These Are the Creamiest, Tangiest, Most Flavorful Cream Cheeses

Can the best cream cheese be purchased from a grocery store? We fought through the national cream cheese shortage to find out.

One of life’s great joys is walking into a New York City bagel shop and seeing an entire glass deli case filled with big mounds of different flavored cream cheeses. There are so many delicious options: cheddar jalapeño, cinnamon raisin walnut, scallion herb. Another thing New York gets right when it comes to cream cheese is the amount they use. They pile gobs of it onto each warm bagel they serve. To me, that’s perfect. I want my bagel to be 50% cream cheese and 50% bread.

Sadly, I don’t live in the bagel paradise that is NYC anymore, so I’m always on the hunt for tips, tricks, and products that will help me make the best bagels at home. And the biggest component of that is the cream cheese. Lucky for me and other cream cheese lovers out there, the Sporked team was tasked with finding the best cream cheese on the market. We sat down and tried both iconic and niche cream cheeses to figure out which should befriend your bagel at your next breakfast.

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Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese

Best of the Best

Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese

Philadelphia Cream Cheese: The cream cheese so delicious they named a city after it. I’m just kidding. They didn’t name the PA city after the cream cheese brand, but they did name a sushi roll after it. And it’s well deserved! The Original Philadelphia Cream Cheese is pretty perfect. It’s sensationally creamy and maintains the perfect balance of rich and tangy. Contrary to everything I believe, I think a thick schmear of this is best on a plain bagel with zero toppings. You need to let the pure cream cheese flavor shine through! But, obviously, it would also be good with my regular bagel order, too (red onion, capers, cucumber, thinly sliced radish, dill, and lox).

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Philadelphia Jalapeño Cream Cheese

Best Flavored

Philadelphia Jalapeño Cream Cheese

I was impressed that Philadelphia Jalapeño Cream Cheese actually has some kick to it! Jalapeño is such a complimentary flavor to cream cheese and Philadelphia is the best cream cheese so this is essentially perfect. This doesn’t need anything at all other than a warm bagel. If you do want to do something kind of freaky with this, take a page from my mom’s book and make tuna salad with this cream cheese, a can of tuna, and diced raw red onion. You’re skeptical, I know, but it is really tasty!

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

365 Whole Foods Whipped Cream Cheese

Best Whipped

365 Whole Foods Whipped Cream Cheese

The 365 Whole Foods Whipped Cream Cheese tastes like you’re consuming a cloud. I know you are technically getting less cream cheese for your money per tub, but the whipped texture is just so dreamy that I can’t stop myself from purchasing it. This brand of whipped cream cheese in particular had a nice, airy consistency without losing the slightly sour twang of thicker cream cheese. The spreadability is off the charts, so this cream cheese pairs best bagels and toast—but it’s also delicious just eaten off a spoon, which is my preferred method.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Whole Foods

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Clover Sonoma Cream Cheese

Best for a Cheese Board

Clover Sonoma Cream Cheese

Clover Sonoma Cream Cheese has a gentle sweetness that sets it apart from the other cream cheeses we tried. Because it has such a stand-out flavor, I think it would be a great addition to a cheeseboard. Pair this with a jar of pepper jelly, a few dried figs, maybe some Spanish chorizo. You’d have a delicious party platter or a dinner for one to be eaten on the couch while watching a documentary about cults.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Tillamook Strawberry Cream Cheese

Best Sweet

Tillamook Seriously Strawberry Cream Cheese

Chunks!!! Of!!! Strawberries!!! I couldn’t believe it when I opened the Tillamook Strawberry Cream Cheese tub and found big pieces of actual fruit folded into the cream cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fruit cream cheese with real fruit bits. After marinating in the cream cheese, the strawberries have a slightly gelatinous texture that is super pleasing. I didn’t know I wanted chunky, sweet cream cheese, but now that I know I’m never going back.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

8.5/10

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Philadelphia Reduced Fat Cream Cheese Spread with ⅓ Less Fat

Best Low Fat

Philadelphia Reduced Fat Cream Cheese Spread with ⅓ Less Fat

Philadelphia Reduced Fat Cream Cheese Spread is one of the few low-fat products on the market that I would recommend you buy. Of course, it isn’t as good as the original, full-fat version but you already knew that. I would argue that if you need to cut fat, this is a great option. I don’t know if I could tell the difference between this and the original if I used it to make buffalo chicken dip or slapped it on a bagel with some slices of tomato and salt.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Trader Joe’s Onion Chive Cream Cheese

Best Dip

Trader Joe’s Onion Chive Cream Cheese

This is a dip! This is thick onion dip. That doesn’t upset me, though. It’s delicious! I love onion dip. I’ve never thought to make onion dip thicker, but why not? I would probably lean in and put this on an onion bagel for an onion flavor explosion. Looking for something easier? Just dip Ruffles into it. Once again, it is thick onion dip.

Credit: Ryan Martin

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

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About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • But what other flavors of Tillamook did you try?! Their cheddar cheese one?! Their veggie one? Tillamook anything blows the competition out of the water. (I’m sorry! My first visit to the website so I’m checking it allll out!)

    Reply
  • Breakstone’s Temp-Tee beats Philadelphia easily.

    Reply
    • I very much agree

      Reply