Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
Find out how to freeze cream cheese and how to use it in recipes.
We've all been there. You have way more cream cheese in your refrigerator than you'll be able to use before it expires. Maybe it was on sale, or maybe you purchased a lot around the holidays. No matter how you ended up with a surplus of cream cheese, you don't want to let it go to waste! In this case, your freezer is your friend.
Yes, you can freeze cream cheese!
It's very simple to do, and you can still use the cream cheese in a variety of recipes once it is thawed. However, you should keep reading to find out why you should not freee cream cheese (sometimes).
It turns out that you might be happier using thawed cream cheese in a recipe instead of as a schmear on your morning bagel.
How to Freeze Cream Cheese
First thing's first! Here's how to freeze cream cheese. It's very simple.
- Seal the cream cheese in an airtight container.
- Wrap the container in another layer, such as plastic wrap or a freezer bag.
- Place the cream cheese in the freezer, away from foods that might contaminate it with funky odors or flavors (garlic, onions, tomato sauces, etc.).
- How long does cream cheese last in the freezer? 2 months for best texture results, but it will last up to 5 months.
How Long Will Cream Cheese Last in the Refrigerator?
As you read this, you may be wondering if you need to freeze your cream cheese at all. In other words, will it be fine if you just keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it?
An unopened package of cream cheese will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks beyond its sell by date.
An open package of cream cheese will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks after opening. Cream cheese in a foil packet may not last as long unless you seal in an airtight container.
As always, do not eat cream cheese (or any food) if it looks or smells spoiled. This can include discoloration, changes in texture, the appearance of mold, or bad smells.
If you still think your cream cheese is bound for the freezer, then read on to learn how to use it later!
What recipes can you use frozen cream cheese in (after you thaw it)?
Once you've thawed your frozen cream cheese, you can use it in recipes! You just want to avoid any dishes where the texture of the cream cheese is important. Here's why.
Previously frozen cream cheese is often crumbly because the liquid and fat separate during freezing.
So the thawed cream cheese will have a grainy texture if you just spread it on bagels or toast. That's not super appetizing. You probably also don't want to use previously frozen cream cheese plain or in things like grape salad or cheese dips.
However, there are lots of ways you can use thawed cream cheese!
Previously frozen cream cheese is great for:
Quick bread recipes
Soups and chowders
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting?
We love freezing baked goods. It's such a great way to make cakes and quick breads in advance. This can be important whether you have lots of leftovers from an event (perhaps wedding cake!) or would like to bake in advance of a party or holiday.
You can freeze cream cheese frosting on its own or on a frosted cake. The texture will bounce back, too!
Unlike plain cream cheese, cream cheese frosting has added liquid and fat that help protect its texture during freezing.
To freeze cream cheese frosting on its own, seal the frosting in an airtight bag or container. Double bag it (or wrap it in plastic wrap) and keep it away from foods in your freezer that might contaminate it with funky odors (we're looking at you, frozen onions). Defrost gently in the fridge when you are ready to use.
To freeze cream cheese frosting on a cake, freeze your cake like you normally would. If you don't have a preferred method, this resource is great. And you can read some safety tips for freezing wedding cake here.
Our recipe for Mom's Triple Layer Carrot Cake can easily be frozen to keep it fresh. But we won't tell if you eat it all at once either.
Can You Freeze Cheese Balls or Cream Cheese Dip?
We don't recommend freezing cheese balls. Because they are usually made of mostly cream cheese, there's a good chance that the texture will be ruined once they are thawed. Nobody wants to eat crumbly cream cheese as a party appetizer!
Freezing cream cheese dip can be successful, but it's important that there are lots of other ingredients in the dip as well. If the cream cheese dip is mostly cream cheese, then it may turn out crumbly after you thaw it.
Have you ever frozen cream cheese? Tell us what happened in the comments!