Cream cheese has a shorter life span compared to hard cheeses. So, when you have leftover cream cheese after making frosting or spreading on bagels, you’re wondering: can you freeze cream cheese?
Freezing is absolutely a gold trick to rescuing leftover foods. But, does cream cheese freeze well? Can you freeze spreadable cream cheese?
We’ve all been there. Fear not, in this article, we share the details of freezing cream cheese. Sounds interesting? Read on!
So, Can Cream Cheese Be Frozen?
Cream cheese doesn’t last very long once you open the package. The same goes for homemade cream cheese. So, it’s very natural if you’re looking for a way to extend its shelf life. One popular method that works with any food is freezing.
Keep in mind that not all foods freeze equally well. Quality is the utmost concern when it comes to freezing cream cheese. While you can safely freeze cream cheese, freezing will considerably change the texture.
After thawing, cream cheese tends to curdle and crumbles. Thus, it becomes less spreadable on bagels or sandwiches. Therefore, commercial producers, such as Kraft Foods (brand owner of Philadelphia cream cheese), don’t recommend freezing spreadable cream cheese.
Brick cream cheese is a better option to freeze. Despite the textural changes, many people freeze cream cheese and are pretty happy with the result. At least you won’t need to create unnecessary food waste.
You can use it for recipes where the change in texture is less pronounced. You can add it for casseroles, cheesecake, frosting for carrot cakes or cinnamon rolls, and plenty of other recipes.
Also, various brands may give different results after thawing. It’s worth trying and seeing for yourself. Once you find the one you like the best, stick with it.
By now, we already addressed the pros and cons of freezing cream cheese. Let’s touch upon how you can freeze cream cheese.
How To Freeze Cream Cheese
If you have unopened cream cheese that comes in a tin foil and packed in cardboard, you can freeze as-is.
For additional protection against freezer burn, wrap it in a freezer bag or put it in a sealed container. Let the cheese sit in the freezer until you need it. Easy peasy!
After opening, cream cheese can be kept within 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator. Make sure to freeze it while still fresh.
For opened cream cheese, you can transfer it into an airtight container or a freezer bag. Squeeze as much air as possible from the pack.
Also, if you already know how much you’ll likely need for a single recipe, it’s wise to divide the block into smaller chunks. This way, you will save time for thawing.
See more: can you freeze a block of cheese?
How To Defrost Frozen Cream Cheese
Cream cheese—like other dairy products—is a perishable item. That means you should not leave it on the counter to thaw. Instead, simply move the cheese from your freezer into the refrigerator. Safe and easy.
Depending on the amount, it may take time to completely thaw frozen brick of cream cheese. It’s better if you can do it in advance, maybe leave it overnight in the fridge.
If cream cheese looks crumbly or curdled, don’t panic. If you ever freeze coconut milk or sour cream, you should be familiar with this occurrence. This is normal and happens a lot with other emulsion or fatty foods.
To fix the consistency, simply whip the cream cheese with a whisk or spoon to make it creamy again.
How Long Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese has a limited shelf life. Frozen cream cheese is best to use within two months. It can be kept longer, but the quality starts to drop gradually.
Once defrosted, cream cheese should be used as soon as possible. If you have any leftover, keep it refrigerated in a sealed container and use it within a few days.
Perhaps, you’re thinking of refreezing cream cheese because you thaw a little too much. Is refreezing cream cheese safe to do? Suppose you handle it well without leaving out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours, it should be safe to do. Otherwise, there is a potential risk of microbial contamination. (*)
See more: Does cream cheese go bad?
Cream cheese should be kept refrigerated after opening. You can keep it in a plastic container or wrap it in the original package.
If you have leftover cream cheese frosting (or icing) from carrot cakes, you can freeze it for later use. Place the frosting in a freezer bag, squeeze the air, and let it freeze. To defrost safely, do it overnight in the refrigerator.
You can freeze cream cheese dips. However, the end result also depends on other ingredients. If combined with heavy cream, it freezes pretty well. It has higher content and is less likely to become crumbly. (*)
Freezing cream cheese is a way to prolong its shelf life for up to two months. Brick cream cheese freezes better than a spreadable one.
Cream cheese tends to get crumbly after thawing and becomes less spreadable for your bagels. Thus, it is recommended to use frozen cream cheese for cooked dishes or baked goods.
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