31 Sweet And Savory Cream Cheese Recipes

Cream cheese is one of the most underappreciated ingredients anyone can have in their kitchen. Cream cheese is simply a fresh cheese, meaning it has a high moisture content, made by combining milk, cream, and cultures. The result is a neutral-tasting yet tangy dairy product that can be used for both savory and sweet applications. Not only does it make a great spread for your favorite bagel, but it's also an ingredient that will make your dips super creamy and simple. It's the cornerstone of a classic American dessert: the cheesecake. 

You can also purchase cream cheese in several different varieties, including whipped and flavored. When selecting a cream cheese for your recipe, always look at what the recipe specifies. For example, you should never use whipped cream cheese for blocks in a cheesecake because it doesn't have the same texture. But that same whipped cream cheese could make for easy spreading on your crackers. 

If you're not yet convinced why you should always have a block of cream cheese on hand, we have many tasty reasons. Here are some of the best ways to use this ingredient in your kitchen for more flavorful meals, desserts, and snacks. 

1. Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

The best part of a delicious cinnamon roll isn't the soft inside or the pillowy texture — it's the slather of cream cheese frosting on top. This versatile recipe can be used for glazing the top of your red velvet or carrot cake and any pastry where you want the dichotomy of sweet and tangy. You'll only need a few ingredients, including boxes of full-fat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and your trusty stand mixer. Prepackaged frosting will be in your rearview mirror forever once you make a batch yourself. 

Recipe: Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

2. Whipped Everything Cream Cheese

We love a good everything bagel, but this everything cream cheese is changing how we think of the condiment forever. All you have to do is whip your cream cheese and pour in your blend of spices, including flavorful additions like rosemary, thyme, and fennel seeds, and serve. Not only is this custom schmear perfect for bagels but also for English muffins or toast. Pair it with lox and veggies, or spread it solo. 

Recipe: Whipped Everything Cream Cheese

3. Tender, Fluffy Cream Cheese Cheddar Biscuits

There's no reason to open a can of store-bought biscuits when you have this recipe for the softest, cheesiest biscuits ever. The cream cheese helps keep the dough super moist and adds tanginess to help balance out the other flavors. This biscuit dough is complete with buttermilk, shredded cheddar, and chives before being baked until deliciously golden brown. Serve with a douse of homemade gravy, or transform the biscuit into a breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese, and meat. 

Recipe: Tender, Fluffy Cream Cheese Cheddar Biscuits

4. Cream Cheese And Prosciutto Pinwheels

Cream cheese can be the star of your appetizer table, too. These pinwheels are made with store-bought puff pastry stuffed with layers of prosciutto, Parmesan, and Dijon mustard before being based until puffy and golden-brown. You can also fill and shape these rolls ahead of time and pop them in your freezer before you need to bake them. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped thyme and serve warm for a hearty yet sophisticated snack before wheeling out the rest of your main course. 

Recipe: Cream Cheese And Prosciutto Pinwheels

5. Classic New York-Style Cheesecake

Everyone should have a good New York-style cheesecake recipe on hand. This traditional recipe is easy to dress up with different varieties of crumb crusts and fillings — so long as you master the basic recipe first. Our version includes a homemade graham cracker crust filled with decadent cream cheese infused with sour cream for added tang. Once the cheesecake is finished baking, you can serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, fresh fruit, or a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce. 

Recipe: Classic New York-Style Cheesecake

6. Cream Cheese Brownies

Have you ever tried adding cream cheese to your brownies? If you haven't tried this heavenly mashup, now is your chance. The swirl of cream cheese and a dousing of chocolate frosting will make these brownies seem much richer and fudgier than your boring box of brownie mix. Plus, the color contrast of the marbled cream cheese and brownie batter makes this dessert all the more enticing. 

You don't have to stick with plain brownies, either. Load up on chopped walnuts or chocolate chips for a more diverse bite. 

