Lower in fat and calories, soft, spreadable Neufchâtel is a great alternative to regular cream cheese.
The original Neufchâtel hails from a town of the same name in the Normandy region of France. Made from cow's milk, it is a soft, white, unripened cheese with a slightly salty, but mild flavor. When left to ripen, Neufchâtel becomes more pungent and stronger tasting as it ages.
American Neufchâtel cheese is a soft, mild, uncured cheese similar in flavor and texture to cream cheese. With a lower milkfat content (about 23%), it's often marketed as lower fat/lower calorie cream cheese alternative. When preparing a Neufchâtel recipe, determine whether the dish calls for the French or American version to achieve the best results.
Varieties and Buying TipsFrench Neufchâtel is available in a wide array of shapes including rectangles, squares, cylinders and a special heart-shaped variety called Coeur de Bray. The American version is typically sold in bricks. Be sure to check the date on the container to buy the freshest cheese available.
Storage TipsKeep refrigerated in its original wrapping. After opening, tightly rewrap and use within one week. Any soft cheese should be discarded if mold appears.
Usage TipsNeufchâtel is wonderfully spreadable, making it an excellent topping for crackers, bagels, pancakes, raw veggies or sandwiches. Make your own "schmears" by mixing in honey, maple syrup, fruit jellies, sesame seeds, lemon juice, fresh herbs or chives.
Neufchâtel is also delicious base for dips, desserts and frostings. Use it in place of regular cream cheese to lighten recipes in calories and fat.
Try one of our favorite Neufchâtel recipes:
Cinnamon Muffin Spread (Diabetic)
Roasted Stuffed Jalapenos
Light Pumpkin Cheesecakes