Oh, it is fall and that means everything “pumpkin spice” is upon us! Our local bagelry offers a fabulous pumpkin cream cheese spread and this year I decided I wanted to make my own.
Savory Pumpkin Cream Cheese
The biggest difference between theirs and others I’ve seen is being savory versus sweet. I love sweet, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want cream cheese frosting on my bagel. I want velvety and savory cream cheese.
So the challenge for me to tackle was adding just enough sweet to balance the flavors and complement pure pumpkin and pumpkin spice without turning it into frosting.
So while many recipes called for brown sugar or powdered sugar, I didn’t use either. Instead I opted for a small amount of honey. The trade off is that there isn’t another dry ingredient to help thicken the spread.
Which for me isn’t an issue. I prefer a light and fluffy cream cheese anyhow. Easier to spread and not so filling…. which means I can eat more.
Because it’s not super thick, you could also use it as a dip. It would be lovely on a fall themed charcuterie board or something similar.
After 4 tries, these are the ingerdients I landed on:
- Cream Cheese– I used full fat, but you can use reduced or fat free.
- Honey– to balance the flavors, but not to be too sweet.
- Pumpkin Puree– not pumpkin pie filling, but real pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and spiced already. Making your own is the best way!
- Pumpkin Pie Spice– alternatively you can use apple pie spice, the only difference is cloves. Feel free to make your own.
- Vanilla– Adds warmth and sophistication.
How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread
Assembly is pretty simple, but don’t skimp on whipping the cream cheese. If you add all the ingredients at once, you’ll get a lumpy spread that is too loose.
- Make sure your cream cheese is well softened. Cutting it into smaller pieces or chucks can speed up the process.
- Beat cream cheese well, until light, fluffy and smooth.
- Add pumpkin, beating well again until fully incorporated, this might take 3-4 minutes.
- Add honey, spices and vanilla. Blend again.
- Place back into the fridge until ready to use and harden a little.
Anything you’d spread regular cream cheese on, or bake with, can be substituted for pumpkin cream cheese. This means anything from:
- Spread on a bagel
- Use as a condiment on sandwiches
- A cream cheese frosting recipe
- or even the cream cheese filling in baked goods like muffins, coffee cake or cupcakes.
In some cases, it can also be substituted for pumpkin butter. Just keep in mind this is a savory spread, so if using it in frosting you will need to add the normal amount of sugar that you normally would.
Storage & Freezing
Pumpkin cream cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. It can certainly be made ahead and enjoyed for several mornings.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe. It does not thaw well, plus it’s so good I’d be surprised if you had any leftover!
More pumpkin recipes:
- Pumpkin Fluff
- Pumpkin Waffles
- Gooey Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies!)
- Easy Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread
- In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat softened cream cheese well until smooth and fluffy.
- Add pumpkin, blending on high until fully incorporated and smooth, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add honey, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, blending again.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments and ratings!