10 Cream Cheese Brands, Ranked

You've probably been spreading it on bagels and using it to make cheesecakes, cream cheese frosting, pies, and sandwiches for years, but there is more to know about cream cheese than these popular recipe applications. The mild-tasting dairy product is often compared to other sweet and creamy cheeses like mascarpone. But it is a more accurate match for the French cheese Neufchâtel. Cream cheese was invented by accident during the late 1800s when a New York dairy maker was attempting to make Neufchâtel cheese, but accidentally created the world's best bagel topping instead. Today, cream cheese differentiates itself from other dairy aisle items by being an un-aged cheese. Instead of letting it mature, cream cheese is made by combining milk and cream, then sometimes adding stabilizers like lactic acid or guar gum to achieve the cheese's iconic firmness.

Although making cream cheese is relatively simple, it doesn't always taste how you want it to. The best cream cheeses taste sweet, creamy, and tangy, and they're easily spreadable, too. The cheese must be smooth enough to easily manipulate, but thick enough to be satisfying.

The best cream cheese brands deliver these criteria along with excellent reviews from customers and in some cases awards or nutrition certifications. Based on these criteria, we've rounded up some of the best dairy products out there. Here are 10 cream cheese brands, ranked.

10. Kite Hill

Kite Hill is a vegan company that produces delicious non-dairy products. It makes vegan yogurt, ricotta, dip, sour cream, butter, and more ... including cream cheese. The brand's cream cheese comes in flavors like plain, chive, everything, and veggie. The versatile plain flavor contains lots of certifications regarding nutrition — it is soy-free, gluten-free, kosher, and made without artificial preservatives or added sugar.

Unfortunately, it is also made with more added ingredients than other vegan cream cheese brands appear to have, including xanthan gum, guar gum, lactic acid, and citric acid. We would prefer the list of ingredients in our cream cheese (vegan or not) to be shorter, as well as consist mostly of whole foods.

Kite Hill's cream cheese also doesn't have the best reviews. On the website Go Dairy Free, people complained about the texture of Kite Hill's plain cream cheese. "The texture leaves much to be desired," wrote one person. People also criticized the product's flavor, calling the vegan cream cheese "utterly flavorless" and saying it contained "an odd aftertaste." Due to its ingredient list and poor reviews, we have to rank this cream cheese brand at the bottom.

9. Miyoko's

Miyoko's makes several vegan dairy products including butter, mozzarella cheese, and artisan cheese. Even its vegan cream cheese comes in many different versions. Familiar flavors like everything, plain, savory scallion, fish-free lox, and cinnamon raisin are all available.

If you are vegan, you may be looking for certifications that show a company is taking extra steps to consider animal welfare, nutrition, and dietary needs. Miyoko's has some of those. The plain flavor of its cream cheese is certified USDA organic, vegan, palm oil free, soy free, and kosher. That said, it does contain nuts, which prohibits people with nut allergies from enjoying it. But other than this fact, this vegan cream cheese is surprisingly simple. It is made with only a few ingredients including cashews, water, coconut cream, sea salt, and cultures.

Miyoko's has attractive nutritional content and certifications, but it doesn't have the best reviews. On GoDairyFree, many people complain the product tastes too sour for their liking. "Way too salty and sour for my taste," wrote one particularly dissatisfied reviewer. "This cream cheese is incredibly sour and I'm throwing it away," said another customer.

8. Tofutti

Tofutti is one of the older companies out there making vegan cream cheese. The brand has been around for decades, since 1981. These days, it makes several tofu-based products including cheeses, dips, sour creams, and desserts. For cream cheese, there are a few Tofutti flavors available. The company's Better Than Cream Cheese can be purchased in plain, garlic and herb, herbs and chive, and whipped plain versions.

One of Tofutti cream cheese's best qualities is that it is free from many major allergens, including dairy, eggs, gluten, wheat, coconut, sesame, and nuts. The cream cheese is also kosher and halal certified.

