Forget spending $7 on two ounces of the store-bought stuff.

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Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I'm cheap. I wear that title cheerfully, like a badge of honor. Will I spend money for quality? Yes. Will I spend money for a great ingredient when nothing else will do? Absolutely. But there are times when the substitute is just as good (really) and the cost is a fraction. And there are times when a DIY version of what you can buy in the store is so easy, and so inexpensive — it's legitimately impossible for me to resist the cheaper route. Which brings me to Boursin. 

So, what actually is Boursin cheese? Boursin is the brand name of a soft, creamy-style French cheese (called Gournay) that is flavored with various things. The variety many of us are familiar with is garlic & fine herbs, which costs around $7 for two ounces in my area. And it is delicious — truly. 

That said, a block of America's most ubiquitous cream cheese (Philadelphia) costs around $2 for eight ounces. And all you need to turn that block into a really mouthwatering ringer for Boursin is: 

Homemade Boursin Cheese

  • 1 (8 oz.) block of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely minced or grated
  • 1-1 ½ teaspoons of herbes de Provence
  • A pinch of salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper

Now, all you really need to do is mix all of these ingredients together thoroughly (using a fork and muscle power or a food processor), and voila! Here are just a few ingredient tips to guarantee your DIY Boursin is perfect:

You'll note that I emphasized a small garlic clove, and that was no accident. Anything more than a very small glove will totally overpower the cheese — if not right away, then certainly by the next day. 

If you don't have a jar of herbes de Provence in your spice cabinet, I highly recommend picking one up.  This miraculous blend of fennel, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, tarragon, basil, mint, and a few other optional additions (based on the specific blend you buy), is one of the only dried herb mixes I keep in the kitchen. It adds a sunny, savory, herbal "South of France" lift to all sorts of dishes. I think you'll find yourself reaching for it constantly, so I'm not asking you to buy it JUST for this. Crush the herb mix thoroughly in your palm before adding to the cheese.

Boursin cheese on cracker
Credit: pjohnson1/Getty Images

Cream cheese can be a touch salty to begin with, so start with a small pinch of salt. You can always add more. When it comes to pepper, a few good grinds should do the trick. 

Now, put your "Boursin" in a sealable container, and refrigerate. If you're stronger than I am, wait overnight. If not, an hour or so will allow the flavors to at least begin their work together. 

This imposter is truly fantastic, and the cost turns an expensive cheese indulgence into an anytime treat. Stored properly, your homemade Boursin should be safe for 10-12 days in the fridge — not that it's likely to last that long. 

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