeger). The entire popper is either grilled, smoked, or fried.