Cream Cheese

11 Ideas for Using Up the Last Few Tablespoons of Cream Cheese

August  8, 2016

Maybe you anticipated needing more cream cheese for your bagel brunch than you actually needed—or maybe you ended up making one cheesecake instead of two or inherited a block from a neighbor moving away.

Now what?

Sure, there's more bagels, but rather than risk bagel overdose over just a few tablespoons of lingering cream cheese, incorporate it elsewhere:

  • Drop a couple of tablespoons into your ice cream base (like Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams does!). A very good place to start: Brown Butter Cinnamon Ice Cream.
  • Some, like baker extraordinaire Rose Levy Beranbaum, swear by it for perfectly tender pie crust that's also easy to roll out.
  • Blend cream cheese into batter for pancakes that are almost custardy.
  • Or make hand pies from puff pastry and use cream cheese as the filling. Add a slice of tomato—or a slick of jam or guava paste—for bonus points.
  • Stuff it into figs—and, while you're at it, go ahead and dip them in chocolate.
  • Our co-founder Merrill swears by tangy, rich cream cheese in her mother's Cream Cheese Cookies, which are almost macaroon-like in texture.
  • Slide a pat of cream cheese onto muffins as they head into the oven.
  • Or scramble some with eggs for creamy, tangy streaks. (This is extremely delicious.)
  • If you also have leftover bagels to contend with, turn the whole buffet into a strata.
  • Add a few tablespoons to pimento cheese for something a little sturdier than the mayonnaise-based kind.
  • Use it as an excuse to make a batch of cream cheese frosting. Whether you make anything to put that frosting on (or choose to eat it by the spoonful) is up to you.

How do you use up leftover cream cheese—or is there no such thing in your house? Tell us in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nancy
  • Coco et Cocoa
    Coco et Cocoa
  • HalfPint
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Nancy August 8, 2016
In another cookie/pastry line, there are kipferl (kipfel, many spellings) a filled small crescent pastry from mittel-Europa. This recipe is similar to that I learned from my Great Aunt Ida...finicky, but worth it.
Coco E. August 8, 2016
stir into pasta, or throw in a berry smoothie to make it taste like cheesecake.
HalfPint August 8, 2016
cream cheese + pepper jam + crackers