How to Soften Cream Cheese: 5 Easy Options

As an avid and keen baker I am always looking for ways to simplify my art, and I do consider baking an art. Baking is a scientific process whereby one must measure and carefully mix certain ingredients together, so to produce the desired consistency and final perfect result. One move out of kilter from the steps you have been given and you will land up with a real disappointing flop, not to mention a waste of generally expensive ingredients.
[toc] So, when faced with an instruction to soften cream cheese before adding to your other ingredients, you may just have a worried look on your face.
No worries here though. We have put together an easy step-by-step guide to help you along with this process.
So, let us get going.

What You Will Need

Now, there are various ways on how to soften cream cheese and we will run through those shortly.
For now, this is what you will need for each option:
The Microwave Option

  1. A microwave
  2. A microwavable bowl
  3. A spoon

The Hot Water Option

  1. Cooled kettle water or lukewarm water from the tap
  2. A glass or ceramic bowl
  3. A spoon

The Thinning Option

  1. A glass or ceramic bowl
  2. Milk
  3. Or cream
  4. Or melted butter
  5. Or lemon juice
  6. A spoon

The Mixing Option

  1. A glass or ceramic bowl
  2. Marshmallow Fluff like Cool Whip or any variety you can find
  3. Or mascarpone

The Blending Option

  1. An electric beater
  2. A plastic bowl
  3. A spoon for scraping

We will give you all the options step-by-step but as a preferred method we do choose the Hot Water Option. This is the most natural manner in which to smooth out your cream cheese. There is no adding in of other ingredients which can sometimes smooth it down too much or change the taste of your cream cheese.

No one method is wrong or right, but that is our preference. However, when in a hurry, and the guests are acoming, try one of the quicker alternatives from our list. No one will wiser to it. Only you!

1. The Microwave Option


  • Step 1 – scoop out the desired amount of cream cheese
  • Step 2 – place the cream cheese into a microwavable bowl
  • Step 3 – place the bowl into the microwave
  • Step 4 – microwave on high for 30 seconds
  • Step 5 – check after 30 seconds and push down into the cream cheese with the back of a spoon
  • Step 6 – keep microwaving in 10 second bursts till the cream cheese is
    softened sufficiently
Note – Be careful not to overheat the cream cheese as it will burn and the taste and consistancy will be ruined

2. The Hot Water Option

 cream cheese in bowl
Cream cheese in bowl – Wikihow
  • Step 1 – either boil the kettle and wait for water to cool to lukewarm or pour lukewarm water from the tap into a glass or ceramic bowl
  • Step 2 – place your sealed cream cheese container into the bowl of lukewarm water
  • Step 3 – give it about 10 minutes then check to see if cream cheese is softened by opening and pressing down with the flat of a spoon
  • Step 4 – if not, then leave it for a little long and/or top up with more lukewarm water
Note – this method does take a little longer but is the most natural method to use

3. The Thinning Option

  • Step 1 – scoop out the desired amount of cream cheese into a glass or ceramic bowl
  • Step 2 – dependent on which ingredient you would prefer, put a little of this into the bowl (just a little) and mix with a spoon till the consistancy is smoother

Milk pouring

Note – Milk and cream will not change the taste of your cream cheese
Melted butter will change the taste slightly, so best to use unsalted butter
Lemon Juice will give your cream cheese a slightly acidic and tarty taste, but is then perfect for sour deserts or frosting
Lemon Juice

4. The Mixing Option

  • Step 1 – scoop out the desired amount of cream cheese into a glass or ceramic bowl
  • Step 2 – scoop a little of either marshmallow fluff or mascarpone (a level teaspoon) into the cream cheese
  • Step 3 – mix with a spoon till smooth and creamy
Note – both ingredients are sweet and will make your cream cheese lose its tarty, sour taste, so would be good for frosting or cake icing options

5. The Blending Option

  • Step 1 – scoop out the desired amount of cream cheese into a plastic bowl deep enough to take a blender
  • Step 2 – holding the bowl firmly blend on low and increase speed without splashing the cream cheese out
  • Step 3 – you can add a little water just to get the consistancy really smooth
  • Step 4 – use the spoon to scrape the remaining cream cheese from the blender points
Blending Cream cheese
Blending Cream cheese –

In short, if you have forgotten to take the cream cheese out of the fridge or freezer and need to smooth it out in a hurry for your next creative baking project, you now have 5 awesome options to choose from.
Baking is an artform and many find it a cumbersome process, what with all the measuring, checking and analyzing, so finding quick and easy ways to speed up your project, is always a godsend.
How to soften cream cheese couldn’t be easier with our 5 super methods.
We hope you enjoyed our little tutorial and if you did, please share with like-minded bakers or foodies. We would also love to hear from you, so pop us a comment and tell us about your latest baking endeavors.
Happy Baking!

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