32 cream cheese recipes, from dips to desserts

At the heart of any good dip, cake or casserole is, well, love, of course – but also, probably, a block of cream cheese.

Creamy, whipped or flavored, cream cheese has the ability to bring a sumptuous quality to sweet desserts and a wonderful creaminess to a range of appetizers, sides and savory main dishes. In addition to spreading it on your bagel, cream cheese is great for cooking and baking (especially when recipes call for it to be brought to room temperature).

Cream cheese is a staple in many homes today. But the spreadable and versatile dairy product has an interesting past. In 1872, the founder of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (who surprisingly lived in Chester, New York) was attempting to make Neufchâtel – a pungent, crumbly cheese product that was popular in Europe at the time – when he accidentally added a little too much of cream and created a richer, more spreadable cheese. This much-loved mishap led to the mass production of cream cheese in 1880, and the spread has brought many meals to life ever since.

So when you’re looking for a way to use cream cheese in the fridge or need a delicious dish to make for a party or weeknight at home, look no further. We’ve rounded up our favorite recipes using this delicious, creamy, dreamy dairy product!

Salted Cream Cheese Recipes

Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo

First, let’s see how to make cream cheese from scratch! All it takes is four ingredients, a cheesecloth, 15 minutes to prep, and a little patience while baking, then 12 to 24 hours.

Cheddar-Shallot Cream Cheese Bagel Bites

Skyler Bouchard

You can easily whip up these delicious 30-minute party snacks at the last minute and no one will guess they’re made with pre-made croissant dough! You can cook them in your oven, toaster oven, or even in your air fryer.

Southern Style Mac and Cheese

Food Network

Southern-style mac and cheese is more solid than most mac and cheese recipes. It is basically a custard-style dish cooked with eggs, heavy cream, and sharp cheddar cheese. It is undeniable that it is irresistible!

Jalapeño Pepper Dip

Casey Barbier

Love a hot plate of jalapeño poppers, but don’t want to bother stuffing and frying them yourself? Don’t! Instead, skip all the effort and make this super simple, deconstructed version of the jalapeño popper everyone loves. This dreamy dip is a cinch to make.

Easy Cheese Dip (Queso Dip)


As long as there’s a bowl of hot, melty cheese dip on the table at a summer barbecue, everyone goes home a happy camper. There’s a reason TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager is obsessed with queso, and it’s not just because of her Texas roots.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese toast

Casey Barbier

Serve these light smoked salmon toasties with whipped cream cheese for brunch, lunch or as an appetizer while entertaining.

The Ultimate Slow Cooker Queso

Casey Barbier

Want to make queso in the slow cooker for even easier entertainment? This recipe has you covered. It’s gooey, salty, hot, and just what you need, whether you’re watching a game or hanging out with friends.

Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Kara Birnbaum / TODAY

This delicious cream cheese-enriched mashed potato recipe comes from Martha Stewart’s mom. They’re succulent, creamy, and everything good mashed potatoes should be.

Scoop of salted pistachio crusted cream cheese with saltines

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

So easy to make and personalize, this crowd-pleasing appetizer is guaranteed to be the life of any party, from summer barbecues to elegant holiday affairs.

Cheeseburger Dip

David Rose

A garden barbecue cheeseburger in the form of a dip! Ever wondered what to do with all those leftover ground beef and cheese? Wonder no more! Beef, cheese and fresh toppings give you all the satisfying flavors of a cheeseburger in a savory, shareable dip.

Great Festive Holiday Dip

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

“This dip is downright addictive – you just can’t stop eating it! I’ve never brought it to a party without at least three people asking for the recipe,” says Elizabeth Heiskell.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Courtesy of Matt Abdoo

Savor every delicious bite of a Buffalo wing in a dip to share. Guests will go crazy for the extra flavor and crunchy texture of the zesty banana peppers and crunchy green onions.

Poblano Cheese and Corn Dip

Matt Armendariz

This dip is super forgiving and won’t freeze, making it perfect for parties. It’s also easy to make ahead and bake right before serving so you don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen.

pizza dip

Courtesy of Caroline Choe

When the pizza craving strikes and you don’t want to wait for delivery or spend time making your own, let Microwave Pizza Dip come to the rescue!

