Why Bagel Shop Cream Cheese Tastes Better Than Grocery Store Cream Cheese

There are a lot of ways to eat a bagel. You can eat it toasted with melted butter; as a hangover-approved breakfast sandwich piled high with bacon, egg, and cheese; or in pizza form, with tomato sauce and mozzarella. You can even just bite into it whole with no toppings whatsoever. But perhaps the most popular way to eat New York's doughy creations is with a smear — or should we say, schmear — of cream cheese.

The whipped topping has been around since 1872 (via the Inquirer), and is now available in almost every flavor imaginable, from strawberry to veggie to even lox-flavored cream cheese. But if you're a fan of the OG plain cream cheese, you might have noticed a discrepancy in different types. Namely, you may have realized that the cream cheese you get at the local bagel shop tastes better than the stuff you buy from the grocery store. Turns out there's a reason for that — here's why.

Bagel shop cream cheese is often whipped fresh

Curious about what makes bagel shop cream cheese different from the pre-packaged version at the grocery store, one confused bagel-eater took to Reddit. Posting in a culinary thread, they asked why the cream cheese from a bagel shop tastes "lighter and less dense yet somehow creamier." Plenty of users were quick to chime in on the reasoning behind the better-tasting spread. Many agreed that the primary thing that sets it apart from other versions is that the cream cheese is likely whipped with a stand mixer. This makes it fluffier, airier, and easier to spread.

Other bagel experts say it's possible that the shop also whips carbonated water into the cream cheese for added texture. "When I worked at a coffee shop we would mix our blocks with Pellegrino," one person confessed. Good news if you're stuck with a carton of cream cheese from the store, though. Many Reddit users offered tips on how to recreate that fluffiness at home. Simply put your cream cheese into a bowl and use an electric mixer (or stand mixer if you have it) to beat it for a few seconds before spreading on your bagel.