Rich, savory and buttery, this scrumptious 4-ingredient cream cheese- and butter-based spread is a perfect topping for your low-carb or keto bread — kind of like a homemade version of Boursin, the popular (and terribly addictive!) herbed garlic-cheese spread. (If you follow a keto lifestyle, you can use this delicious spread as a fat bomb, too.).
Garlic and feta offer lots of flavor on their own here, and you can add extra punch with fresh chives, if you like. Then the mixture is whipped till it’s smooth and fluffy, and the result is a low-carb treat you’ll want to slather on just about everything.
Tips for preparing the Rich Cream Cheese Garlic Spread with Feta
This recipe is very easy, even foolproof: just place your ingredients in a bowl, and beat until fluffy. That’s it!
I think the most important thing to remember, though, is that your butter and cream cheese must be at room temperature. If you try to beat cold butter and cream cheese, the result will be almost inedibly clumpy. But when your ingredients are at room temperature, you cannot fail. The result will be unbelievably velvety, smooth, and fluffy.
The recipe calls for refrigerating the spread overnight before you use it. This is to allow the flavors to combine and deepen. But naturally, nothing prevents you from using the spread immediately (as I did!) if you’re desperate for a quick fix. When you refrigerate the spread, it will get slightly harder: therefore, I recommend letting it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before use so that it’s of a spreadable consistency. (It’s a spread, after all.)
But let’s take a look how to make this scrumptious savory spread:
Take a small- to medium-sized bowl (preferably one that’s on the narrow side) and add all the ingredients: that is, the butter…
…and the garlic (and also the chives, if using).
…until really fluffy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
For the best taste, refrigerate the spread overnight and bring to room temperature 15 minutes before serving. I like to sprinkle the chives on top of the spread at this point instead of adding them to the spread along with the other ingredients.
Looks good and tastes heavenly! What else can you wish for?
My cream cheese spread experiments
I got the idea for this recipe from one of my readers. She sent me a recipe for Serbian Cheese Spread, Kaymak, which has just three ingredients: butter, cream cheese, and feta. The recipe — as intriguing as it sounded — didn’t seem to have very much to do with real kaymak, though, which you make by boiling milk. Well, on second thought, maybe this version was some kind of “instant” kaymak; the traditional kaymak takes some time to prepare. It’s true that this version should spend the night in the fridge so that the flavors deepen, so that does add to the “cooking time,” but at least it’s easier to make than the original.
In the original recipe, you beat butter and cream cheese together, and then gradually add the feta and continue mixing until smooth. When I thought about making the spread myself, I decided that this process was too complicated, so I thought I’d see what would happen if I just blended all the ingredients together and beat until fluffy.
And that’s really a shortcut, because according to the original recipe, some chefs beat the mixture for two hours for a really fluffy result! To be honest, after my experiments, I cannot imagine achieving a better texture, even if you did beat the spread for two hours… For me, 10 minutes was the absolute maximum my patience could endure. And that was plenty: even after five minutes of mixing, I got a result with which I was very happy. It was fluffy and voluminous, and—to my eyes—just perfect.
Before my first experiment, I anticipated that the original recipe might be too plain. Well, the feta certainly added a little bit of flavor to the spread, along with the cream cheese, but I thought it needed something else. One essential ingredient was missing: garlic. Although a 3-ingredient spread sounded fascinating, I simply couldn’t keep myself from adding a fourth ingredient. The recipe was desperately calling for garlic. I don’t know how or why I thought it needed it so badly, but adding garlic was my first idea when I was planning to try out the recipe.
The original recipe also made far too big a batch. It used 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) of both butter and cream cheese. My first experiment was definitely going to be smaller. First of all, I didn’t have any clue if we would like the spread; and second, our small family would have had a hard time eating all that spread anyway, especially if I was going to conduct more experiments!
So, for my first experiment, I decided to use 1 stick (115 g) salted butter and 1/2 cup (120 ml) cream cheese as the base. Then I was pondering the amount of feta cheese. I didn’t want the spread to have too strong a feta flavor: just a nice hint of salt and tang. I ended up using 1/4 cup (60 ml) crumbled feta cheese.
Also, the amount of garlic needed some consideration. Too many cloves would be overpowering: if I want a strong garlic flavor, I add thin slices of garlic to my low-carb bread. But I didn’t want to mask the other flavors with garlic here. One clove sounded pathetic; two crushed cloves sounded just perfect to me.
So I took all the ingredients, added them to a bowl, and started beating them together with an electric mixer. I thought about the original recipe and that two hours of beating. I definitely wasn’t going to beat the mixture for two hours! My old hand mixer was already giving off a suspicious smell of burning.
After beating for 5 minutes, I checked the result. To my eyes, the consistency looked wonderful: airy and voluminous. Also the garlic had blended nicely into the spread. I continued beating, just to see if I could make the spread any fluffier. After 10 minutes I stopped because the consistency hadn’t changed a bit. It was as fluffy as it could get. And I thought it was perfect.
I tasted the spread. It tasted heavenly! Rich and buttery, and just the right amount of garlic. My family and my parents (who were staying with us in our summer cottage, where I made these experiments) liked it, too. We spread it on bread, added a dollop of it to cooked cauliflower, and I ate some alongside cucumber slices with plenty of unrefined sea salt. I was surprised to find out how versatile this spread is!
At some point, I thought I might want to add some kind of herb to the spread, not only to give it a bit of color, but also for extra flavor. I ran through a few different herbs in my mind, and determined on chives. I was sure that chives could only improve it. Besides, cream cheese and chives is an unbeatable combination. (Funnily enough, this low-carb cracker recipe also uses cream cheese and chives: this cream cheese spread makes a great accompaniment for them!)
If you’re not a fan, though, feel free to skip them. This spread tastes amazing with or without chives. Just try it!
First, here is the video:
And here is the recipe. Enjoy!
|Nutrition information:||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||16.0 g||139.8 g||4.1 g||1330 kcal|
|Per tablespoon:||0.5 g||4.2 g||0.1 g||40 kcal|
Tips for variation
Naturally, you can go with the original kaymak recipe and omit the garlic. However, in my opinion garlic is a must, and adds essential flavor to this spread. And if you really love garlic, you can add more to taste.
This recipe is actually really easy to vary, too: you can use any kind of chopped fresh herbs, like rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro, or basil. It might sound odd at first, but mint works really well here too: mint and feta both remind me of Greece, as they are both very frequently used in the Greek kitchen.
You can also vary this spread by omitting the garlic and adding chopped nuts or unsweetened dried berries. How about a combination of chopped walnuts and dried cranberries? Feel free to add a drop of 100% orange essential oil for an even more refreshing flavor (doesn’t that sound just perfect for the holidays?)
If you try out this spread, I would love to know what kind of variation you made!