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Guide to Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese is such an amazing and versatile ingredient. From dips to casseroles, and even soups, it brings its creamy texture to make recipes even better. Check out all you want to know about this amazing food in my Ultimate Guide to Cream Cheese!

silver wrapper with cheese in it

Do you use cream cheese in a lot of your recipes but have basic questions about how to use it and store it? Check out this complete guide!

From its history and varieties to delicious recipes like dips and serving tips, we cover everything you need to know about this versatile dairy product.

Whether you’re a fan of classic cream cheese spreads or looking to try new and exciting dishes, this guide is your one-stop resource.

Who invented Cream Cheese?

William Lawrence invented cream cheese in 1872. A distributor named Alvah Ryenolds began selling his cheese and called it “Philadelphia Cream Cheese”in 1880.

So basically he invented Philadelphia brand.

What is cream cheese?

Cream cheese is a soft, spreadable cheese with a mild flavor, made from fresh milk and real cream. It’s commonly used as a spread for bagels, as well as in baking and cooking for dips, sauces, and dressings.

Is Neufchatel cheese the same as cream cheese?

Yes, Neufchâtel cheese is similar to it, but it is made with less fat and has a slightly tangier taste.

It originated in France and can be used as a substitute in most recipes like dips appetizers.

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opened block of cream cheese with red banner and text

How long can cream cheese sit out?

According to food safety guidelines, it can sit out at room temperature for no more than 2 hours.

After that, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. It’s important to refrigerate it to keep it safe to eat.

crackers with cream cheese and a red banner with white text

How long does it last?

Unopened cream cheese typically lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks past its “sell-by” date if stored properly in the refrigerator.

Once opened, use it within 10 to 14 days for best quality and to avoid spoilage.

To determine if it has gone bad, check for signs such as a sour or rancid odor, mold, or a change in texture or color.

crostini with plain cream cheese smeared on and a red banner with white text

Can you freeze it?

If you are planning to store cream cheese for a long time, freezing is an option.

I typically buy the blocks in bulk when they go on sale so I freeze some, depending on what I am using it for later.

While you can freeze it, the texture may change slightly, so I only use previously frozen blocks for casseroles or baked dips.

tub of cream cheese with red banner and white text

When I am ready to make appetizers and my block is still very cold, I need to soften it quickly.

How to Soften Cream Cheese

There are a few methods to softening it to get it ready to use in a recipe. Here are a few:

  • Set out on the counter to bring to room temperature.
  • Microwave at 10 second intervals until soft enough to use.
  • Soak unopened packages in a lukewarm water bath.
  • Cube it into small chunks to increase the surface area which will make it come to room temperature quicker.
  • Pop the block in your stand mixer and use a paddle attachment to whip it slightly.
red bowl of cream cheese with red banner and text

How many cups is 8 ounces?

Most recipes, from casseroles to dips, use an original cream cheese block. Each block is typically 8 ounces in weight.

This also measures out to equal 1 cup! So if your recipe calls for a cup, you are safe using one traditional block.

Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese packaging is great because it has all types of measurement markings on it.

clear bowl of cream cheese and a spoon with red banner and text

How many ounces of cream cheese is 1/3 cup?

I’ve seen a few recipes in my days that use only a portion of a full 8 ounce box. Thankfully they have markings on the side of the wrapper like sticks of butter usually do.

If you need 1/3 cup, it is easy to section the block and get the appropriate amount. But if the recipe uses measurements in ounces, 1/3 cup of cream cheese equals 2.67 ounces.

collage of dips

Best Cream Cheese Dips

Now that you have all the information you need on handling, storing, and using your cream cheese, check out these delicious dip recipes.

Comment and let me know which one is your favorite!

bowl of cream cheese dip with jalapeno on top with a red banner and white text

Once you have made your favorite dip, you might be wondering if you can freeze it?

Can you freeze cream cheese dips?

Depending on the dip you can. Some might lose their texture but it’s easy to fix. Read this post to check out the best ways to freeze them.

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!

wrapper of cream cheese being partially opened with white banner and yellow text

Now that you know how to handle it, store it, and use it! Let me know your favorite way to incorporate cream cheese into recipes!

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