Sweet Cream Cheese Recipes

Gelatin Delight Salad

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

“The name sounds like something from the 1960s, and it probably was, but damn it was delicious! We’ve always had it as a side dish to our savory meal. It tastes more like dessert and I think that’s why us kids loved it so much,” says TODAY’s Dylan Dreyer.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Bites

Skyler Bouchard

These sweet treats are mouthfuls of pure decadence. They are so simple to assemble and cook, can be prepared very quickly, and they have a fancy feel and flavor, even though they are very economical.

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

When it comes to these red velvet brownies, it’s all about the frosting. There’s nothing more decadent than a kiss of rich cream cheese frosting.

Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Casey Barbier

Serve this lightly spiced dessert with nuts, raisins, coconut and pineapple – or keep it simple with just grated carrots in the batter. Either way, it’s a guaranteed treat, especially when each slice gets a luxurious layer of cream cheese frosting.

Sugar-free cheesecake from Valérie Bertinelli

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

This cheesecake has all the sweet creaminess of the classic version but without the added sugar! It’s great when you want something a little lighter or are looking for low sugar options.

No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

You don’t need an ice cream maker to make this decadent blueberry cheesecake ice cream! This is definitely a project anyone can take on. To develop more flavor in her no-churn blueberry cheesecake ice cream, Jocelyn Delk Adams bakes the blueberries first.

Triple Threat Chocolate Cheesecake

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

This chocolate cheesecake is rich, creamy and downright amazing. It’s a fairly simple undertaking, don’t wait until the very last minute, as it ideally needs to be chilled in the refrigerator overnight before adding the filling.

Mini Cheesecakes from Joy Bauer

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

These mini (yet potent) treats are rich, creamy, and so satisfying when a cheesecake craving strikes. Feel free to get creative with savory toppings, such as fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of crushed graham crackers or fluffy whipped cream and dark chocolate chips. Say cheese (cake)!

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Getty Images

This recipe doesn’t add any unexpected extras or fancy new flavors. It’s a traditional, simple red velvet cake that showcases the unbeatable flavors and textures of this iconic classic.

No-Bake Cheesecake with Sweetened Condensed Milk

Carrie Parente

This simple cheesecake requires no baking and uses sweetened condensed milk for a smooth, decadent texture. It’s delicious on its own or served with any topping of your choice, from fresh berries to chocolate chips or even toasted coconut.

Churro Cheesecake

Courtesy of Alejandra Tapia

Combining incredible desserts, churro and cheesecake, Alejandra Tapia creates a simple cake filled with luscious condensed milk, decadent cream cheese, cinnamon sugar and sweet strawberries. And it only takes 10 minutes of prep time!

Hummingbird Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


Hummingbird Cake is a classic Southern dessert that’s perfect for the holidays with cream cheese frosting, pineapple, bananas and pecans. The recipe calls for dividing the batter into 12 individual Bundt cake pans, so each person gets their own cake.

Dylan Dreyer's Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Dylan Dreyer

These “cupcakes” are individual cheesecakes perfect for serving a crowd. They’re so simple and quick to make, yet they’re so beautifully dressed with three little cherries on top. “Before, I wanted to eat it by handfuls!” said Dylan.

Vanilla Cheesecake Panna Cotta

Frances Largeman Roth

These silky panna cotta with cheesecake and vanilla beans are the perfect end to a festive meal. They’re rich and creamy, and just the right size to satisfy. Plus, they look like little votive candles on the table! Each panna cotta contains around 250 calories – enjoy every bite.

No-Bake Rainbow Cheesecake

Cayla Gallagher / Unicorn Food

This gorgeous cheesecake is gelatin-free and fun to make with the kids. The cake only takes 20 minutes of active time to prepare, plus a few hours in the freezer. The end result is a wonderfully smooth and creamy cheesecake that can be eaten with a spoon – and you can enjoy different colors with every bite!

Basque burnt cheesecake

Buttermilk Pantry

Given its overly dark and cracked surface, this dessert could easily be mistaken for a bake-gone-wrong situation. With no crust and a soft, gooey center, it’s pretty much like the anti-cheesecake cheesecake. Although very different from the classic New York style recipe, this dessert is definitely something to love.

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Carrie Parente

Looking for a fun way to make individual desserts? These mini no-bake cheesecakes are simple, summery and filled with freshly macerated strawberries. Not only do they look adorable, they also taste amazing.

Cheesecake with salted caramel flan

Petr Bednarik / Eli’s Chicago

Maureen Schulman of Eli’s Cheesecake in Chicago created this cheesecake with a nut crust as an alternative to a flour crust. It is sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy at the same time. It’s perfect for hostess gifts and potlucks.

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