This brand's cream cheese appears to be more polarizing than other products, per reviews on the website GoDairyFree. Some people complain they don't like the flavor. "It literally, and I mean this in the most LITERAL sense of the word, tastes like construction paper [...] The smell is awful as well. The only thing similar to cream cheese this has going for it is the texture," wrote one person. But others firmly stood by the cream cheese, saying it was delicious. "It tastes identical, and looks identical to regular cream cheese [...] When I serve it to others, they like it, as well. I've never gone back to Philly cheese."

7. 365 by Whole Foods

Cream cheese is sold as part of the Whole Foods 365 brand of generic products. But this cream cheese has fans, as well as qualities that we like about it. We like that this product is certified vegetarian and kosher. That said, it's made with food additives like guar gum, xanthan gum, and carob bean gum. We'd prefer that non-vegan cream cheeses contain fewer of these ingredients.

It doesn't have the best ingredients list or the highest number of certifications, but Whole Foods' cream cheese has a few passionate supporters. Tasters from SFGate applauded the cream cheese for its taste and texture, calling it an exemplary version of the dairy product. On Amazon, this popular cream cheese has been reviewed over 7,000 times, receiving an average rating of 4.5 out of 5. Most reviewers called it pretty good, but not great. In one review indicative of the consensus, one customer wrote, "Pretty decent cream cheese, the flavor leaves a little to be desired, but overall it gets the job done and is a good cream cheese!" 

6. Clover Sonoma

Clover Sonoma is a brand that prioritizes humane farming strategies. It even has the American Humane Certification to prove it, earned due to the fair treatment of the cows and chickens from which they source their milk and eggs. Clover Sonoma produces a range of dairy products,  including milk, half-and-half, cream, butter, and yogurt — using these farming practices.

It makes two types of cream cheese: one organic and one not. Both can be purchased as a brick or a tub. Both also contain food additives like carob bean gum and whey. 

On Amazon, this product has hundreds of reviews with an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5. "It is super creamy with a wonderful flavor that is leaps above most other store-bought cream cheeses," wrote one person. On Twitter, another customer said it was the best brand out there. "I have no business having 32 ounces of Clover Sonoma Organic Cream Cheese in the refrigerator aka the best cream cheese ever (it has no nasty tangy flavor) so I might as well bake a cheesecake for my parents," the reviewer wrote. So while the taste and spreadability are popular, the more expensive price tag, limited flavors, and additives prevent this cream cheese from appearing higher in the rankings. 

5. Tillamook

Tillamook is a popular dairy company that you've probably seen in your local grocery store. It makes cheese, ice cream, sour cream, butter, and more. The company's cream cheese only comes in the form of a spread, meaning it's packaged in a tub. This may be less convenient for bakers who may prefer to purchase cream cheese in bricks. Tillamook's cream cheese comes in flavors like strawberry, jalapeño honey, veggie, and chive & onion. None of these products are organic. However, the ingredient list is short. The only food additive in Tillamook's plain cream cheese is whey protein concentrate.

While we dislike that Tillamook's cream cheese is not organic, has food additives, and only comes in tubs, the brand does have a good reputation for flavor. "Tillamook makes a great cream cheese. Has a good spreadability and a little tart on the finish. Smooth. 3$ for a little tub, not horrible for something more premium," said one person on Reddit

"This cream cheese is one of my favorites. I use it on my toasted bagel almost every day. It is a bit on the spendy side, but is a great quality cream cheese," wrote a reviewer on Influenster. 

4. Nancy's

Nancy's is a dairy brand that specializes in probiotic dairy products such as yogurt. It makes three types of cream cheese. Two of these products — the organic cultured cream cheese and the organic garlic and herb cream cheese spread — are certified USDA organic and kosher. One additional variety — Nancy's natural cultured cream cheese — is not. The organic cultured cream cheese has a very simple ingredient list. It's made with only cream, milk, salt, and probiotics.

