Cream cheese can be frozen. This is good to know if you often buy cream cheese in bulk, or if you simply want to save your block of sweet and tangy dairy for later. You just need to soften the cream cheese afterward to be able to reuse it for dips, frostings, cakes, pasta, and casserole dishes! There might be some changes in texture though, so let’s walk you through how you can freeze cream cheese and make it creamy again after thawing.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cream cheese – much like how you can freeze butter and other dairy products. You can do this for other forms of cream cheese, too. From sauces and dips to frosting and icing, all of these can be frozen. You can even freeze a no-bake cream cheese pie to extend its shelf life. It’s really practical and convenient!
There’s a catch, however. Although freezing cream cheese technically preserves it, the quality of the product does not stay the same. Frozen cream cheese will have a slightly crumbly and grainy texture because of its high water content.
Frozen cream cheese is also less creamy, but you can still use it for baked dishes where it can easily melt. It’s best to use it in dishes where its gritty texture won’t be noticeable. For instance, you can use frozen cream cheese for dips, frosting, icing, and spreads. These recipes require you to freeze cream cheese anyway, so the difference in texture would not really matter.
The water content of cream cheese freezes and separates from the milk fat, making it difficult to emulsify again after freezing. Defrost your cream cheese for a few hours or overnight before using it.
How to Freeze Cream Cheese
Remember that freezing cream cheese requires proper sealing, wrapping, and storing. This is necessary for storing both unopened and opened cream cheese. For the best result, here are some tips to follow.
Freezing Unopened Cream Cheese
Unopened individual cream cheese packets can be stored as is inside the freezer. These are already wrapped in foil and/or cardboard boxes which protect the food from outside contaminants and prevent freezer burns.
Freezing Opened Cream Cheese
Opened cream cheese blocks need to be securely wrapped in foil and paper. You may also use plastic, although it may not be as good for freezing cream cheese as the other two mentioned. Then, place the wrapped blocks in airtight freezer containers for extra protection against freezer burns.
Freezing Whipped Cream Cheese
Similar to handling sealed cream cheese blocks, you can simply place unopened tubs of whipped cream cheese inside the freezer. For opened ones, place a plastic wrap over the cream cheese first. Then, put the lid back on the tub before placing the whole thing in the freezer.
- Use the “quick freeze” or “fast freeze” option if your refrigerator has it. This will freeze the cream cheese quicker, so it won’t be as grainy and crumbly as regular frozen cream cheese.
How Long Does Cream Cheese Last in Freezer?
Cream cheese can last rather long from the time it is stored in the freezer. However, to savor its freshness, it is best that you use it within two months. The shelf life of frozen cream cheese may also depend on how well you seal and wrap it. We recommend noting down the dates to keep track of your frozen cream cheese.
How to Thaw Frozen Cream Cheese
Thaw frozen cream cheese on your kitchen counter for several hours, or inside the fridge for at least a day. Doing so will make it a lot smoother and easier to combine with other ingredients for baking or cooking. Here are three ways to thaw frozen cream cheese:
Option 1: Remove the cream cheese from the freezer and transfer it to another container. Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.
Option 2: You can also defrost it overnight inside the refrigerator.
Option 3: If you’re in a rush, you can put it inside a Ziploc bag and place it in a bowl of warm water. Let it thaw for about 30 minutes.
How to Make Frozen Cream Cheese Creamy Again?
Make frozen cream cheese creamy again by whisking it after thawing. It won’t be as creamy as fresh cream cheese, but the consistency will be greatly improved. First, prepare a fork or whisk for mixing. After which, simply follow either of the two methods below.
This is the easiest way to make frozen cream cheese creamy, soft, and less grainy. Just remember not to overheat it in the microwave.
Step 1: Transfer the cream cheese to a container. Pick one that is microwave-safe.
Step 2: Soften cream cheese in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Step 3: Stir it well. Afterward, microwave it for another 10 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the cream cheese reaches the desired smooth consistency.
Tip: It is imperative that you soften your cream cheese in short intervals to prevent overheating. We recommend also setting your microwave to low heat for this process.
If you don’t like microwave heating, then you can use the stovetop method with a double-boiler to have more control over the heat. We also recommend finding the best saucepans to help you.
Step 1: Get a saucepan and fill it with water. Place on top of the stove and wait for it to boil.
Step 2: Place a heat-resistant bowl on top of the saucepan. Then, put the thawed cream cheese block inside the bowl.
Step 3: Stir with a whisk or spoon until it’s creamy or reaches the desired consistency.
How to Use Frozen Cream Cheese
If you want to use frozen cream cheese in your cooking, we recommend using them for dishes where the change in texture won’t be as obvious. Some main dishes where you can put your frozen cream cheese to good use again are casseroles and curry recipes. Not only will you not mar any of these dishes, but the cream cheese will still be creamy and delicious in these dishes. The same goes for desserts. We recommend making sweets that don’t rely heavily on the texture of cream cheese.
- No-Bake Cheesecake – Beat frozen cream cheese with sour cream, sugar, and vanilla to make this delectable no-bake dessert.
- Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip – Thawed cream cheese adds the perfect tanginess to this sweet, salty, and spicy cranberry-jalapeno dip.
- Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Cream Cheese – Make a drool-worthy chicken dish by stuffing the meat with a mixture of frozen cream cheese, Parmesan, mayonnaise, and spinach.
- Baked Chicken Spaghetti – Stir frozen cream cheese into the hearty chicken-flavored pasta sauce of this casserole.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Does Cream Cheese Last After Expiration Date?
An opened pack of cream cheese can last up to 10 days if stored properly in the fridge, and can stay good up to two weeks after expiration date. Unopened ones, on the other hand, can be good for up to a month after the indicated sell-by date on the product.
Does Cream Cheese Go Bad?
Yes, cream cheese will go bad if not stored properly. Noticeable foul smell, discoloration or changes in texture are the best ways to tell if your cream cheese has gone bad.
If your cream cheese has turned yellow or there are patches of blue or green, it has spoiled and should be thrown out immediately. If you also notice that your cheese is no longer creamy and has a dry, grainy or slimy texture, it has also gone bad. Freezing is the best option if you want to keep cream cheese fresh for a longer shelf life.
You Can Definitely Freeze Cream Cheese
So to answer the question: can you freeze cream cheese? Again, the answer is a loud and resounding yes! But freezing might affect its texture, so it’s best to use it for certain recipes only. Feel free to go ahead and freeze your cream cheese for your future baking and cooking projects.
Read Next: Can You Freeze Yogurt? Yes, Here Are 4 Ways!