Cream Cheese vs. Yogurt

When it comes to the dairy case, there are a lot of choices.

SOY Milk vs COW Milk (Dairy) - (Why...
SOY Milk vs COW Milk (Dairy) - (Why Soy Milk is a BETTER Option)

You have regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, and cream cheese. So which one is the healthiest? And can you substitute one for the other?

In this article, we will compare cream cheese vs yogurt and see which one comes out on top!

Is Cream Cheese the Same as Yogurt?

They are both dairy products produced similarly by the fermentation of milk with bacteria culture. But no, they are not the same.

First of all, cream cheese is considered fresh cheese, while yogurt is a cultured dairy product. The reason is due to the production method. Most cheese is made with only milk, coagulating agents (starter culture/rennet/enzyme), and salt – the absolute basic ingredient in cheese making.

To make plain cream cheese, the most basic ingredients are skimmed milk, cream, culture, salt, and stabilizer. To make yogurt, the most basic ingredients are skimmed milk and culture.

Salt is crucial to inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria and to regulate moisture in the history of cheesemaking.

However, there is no salt or stabilizer needed in making yogurt. But for some flavored varieties of yogurt, such as blueberry, banana, and strawberry Ingredient, the stabilizer (as a thickener) will be added to keep the fat-water part from being separated.

Some of the key differences are:

  • Cream cheese is made by combining cream and skimmed milk, while yogurt is typically made of skimmed milk only.
  • Some cream cheese may use rennet (in Canada), while yogurt does not use rennet.
  • According to FDA law, cream cheese needs to have a minimum of 33% fat content, whereas yogurt typically has a 0-5% in fat.
  • Yogurt contains specific lactic acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricusand and Streptococcus thermophilus. While cream cheese does not restrict to certain lactic acid bacteria cultures.

While both cream cheese and yogurt have bacteria in them, the type of bacteria may be different.

So basically, yogurt is the shortcut version of cream cheese. It can be made simply by adding bacteria culture to the nonfat milk. That’s it!

Which is Healthier?

Now that we know some of the key differences between cream cheese and yogurt, let’s see which one is healthier.

When it comes to healthier of two, yogurt definitely takes the lead.

For example, Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt USDA is higher in protein and calcium, much lower sodium – less salty – than the Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese USDA.

It also contains 0 grams of fat and saturated fat, and 2 mg of cholesterol in a serving of 1-ounce or ~2 tablespoons. Whereas for the same serving size, cream cheese has 10 grams of fat (15% daily value), 6 grams of saturated fat (30% daily value), and 30 mg of cholesterol (10% daily value).

This means that cream cheese contains far more fat than yogurt. In fact, I have another article to further discuss whether is cream cheese healthy for you.

Cream cheese also has a much higher calorie count than yogurt per ounce – 100 calories compared to just 15 calories for yogurt.

Cream cheese is higher in Vitamin A than yogurt.

Does Greek Yogurt Taste Like Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese has a more rich and mild flavor, while yogurt can have tart and sour notes.

Greek yogurt, in particular, has a slightly creamier and richer taste than regular yogurt. This is because it is strained to remove the whey – the watery part of milk.

But it’s still yogurt, so it won’t taste exactly like cream cheese. If you’re looking for a yogurt that has more of a similar flavor to cream cheese, go for Greek-style yogurt.

Is yogurt cheese the same as Greek yogurt?

Yes, they are the same. Greek cheese, also called strained yogurt or labneh or yogurt cheese, is a type of yogurt strained to remove most whey resulting in a cheese-like thicker consistency.

Can you Substitute Yogurt for Cream Cheese?

Yes, you can substitute yogurt for cream cheese in some recipes. However, keep in mind that the results may not be the same – the flavor and texture of your dish may be different than if you used cream cheese.

The texture of cream cheese is creamy, dense, and smooth. While yogurt is firmer, pudding-like consistency. So it might not work well in some recipes.

For example, you may want to use cream cheese in a cheesecake recipe, but yogurt would be a better and healthier substitute for frosting or as a dip.


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