All of the brand's cream cheeses come with four strains of active cultures. Adding live cultures to cream cheese increases the probiotic content and is meant to give the dairy product a nutritional edge. Consuming probiotics may help with health issues like digestive problems and skin conditions, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Those looking for a little something extra (in the form of probiotics) are big fans of Nancy's. "Delicious cream cheese. I use this because of the probiotics and it's really tasty. It's great on a bagel with lox," wrote one person on Influenster. 

"I found the flavor to be extra bold but the cream itself is very thin and silky," said another Influenster reviewer

While overall the brand rates highly for taste, texture, and a simple list of ingredients, we wish all of its products were organic. Also, it would be convenient if the brand sold cream cheese in a brick form. 

3. Gina Marie

Gina Marie is a more niche brand in the world of cream cheese. But despite the oddly sausage-like plastic "chubs" it comes in, there is a lot to like about this brand. The company itself is more than half a century old. In 2002, Gina Marie was bought by the Sierra Nevada Cheese Company, but the cream cheese recipe has remained unchanged. This recipe — consisting of only salt, cream, and milk — is extraordinarily simple. It is also certified kosher.

In addition to the whole foods recipe, Gina Marie has its share of followers. These cream cheese lovers appreciate the brand for its flavor and consistency that's noteably airy and lightweight. On Twitter, some people even said they preferred it over Philadelphia's product. "I really like Gina Marie's cream cheese. For most uses I like it better than Philly," wrote one person

"Gina Marie is like a million times better than any other widely available cream cheese," said another user. That said, it's harder to find than other brands as its distribution is smaller. Also, some people complain that Gina Marie's cream cheese is expensive and that its tube-shaped packaging is a pain to manage. 

2. Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a favorite in the world of cream cheese, with very good reason. In fact, the brand is responsible for inventing the spreadable cheese. It has some of the things we look for in a product, as well. The original brick cream cheese is made with only five ingredients: a blend of milk and cream, salt, carob bean gum, and cheese cultures. None of these items are preservatives. Also, Philadelphia's original cream cheese is certified kosher and gluten-free. 

Nowadays, Philadelphia cream cheese has a lot more to it than the original brick-shaped spread. The company also sells soft cream cheese (the kind sold in tubs), whipped cream cheese, flavored cream cheese, and many other related products.

This cream cheese brand has a mostly natural ingredient list and a few certifications, but the company's most attractive attributes are its positive reviews. For some fans of Philadelphia, it's the fact that this cream cheese is useful in cooking applications that stands out. "I've tried at least 6 different brands of cream cheese to cook and bake with and none of them come even close to the taste and texture of Philadelphia," wrote one person on Reddit. For other people, it's great on its own. "Some products you just can't and won't substitute with store brands, and Philly Cream Cheese is one such product for me. It is such a reliable, high-quality product," wrote one Amazon user.

1. Organic Valley

Organic Valley is a brand that produces high-quality grocery staples. Among these are milk, butter, cheese, half and half, sour cream, eggs, ghee, meat, produce, and cottage cheese. Organic Valley's cream cheese comes in the brick and tub formats. 

We like that Organic Valley's cream cheese is relatively simple. It contains only five ingredients: milk and cream, cheese cultures, salt, and locust bean gum. Also, the product is certified organic and non-GMO. Organic Valley also boasts that the cows producing its cream cheese are pasture-raised. This indicates the company is invested in animal welfare. 

People seem to love Organic Valley's cream cheese. The review website Influenster is full of five-star ratings for the product. People appreciate the baking and cooking applications, texture, and taste of the cheese. "We probably buy these once every two weeks for mostly baking needs but this cream cheese is lovely on a bagel," wrote one reviewer

"This cream cheese is creamy and smooth! It's very tasty. It's not too tart," said another user. Those who purchased Organic Valley even complimented the packaging and price.