Can You Freeze Cream Cheese? Here’s How to do it Right

Cream cheese is both popular and versatile. You might just want to use it as a spread on bagels or toast or in a sandwich with cucumber. However, it can also be an invaluable ingredient in recipes. Cream cheese can make a lovely cheesecake or you can use it as a whipped frosting (see also Freezing Buttercream Frosting) for cupcakes. As well as desserts, it is a useful addition to savory recipes. Add some to soup to make it thicker and creamier. The same goes for pasta sauces, especially carbonara. 

The only disadvantage with cream cheese is that it is dairy and it doesn’t have a long shelf life, especially when opened. You could be left with opened blocks of cream cheese that you can’t use by the sell-by date. What if there is a sale in the store and you can buy lots of cream cheese at a reduced price? It would be a shame to let this opportunity go to waste, so what do you do?  The simple answer is to freeze it. Perhaps you’ve never thought about freezing cream cheese, but, yes, it is possible and it can last for up to two months in the freezer.

Freezing cream cheese will change its texture, making it grittier and crumbly so you may not want to use it as a spread when you have defrosted it. However, there are ways around this and it is possible to make it creamier. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze cream cheese (see also Can You Freeze Philadelphia Cream Cheese), how to thaw it out, and how to give it a creamier texture when it is defrosted.

What Happens When You Freeze Cream Cheese?

As we have said, you can freeze cream cheese although it does change texture. The reason behind this is that it has a high water content. The water content in the cream freezes into ice crystals. This makes the cream cheese grainy and gritty. When you defrost the cheese, the ice crystals melt, but unfortunately cannot bond completely with the cream cheese. If you keep it in this state, it is best used in recipes. It would be delicious used in a cream of tomato soup or in lasagne.

Is it Possible to Freeze Cream Cheese After You Have Opened It?

The simple answer to this is yes. However, it will still change texture and become grainy and crumbly. Cream cheese usually stays good in the fridge for two weeks once it is opened, so if you are within this time, use it from the fridge and don’t bother freezing it. Of course, it may be a big block and you don’t think that you will be able to use it in time, so then it is time to freeze it. However, if you want to use it as a spread when it has thawed out, there is more work involved so keep this in mind if you have time constraints. If you want to use it in soups, stews, pasta dishes, or casseroles, you’ll be fine with the change in texture.

How to Store Cream Cheese in the Freezer

It is important to follow the correct steps when putting your cream cheese in the freezer. If it is exposed to air, it can develop freezer burn. This is when your food dries out and develops a lot of ice inside the container. If your cream cheese gets freezer burn, it will lose its flavor. You can just put a block of unopened cream cheese in the freezer. The foil and cardboard box should be enough to keep the cream cheese from getting freezer burn. Putting the blocks into a freezer bag or wrapping them in cling wrap will give added protection. However, it is advisable that you don’t store the plastic tubs that you can sometimes get cream cheese in, in the freezer. If the cheese expands, the tub can break and cause a mess in your freezer. Unopened cream cheese in a tub can last for up to a month in the fridge and open for up to two weeks. If you do want to freeze this cheese, put it into another container or a freezer bag. 

It is more difficult if you want to store opened cream cheese in the freezer as this can be more susceptible to freezer burn. It is a good idea to follow these steps.

  • Step 1

Put the cream cheese into an airtight sealable container, freezer bag, or food saver bag. Make sure that you get any air out of the bag if you are using one. It is probably better to use a container as freezer bags can leak and you don’t want a mess in your fridge.

  • Step 2

Wrap the container or bag in cling wrap for extra protection. If you are using a freezer bag, you can always put on an extra bag.

  • Step 3

Put a label on the container or bag giving the date the cream cheese was put in the freezer. Especially if you freeze food often, it is easy to forget when you put it in. If you leave the cream cheese in the freezer for too long, it has every chance of losing its flavor.

How Long Can You Freeze Cream Cheese For?

It doesn’t matter if you freeze the cream cheese open or unopened. Both last in the freezer for up to two months. After this time, it will start to lose flavor and can become quite bland. When you come to defrost the cream cheese, make sure that there isn’t a color change, a strange odor, or mold. If there is, then get rid of the cheese. This isn’t likely to happen when food is frozen, but it’s always best to check. 

