Is Cream Cheese Keto Friendly? We Asked the Expert

Keto dieting foods

Cream cheese is a versatile ingredient that many could not imagine living without. It can be made sweet or savory and adds a creamy texture to recipes. But many dairy products are not great choices while on the keto diet because they are too high in carbs. Can cream cheese have a place in the keto diet? Let’s take a closer look.

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Is Cream Cheese Keto?

Yes! Cream cheese meets the criteria for the keto diet because it is a high-fat food that is low in carbs. In a one-tablespoon serving (14.5 g) of cream cheese, it contains 51 calories, 1 gram of protein, 5 grams of fat, and only 1 gram of carbohydrate (1). Similar to sour cream, cream cheese is another keto-friendly dairy product that you can include in a diet low in carbs The options of what you can do with cream cheese on keto is limitless! 

Is Cream Cheese A Good Fat?

Cream cheese is a great way to get extra fat into your diet. Even though it is dairy, the number of carbs per serving is pretty low and has many uses in the diet. Similar to other dairy products, it is higher in saturated fat (about 60% of the fat content (1)), so in moderation, it can be a delicious way to bump up your overall fat intake. In addition to some of the keto-friendly recipes included below, you also put in a spoonful into a dinner sauce for a creamier texture and to increase the fat content of your meal. 

Is it possible to eat too much cheese on keto? Diets should include a lot of variety in our food, so cheese should be enjoyed in moderation. 

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Nutrition Information

The nutrition info depends on the specific cheese you buy, but in general, one serving (1 oz) of plain variety provides:

  • Calories: 100
  • Total fats: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 30mg
  • Sodium: 110mg
  • Total carbs: 1g
  • Net carbs: 1g
  • Fibers: 0g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Vitamin A: 0% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 0% of the DV
  • Calcium: 0% of the DV
  • Iron: 0% of the DV

*Based on the Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Brick 8oz Box nutrition label

Tips on How to Pick Cream Cheese That’s Keto Friendly

Just like with everything else, it is important to take a close look at the nutrition facts when shopping for keto cream cheese. There is a wide variety of options with cream cheese so take the time to make sure you are picking the right one for your keto diet. Here are a few things to pay attention to:

Watch Out for Added Sugars

Plain cream cheese is going to be your best bet to stay keto-friendly. Companies offer a wide variety of flavors and many of those can have added sugars. For example, Philadelphia Cream Cheese has a brown sugar and cinnamon flavor that contains 8 grams of carbs per 2-tablespoon serving compared to only 2 grams of carbs in the original (2). Stick with the original to stay on track on keto. 

Choose Full-Fat Options

Cream cheese is offered in regular (full fat), reduced fat, and fat-free options. Choosing the full fat, the regular one is the way to go when it comes to sticking to your high fat keto diet. Reduced or fat-free options of cream cheese will not have enough fat. In addition to not having as much fat in each serving, reduced or fat-free options are also higher in carbs, which is what you are trying to limit while on the ketogenic diet. 

Avoid Whipped Cream Cheese

Since the keto diet is all about getting in fat, you get less fat per serving with the whipped version instead of the regular block. For example, the whipped version of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese contains 4 grams of fat in a single serving, while the block cream cheese contains 7 grams per serving (2). Look for the rectangular blocks of cream cheese rather than the plastic containers. 

6 Delicious Keto Cream Cheese Recipes 

Cream cheese is undoubtedly many people’s favorite keto food with its tangy taste and creamy textures. It tastes delightful as is as a low-carb spread on any raw vegetables and keto bread with barely-there sugar content, but there is so much more you can do with cream cheese. 

It servers as a perfect thickener and binder when whipping up your favorite keto dips and sauces. It’s also one cheese that’s just as versatile in dessert recipes. The combination of sweet and tangy tastes makes a perfect filling for cakes and frosting for cupcakes. 

From side dishes to something sweet, here are some delicious ways to incorporate cream cheese into your keto diet! 

Keto Low-Carb Cheese Dip

Keto Low-Carb Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 8oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4oz cottage cheese, creme fraiche, or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients using an electric hand mixer. If the dip is too thick, you can add a few drops of almond milk to achieve the desired consistency. 

Cream Cheese Fat Bombs

Fa bombs

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 oz smooth keto nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc) 
  • 1 oz whipping cream
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Swerve 

Directions

In a mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese and peanut butter. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until smooth and well-mixed. 

Scoop the mixture with a cookie scoop and mold it with your hands to make a golf-ball-sized ball. Line the balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or cupcake pan to put in a freezer for 2 hours until they form.

Low-Carb Keto Pancake with Cream Cheese

Chaffles

Ingredients

  • 2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp keto sweetener of your choice

Directions

Put all three ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil on a heated griddle over medium-high heat. Pour 1/4 of the batter onto the griddle and cook. Flip to cook the other side. Makes 4 pancakes. Serve them with breakfast sausage and a side of salad for a keto diet-friendly breakfast.

Low-Carb Cheesecake

Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 24 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cups Greek yogurt 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup erythritol 
  • 2 tbsp cup almond flour

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a blender and pour into a greased 6-inch pan. Place pan on a baking sheet that is filled with water half-way up. Bake in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes. Top it with lemon zest before serving. 

Cream Cheese Cookies

low carbohydrates cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, at room temperature 
  • 2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup xylitol or another keto sweetener
  • 1 yolk

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the flours and baking powder. Add the pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to mix together the cream cheese, butter, and keto sweetener until well-mixed. Add the egg and beat 1-2 additional minutes. Slowly add in the flour blend to the cream mixture. When you have the dough, store it in the fridge for an hour. Make them into golf-ball sized balls and line them up on a greased baking sheet and bake them at 350F for 20-25 mins. 

Cream Cheese Ice Cream

ice cream

Ingredients

  • 8oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup monk fruit sweetener
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Keto dark chocolate chips – optional 

Directions

In a blender, put all the ingredients other than the heavy cream and blend till smooth. Add the cream and mix it by hand. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. After it is done in the ice cream maker, transfer it into an airtight container to freeze in the freezer for 2 hours. Serve with crushed almonds and fresh strawberries. 

Last Words

Cream cheese, like sour cream, is another dairy product that works well in the keto diet due to being naturally high in fat and low in carbs. Choose the plain, regular version of cream cheese to keep it keto-friendly. Since you can use cream cheese in a variety of keto recipes, you may end up finding that it is one of your favorite foods on the keto diet! 

References

  1. “FoodData Central Search Results.” FoodData Central, 2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html.
  2. “Great Recipes, Dinner Ideas and Quick & Easy Meals from Kraft Foods – Kraft Recipes.” My Food and Family, www.myfoodandfamily.com/brands/philadelphia.
Tina Alexandre
Tina Alexandre

Co-founder

Hi, I'm Tina, a mom, and wife who loves to write about nutrition and dieting. When I'm not writing, I also enjoy baking healthy pastries with my 7-year-old daughter.

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