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Cream Cheese vs. Neufchatel: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
Cream cheese is a smooth, soft cheese spread; Neufchatel is a French cheese with a similar texture but lower fat content

Key Differences

Cream cheese and Neufchatel are both popular in culinary applications due to their creamy textures. While cream cheese is known for its smooth consistency ideal for spreads and desserts, Neufchatel originates from France and has been enjoyed for centuries.
In the US, cream cheese is often associated with bagels and cheesecakes, while Neufchatel has a rich history rooted in the Normandy region of France. Though both share similarities in texture, their origins and uses differ considerably.
Fat content distinguishes cream cheese and Neufchatel the most. Cream cheese usually has a higher fat percentage, making it richer, whereas Neufchatel boasts a slightly lower fat content, which gives it a lighter taste.
The origin stories of cream cheese and Neufchatel further differentiate them. Cream cheese was developed in the US during the 19th century, while Neufchatel has been produced since at least the 6th century in France.
Both cream cheese and Neufchatel can be used interchangeably in many recipes. However, one should note the subtle differences in flavor and richness when substituting one for the other.

Comparison Chart


United States
Normandy, France

Fat Content

Higher fat percentage
Lower fat percentage


Smooth and creamy
Similar but can be a bit crumblier

Historical Background

Developed in the 19th century in the US
Dates back to at least the 6th century in France

Typical Uses

Cheesecakes, spreads, frosting
Cheeses, spreads, similar culinary applications

Cream Cheese and Neufchatel Definitions

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a soft, white cheese.
I prefer my sandwiches with a layer of cream cheese.


Neufchatel is a French-origin soft cheese.
The board had various cheeses, including Brie and Neufchatel.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is known for its mild, tangy flavor.
The tanginess of the cream cheese complemented the sweet jam.


Neufchatel is known for its slightly crumbly texture.
She noticed the Neufchatel crumbled more than the cream cheese.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a base for many desserts.
She used cream cheese for the cheesecake filling.


Neufchatel has a distinct taste with a lower fat content.
I like the light taste of Neufchatel in my recipes.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a smooth dairy spread.
I spread cream cheese on my bagel.


Neufchatel can be used as a cream cheese substitute.
For a healthier option, she used Neufchatel instead of cream cheese.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese can be used as a cooking ingredient.
He added cream cheese to the pasta sauce for creaminess.


Neufchatel has historical roots in the Normandy region.
On her trip to France, she tasted authentic Neufchatel from Normandy.


A soft white cheese made from cow's milk.


A kind of soft sweet-milk cheese; - so called from Neufchâtel-en-Bray in France.


How is the taste of cream cheese compared to Neufchatel?

While both are creamy and mild, cream cheese is richer, and Neufchatel has a slightly tangier note.

What are common dishes that use Neufchatel?

Neufchatel is used in cheeses, spreads, and similar culinary applications to cream cheese.

Is there a difference in the texture between cream cheese and Neufchatel?

Both are creamy, but Neufchatel can sometimes be a bit crumblier.

How is the fat content in Neufchatel compared to other cheeses?

Neufchatel typically has a lower fat content compared to many other soft cheeses.

Can cream cheese be frozen for later use?

Yes, cream cheese can be frozen, but it may alter its texture upon thawing.

Where did Neufchatel originate?

Neufchatel originated in the Normandy region of France.

How should Neufchatel be stored?

Neufchatel should be refrigerated and kept in an airtight container.

How is cream cheese typically packaged?

Cream cheese is often packaged in foil-wrapped blocks or in tubs as a spread.

Can cream cheese be used in savory dishes?

Absolutely, cream cheese is versatile and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

What's a notable historical fact about Neufchatel?

Neufchatel has been produced since at least the 6th century in France.

Is cream cheese suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals?

Cream cheese contains lactose, so it may not be suitable for those with lactose intolerance.

What makes cream cheese so creamy?

The combination of milk and cream, along with the production process, gives cream cheese its creamy texture.

Are there flavored varieties of cream cheese?

Yes, cream cheese is available in various flavors, including herb, fruit-infused, and more.

What distinguishes Neufchatel from other French cheeses?

Neufchatel is distinguished by its heart shape, slightly crumbly texture, and rich history in the Normandy region.

What is cream cheese made of?

Cream cheese is made from milk and cream.

Can cream cheese be used in place of Neufchatel?

Yes, cream cheese and Neufchatel can often be used interchangeably in recipes.

Is Neufchatel healthier than cream cheese?

Neufchatel typically has a lower fat content than cream cheese, making it a lighter option.

Does Neufchatel taste similar to any other cheeses?

Neufchatel's taste is somewhat similar to cream cheese but has its own unique characteristics.

Is Neufchatel named after a place?

Yes, Neufchatel is named after the town of Neufchâtel-en-Bray in Normandy, France.

How long does cream cheese last after opening?

Once opened, cream cheese should be consumed within 10 days for best quality.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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