Remember that before you freeze your cream cheese and when you take it out of the freezer, do not to leave it at room temperature for more than two hours. This is the time when bacteria can start to develop, increasing the risk of food poisoning. 

Can You Make Frozen Cream Cheese Creamy Again?

As we have said earlier, when frozen cream cheese is thawed, it is a little gritty and crumbly. It doesn’t have the same texture it had when it was frozen. If you want to use it immediately after it is defrosted, you are best off using it in a hot recipe like soup, stews, or a pasta sauce (see also Freezing Vodka Sauce). However, you might still want to use it as a spread and enjoy the creamy texture of cream cheese on a bagel (see also How To Freeze Bagels). So, is there a way to make the defrosted cream cheese creamy again? The resounding answer is yes. It may not completely be as it was before it was frozen, but it will still be delicious. There are a few different ways of doing this and we’ll go through them here.


Whisking is probably the best way to make your cream cheese creamy again. It is quick and easy and it won’t be long before you are tucking into a cream cheese and cucumber (see also Can You Freeze Cucumbers) sandwich. 

The first thing to do is to thaw the cream cheese. Once you have done this, put the cream cheese into a bowl and whisk until the cheese is creamy again. You might even want to do this even if you are using the cream cheese in a hot recipe. This will make a tomato or mushroom soup even creamier. You won’t find any crumbly bits and the same goes for pasta sauce. 


Another method you can use to make thawed cream cheese creamier is to use the microwave. This can also get your cheese to almost the same consistency as it was before it was frozen. However, it takes longer than whisking so you have to decide if you have the time to do this. 

These are the steps to follow.

  • Step 1

Take your cream cheese out of the freezer and defrost it. The best way to do this is to put it into the fridge for several hours or overnight. Depending on how much cheese there is, it can take up to 24 hours to defrost. However, this is the safest method of thawing. To thaw at room temperature can be dangerous as we have said. 

  • Step 2

Once the cream cheese has fully thawed, take it out of its container or package and put it into a microwave-safe bowl. Give it a stir

  • Step 3

Put the bowl in the microwave. Put the microwave on high and microwave for 10 seconds. If your cream cheese had been wrapped in foil, make sure that there is none left on the cheese as foil is not microwave safe and you could start a fire.

  • Step 4

Stir the cheese thoroughly. Make sure that you stir in the bits of cream cheese that are stuck to the sides of the bowl as you don’t want to waste any of the cheese.

  • Step 5

The consistency should be better, but it probably isn’t as creamy as it should be, so repeat this process until you get the right texture.

The Stove

This is another way of making your cream cheese creamy. It does give you more control over the cheese than the microwave does. Here are the steps to follow.

  • Step 1

Thaw your cream cheese in the fridge for 24 hours.

  • Step 2

Take a saucepan of medium size and fill it with water. Put it on the stove.

  • Step 3

Get a bowl that is smaller than the saucepan and place it in the saucepan. It shouldn’t reach the bottom of the saucepan as this can burn your cream cheese through direct heat. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler.

  • Step 4

Put the defrosted cream cheese into the bowl and put the stove onto a medium heat. The cheese will start to melt although it won’t heat up. Keep stirring until you get the texture of cheese you want.

Defrosting Cream Cheese

The best way to defrost cream cheese is to put it in the fridge for around 24 hours, depending on how much you have. If you only have a small tub, it will take less time. 

Perhaps you want to defrost the cream cheese a little quicker. You can do this by using cool water to thaw out the cheese.

Follow the steps below and you should have good results.

  • Step 1

Fill a bowl with cold water. The size obviously depends on how big the container or freezer bag is.

  • Step 2

Put the container or freezer bag in the bowl of water. Change the water every half hour. Make sure that the water is cold as warm water can allow bacteria to grow in the cheese. 

  • Step 3

Keep doing this until the cream cheese is completely defrosted. When it is, put it in the fridge as you don’t want it to remain at room temperature for too long.

