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Kefir Cream Cheese

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I LOVE making things from kefir! Mostly I just love that it makes my life a lot easier and cheaper. Because I’m already making it, I have it around to use for other things – which keeps me from buying buttermilk and other various “soured” items. Now I’m making cream cheese from my kefir and it’s SO EASY! You can use kefir in tons of different ways (including ice cream) and I love sharing them with you. So, let’s make some cheese……but not cut it, okay?

For this batch, I cultured my kefir about 48 hours. Usually I just let mine go for 12-24 hours, but I wanted this to be pretty thick. Even after 48 hours, it wasn’t as thick as I would like – silly air conditioning. But I tried to make it work anyway……oops. Aren’t you glad I mess up for you so that you can avoid silly mistakes? I get in a hurry sometimes……and sometimes I feel pretty smart. Usually if I’m feeling pretty smart, I do something dumb very closely afterwards – like making pulpy lemonade or shaving off my fingers. After it cultures, you need to chill it. Trust me. No really, trust me.

Go through the same procedures you normally would to drain your kefir. Then chill it. I have successfully made kefir cheese without straining. Instead I washed my hands and picked out my kefir grains myself…….it was sorta weird and sorta cool at the same time. But doing it that way saved me from having to strain it – which usually makes it a tad bit thinner. Every other time I’ve used chilled kefir from the fridge and it works great.

I like using cheesecloth for straining. Lots of forums and other blogs say you can just use a tea towel to get the same results…….I might try that sometime. But for now I just use my cheesecloth. You can find it at just about any fabric store. I like this brand from Amazon.Also, you can get more use out of your cheesecloth by washing and reusing it. I love reusable stuff. :-)

You’ll need at least 4 layers of thickness of your cheesecloth. I tried less, and it didn’t work. I mess up a lot of stuff….Barry regularly hears “Uh oh” from the kitchen. When Dottie hears it, she comes running thinking that it must mean food is on the floor. Line a nice strainer with your cloth and put it over a bowl to catch the whey. Pour your CHILLED kefir into the cheesecloth. I poured my non-chilled runny kefir into it…..and it totally ran through. Every bit of it. You should have seen the look on my face.

Bring up two of your corners and tie them together. Imagine that you don’t see that my kefir is all straining out the bottom. Thanks.

Bring up the other two corners and tie those too. Now you should have a hanging bag looking thing. It sorta reminds me of a cow. I have no idea why. My mind just works like that.

You will want to hang your kefir in the fridge. It will continue to ferment and get more sour if you leave it room temperature. For me, this means making room in the fridge…..which is a BIG feat. You will strain the kefir about 24 hours to get a cream cheese texture. Remember making your own Greek Yogurt? You can make yogurt cheese with this same method! Just use yogurt instead of kefir and hang it for 24 hours instead of 8. Yogurt cheese, kefir cheese….man, I’m spreading the cheese love. Get it? SPREADING the cheese love? Ha, ha!

Hanging the bag will help gravity pull more of the moisture out. I rigged my knot so that it was big enough to hold the entire bag. Then I pushed it through the top rack of my shelves and spread it back out… that it would hold. Does that make sense?

Now you have some really beautiful cheese that you made yourself! Does it taste just like cream cheese? Nope. Remember that it’s fermented so it will be a little more wangy than normal cream cheese. However, you can use it just like you would use cream cheese in any recipe. You could stir some honey in for a great bagel spread.Now, your volume will decrease by half or more. So when you’re making it remember that……use more than you’ll need at the end. And save the whey that’s in the bowl. You can use it for tons of things! You can add it to smoothies or use it in place of water when you make bread (love this method!). I also use some of my whey to ferment things. Go forth and make cheese….but please don’t cut it.  Ahem.

This post is linked at Monday Mania on The Healthy Home Economist, at Traditional Tuesday on Whole New Mom, at Freaky Friday on Real Food Freaks, at Real Food Wednesday on Kelly the Kitchen Kop, at Fight Back Friday on Food Renegade, and at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. Ok, I know nothing about this Kefir you speak of! I need to get my Monday morning reports and conference call out of the way and then bring myself up to speed ASAP!

  2. AWESOME. I am starting to work with Kefir now and I don’t think I am doing it right. I think I need a finer strainer. All I have is metal and I heard not to use it or it will kill your kefir. AHHH. More things to buy. Anyway . . . will have to try your cream cheese method. I am saving this one!

  3. Thanks for sharing these great instructions at FAT TUESDAY. I hope to see you next week! I really like your blog!

  4. Thank you for linking up to Tasty Tuesday at Nap-Time Creations. I really hope you can come back and link up again this week!

  5. does this smell bad as it’s fermenting?

    • Well, this doesn’t really ferment. The kefir is already fermented from culturing on the countertop. It smells faintly like sour cream. If you let it drain in the fridge, it won’t be fermenting anymore. :-)

      • Ah makes sense. I definitely will try this as long as I don’t scare the husband away from it he opens the fridge. ^_^ thanks for the quick reply!

  6. I am going to try to make cream cheese today. I hope it works. Thanks so much for showing me how.

  7. Quick question, I have my chilled 48 hour kefir ready to strain through cheesecloth but I am wondering about hanging it in the fridge. I have glass shelves in my fridge, not the wire ones. Any ideas on how I can rig it to hang in my fridge? Thanks, Audrey

    • Hmmmmmm. You could just let it sit in the lined colander and see if it would work that way. It would probably just take a bit longer to strain. All the hanging does is speed the process up by using gravity. :-)

    • Yes Audrey ! In the winter, after the stove/oven is no longer on, my mom hung the bag from the kitchen sink faucet! She let it drip in the sink! Needless to say she was not saving the whey! The kitchen is usually cool in the evening/night. I can’t tell you if kefir continued to ferment, but we like ours pretty tangy, maybe for us it was perfect!

    • Melody Canterberry says:

      If you have a deep bowl, you can hang your “bag of kefir” from a wooden spoon over the bowl. I’ve done this many times.

  8. Shirley says:

    Just got some kefir and am going to try making cream cheese with it. Also wanted to mention that it’s easy and frugal to make buttermilk. The next time you want to make those wonderful buttermilk biscuits, and don’t have any buttermilk, don’t “wig out. :) If you need a cup of buttermilk, just put 1 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make a full cup. Wait 5 minutes and stir. Voila! Buttermilk.

    • Yep, I’ve done that many times…but now I don’t have to with kefir! :-) I just use kefir in everything.

  9. Just wondering – what is left between the cheesecloth and the colander? Wondering what its purpose is in there? Thanks!

    • If I understand your question correctly, there will ultimately be nothing left in the colander; if you have wire racks in your fridge you can just hang the cheesecloth on that and put your bowl beneath. If you have glass shelves, like we now do in our fridge, you’d set the cheesecloth in the colander since you can’t hang it from anything. In the photo, Stacy used both to make sure even if the bag came loose somehow it would still be okay.

  10. Very nice! I like the way you did that. It actually looks almost exactly the way I have done it sometimes! This week, though, I made kefir cream cheese and I just used a paper towel in the strainer, and that worked quite well. I also accidentally put frozen raspberries back in the fridge instead of the freezer, so I had these thawed berries at the same time I had the kefir cream cheese — SOooooo, I mixed some berries into the cream cheese, and MAN! that was good on my zucchini bread! :)

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