I'm a cream cheese-on-everything kind of gal. And I love this homemade roasted garlic schmear on toasted bagels, bread, or as a light spread on crackers and veggies—it's so savory and delicious, and far better tasting than anything store bought!
Roasted Garlic Schmear, the Tastiest Schmear to Smear on Everything
While mayo is a wonderful kitchen staple that I use often enough when preparing dips, dressings, and creamy sauces, I've always been more of a cream cheese “schmear” kind of gal when it comes to making sandwiches and dressing up a simple piece of bread.
I love cream cheese schmear on toast, on soft bread, and of course on toasted bagels. I love its thick, creamy texture and its simple flavor, and that it can be totally neutral until one doesn't want it to be, which makes a cream cheese schmear perfect for flavorful add-ins to kick things up a little bit when the mood hits.
Over the years I've played around with making my own uniquely flavored schmears to keep on hand in my fridge. Some have had only herbs, others green onions or caramelized onions, and I’ve made some with savory spices...
But the schmear that I've enjoyed the most is a roasted garlic schmear, one loaded with soft, sweet, golden cloves of roasted garlic, a hint of sea salt, some coarse black pepper, and a little sprinkle of chives and fresh dill.
And this roasted garlic schmear is a schmear that you can smear on pretty much anything, from your bagels (of course!), to your sandwich bread, to your favorite crackers... you can even spread it on some of your favorite veggies like cucumbers, carrots, radishes, and celery for a tasty twist!
Skip the Flavored Store-Bought Schmear, and Make Your Own!
The beauty of a recipe like this is the simplicity of it. You only need a few ingredients along with your favorite kind of cream cheese, and you're good to go.
Of course, you'll need to start with cream cheese, and the type that you choose to use is completely up to you.
Traditional “block” cream cheese, or even regular cream cheese in the plastic tub are both great options; or you can also use whipped cream cheese, which is probably my personal favorite because it's nice and fluffy and light, and you can easily fold your add-ins into it.
You can can even use reduced-fat cream cheese for this preparation as well, if you're looking to lighten things up—whatever you prefer!
And because this is a roasted garlic schmear after all, you're going to need some whole garlic heads along with some finely minced chives, a tiny sprinkle of dill, plus some salt and pepper, and then you're ready to make your schmear.
Here are the simple steps:
- Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic, drizzle them very lightly with oil and wrap them tightly in foil, then roast for 40-45 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly, then squeeze the soft cloves from their papers and mash with a fork or your knife until paste-like.
- Add your room temp/softened cream cheese into a bowl, then add in your cooled roasted garlic “paste”, along with your minced chives and dill, plus some salt and pepper, and gently fold everything together until incorporated and well blended.
- Keep in a covered container in your fridge, and use on everything that can benefit from a little schmear!
Tips & Tidbits for Roasted Garlic Schmear:
- Choose your cream cheese: My personal favorite type of cream cheese to use when making a schmear is “whipped” cream cheese, as it's very fluffy and light; but feel free to use your favorite kind, whether it's the block variety or out of a plastic tub.
- Use whole heads of garlic: This recipe indeed calls for three whole heads of garlic, not cloves. It may seem like a lot; but when roasted, garlic becomes quite soft and sweet, and loses most of its intensity and pungency. So stick to the three whole heads—I promise you won't regret it.
- Fresh herbs: I like the pop of fresh-yet-mild flavor that the minced chives and dill bring to this roasted garlic schmear, but you can also substitute minced parsley. And fresh are best for this, as dry herbs don't have quite as much “oomph”.
- Room temp/softened cream cheese for ease: Allow your cream cheese to come to room temperature and to slightly soften before folding in your add-ins; it helps you fold them in, and makes things more easily blend-able.
- Store in a covered container in the fridge: Once you prepare your schmear, simply store it in a covered container for as long as you typically would cream cheese.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Roasted Garlic Schmear
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 16 servings (1 ounce, or 2 heaping tablespoons, each)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
• 3 heads garlic
• Olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)
• 2 (8 ounce) tubs or blocks of cream cheese (I prefer “whipped” cream cheese), softened at room temp
• Cracked black pepper
• 2 tablespoons finely minced chives
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
-Preheat your oven to 400°.
-Cut the tops off of your heads of garlic, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the olive oil, and wrap tightly in foil; roast for 40-45 minutes, or until garlic is soft and golden; unwrap from foil and allow the heads to slightly cool just until they can be handled; then, squeeze the cloves from their papers and mash with a fork or knife into a paste; set aside.
-Add your softened cream cheese into a bowl, then add to it the cooled roasted garlic paste, along with a couple of pinches of salt and cracked black pepper, plus the minced chives and chopped dill; using a spatula, gently fold the ingredients together until well-combined, and store the schmear in a covered container in your fridge for as long as you would regular cream cheese.