Can You Use Cream Cheese Spread for Cheesecake?

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Lauren Beck

If you are among the numerous home cooks and baking aficionados, you may be curious if cream cheese spread can be used to make a cheesecake. The response is both yes and no. Although the flavor may be comparable, there are distinct distinctions between regular cream cheese and cream cheese spread that can influence the outcome of your cheesecake’s texture.

Regular cream cheese is firmer and can withstand higher temperatures when baking than cream cheese spread. This can result in a drier, more crumbly cake as opposed to the creamy texture you’d get with a traditional cheesecake made with regular cream cheese. The spread also has added ingredients such as stabilizers, emulsifiers and preservatives, which can also affect the finished product.

That said, cream cheese spread can be used successfully in some recipes. For example, a no-bake cheesecake can be made with the spread and will have a creamy texture reminiscent of regular cream cheese. Cream cheese spread can also be added to other ingredients like yogurt or whipped cream to make a dessert that can be served chilled or frozen.

How to Make Classic Cheesecake With Cream Cheese Spread?


  • 2 (8 ounce) containers cream cheese spread
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese spread and sugar. Beat together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract and lemon juice. Pour mixture into the springform pan.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until center is almost set. Allow cheesecake to cool before serving.

Do You Need Cheese for Cheesecake?

No, you don’t need cheese for cheesecake. However, most traditional recipes rely on the flavor of cream cheese to give it its signature taste. Cream cheese can be substituted with other ingredients such as ricotta or mascarpone cheese. Alternatively, cream cheese can be replaced with cream cheese spread in some recipes (as discussed above) to give it a similar flavor profile.

What Can I Substitute for Cream Cheese?

Here are some common ingredients that can be used as a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake recipes:

  • Sour cream
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Cream cheese spread (as discussed above)

Each of these ingredients will give the cake a slightly different flavor, so it can be fun to experiment and find the one that works best for your particular recipe.

What Type of Cream Cheese Is Best for Cheesecake?

cream cheese is poured into a mixture

Full-fat cream cheese is generally considered to be the best choice for cheesecake. Low-fat versions can result in a drier cake, while reduced-fat can lead to a softer texture that might not set properly. For an extra creamy cheesecake, you can also use a combination of full-fat and reduced-fat cream cheese.

What Can I Use in Cheesecake Instead of Cream Cheese?

If you can’t find cream cheese or don’t want to use it in your cheesecake, here are some other ingredients that can be used as a substitute:

  • Pureed silken tofu
  • Cottage cheese (or ricotta) mixed with sour cream
  • Yogurt mixed with cottage cheese (or ricotta)
  • Cream cheese spread, as discussed above

What Can I Use Cream Cheese Spread For?

Cream cheese spread can be used in a variety of recipes, from cheesecakes and dips to spreads and sauces. It can also be used as an ingredient in baked goods such as muffins, cookies, cakes and pies. The spread can even be enjoyed on its own as an easy snack with crackers or fresh fruit.

Why Is Cream Cheese Sour?

Cream cheese can have a slight tang because it contains lactic acid, which is produced during the fermentation process when cultures are added to milk. The acidity helps preserve the cream cheese and can also affect the flavor. Additionally, some brands will add additional ingredients such as salt or preservatives that can give the cheese a more sour taste.

Is Cream Cheese the Same as Ricotta?

No, cream cheese and ricotta are not the same [1]. Cream cheese is a soft, spreadable cheese made from cow’s milk, while ricotta is a type of Italian whey cheese made by heating up leftover whey that is left over from making other cheeses. Ricotta has a milder flavor than cream cheese and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes.


Cream cheese can be used in cheesecake recipes to give the cake a distinctive flavor, but it can also be substituted with other ingredients such as ricotta or mascarpone cheese. Cream cheese spread can also be used in some recipes as an alternative to cream cheese, offering a similar flavor profile without the tang. Ultimately, it’s up to you to experiment and find the ingredient that works best in your cheesecake recipe.


Lauren Beck
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