What is New York City without bagels, and what are bagels without cream cheese? The silky-smooth spread makes for a perfect marriage with the dense slices of bagel and all the other delicious toppings you can add to it. But how is this soft, whipped texture obtained and mastered by NYC bagel shops? TikTok content creator @brooklynbagelblog shared the secret to the soft, airy NYC cream cheese via a TikTok video, and you’d have never guessed the secret: seltzer water in cream cheese.

In the short video clip, some Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water is poured into a heaping bowl of dense cream cheese. The cream cheese is then massaged and mixed thoroughly by hand until it’s transformed into the light, whipped, fluffy goodness we all know and love. “The secret ingredient in New York’s cream cheese?” @brooklynbagelblog says. “It’s this. Seltzer water."

The comment section of the TikTok video was filled with shock, glee, and amazement. “Omg. I always wondered how it had such a specific texture,” mused TikTok user @cassity_eliz. Another TikTok user @icedjesspresso commented “Hooo boy. This is a game changer for a NYer that moved out-of-state.” “You’ve changed my life,” TikTok user @willowbirdbaking remarked.

“Canada Dry helps whip hard cream cheese into a smooth, creamy texture, and I consistently see it in the back of all the best bagel shops,” @brooklynbagelblog revealed. A simple Google search reveals recipes for deli-style cream cheese with seltzer water, plus some forums and threads with chefs and cooks recommending seltzer water in cream cheese to make it airy, so this isn't anything new.

The TikTok content creator added that seltzer water in cream cheese is something anyone can do at home, so you can say farewell to your solid, chunky cream cheese, and enjoy an airy, silky spread for your bagels, baked goods, and even sauces. Now you know the next time you’re craving an NYC-level of silky-smoothness to your cream cheese, all you need to do is pour in a bit of seltzer water for that dreamy texture.