You will want the cream cheese to thaw evenly, so flip it over every now and then. If you are thawing a freezer bag, you may want to weigh it down. A bag can easily float to the top of the bowl and then it won’t thaw properly. Also, make sure that there are no holes in the bag otherwise the cheese will leak.

Softening Cream Cheese

If you are going to use thawed cream cheese in recipes you may want to soften it first. You don’t have to go through the whole routine of making it creamier as we have shown you, but there are other ways of making it less lumpy.

One way of softening the cream cheese is to leave it at room temperature for about a quarter of an hour. You don’t want to leave it out for too long because bacteria can start to develop after two hours. However, 15 minutes is fine. It gives the cheese a chance to adjust to room temperature. 

The quickest way to soften cream cheese is to put it into the microwave. Transfer the cream cheese into a bowl and microwave on high for about 20 seconds. Check it after this time. It shouldn’t be warm but it should be softer. If it isn’t, put it on for another 10 seconds. Continue doing this until our cheese has reached the right consistency.

Does Cream Cheese Taste the Same After It Has Been Frozen?

Yes, cream cheese tastes almost the same after having been frozen. The texture isn’t the same when it is defrosted, but we have already told you how to regain the creaminess. 

If, when defrosted, the color of the cream cheese has turned yellow, it is best to throw it away. Something has gone wrong. The same applies if it smells strange or looks moldy. It is always a good idea to keep an eye on the thawed cream cheese in the fridge. It will probably only last for up to two weeks before it needs to be discarded. It is better to get rid of dodgy cream cheese rather than risk getting food poisoning. Anyway, one taste of the cheese will tell you if it’s good to use or not.

Is it Possible to Freeze Philadelphia Cream Cheese?

One of the best known cream cheese brands is Philadelphia. There aren’t many cream cheese lovers who won’t have heard of it. As to it freezing well, yes, of course, it does. It is the same as any other type of cream cheese. Just use the instructions we have given you in this article and the shelf life will be extended.

How Long Can You Keep Philadelphia Cream Cheese For in the Freezer?

Just like other cream cheeses, it can be kept for around two months in the freezer. If you keep it for longer, it may not go off, but the flavor may change and it won’t be something you want to eat.

What Can You Use Thawed Frozen Cream Cheese For?

If you follow our instructions, it can be used as a spread. You could also mix it with yogurt (see also Freezing Yogurt) and garlic to make a dip to have with chips or crudites. A nice light lunch is a bagel with smoked salmon (see also How To Freeze Cooked Salmon) and cream cheese. You could make a club sandwich with cream cheese and cucumber in one part and the smoked salmon (see also Should You Freeze Smoked Salmon?) in the other. Cream cheese is also a good topping for baked potatoes (see also Can You Freeze Baked Potatoes?).

A hot appetizer could be mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese (see also Can You Freeze Stuffed Mushrooms) with the cheese being allowed to melt in the oven. A chicken stew (see also Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken) would benefit from the addition of cream cheese as would a green bean casserole. You could make a souffle with cream cheese rather than grated hard cheese. A cream cheese steak is another good idea as is pasta carbonara. 

When it comes to desserts, the most popular cream cheese recipe is a cheesecake. You can use the cream cheese in either a baked or no-bake cheesecake. You can also use it instead of cream in a mousse and it can be whisked into a filling for a sponge cake (see also Can You Freeze Sponge Cake) or a topping for cupcakes. 

As can be seen, the opportunities for using thawed cream cheese are endless.


There could be a number of reasons why you want to freeze cream cheese. Perhaps you think why bother? You can just go out to the store to buy a new block when you need it. However, there might be a sale in the store and if you love cream cheese, how can you resist? Perhaps you opened a block to make a dish, but don’t want to use the rest yet. If you aren’t going to use it for a couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to freeze it. 

Hopefully, we have covered all the points in this article from how to freeze cream cheese, how to thaw it out, and how to make it creamy again. From now on, you should be able to successfully freeze cream cheese and use it when defrosted. Freezing extends the shelf life of cream cheese (see also Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting) so it’s not bad to have this knowledge on hand.

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