Is Cream Cheese Gluten Free?

Is Cream Cheese Gluten Free? The short answer is yes. But let’s take a look at which brands are gluten-free, which ingredients to look out for, as well as the risks for cross-contamination. Plus, 10 recipes using cream cheese that are 100% gluten-free!

A woman standing at a kitchen countertop holding a package of cream cheese on a green and white background with text overlay that says, "Is Cream Cheese Gluten Free?"

Cream Cheese Is Considered Gluten-Free

Is cream cheese gluten-free? The quick answer is, yes! Most natural cheese is gluten-free. That’s why, in my house, we’re smearing cream cheese over Gluten Free Bagels every other morning. But is all cream cheese gluten-free? Let’s discuss.

We’re looking at which brands are safe for gluten-free diets, which types of cream cheese to avoid, and potential risks like additives and cross-contamination.

Scoops of whipped cream cheese on a whit plate with a small spread knife and a block of cream cheese blurred in the background.

What Is Cream Cheese?

You probably already know the answer, but cream cheese is a type of smooth, spreadable soft cheese. It’s made from milk and cream, with a flavor that’s mild and slightly tangy. You’ll find many brands of cream cheese in the US, with options ranging from regular to low-fat, to dairy-free.

Funnily enough, the invention of cream cheese was a happy accident. An American cheesemaker tried to remake a variety of French cheese called Neufchâtel, but things went pear-shaped when he added too much cream. All’s well that ends well, though, because his creation went on to become cream cheese as we know it today.

Cream cheese is most notably paired with bagels, but you’ll also find it in many different recipes, from savory to sweet. See further down in the post for 10 easy recipes made with cream cheese!

Two halves of a bagel on a plate, smeared with cream cheese.

Is Philadelphia Gluten-Free?

Philadelphia is by far the most popular brand of cream cheese in the United States, and its plain blocks are naturally gluten-free. The company is owned by Kraft, and Kraft is pretty good when it comes to labeling potential allergens on its packaging. They also list their ingredients on their website, so you can check if a product may contain gluten.

If you’re sensitive to gluten, Philadelphia Brand cream cheese blocks and plain whipped cream cheese are considered safe to eat.

Ingredients To Look Out For

Of course, if you’re especially sensitive to gluten, or if you’re celiac, it’s always best to exercise a higher degree of caution. Consult with your doctor if needed, and double-check the ingredients of any brand of cream cheese that isn’t certified gluten-free. 

Certain brands, along with cheese that’s low-fat or fat-free, use thickeners and stabilizers that may contain gluten. There’s also the potential for products like flavored cream cheese and vegan cream cheese to contain much more than just dairy. Always read the labels! Look out for gluten-containing ingredients like hydrolyzed wheat protein, food starch, and vegetable gum, as well as artificial coloring, flavorings, and unspecified spice blends, to name a few.

Even if certain additives don’t specifically mention gluten, they may have sneaky traces of it either in the ingredient itself or by cross-contamination. So it’s always best to take the safe route and double-check.


Depending on the brand of cream cheese you’re buying, if it isn’t certified gluten-free, there is the risk of cross-contamination. While the risk is often low, cross-contamination can happen at the farm and factory levels. For this reason, it’s a good idea to be vigilant and check the labels to know where your cream cheese comes from and stick with brands you know and trust.

Can Celiacs Eat Cream Cheese?

Brands like Philadelphia are naturally gluten-free and should be safe for those with celiac disease. However, due to risks like additives and cross-contamination, always consult with a healthcare professional to know what’s best for you.

A bar of cream cheese on a small white plate.

10 Easy Recipes Made With Cream Cheese

Below you’ll find 10 recipe ideas featuring cream cheese as a key ingredient. I’ve included both sweet and savory dishes that are easy to make and guaranteed gluten-free!

cream cheese frosting piped in a bowl and on a red velvet cupcake

Fluffy Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

This is a classic frosting recipe made with tangy cream cheese, perfect for frosting everything from carrot cake to red velvet cupcakes.
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One bagel half leaning against the other half completely covered with flavored cream cheese filled with orange pieces and dried cranberries.

Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese

A little sweet, a little zesty, this easy recipe for cream cheese enriched with real cranberry and orange is the best way to change up your breakfast routine! Smear it over gluten-free bagels, especially in the festive season!
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white chicken chili in a blue bowl with cilantro, jalapeno slices, and tortilla chips on top

Creamy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Cream cheese boosts the creamy flavors of this zesty homemade white chicken chili. Make it in the instant pot for a quick and satisfying family meal.
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A miniature bowl with three dates stuffed with cream cheese and three pistachios in each of them.

Pistachio Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates

Sweet and sticky dates filled with cream cheese are a delicious contrast of textures and flavors. This is an easy and healthy snack idea topped with pistachios for added crunch.
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Apple dipped into snack-size cream cheese dip.

Creamy Cheesecake Yogurt Fruit Dip

Combine Greek yogurt with cream cheese for a healthy cheesecake dip that the whole family will love to snack on! Chop up your favorite fruit and get dipping.
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Cheesy Cajun Jambalaya Dip

Would it even be a cheesy hot dip without cream cheese? Try this easy jambalaya dip recipe inspired by the flavors of the South. Perfect for potlucks and game day!
Easy No-Easy Cheesecake Ice Cream with two silver spoons

Easy No-Churn Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Ice Cream

This cheesecake-inspired homemade ice cream recipe is a fun frozen dessert flavored with real vanilla bean. No-churn means you can make it without an ice cream machine!
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Chicken pinwheel sandwiches with veggies on a cutting board.

Mediterranean Chicken Pinwheels

A classic party finger food, you can never go wrong with pinwheels! This recipe is filled with cream cheese and zesty rotisserie chicken tossed with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients.
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Close up of gluten-free cheesecake on a yellow cake stand topped with cherries.

Classic Gluten Free Cheesecake

Try this traditional gluten-free cheesecake recipe that’s smooth, creamy, and ready to be topped with your favorite fruit sauce.
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Close up of a slice of strawberry and blueberry crumb cake served on a plate.

Red White and Blueberry Crumb Cake

Fourth of July desserts don’t get easier than this gluten-free crumb cake recipe featuring patriotic red strawberries and ripe, juicy blueberries, filled with a layer of white cream cheese.
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