10 Recipes That Start with Cream Cheese

updated May 13, 2020
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I used to only think of cream cheese as something to slather on bagels — boy was I missing out on it’s true potential. Sure, a schmear on a sesame or a cinnamon raisin is delightful, but that’s really just the start. Cream cheese adds luxe richness to everything from pasta and soups to pies and biscuits. That means it’s well-worth keeping a block or two in your refrigerator at all times. If you don’t believe me, here are 10 cream cheese recipes that prove its worth.

1. Easy, Cheesy Hot Pizza Dip

Yes, pizza dip is as gooey and comforting as you think it is. Have fun playing around with the toppings: Instead of pepperoni, try cooked and crumbled sausage, diced peppers and onion, or chopped fresh basil.

Get the recipe: Easy, Cheesy Hot Pizza Dip

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. How To Make Mac and Cheese in the Slow Cooker

Cream cheese probably isn’t the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of mac and cheese, but maybe it should be. Tossing cubes into the slow cooker with the pasta and shredded cheese helps plump up the noodles and make an even creamier sauce.

Get the recipe: How To Make Mac and Cheese in the Slow Cooker

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

3. No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream

If you love chocolate peanut butter cups, this is sure to be a new favorite recipe. A press-in pie crust ensures this dessert comes together easily — the crust can even be made ahead and frozen for up to three days.

Get the recipe: No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream

4. Creamy Spinach Bake

Classic creamed spinach is often made with béchamel sauce, which can be a bit of a hassle. This shortcut version opts for cream cheese instead, and is just as rich and decadent.

Get the recipe: Creamy Spinach Bake

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Brett Regot

5. Lemon-Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars

Tuck cream cheese and fresh raspberries in between two layers of buttery crescent roll dough and you know you’re in for something good. You could also try fresh blueberries or blackberries, too, if you like.

Get the recipe: Lemon-Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars

Credit: Karla Conrad

6. One-Bowl Cream Cheese Biscuits

These cream cheese biscuits are delicately sweet and perfectly tender. Try using them as the base for strawberry shortcake or just slather them with butter and jam.

Get the recipe: One-Bowl Cream Cheese Biscuits

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

7. Easy, Creamy Instant Pot Potato Soup

This potato soup is made thick and creamy, thanks to cream cheese. Just don’t forget topping each bowl with bacon bits, shredded cheddar, and sliced scallions before serving.

Get the recipe: Easy, Creamy Instant Pot Potato Soup

8. How To Make Perfect Cheesecake

You can’t talk about cream cheese recipes without paying respect to cheesecake. This classic New York-style dessert is the perfect recipe to master and bake for years to come.

Get the recipe: How To Make Perfect Cheesecake

Credit: Lauren Volo

9. The Easiest Low-Carb Cream Cheese Pancakes

It’s worth taking out the blender to make the batter for these pancakes. Doing so ensures you won’t bite into a lump of cream cheese when you grab a forkful from your stack.

Get the recipe: The Easiest Low-Carb Cream Cheese Pancakes

10. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

As much as I love carrot cake, I might love the cream cheese frosting on top more. This sheet cake is a homey dessert that shouldn’t just be saved for special occasions.

Get the recipe: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting