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Schmear Master Recipe

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Schmear in bowl with knife
Photo by Linda Xiao

It’s perfectly acceptable to serve up a rectangular brick of Philadelphia cream cheese in its original form at the breakfast table. It has the same familiarity as a cylinder of canned cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table. A bagel brunch, though, deserves a schmear. It is more spreadable, creamy, and is the vehicle for flavorful additions. Make this delicious simple schmear from Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow in two easy steps.

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Makes 9 ounces

  • 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or crème fraiche
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, sour
    cream, and lemon juice, increasing the speed as the ingredients combine, until fluffy, lightened, and spreadable, just 1 to 2 minutes. Alternatively, use a medium mixing bowl and a stiff spoon to
    combine and then stir and whip vigorously to aerate and lighten the mixture.
  2. Pack the schmear into a ramekin or two, cover, and chill until ready to serve. It will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.
  • Reprinted from Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow with permission from Chronicle Books, 2022.

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