Cream cheese is a kitchen staple, and it is such a versatile ingredient. It’s a perfect base for dips, sauces, soups, and desserts. So when it’s on sale, I buy in bulk. But can you freeze cream cheese?
That morning bagel isn’t going to top itself is it?
Whether you are looking to add creamy consistency, make a dish more filling, or balance the flavors, cream cheese is the perfect all-in-one ingredient.
I always like to keep cream cheese on hand because it has so many great uses, but I also have to be careful because cream cheese is highly perishable. Like other dairy products, cream cheese becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria if left out at room temperature.
A package of unopened cream cheese can last for about a month in the refrigerator. Once the cream cheese is opened, it lasts in the fridge for about 10 days.
Since it does not have a very long shelf life, it can be hard to use the whole container of cream cheese before it goes bad. Freezing cream cheese can help extend the shelf life of cream cheese, buying some time before it spoils.
Keeping cream cheese in the freezer can be a great solution to the short shelf life of cream cheese, but there are some downsides to be aware of. The biggest concern with freezing and thawing cream cheese is how it changes its texture.
Cream cheese that has been frozen can have a grainier texture than never frozen cream cheese.
A grainy texture is not appealing for cream cheese dishes such as cheesecake recipes, cream cheese frosting, or cream cheese spread. But fear not, combat the grainy texture by following some of my best kept tips and tricks.
Follow along to learn how to freeze cream cheese without sacrificing the texture of cream cheese that you know and love. With these tips and tricks, you can have the best of both worlds: creamy cream cheese and cream cheese that stays good for months.
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Why shouldn’t you freeze cream cheese?
Perhaps the biggest downside of freezing cream cheese is the way it changes the texture. Cream cheese that has never been frozen has a creamy texture. But frozen cream cheese that has been thawed has more of a grainy texture.
Why does the texture of the cream cheese change? Cream cheese is about half water, so in the freezing process, the water separates from the cheese curds to form ice crystals. A texture change happens when you thaw cream cheese due to this separation.
For this reason, it’s not a good idea to use frozen and thawed cream cheese in recipes where it would be noticeable, such as cream cheese dips, since the normally smooth texture of cream cheese will be replaced with a more crumbly texture.
Another con of freezing cream cheese is freezer burn. If the cream cheese is already open, it’s important to store it in an airtight container, like a freezer bag, to avoid freezer burn.
How long will cream cheese last in the refrigerator?
How long cream cheese lasts in the refrigerator depends on whether the package has been opened or not. An unopened package of cream cheese is good for one month past the expiration date on the carton.
Once the block of cream cheese is open, use it within ten days.
No matter what, if you suspect your cream cheese might have gone bad, it’s important to proceed with caution. Some signs that cream cheese has gone bad include yellowing, mold, dryness, sliminess, or other changes in appearance and color.
Spoiled cream cheese can also have a tangy or sour smell. If your leftover cream cheese has any of these characteristics, it’s best to toss it.
What is the best way to freeze cream cheese?
I love Philadelphia cream cheese and when it goes on sale, I buy it in bulk!
For best results, freeze cream cheese unopened and in the original packaging. The aluminum foil wrapping and cardboard box protects the cream cheese from freezer burn.
Unopened cream cheese is best kept in the freezer for up to two months.
If you’ve already opened your cream cheese, then you need to transfer it to an airtight container or ziploc bag before freezing. If properly stored in an airtight container, opened cream cheese can also last up to two months in the freezer.
When you freeze cream cheese, make sure to write the date on it before storing it. By writing down the date, you’ll be able to track how long it has been in the freezer. After two months, it’s probably best to avoid using frozen cream cheese.
How do you make frozen cream cheese creamy again?
Because cream cheese has a high water content, freezing cream cheese separates the water from the cheese curd. When the cream cheese is thawed, it can have a gritty texture. This texture is why I recommend using thawed cream cheese in recipes where the texture won’t be noticeable.
But maybe you have a recipe that requires the creamy consistency of cream cheese. In these cases, there are some tricks to restore the creaminess of cream cheese.
To smooth out frozen cream cheese, start by letting it thaw in the fridge for about 24 hours. If you are in a bit of a time crunch, you can also thaw the cream cheese by submerging it in a bath of warm water for about 20 minutes.
Once the cream cheese has completely thawed, transfer the cream cheese to a microwave safe bowl . Microwave it on high for 10 seconds.
After microwaving the cream cheese, use an electric mixer or hand held whisk to stir the cream cheese until it is creamy again.
Once the cream cheese is creamy again, it is perfect for all cream cheese dishes. From frosting to cream cheese pound cake, to cheesecake, and more! It’s a great way to have the texture you’re looking for while still being able to extend the cream cheese’s shelf life.
Want more information on cream cheese? Check out my Complete Guide to Cream Cheese! It answers all your questions, including:
- How long does it last?
- How long can it sit out?
- How to soften it.
- How many cups are in an 8 ounce block.
- and more!
Then use all your cream cheese knowledge and make the best cream cheese dip! Here are some delicious recipes.
And if you want to make them ahead of time, see if you can freeze cream cheese dips!
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!
Make sure to follow my tips and tricks for freezing and thawing blocks of cream cheese. And enjoy the luxury of long lasting cream cheese and its creamy texture at the same time!