If you’ve ever had to make a last-minute cream cheese frosting or dip, you know that cream cheese is one ingredient that’s best when it’s fresh. But what do you do when you have leftovers? Can cream cheese be frozen and thawed?
Yes, cream cheese freezes very well, unopened in its original packaging or transferred to an airtight container. When ready, it’s best to thaw your frozen cream cheese in the fridge overnight. And be aware that it may not be suitable for spreading on its own, as freezing can alter the texture and make it less smooth and creamy.
There are a few more things that you should keep in mind when freezing cream cheese. In this guide, I’ll explain the best way to freeze cream cheese and how to thaw it correctly.
Best Way To Freeze Cream Cheese
In this method, I’m going to assume you have a partial block or tub of cream cheese because if it’s an unopened block, you can simply place it in the freezer as is.
Remember, you should not freeze it at the end of it’s shelf life so that when it’s thawed, it still has some time before it expires.
Step 1 – Clean And Sharpen The Edges
In order to freeze cream cheese successfully, you should square up any edges on a block or smooth out the top if it is in a tub to help get a better airtight seal.
If you accidentally contaminated your cream cheese with a dirty spoon or knife, remove that section so that you only have pure cream cheese.
Don’t forget to check the date of expiration to make sure that you aren’t saving old cream cheese.
Step 2 – Wrap With Plastic Wrap
For blocks of cream cheese, wrap it tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap. It’s important to get a good seal and push out any air to help prevent freezer burn.
For tubs or containers of cream cheese, smooth out the top with the back of a spoon and then place plastic wrap directly on the surface of your cream cheese. This is to prevent having an air gap between the plastic and your cream cheese.
Step 3 – Place In A Freezer-Safe Bag Or Container
Once you have your cream cheese wrapped, placing it in an airtight container or sealable bag is a good idea.
This is an extra step to help prevent it from becoming damaged while it’s in the freezer. It also helps keep you organized if you have several blocks of cream cheese to freeze.
Step 4 – Date And Freeze
Freeze your cream cheese for up to two months. It’s possible to freeze it longer, but I always recommend two months as a maximum for freezing food so that it is as fresh as possible when thawed.
Using a piece of tape, write the date on it and attach it to your container or individual packages of cream cheese.
That will help you keep track of how long it has been in the freezer. Because the packages are quite small, they could easily fall somewhere and sit for months and months, and you would have no idea how long they’ve been there.
Step 6 – Thaw And Use When Ready
When you’re ready to use your frozen cream cheese, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight for the best results.
If you thaw it on the counter or in a bowl of warm water, it’s possible that the cream cheese will separate, and you’ll end up with liquid on top of it and a lumpy texture instead of a smooth one.
How To Thaw Frozen Cream Cheese
Thawing your cream cheese is simple, but step 3 is an extra step that can help make it even better.
Step 1 – Remove From The Freezer
Remove your cream cheese from the freezer and place it on a plate or in a container. Then place it in the fridge.
Step 2 – Thaw In The Fridge
Thawing overnight in the fridge allows your cream cheese to thaw slowly and hopefully avoid any complications that could change its consistency.
Step 3 – Heat If Necessary
Sometimes thawed cream cheese will not be quite as silky smooth as it once was. In that case, warm it up slowly in the microwave.
Before heating, remove your cream cheese from any packaging or plastic and place it in a microwave-safe bowl.
Set your power setting to medium if you have the option, and microwave for 10 seconds. Then take it out, mix it up, and put it back in for another 10 seconds.
Repeat that process until it has smoothed out, being careful not to cook your cream cheese too long. You don’t want hot spots developing, which could curdle it and make things worse.
Step 4 – