Do you have a block of cream cheese that needs to be melted? Whether you’re making a cheesecake or want to add cream cheese to a recipe, it’s important to know how to melt it without any lumps.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best methods for melting cream cheese, whether you’re using the stovetop or microwave.
We’ll also answer some common questions about melting cream cheese!
Does cream cheese melt?
Cheese meltability is a function of its milkfat and moisture contents. The higher the milkfat and moisture, the more likely the cheese is to liquefy and flow nicely.
Cream cheese has a high milkfat (minimum 33%) and high moisture (maximum 55%) content, so technically cream cheese does melt.
However, it may not melt as easily or completely as other types of cheese. This is due to the high acidity – between pH 4.4 to 4.9 – which makes the cheese more stable and difficult to melt. Similar to cottage cheese or ricotta.
For comparison, cheddar cheese has a pH of about around 5 to 5.5.
Cream cheese is an acid-set cheese, which means that the cheese curd is formed by either adding an acid (usually vinegar or lemon juice) to milk or by using acid-producing bacteria in the culture, read how it’s made here.
That said, cream cheese will melt if you use the right technique!
The milk protein (casein) of good melting cheese like mozzarella is held together by calcium ions. For cream cheese, on the other hand, the calcium ions are dissolved in higher acidity, which resulted in the caseins simply binding one another into curd clumps.
However, with stabilizers (xanthan gum and carob bean gum) added, it keeps the cream and milk from separating to achieve a smooth consistency.
This means that when heated, the caseins tighten and force out any water. Thus, the cheese turns out lumpy instead of smooth, especially in high heat.
How long does it take cream cheese to melt?
In general, you can estimate that it takes about three minutes for a single block of cream cheese to completely melt.
If you’re using the microwave method, start with 30 seconds and then continue heating in increments of 15 seconds until the cheese is fully melted.
If you’re melting cream cheese on the stovetop, it will take a bit longer – between five to seven minutes. Be sure to stir frequently so that the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Will cream cheese melt in soup? Melt without lumps.
You may want to add some delicious cream cheese to your soup for extra creaminess and flavor.
And the good news is that, yes, cream cheese will melt in soup! However, you’ll want to be careful not to let the soup get too hot, or else the cheese may start to break down into clumps.
In general, it’s a good idea to add cream cheese to your soup separately, instead of simply dropping it into the soup.
You can place the cream cheese into a pan and slowly melt it over low heat. Then, add your soup to the pot and stir until combined.
At what temperature does cream cheese melt?
Cream cheese will melt at around 120 to 170° F (49 to 77° C). For example, it will melt if you keep it in the oven for too long.
Will Cream Cheese Thicken After Melting?
No, cream cheese will not thicken back to its original consistency after melting.
However, if you’re looking for a thicker consistency, you can add some cornstarch or flour to the melted cheese. This will help to thicken it up without making it too clumpy.
If your cream cheese is runny, I explained the Cause and How to Fix Runny Cream Cheese here.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about melting cream cheese!