Recipe: Cream Cheese Brownies

7. Classic Pimento Cheese

You can forget the lackluster sour cream and onion dip. This pimento cheese dip is brimming with flavors courtesy of mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, and pimento peppers. After you've whipped the base of your dip with seasoning like chives, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, pour in the chopped pimentos to avoid discoloring your recipe. It's a dip best served with Ritz or butter crackers, but we could also see a side of carrots or celery for an added crunch factor. 

Recipe: Classic Pimento Cheese

8. Baked Carrot Cake Donuts

When springtime rolls around, we love ourselves a slice of carrot cake. And if you want to feel better about eating cake for breakfast, check out these veggie-filled donuts. They're baked rather than fried, so they have a sturdier texture that can withstand the weight of a cream cheese icing. These donuts are great with a cup of hot coffee or tea and can be eaten as an early morning treat, snack, or dessert.

Recipe: Baked Carrot Cake Donuts

9. Raspberry Cheesecake

This cheesecake is a step up from the one from your local bakery. Not only does it have the perfect cheesecake flavor and texture, but a swirl of homemade raspberry purée is bound to impress all of your dinner guests. The key to making this recipe perfectly is to bake the cake in a water bath to help the filling set and to avoid dramatic temperature changes that would cause your filling to seize up. We also recommend refrigerating the cake overnight to allow the flavors to meld and achieve the perfect consistency. 

Recipe: Raspberry Cheesecake

10. Luscious Oreo Cheesecake

Our favorite type of cheesecake is a toss-up between Oreo and cookie dough. This recipe for the former is made with crushed cookies in the filling, as well as a cookie garnish plunked on each slice. This recipe is a little more novice-friendly because it isn't baked in a water bath. Instead, it's baked low and slow before being cooled and refrigerated for at least six hours. After this time has passed, the cake is coated with a thick layer of homemade chocolate ganache. 

Recipe: Luscious Oreo Cheesecake

11. Carrot Cake Waffles and Cream Cheese Glaze

Sometimes, a plain Belgian waffle slathered with maple syrup just doesn't cut it. Instead, this recipe is made with a carrot-and-walnut-infused waffle batter and topped with a decadent homemade cream cheese glaze. The trick to making this recipe perfect is always starting with a hot, greased waffle iron to prevent sticking. You should also only cook the waffles until you see steam coming out of the iron. Carrot cake waffles can be served solo or as part of a larger breakfast spread with bacon, sausage, and eggs. 

Recipe: Carrot Cake Waffles and Cream Cheese Glaze

12. Fun and Easy Sopapilla Cheesecake

If you want to sample desserts from beyond the U.S. border, check out this Sopapilla cheesecake. It's made with cans of crescent roll dough sandwiching a layer of decadent cream cheese filling. There's no water bath or finicky fillings required, which makes this an easy recipe for at-home cooking. Just assemble your cheesecake, brush the top with melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar, and bake until fragrant and golden. Once the cake is baked and refrigerated, you can slice it into bite-sized squares for small bites. 

Recipe: Fun and Easy Sopapilla Cheesecake

13. Sausage Balls with Cream Cheese

These sausage balls are a protein-dense yet tasty appetizer for your next party. You can use mild or hot sausage for this recipe or opt for a sage sausage for extra flavor. Once you have your ground sausage ready, add it to a stand mixer with the cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and your binding ingredients. Then, shape your balls and pop them in the oven, or hold off until just before you need to bake them. You can reheat this appetizer before your guests arrive. 

Recipe: Sausage Balls with Cream Cheese

14. Christmas Cheese Ball

Your Christmas party needs to put the appetizers and snacking board in the spotlight. And with a simple recipe like this cheese ball, it couldn't be easier. 

Mix your cream cheese base with add-ins like peppers, chives, shredded cheese, and walnuts. Once the ball has adequately chilled, you can roll it in the extra toppings to give it a festive flair. This cheese is best eaten fresh and can be served with crackers or chopped veggie slices. 

Recipe: Christmas Cheese Ball

15. Cheddar Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

Don't fumble this ball during the tailgate season. This delightful appetizer is bound to be your new game-day favorite; it's made with whipped cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, chives, and hot sauce coated in a crispy bacon shell. 

Pop your cheese ball on the table with ruffled potato chips and crackers, or add a crunchy side with carrots, celery, and pepper strips. It's a great pairing with beer and other game-day eats. 

Recipe: Cheddar Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

16. Bacon Jalapeño Pineapple Cheese Ball

This cheese ball is a mixture of sublime flavors and textures. While the base of the cheese ball does not require any extra cooking, sautèing your peppers and onions with olive oil will help concentrate the aromatics and add a new dimension to your recipe. Meanwhile, the fresh pineapple provides a pop of brightness and flavor, and the pecan coating will provide a satisfying crunch in every bite. Serve your cheesy appetizer with a side of crackers, pork rinds, or sliced veggies. 

Recipe: Bacon Jalapeño Pineapple Cheese Ball

17. Cheese Danish with Mango and Lime

Cheese danishes ... at home? While most people reserve these breakfast pastries for special occasions, this recipe shows how with just a little bit of time and effort, you can bring this international recipe into your home kitchen. The filling of these danishes includes cream cheese and mango preserves, while the glaze has a little bit of bite from the addition of lime juice. Once you master this recipe, serve it with a warm cup of coffee or tea for breakfast. 

Recipe: Cheese Danish with Mango and Lime

18. Cherry Cinnamon Kolaches

Kolaches are another European version of the Danish. This recipe is filled with both canned cherry filling and a spicy medley of cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon. These rolls are a delicious treat for breakfast and are relatively easy to make, considering that the base is made of an enriched, yeasted dough that can be mixed in a stand mixer. You can also customize this recipe with other fruit preserves or make it a savory version by swapping the sweet filling for a sausage one. 

Recipe: Cherry Cinnamon Kolaches

19. Smoked Cheddar Cheese Ball With Pistachios, Coriander And Cumin

The key to a great cheese ball is starting off with a flavorful cheese. This recipe is made with mild smoked cheddar cheese, with the perfect umami undertones that elevate other ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, toasted pistachios, and lemon juice. Moreover, the addition of warming spices like coriander and cumin elevates the flavor and sophistication of the recipe beyond that of a boring cheese ball. Serve it with your favorite crackers or celery sticks. 

Recipe: Smoked Cheddar Cheese Ball With Pistachios, Coriander And Cumin

20. Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Let's be honest — the only reason we go to football parties anymore is for the food. This spinach and artichoke dip is bound to be a favorite at your game-day festivities when served with crackers. We love that you can pop all of your ingredients into your slow cooker for two to three hours and come back to a dip that's fresh and ready to go. 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Dip

21. White Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna

While nothing beats a classic red sauce lasagna, this version comes pretty darn close. The tomato base is swapped out with a béchamel, while the meat fillings are replaced with a vegetarian blend of spinach, artichokes, ricotta, cream cheese, and Parmesan. Since this dish tends to be especially rich, we recommend serving it with a fresh tossed salad and garlic bread to soak up the leftover sauce. 

Recipe: White Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna

22. Creamy Spinach Dip

We love how comforting a warm crock of spinach dip is. This recipe can be served warm as an appetizer, snack, or girl dinner, especially when paired with crunchy crackers or sliced veggies. To prepare, mix your cream cheese and sour cream with the chopped spinach and seasonings before baking it in an oven-safe dish. And for the perfect crust, we recommend going heavy on the mozzarella and the Parmesan. 

