Cream Cheese Vs Butter – What’s The Difference?

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If you are wanting to be more conscious about the foods you eat and maybe cut back on extra fats in your diet, it helps to know a little more about the choices you have.

You might have figured out which breads to eat and the toppings to include, but do you know which spread is best to use? Cream cheese and butter are two popular choices, so it really helps to know the difference between the two.

What is the difference between cream cheese and butter? Cream cheese and butter have some similar ingredients and nutritional values, which is why they are often compared. Overall, cream cheese is better for those who are wanting to cut back calories and fat in their diet, but both have their benefits.

To understand the more detailed differences between the two, we have listed just about everything that you need to know!

The Different Options

When looking at the differences between cream cheese and butter, you need to remember that there are different types of each. You can get full-cream butter, light butter, full-cream cream cheese, and reduced-fat cream cheese

These have varying ingredients and nutritional values, so you do have the option of picking out the one that you prefer the taste of, and going for the healthier option.

You have options with both, so you can pick the one that suits your diet best, and which you don’t mind spreading onto your bagel!

Ingredients In Cream Cheese And Butter

To begin to understand the differences between cream cheese and butter, it helps to know the ingredients that each has.

Butter is made with sweet cream and sometimes added salt.

Cream cheese, on the other hand, is made with pasteurized cream and milk, stabilizer, salt, and cheese culture.

Both butter and cream cheese are dairy products made from milk, and both contain only a few ingredients.

Butter is made in a more simple way, with only sweet cream being churned, and some salt added if it is salted butter, and cream cheese is made from a mixture of cream and milk along with some other ingredients.

As butter is made with cream alone, it does contain more calories and fat, which gives it its rich and creamy taste and texture.

When you are looking for options with the simplest ingredients, full-fat butter, and full-fat cream cheese are the best option, as when you start to reduce the fat content, more ingredients are added in.

The ingredients added into reduced-fat cream cheese and light butter become quite extensive, so make sure to read through the ingredient list to be sure of what you are eating.

Nutritional Makeup Of Cream Cheese And Butter

To dive deeper into the differences between cream cheese and butter, you need to look at the nutritional makeup of each.

Here are the different nutritional factors to look at when deciding which would be the best for you:


Butter and cream cheese are both high in calories, but butter has a much higher calorie content than cream cheese. Unsalted butter has around 717 calories per 100 grams, whereas cream cheese has about 350 calories per 100 grams.


Butter and cream cheese both contain small amounts of carbs, with butter containing the least. Cream cheese contains 5.5g of carbohydrates per 100 grams, whereas butter contains 0.06g of carbohydrates per 100 grams.


The sugar content of butter and cream cheese is quite small. Butter has around 0.06g of sugar per 100 grams, whereas cream cheese has around 3.8g of sugar per 100 grams.


The protein content between cream cheese and butter differs quite a bit. Cream cheese has a much higher protein content than butter.

Cream cheese has 6.2g of protein per 100 grams, whereas butter has 0.85g of protein per 100 grams.

If you are following a high-protein diet, then cream cheese is definitely the better option, as it has lower calories too.

Saturated Fat

Cream cheese and butter are both quite high in saturated fat, but butter comes out with the most. Butter has 50.5g of saturated fat per 100 grams, whereas cream cheese has around 20.2g of saturated fat per 100 grams.

Trans Fat

Unsalted butter has less trans fat than cream cheese does. Butter has very, very little, whereas cream cheese has around 1.2g of trans fat per 100 grams.


Both cream cheese and butter are good sources of calcium, but cream cheese definitely contains the most, having just over 300% more calcium per serving.

Cream cheese has 97mg of calcium per 100 grams, while butter contains 24mg of calcium per 100 grams.


Cream cheese contains 450% more potassium than butter, with 132mg of potassium per 100 grams, whereas butter has 24mg of potassium per 100 grams.

The Important Facts

To sum up all of the above nutritional information, here are the most important facts to consider when looking at the differences between cream cheese and butter!

Cream Cheese Has Fewer Calories

Cream cheese contains fewer calories than butter, coming in with around 105% fewer calories per serving.

The calories in cream cheese and butter come from the fat content, and with cream cheese containing less fat, it makes sense that it would have fewer calories too.

Cream Cheese Has More Protein

Cream cheese contains significantly more protein than butter too, containing up to 624% more protein per serving, which is a big difference!

This makes it a great option for protein-rich diets, where you want fewer calories and more protein with each bite.

Is Cream Cheese Or Butter Healthiest?

What is the healthiest option for one person might not be the healthiest option for another. However, overall it is easy to see that cream cheese might be the better option for most.

Cream cheese is lower in both fat and calories and has a higher protein content.

For many people, this makes it the ideal spread or dip to use when on a diet, where you would be watching your calorie intake, and still try to keep up with protein.

If you much prefer the taste of butter but do not want the high-fat content, you could opt for light butter, which still tastes great.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the differences between cream cheese and butter, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Is cream cheese butter or a cheese?

Cream cheese definitely has a noticeable difference in appearance, taste, and texture when compared to cheddar, Gouda, and other cheeses.

However, it is technically classified as cheese by the FDA.

Is Philadelphia cheese cream cheese?

Philadelphia cheese is a type of cream cheese and is possibly the best-known cream cheese on the market.

It is rich and creamy and really quite delicious!

Can I eat cream cheese on its own?

You could technically eat cream cheese on its own, though it would certainly taste better used alongside other ingredients.

It can be spread on top of a bagel, used in baking, and can be used as a dip for sliced veggies and tortilla chips too!

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