Instant Pot Cream Cheese is fantastic. I tried to figure out how to make it after making a huge batch of my Air Fryer Blueberry Bagels. Nothing is better than homemade bagels and cream cheese—a winning combination.
If you have been looking for the perfect way to make creamy homemade cream cheese in under 30 minutes, this is the Instant Pot recipe for you!
Can You Make Homemade Cream Cheese In Your Instant Pot
Absolutely! You can make homemade cream cheese using your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. The process involves using the Instant Pot to create an ideal environment for culturing the cream, turning it into a thick and creamy cheese. While the Instant Pot doesn’t significantly speed up the overall fermentation process, it provides a consistent temperature, ensuring reliable results every time. Once you’ve made cream cheese in your Instant Pot, you might skip store-bought versions altogether!
How To Make Homemade Instant Pot Cream Cheese
If you ever shied away from making homemade cream cheese, this is so the recipe for you, it’s easy, and it’s beautiful.
If you have never had homemade cream cheese, the texture differs from store-bought. It is lighter, creamier, and much smoother.
Ingredients Needed For Instant Pot Cream Cheese
Dive into the world of homemade dairy delights with just a few simple ingredients. Whether you add it to creamy chicken pasta, or creamy instant pot mac and chees, this recipe will please everyone!
Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.
- Fresh Milk: The foundational ingredient, fresh milk, provides a creamy base. Opt for high-quality, pasteurized milk to ensure a rich and authentic flavor.
- Starter Culture or Acid: Whether you’re using lemon juice, vinegar, or a specific cheese starter culture, this ingredient is crucial for the curdling process. It separates the milk into curds and whey, transforming it into cream cheese.
- Kosher Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the natural flavors of the cream cheese. While optional, it acts as a preservative, bringing out the creamy texture’s full depth and richness.
How To Cook Homemade Cream Cheese In Instant Pot
With a few simple steps, you can make cream cheese, right in your pressure cooker!
Step One: Add Your Ingredients To Pressure Cooker
In an Instant Pot, pour in milk and lemon juice. Give it a little stir. Close the lid, seal the pressure valve, and set the Instant Pot cook time for 6 minutes on low pressure.
Step Two: Process The Cream Cheese
Once finished, allow the Instant Pot to natural release pressure for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Stir result. Curds should have separated from milk, leaving whey.
Step Three: Process The Cream Cheese
Place a cheesecloth over a strainer and remove the curds with a slotted spoon or spider spoon. Place the curds on the cheesecloth and let the curds come to room temperature. Once cooled, wrap the cloth and squeeze the curds until dry.
Step Four: Serving
For smooth, creamy cream cheese, place the cheese curds in a food processor and blend until smooth. This is the point where you would add salt to taste or other flavor options.
Pro Tips For Instant Pot Cream Cheese Recipe
- Quality Matters: Start with the freshest milk possible. Raw or unpasteurized milk often yields creamier and more flavorful cream cheese.
- Monitor Temperature: If your Instant Pot doesn’t have a yogurt setting, use a thermometer to ensure your milk reaches the right temperature. Heating the milk correctly is crucial for proper curdling.
- Straining Material: A fine mesh cheesecloth or a nut milk bag works best to ensure a smooth consistency. Double layer the cheesecloth if it’s too porous.
- Adjust Consistency: Extend the straining time if you prefer a thicker, more spreadable cream cheese. For a softer consistency, strain for a shorter period.
- Reserve the Whey: Don’t discard the whey! It’s packed with protein and can be used in smoothies, bread recipes, or even as a base for soups.
- Flavor Variations: Experiment with flavors once you’ve mastered the basic recipe. Herbs, spices, fresh fruit, or even honey can be mixed for extra flavor.
- Natural Cultures: If you’re using a starter culture instead of an acid, ensure it’s fresh and hasn’t expired. This promotes proper fermentation.
- Storage: Always store homemade cream cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent contamination.
- Experiment with Cream: Try making cream cheese with milk and heavy cream for an even richer flavor and texture.
