Can You Cook With Cream Cheese Instead of Butter?

crunchy baguette slices with cream cheese on olive board

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If you are looking lower saturated fats in your foods, consider replacements for butter. One possibility is cream cheese, but you do not want to use it as a substitution in recipes that call for a fat. However, you can use cream cheese instead of butter in recipes that are not affected by the reduced amount of fat. When you cook with cream cheese, you typically need to soften or melt it before placing it into the dish.


Butter in baked recipes works by giving the food a moist texture while also allowing for even browning. If you want to use cream cheese to make baked goods healthier, you could end up compromising the quality of your baked items. According to the Joy of Baking website, standard substitutions used for butter include shortening, lard or margarine. You do not need to increase or decrease values in the recipe when using these substitutions.


Although you cannot use cream cheese instead of butter for baking, try ricotta cheese in yeast breads that require a solid fat as one of the ingredients. However, you should not entirely replace butter or it could affect the browning and texture of your baked goods. Instead, use only three-fourths ricotta cheese and and one-fourth butter.


If you use cream cheese in lieu of butter, you must melt it to put into certain foods. For instance, melt cream cheese and add it to mashed potatoes. To melt it, add one-half cup of cream cheese to a skillet that contains one cup of milk or broth. Stir until the cream cheese becomes liquefied.


Add cream cheese as a replacement for butter in cream sauces. The cream cheese keeps the saucy rich and delicious while also adding a silky texture. Add one-half cup of cream cheese to your sauce after softening. To soften cream cheese, leave it on the counter or place it in a dish and microwave it on high for 15 seconds.