Question: What is full-fat cream cheese?
Answer: A lot of confusion surrounds cream cheese simply because of the vast varieties available. You have light, whipped, fat-free, low-fat, full-fat, and many flavored types. One of the biggest confusions might be trying the determine what is full-fat cream cheese. It is often called for as an ingredient in many recipes, so let’s take a look at exactly what it is.
The USDA defines full-fat cream cheese (sometimes called soft white cheese) as having no less than 33 percent total milkfat content by weight and no greater than 55 percent moisture content by weight. Basically, if it is marketed in the U.S. simply as “cream cheese” with no other verbiage like light or fat-free, it should be full-fat.
You can manually calculate the total milkfat percent content of cream cheese if you are unsure if it is full-fat by the front label. Simply flip to the back of the cream cheese and look at the nutrition facts.
Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for Organic Valley cream cheese as an example (see below). The total fat is 10 grams while the serving size (weight) is 30 grams. You simply take the 10 grams of total fat and divide it by the 30 grams serving size. This results in 33.33 percent which is in line with the 33 percent USDA milkfat requirement. Generally, the full-fat cream cheeses in the U.S. will calculate near the 33 percent, within reason. Light or fat-free will calculate to lower percentages.
Ingredients: Organic Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Organic Locust Bean Gum.