How do you use this cream cheese and bake with it?
This is a great cream cheese recipe, not only to serve on top of your favorite bagels, but you can use it however you would, baking it or using it in homemade cream cheese frosting. The possibilities are endless.
If you run out of cream cheese and want this for a recipe, this is a great go-to since you probably already have all the ingredients in your refrigerator.
How To Store, Freeze, and Reheat Homemade Instant Pot Cream Cheese
- Once your cream cheese has reached the desired consistency and cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.
- It’s crucial to keep it in a sealed container to keep it fresh and prevent it from absorbing other flavors from the fridge.
- Freezing for Extended Storage:
- If you’ve made a large batch and want to store it for an extended period, freezing is an option. However, be aware that the texture may change slightly upon thawing.
- Portion the cream cheese into serving-sized amounts and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or use a vacuum sealer for best results.
- Place the wrapped portions in a zip-top freezer bag, pressing out as much air as possible.
- Label the bag with the date and contents.
- The cream cheese can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- From the Freezer:
- When you’re ready to use frozen cream cheese, it’s best to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once thawed, give it a good stir to combine any separated liquid and ensure a smooth consistency.
- If you’re using the cream cheese in a recipe where it will be melted or cooked, you can use it directly from the fridge or freezer without thawing first.
Note: Freezing and thawing might affect the texture of the cream cheese, making it a bit more crumbly or grainy. It’s still perfectly safe to eat and retains its flavor, but if you use it as a spread, you might notice a slight difference. Consuming homemade cream cheese fresh or refrigerated without freezing is best for the creamiest results.
Can I use any type of milk for this recipe?
You can use various types of milk, but for the best results, use full-fat milk or a mix of milk and cream.
Why is my cream cheese not setting or thickening properly?
Several factors could influence milk quality, the amount or type of starter culture or acid used or the fermentation time and temperature. Ensure you’re following the steps correctly and using fresh ingredients.
Can I double the recipe in my Instant Pot?
You can double the recipe, but ensure you don’t fill the Instant Pot past its maximum capacity. Also, remember that the straining time might be slightly longer with a larger batch.
How can I make flavored cream cheese?
After the straining process and before refrigeration, mix in your desired flavorings. This can include herbs, fruits, spices, or sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
How long does homemade cream cheese last in the refrigerator?
Stored in an airtight container, homemade cream cheese should last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Can I use the whey for other recipes?
Absolutely! Whey is protein-rich and can be used in smoothies, bread-making, soups, or even as a substitute for water in various recipes.
Do I need to add salt?
While salt enhances the flavor and acts as a preservative, it’s optional. You can adjust the amount based on your preference.
Can I use this method with other types of milk, like almond or soy?
This particular method is tailored for dairy milk. Non-dairy milk would require different techniques and ingredients to produce a similar cream cheese texture.
Is homemade cream cheese healthier than store-bought?
Homemade cream cheese typically has no preservatives, stabilizers, or artificial ingredients, making it a more natural option. You can also control and adjust the ingredients based on your dietary preferences.
More Instant Pot Recipes
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Instant Pot Cream Cheese
- 8 cups milk, use whole milk, 2%, coconut milk, or almond milk. Fairlife milk is a great option as well.
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, optional
- In an Instant Pot, pour in milk and lemon juice. Give it a little stir.
- Close the lid, seal the pressure valve, and set Instant Pot for 6 minutes on low pressure.
- Once finished, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then release any other pressure manually.
- Stir result. Curds should have separated from milk, leaving whey.
- Place a cheesecloth over a strainer and remove the curds with a slotted spoon or spider spoon. Place the curds on the cheesecloth and let the curds come to room temperature.
- Once cooled, wrap the cloth and squeeze the curds until dry.
- For smooth, creamy cream cheese, place the cheese curds in a food processor and blend until smooth. This is the point you would add salt to taste and or other flavor options.
- Instant Pot, or Other Pressure Cooker