I’ve been writing on the web professionally for a lot of, a few years now. Over that time period, I’ve come to appreciate it’s smartest to offer readers (all of whom are more likely to bounce shortly–sure, even you) with the required context for understanding eeeverything they’re about to learn as shortly as doable within the introduction of the piece in order for you an opportunity of them sticking round. So, in case you’re nonetheless studying, right here’s the context required for totally internalizing this one:

I’m a Jew from New Jersey who just lately moderated a cream cheese style take a look at. All the cream cheese taste-testers reside in or round New York Metropolis. There have been a whole lot of right opinions voiced within the room that day. Mine, which you’ll learn woven all through the under entries, is probably the most right one.

Anyway! It took so lengthy to deliberate over what makes a great cream cheese that we truly needed to reschedule this style take a look at thrice. After mentioned weeks of arguing that, no, it didn’t make sense to conduct three separate style checks to find out individually which brick, unfold, and whipped cream cheeses are the most effective, I received all applicable events in a room sooner or later. All of them had entry to 1 or two plain bagels, in addition to a curated number of three classes of cream cheese. All this to say: The SE crew has pulled collectively eight manufacturers of cream cheese you are more likely to discover in your native grocery store, and methodically, empirically, scientifically! tasted its means via all of them in a quest to establish the easiest. And we viscerally cherished each minute of it!

Earlier than you learn on, it’s vital to notice: We separated these cheeses into three subcategories as a result of they’re very a lot are totally different merchandise! Blocks (or bricks!) of cream cheese have little moisture or air combined in. Spreads have some air whipped in! Whipped cream cheeses are the lightest and airiest providing, with probably the most air (and stabilizers) whipped in of all. This distinction turns into obvious (1) the second you lay eyes on them side-by-side, and (2) once you subsequently try and switch every to its second location. It bodily takes extra effort to seize a hunk of freshly room-temp cream cheese from a block than it does to take away the identical quantity from a diffusion. It would not take any power to maneuver a serving of whipped cream cheese unfold wherever.

Critical Eats / Jordan Provost

Extra helpfully, maybe, is that you would be able to see these variations illustrated throughout the burden and caloric content material variations inside the identical model. Philadelphia’s Whipped Unique, for instance, says its serving measurement of two tablespoons is available in round 22 grams (in addition to with 50 energy, 1 gram of protein, and 4.5 grams of fats per serving). Its unfold counterpart? Thirty-one grams = 2 tablespoons of product, 80 energy, 2 grams of protein, and seven grams of fats per serving. Lastly, the Philadelphia brick yields 28 grams per ounce and 100 energy, 2 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fats per serving. This gentle (whipped), medium (unfold), and most sturdy (block) breakdown rings true for every model with a number of choices throughout this style take a look at.

OK. Time to bop.

Please word: We searched in every single place for Cabot, Good Tradition, Wegman’s, Cease & Store, Clover Sonoma, Puck, and Nice Worth cream cheese in all kinds. We additionally appeared for Tillamook’s cream cheese unfold, however had been solely in a position to safe their blocks. We needed to incorporate all of this stuff in every class! However we had hassle procuring any of them the week we examined. Like, a lot in order that we nearly pivoted and went plant-based!! (We didn’t. You’ll not discover any nut milk cream cheeses in these rankings.)

The Contenders


  • Natural Valley
  • Philadelphia
  • Tillamook


  • 365 Cream Cheese Unfold
  • Nancy’s Probiotic Cream Cheese Unfold
  • Natural Valley Cream Cheese Unfold
  • Philadelphia Unique Cream Cheese Unfold


  • 365 Whipped Cream Cheese
  • Philadelphia Whipped Unique
  • Temp Tee

The Standards

cream cheese, it doesn’t matter what type it is available in, is tangy. Not so tangy that you just’ll surprise how bitter cream ended up in your bagel (god forbid), however tangy sufficient that you just’ll know you made a more sensible choice than placing butter in your bagel (god forbid). A restrained tang. There also needs to be sufficient salt and creaminess to lend a sure heft to every chunk. You need to instantly know: “What I’m consuming proper now? This may very well be the inspiration of an important cheesecake sooner or later.” Once more, no matter type, your cream cheese ought to unfold simply. Don’t have a look at me like that. No, not all cream cheeses (not even all cream cheese spreads!) unfold seamlessly. There are a whole lot of stabilizers out right here in these elements!! 

