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How to Make Raw Milk Cultured Cream Cheese (two ways!)

Cultured raw cream cheese in a cheesecloth

"Cream cheese" from the store is lifeless! It doesn't have live cultures in it and it includes unnecessary thickeners and preservatives. The good news is that there are several ways to make delicious, cultured cream cheese at home. Don't expect it to have the exact same taste or texture as store-bought, remember that this is the real deal and most of us have grown up conditioned to expect the imposter version. This is one of the simplest cheeses you can make!

You will need to have either a clabber culture or milk kefir grains to culture your cream. If you do not keep a clabber culture you can start one in as little as a couple of days! You will need raw milk to create and maintain a clabber culture, you cannot do it with pasteurized milk. If you won't have access to raw milk, then you will be better off working with the kefir version of this recipe. If you don't already have a clabber culture and want to make one, you can find those instructions here.


1 quart heavy cream

1 Tbsp ripe clabber culture OR ripe kefir (made at home, not store-bought kefir)



Step 1: Warm heavy cream to 85°F (comfortably warm, not hot)

Step 2: Add clabber culture OR Kefir and stir to combine

Step 3: Cover the pot or pour into a jar and cover loosely with a coffee filter or cloth, use the ring portion of the mason jar lid or a rubber band to keep the filter/cloth in place

Step 4: Wait. In 12-24 hours the cream will thicken noticeably.

Step 5: Pour the clabbered/kefired cream into a cheese cloth and hang it up to drain until it reaches your desired consistency

Step 6: Salt to taste and store in the refrigerator

Another way that I make cream cheese is just by making kefir with non-homogenized milk. Since the milk is not homogenized the cream rises to the top, so when my kefir is ready, I scoop the cream off the top, salt it, and hang it up to drain and thicken. Then I get delicious kefir and I cream cheese!

raw cream cheese hanging to dran in a cheesecloth over a bowl


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