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What Is Cream Cheese Sauce?

Sour cream may be used in cream cheese sauce for extra richness.
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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
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A cream cheese sauce is any sort of sauce that is made using cream cheese as either a base or a flavor ingredient. The smooth texture of cream cheese, combined with its mild flavor and the ease with which it can be melted, makes it a good choice for both sweet and savory sauces. Cream cheese sauce can be adapted to fit almost any style of cooking and is an excellent choice for home cooks because of the ease with which it can typically be prepared.

Typical cream cheese is very rich, and contains more than one-third dairy fat. It is also very soft and very moist. These two properties make it an excellent cheese for use in sauces. The high fat content ensures a rich and creamy sauce, and the high moisture content makes the cheese very soft, pliable, and easy to work with.

One very common variety of cream cheese sauce is a modified version of an Alfredo sauce. Alfredo sauce is normally made with a mixture of parmesan cheese and butter. A similar flavor profile and consistency can be obtained using cream cheese in place of some of the parmesan and butter. This type of sauce is simple to prepare and has an excellent creamy character.

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Many other varieties of savory cream cheese sauce are possible. Pasta sauces often blend cream cheese with Italian flavors such as oregano and basil. A mixture of cream cheese and sour cream produces a very rich sauce which blends especially well with the earthy flavors of mushrooms and onions and could be used on pasta or to create a modified version of Eastern European cuisine, where this flavor combination is common.

Cream cheese sauce can also be used for sweet sauces. A sauce built using several sweet ingredients and a cream cheese base will be both sweet and pleasantly rich and hearty. This type of sauce could be made with fresh fruit, fruit syrup, maple syrup, a melted mixture of butter and brown sugar, or even chocolate. This sort of cream cheese sauce can be used with dessert dishes, but also works well in rich and sweet breakfast preparations and can be served with waffles, crepes, or pancakes.

Sauces based on cream cheese are rich and flavorful, but they are not necessarily health food. Cream cheese is very rich and high in both fat and calories. This may be a concern for some cooks. Low-fat cream cheese is available, but even low-fat cream cheese sauce will typically still be rich and relatively high in calories.

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Mykol
Post 4

I think cream cheese makes the best pasta sauces. There have been times that I have even melted a little bit of cream cheese to add to a jar of marinara sauce. This gives the sauce a special flavor that helps balance the tomato taste.

I know that cream cheese is not low in calories, but it has such a rich, creamy texture that is hard to resist. Cream cheese is also versatile and tastes just as good with something like pasta as it does with a dessert.

I have had better luck when I buy the name brand cream cheese. The few times I tried to save a few cents and buy an off-brand, I was a little disappointed.

SarahSon
Post 3

@golf07-- Are you using regular cream cheese or the low-fat variety? Anytime I have used a reduced-fat cream cheese to make a sauce, I don't think it is nearly as smooth. There is a difference in the texture.

I am usually adding enough other ingredients that it tastes OK, but it doesn't mix up as well. I figure if I am going to be making a dessert using cream cheese, I might as well use the real thing.

I can cut corners on other things, but don't think you really cut out that much fat by using a reduced-fat cream cheese. I would rather eat a few bites of a rich dessert that looks and tastes perfectly wonderful than compromise with the cream cheese.

golf07
Post 2

For every special holiday meal I make a pear salad with a cream cheese sauce that has been handed down to me from my grandma. Even though this is a salad, it is sweet enough to taste like a dessert.

I mix cream cheese with pear juice and lime jello. This makes a light green salad that looks especially festive at Christmas. I also sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon in this sauce which adds just the right touch.

Sometimes I have a hard time getting the cream cheese sauce as smooth as I want it to be. I have found it hard to get rid of all the lumps and don't like serving this when it is lumpy.

This is probably a little harder because the sauce isn't heated. Has anyone else had this problem when making a cream cheese sauce?

myharley
Post 1

I love the taste of cream cheese and have a hard time passing up any kind of dessert that is made with a cream cheese sauce. My husband does not like cheesecake, which is made with cream cheese, but he will eat a dessert that is made with a cream cheese sauce.

I think there is something about the difference in the texture. One of my favorite ways to eat a cream cheese sauce is to mix this with some chocolate and drizzle over fresh fruit.

This tastes great with just about any kind of fruit, but strawberries is probably what everyone loves the most.

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