Recipe: Creamy Spinach Dip

23. Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

When you don't want to heat up your kitchen by running your oven, your air fryer is there to lend a hand. You can use this mighty kitchen appliance to make this delicious appetizer. Just fill your peppers with a mixture of cream cheese, shredded cheese, and spices, top it with panko bread crumbs, and place them in a single layer in the basket. Dunk your poppers in ranch or blue cheese and relish in an easy, tasty starter for your next gathering. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

24. Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Cheesecake and lemon is a match made in heaven. We love this lemon cheesecake bar recipe because you can enjoy the magic of cheesecake without having to grab a fork. It's made with a homemade graham cracker filling and topped with a flavorful lemon cheesecake filling. Once your cheesecake is baked and still slightly jiggly in the center, be sure to refrigerate it for at least eight hours to allow the center to set. Then top with a powdered sugar garnish and serve. 

Recipe: Lemon Cheesecake Bars

25. Tiramisu Cheesecake

Now, you won't have to decide between an Italian tiramisu and cheesecake. This recipe is the best of both worlds, featuring a chocolate graham-cracker base, layers of Kahlua and espresso-infused cheesecake filling, and ladyfingers biscuits. The best part about this recipe is that it doesn't require any time in the oven, but it will need some time to chill in the oven before it's ready to serve. When the time comes, be sure to top each slice with a grated chocolate garnish. 

Recipe: Tiramisu Cheesecake

26. Broiled Jalapeño Poppers

There's something so satisfying about biting into a piece of broiled, golden-brown cheese on top of a pepper. These peppers are not just stuffed with cheese but also bacon, cream cheese, chives, and seasoning. The key to getting the perfect color is to pop them right under the broiler and to leave the door ajar to prevent them from getting too blistered. After less than ten minutes, your appetizers will be ready to plate and snack. 

Recipe: Broiled Jalapeño Poppers

27. Classic Creamed Spinach

Veggie side dishes don't have to be boring. This creamed spinach recipe gets a bright pop of flavor from lemon juice and a smooth texture from softened cream cheese and cream. Once the mixture has simmered to perfection, pair it with grilled chicken, a flank steak, or seafood. It will also keep fresh in a container for up to three days, which makes for tasty and convenient leftovers. 

Recipe: Classic Creamed Spinach

28. No-Bake Orange Dreamsicle Dessert Bars

This recipe takes one of our favorite ice cream novelties, the dreamsicle, and turns it into a delicious dessert with the help of cream cheese. The bars are no-bake (and super kid-friendly) and start with an orange-infused almond flour base. Then, the bars are topped with a layer of cream cheese filling and orange custard. Once the layers are formed and properly chilled, the whole dessert should be returned to the fridge for several hours before slicing. We can assure you it's worth the wait.

Recipe: No-Bake Orange Dreamsicle Dessert Bars

29. Baked Ricotta Cheesecake

Cream cheese isn't the only dairy product that you need to add to your cheesecake. This recipe utilizes creamy ricotta for a cheesecake texture that's absolutely out-of-this-world. Besides the filling, we love that this recipe is made with crumbled Lotus biscuits instead of a standard graham cracker crumb. Top your cheesecake with fresh berries and powdered sugar, or make your own jam to spread over the top of your cake. 

Recipe: Baked Ricotta Cheesecake

30. No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

If you're looking for a dessert you can whip together in no time, check out this no-bake cheesecake. Its base is made with a DIY graham cracker crust, but we won't tell on you if you use a pre-made one. What's even easier is that the filling is infused with store-bought strawberry jam, which means you won't have to stand over a stove making your perfect fruit curd. Once you have your cake assembled, pop it in the freezer to set it before slicing it. 

Recipe: No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

31. Loaded Lox Bagel

Bagels are, by far, our favorite way to start the morning. These bagels are smothered with a cream cheese schmear flavored with crème fraîche, lemon juice, and caper brine before being topped with thinly sliced lox, quick pickle strips, red onion, and dill. Our go-to bagel for this recipe is an asiago, but an everything or a plain would also suffice. The balance of protein, carbs, and fat on this bagel make it a filling option for breakfast, lunch, or a hearty snack.

Recipe: Loaded Lox Bagel