Critical Eats / Jordan Provost

The Rankings


Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 4.3/5

Properly, nicely, nicely. Fancy assembly you right here, and so on., and so on. This brick had a “good lactic tang in a gentle milky base,” Daniel wrote. “It was thick, creamy, clean, and spreadable,” he added. It was “creamy with only a trace of sweetness,” Kelli notes. Our stop-in taste-tester du jour/director of product Allison Mango echoed Daniel and Kelli’s ideas: “It’s received somewhat tang on the finish. I actually appreciated the style; it’s good and creamy with somewhat saltiness.” On the conclusion of the take a look at, everybody needed to know in the event that they’d picked the Philadelphia brick, and so they all had. It’s simply kinda good once I don’t must fake like I’m shocked a few style take a look at winner, ya know?

Natural Valley Cream Cheese, 3.3/5

An fascinating silver medal winner! Opinions had been cut up right here. The flavour was beautiful. “Very creamy with the correct quantity of bitter and salt—jogs my memory of cottage cheese taste,” our photographer Jordan wrote, however the texture raised flags from the group. It was distinctly stabilized with gums and unfold extra like all of the “unfold” choices than any of the opposite blocks. See: shortly and slippery. Both means, it Tasted Like Cream Cheese.

Tillamook Cream Cheese, 3.13/5

A deliciously candy providing, Tillamook cream cheese was loved by all…with the caveat that they’d desire it on a lox-laden bagel to compensate for a scarcity of salt. Daniel known as what it did have a mere “background salt,” and that lack of saltiness is what finally introduced this one down to 3rd place.. So creamy! So candy! Unfold very properly! Simply…so little salt!

Critical Eats / Jordan Provost


Philadelphia Unique Cream Cheese Unfold, 4/5

Howdy once more, you! You tangy, spreadable, classically cream tacky you! It simply felt right on a bagel, is all!

365 Cream Cheese Unfold, 3.33/5

One other darkish horse contender! 365 choices are likely to…tank…in our style checks, so I did quadruple-check this math. However no, the testers loved this as an easy possibility. It checked the suitable saltiness and tanginess packing containers in addition to the creaminess one, however each time I see a singular phrase known as out in each tester’s feedback, I’m legally required to level it out. On this case? “Easy.” Jordan known as it “tremendous clean,” Allison known as it “buttery clean,” Kelli known as it “smooooth,” and Daniel, lastly, and true-to-form, known as it “nearly too clean.” Idk, guys. If you happen to desire a grittier (?) cream cheese, don’t purchase this one? I suppose?

Nancy’s Probiotic Cream Cheese Unfold, 3.25/5

In Nancy’s protection, she is extraordinarily upfront concerning the inclusion of tradition in her cream cheese. In my coworkers’ protection, that they had no thought what they had been consuming. These feedback had been riddled with mentions of what an excessively bitter product it was. Nonetheless, the softness and smoothness of the product got here via in each chunk. They appreciated it! They had been simply confused for a sec!

Natural Valley Cream Cheese Unfold, 2.66/5

Practically as bitter as Nancy’s and with far fewer cultures, I worry.


Temp Tee, 3.88/5

An indication the folks I work with like a factor? They use as few phrases as humanly doable to explain it. Listed here are the entries for Temp Tee:

“Good tang.” -Daniel
“Air-ier, fluffier! Like whipped cream!” -Allison
“Wonderful taste!” -Jordan
“Floofy.” -Kelli

All of those opinions are right.

365 Whipped Cream Cheese, 3.88/5

Essentially the most visually frosting-like of the entire bunch. Actually, it appeared a lot like frosting it gave a number of folks pause. However it finally tasted gentle and ethereal with out tipping into over-aeration, and it was not almost as candy as some feared it is likely to be.

Philadelphia Whipped Unique, 2.86/5

I’m unsure finish the bit right here. Is it, like, “What’s a lady such as you doing in a spot like this?” Or extra of an emphatic: “You?? Right here?? Now??” On the constructive facet, it was very clean and aesthetically very pleasing. Idk. It was simply wetter and nonetheless, in some way, additionally foamier than the opposite two whipped cream cheeses.

Our Testing Methodology

All style checks are carried out utterly anonymously and with out dialogue. Tasters style samples in random order. For instance, taster A might style pattern 1 first, whereas taster B will style pattern 6 first. That is to forestall palate fatigue from unfairly giving anyone pattern a bonus. Tasters are requested to fill out tasting sheets rating the samples for numerous standards that change from pattern to pattern. All information is tabulated and outcomes are calculated with no editorial enter with the intention to give us probably the most neutral illustration of precise outcomes doable.

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