Cream Cheese Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Cream Cheese

Cream cheese, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Cream cheese is often touted as a healthier alternative to butter. But you might be surprised to know that the calories in cream cheese aren't always lower than the number found in butter. If you're trying to lose weight or eat a healthier diet, learn how to make healthy decisions when you include cream cheese in your meal plan.

Cream Cheese Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 tablespoon (14.5g) of cream cheese.

  • Calories: 50.8
  • Fat: 5g
  • Sodium: 46.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.8g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0.5g
  • Protein: 0.9g

Regular cream cheese is often sold in a bar form or in whipped tubs. You'll find it in the dairy section of most grocery stores. The way you buy the product will affect cream cheese calories and fat content.

A single serving of cream cheese is roughly 1-2 tablespoons. Popular brands like Philadelphia provide line markings on the package so you know exactly how much to consume per serving. According to that brand, a single 1-ounce serving (roughly 2 tablespoons) provides 100 calories.

But whipped cream cheese is much lower in calories. Why? Because the whipping process adds air to the cheese and fluffs it up, so it seems like you get more cream cheese for the same size serving. Some brands also add skim milk as an ingredient, which lowers the fat content.

So how do the calories compare? Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese lists a serving size as 2 tablespoons on the package. That amount will provide 50 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat, according to the manufacturer.

Calories in flavored cream cheese will also depend on the kind that you buy. Sweet flavors like mixed berry or strawberry cream cheese will have added fruit or fruit puree which will increase both the sugar and calorie count. Savory flavors like chive may have added salt, so the sodium content will be slightly higher but the calories will probably stay the same.


There is very little carbohydrate in cream cheese. A single serving provides less than 1 gram of carbs (0.8 grams) primarily in the form of sugar. However, if you purchase certain types of flavored cream cheese, the carbohydrate content will increase.

For example, Philadelphia brand Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Spread contains 7 grams of sugar per serving. This flavor of cream cheese is whipped so the serving size is 2 tablespoons.


Most of the fat in cream cheese is saturated fat. There are 5 grams of total fat in a single serving of cream cheese and 5 grams are saturated fat. There is also a small amount of polyunsaturated fat (0.2 grams) and monounsaturated fat (1.3 grams).


There is slightly less than 1 gram of protein (0.9 grams) in a single serving of cream cheese. 


Cream cheese provides some vitamins and minerals. You'll benefit from a small amount of vitamin A (44.7 IU), vitamin K (0.3 mcg), folate (1.3 mcg), and choline (3.9 mg).

Minerals in cream cheese include calcium (14.1 milligrams), phosphorus (15.5 mg), magnesium (1.3 mg), potassium (19.1mg), sodium (45.5 mg), and trace amounts of selenium.

Health Benefits

For some people, cream cheese provides a benefit because it is lower in fat and calories than butter. But it is not always a better choice.

In the battle between butter and cream cheese, your lower calorie and lower fat choice is cream cheese—if you compare the bar versions of both products. But if you compare the bar variety of cream cheese to whipped butter or lower calorie butter, then the cream cheese may be higher in fat and calories.

If you're trying to decide between butter and cream cheese in the morning when you prepare your morning meal, you should take more than just the calorie and fat content into account. The nutrition of your meal will depend on a few factors:

  • How much you use. Cream cheese is often easier to spread on toast or a bagel. For that reason, it may be easier to use less cream cheese than butter. You'll consume fewer calories and less saturated fat as a result. However, keep in mind that many people prefer a thicker layer of cream cheese than they do with butter, which will up the calorie content.
  • Which kind you use. If you use the whipped variety of cream cheese or the whipped version of butter, you'll cut calories as well.
  • Where you spread your topping. The bagel or toast that you put the spread on is likely to contribute to the nutrition of your meal. White bread, bread products, and bagels made from refined grains add carbs, calories, and very little nutrition to your diet. Consider choosing a serving of whole-grain bread or bagels instead. You can also spread a thin layer of cream cheese on celery sticks or another fruit or vegetable for a satisfying and nutritious option.
  • Choose grass-fed cream cheese. Scientific evidence has shown that dairy products from grass fed cows have a better omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio as compared to dairy products from cows under conventional and organic management.

Common Questions

Is low-fat cream cheese healthier?

Lower calorie cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese provides one-third to one-half less fat than the traditional variety. A single 1-tablespoon serving provides 2.5 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Neufchatel cheese is made from milk while traditional cream cheese is made from milk and cream. If you're trying to cut fat and calories in recipes you can use Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese.

Do I need to refrigerate cream cheese?

Cream cheese should remain tightly sealed and refrigerated. You can freeze cream cheese to use in recipes, but the texture will change. You probably won't want to spread it on toast or a bagel after it is thawed.

What is the best way to soften cream cheese to use in recipes?

When cream cheese is cold it can be hard to work with in recipes. The best way to soften it is to leave it on the counter for a short period of time. But if you don't have time, simply press the cheese with a pastry roller or with the palm of your hand to soften it. 

Recipes and Preparation Tips

If you love the cream cheese, you can get creative to keep it in your healthy diet. You may be able to find Greek cream cheese at your local grocer. Brands like Green Mountain Farm make this style of spread and it provides more protein and less fat than traditional versions.

You can also go light on the spread to keep the fat and calories in control. For example, if you usually love to eat a bagel with jam and cream cheese for breakfast, try this healthier version instead: scoop out a bagel, then spread a thin layer of whipped cream cheese, and top with real fruit.

You'll not only cut fat, carbs, and calories but you'll also reduce the amount of sugar you consume by swapping fresh fruit for jam.

You can also cook with cream cheese. Try this recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese.

Allergies and Interactions

People who have a dairy allergy or a milk allergy should avoid cream cheese as it contains cow's milk. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology symptoms of milk allergy can range from mild to severe and may include wheezing, vomiting, hives, and digestive problems. Exposure to milk may also cause anaphylaxis.

Additionally, people who are lactose intolerant may want to avoid cream cheese. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include nausea, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. 

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cheese spread, cream cheese, regular. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  2. Butter, salted. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  3. Benbrook CM, Davis DR, Heins BJ, et al. Enhancing the fatty acid profile of milk through forage-based rations, with nutrition modeling of diet outcomesFood Sci Nutr. 2018;6(3):681-700. Published 2018 Feb 28. doi:10.1002/fsn3.610

  4. Cheese, cream, low fat. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  5. Food Allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

By Malia Frey
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.