Cream Cheese vs Cream Cheese Spread – What’s the Difference?

This article reviews the similarities and differences between regular cream cheese vs cream cheese spread. Regular cream cheese is the kind of cream cheese found in rectangle or brick shape boxes. Cream cheese spread is commonly available in a tub. While they taste relatively similar, they aren’t the same product that is just packaged differently. Let’s get into the comparison of these two kinds of cream cheese.

Cream Cheese vs Cream Cheese Spread


Regular Cream Cheese (Brick) – This cream cheese is best used as an ingredient for cooking or baking. It is commonly used to make foods such as cheesecakes, cupcakes, dips, and mashed potatoes. It is not easily spreadable directly from the refrigerator, however, at room temperature (68°F) it becomes manageable.

Cream Cheese Spread – This cream cheese spreads much easier right out of the refrigerator compared to the brick cream cheese. Therefore, it is a good option to use on top of a bagel, toast, or English muffin. According to the USDA, any cream cheese labeled “soft” should be spreadable right out of refrigeration.

You are now probably wondering why one is more spreadable than the other. The addition of air into the cream cheese through a whipping process allows cream cheese to spread easier immediately out of the refrigerator. Additionally, increased moisture content can also help increase spreadability.


The table below compares the ingredients of Philadelphia regular (brick) versus spreadable cream cheese. Based on this nutrition data, spreadable cream cheese is the best option overall. It has fewer calories, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. However, the brick cream cheese is lower in sodium and has one gram fewer carbs.

Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese BrickPhiladelphia Original Cream Cheese Spread
Serving Size1 oz (28g)2 Tbsp (31g)
Total Fat10g7g
Sat. Fat6g4.5g
Trans Fat0g0g
Total Carbs1g2g
Total Sugars1g1g
Vitamin D0%0%
Vitamin A0%10%


You’ll notice fewer ingredients in the cream cheese versus spreadable cream cheese when you review the ingredients below. One ingredient of note is the whey in the cream cheese spread which is not in the regular brick cream cheese. Whey is a liquid byproduct created during the cheese-making process. You’ve probably have seen it floating on top of your yogurt if it has been sitting in your refrigerator for some time. We assume that this whey at least partially helps with the spreadability of the cream cheese, which is not necessary for the brick cream cheese.

Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese (Brick) – Pasteurized Milk And Cream, Salt, Carob Bean Gum, Cheese Culture.

Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Spread – Pasteurized Milk And Cream, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey, Salt, Carob Bean Gum, Natamycin (A Natural Mold Inhibitor), Vitamin A Palmitate, Cheese Culture.


You will generally pay more for the luxury of spreadable cream cheese versus regular brick cream cheese. Again, we used Philadelphia brick regular cream cheese versus spreadable cream cheese for our comparison. Based on the average prices of the stores shown below, you will pay roughly $1.48 more for Philadelphia spreadable cream cheese versus the regular brick cream cheese. In other words, it is wise to ask yourself if you really need spreadable cream cheese over regular cream cheese before you buy it given the large price difference.

StorePhiladelphia Original Cream Cheese (8 oz – Brick)Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Spread (8 oz – Tub)
Food 4 Less$1.99*$3.69
King Soopers$1.99*$3.49*
* on sale price