Suppose there is a container of cream cheese in your fridge. It has been opened, and you’re not sure whether you’ll be able to finish it before it goes bad. At that moment, do you ever wonder how long is cream cheese good for?
If this situation seems familiar to you, you’re in the right place. That is because this article will answer all your queries. We’ll be looking at everything related to cream cheese and its spoilage. So let’s start.
What Is Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is a fresh cheese that, according to FDA, contains 33% fat. It is flat, mild, and smooth. Besides that, it is considered to be very flavorful.
If you live in the US, a familiar brand you may have come across would be Philadelphia cream cheese.
How Can You Store Cream Cheese?
This item is just like other dairy products such as yogurt and milk. That means the best way to store it is by keeping it in the fridge. Once you’ve opened the seal, do make sure to cover it well when not using it.
If the package can’t be resealed, put the cheese into a freezer bag. This provides additional safety from contamination by microbes. You can also carefully transfer the contents to an airtight jar or box.
In case you have neither of the items, go old school. Find an aluminum or a plastic wrap and place it on the container. To secure the seal, you should also put a rubber band over the wrapping.
How To Ensure Cream Cheese Does Not Spoil?
Cream cheese is a dairy product that will always spoil at a point. However, many of you may be unaware that you can slow down the process. In fact, when a cream cheese goes bad before its time, it’s mainly our fault.
If any of you uses the item as a spreader, always make sure to practice hygiene. One way you can do this is by using clean butter knives or another cutlery. Besides that, never place the same tool again in the cheese.
We know that it’s easier to use one knife for all the work but don’t. Dairy products don’t have a long life. So adding contaminated cutlery again can accelerate the spoiling process.
Freezing Cream Cheese: Good Or Bad
When it comes to freezing cream cheese, you will hear mixed opinions. Some friends may tell you to avoid it. While others may say that you should go for it.
Our verdict is that the answer is variable. Whether you have cream cheese or any other, freezing or thawing can separate them and make them crumbly. You can try to stir it or use a blender, but the truth is that the texture won’t be the same.
However, there is a silver lining to freezing cream cheese. The consistency of the product never changes. This is beneficial as the frozen cheese can still work well with some recipes.
You can stir it quickly with other ingredients and make a delicious dish. But if you use the cheese mainly to spread on toast or bread, it won’t be as tasty. So, it all depends on how you use the dairy product.
If you use it for recipes, then freezing is good and can help you use the cheese for a more extended period. However, if you use it as a spread, freezing will be bad for you as it decreases the flavor.
How To Freeze Cream Cheese?
When it comes to freezing cream cheese, you can use various options. If you haven’t opened it yet, then you can place it in the freezer directly. But if it’s opened, then you need to protect the item from exposure to cold air.
The best way to protect is by wrapping the container in aluminum foil. Another way is to put the cheese in a freezing bag. Also, if you require only small amounts per day, we have a quick option too.
You can transfer the cheese into an ice cube tray, and whenever you need it, you can just take out a cube. If they seem too small, then you can also use a cupcake tray if you have it.
How Long Is Cream Cheese Good For?
If you’ve bought the product from a store, then they all come with a “use before by” date. So, as a rule of thumb, you can expect the cheese to not go bad before that day. However, that is not always the case.
Cream cheese usually contains stabilizers and preservatives. This means that the product can still be good for up to 3 weeks past the actual date. Although, you should keep in mind that dairy products aren’t well-known for their life span.
So, the cream cheese can spoil even before the date on the label. It’s always uncertain; that is why you have to be careful whenever using a dairy item. One of the reasons behind this is the mishandling of the product by shopkeepers.
Our recommendation is to use the whole cheese within less than two weeks of opening. We can be confident that the quality will be best in this time frame, and you won’t be risking yourself. If you’ve stored cottage or ricotta cheese before, then it’s safe to say cream cheese lasts more time than them.
Here are our estimates for reference:
- Unopened cream cheese – lasts up to 3 weeks above the best before date
- Opened cream cheese – use within 7 to 10 days for premium quality and taste
How To Know If Cream Cheese Is Good Or Bad?
To avoid food poisoning and other illnesses, it is essential to practice food hygiene and safety measures. When it comes to deducing whether a product is spoiled or not, our senses are the most reliable tool. This is especially true in the case of cream cheeses.
Here are three ways you can check if cream cheese has spoiled.
A fresh and regular cream cheese appears light in color, and the texture is easily spreadable. Meanwhile, a spoiled item will be cracked or have a lumpy texture, especially when placed on a watery surface. Besides that, you can also look for mold.
Mold can either be green, yellow, or bluish spots on different parts of the cheese. Also, if the surface of a product becomes slimy, then you should throw it away. You should do the same when it dries out or stop being creamy.
There is one more thing that many of you may not be aware of. If you ever see some liquid on the top of the cheese, do not throw it out. That is just a result of separation and poses no harm.
Sniffing is one of the best ways to figure out whether a food product has gone bad. For example, good cream cheese doesn’t have a particular smell to it. One way to make a comparison is by always smelling when you open the packet.
If, after days, the aroma remains the same, then it is safe to eat. However, if it has developed a sour smell, then you should discard it. Even if the scent is not sour but just weird, don’t risk yourself.
The cream cheese is most likely to spoil if there’s a distinctive smell to it.
Another reliable way for checking is just to take a small amount of cream cheese and taste it. You would definitely know the typical taste of this product. But if you get a sour taste, then there’s your confirmation of spoilage.
No cheese tastes sour, so don’t shrug off the taste as normal. Once the taste changes, it means the product is no good. Sometimes even newly opened cream cheeses may taste weird.
That is because they were already spoiled when you bought them. Of course, there might be time left before the expiry date. But as we said, dairy products’ life span is always uncertain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to questions that may have popped up in your mind.
Is Cream Cheese Good After 6 Months Of Expiry?
No, it isn’t. Cream cheese is only suitable for up to 3 weeks after the expiration date and that too when it is unopened. So if you have a 6-month-old product sitting in your fridge, please discard it right away.
What Happens On Consuming Expired Cream Cheese?
If the cheese you ate was spoiled, then you’re most likely to develop food poisoning symptoms. They include fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How Long Is Cream Cheese Good When Out Of The Fridge?
Cream cheese can last for two hours maximum if at room temperature. However, some experts claim that it can be suitable for up to four hours as well.
How Long Can You Freeze Cream Cheese For?
You can store the item for at least two months in the freezer before it starts to spoil.
That was your complete guide to how long is cream cheese good. We hope this information helps you out and you learned some new things about this dairy product.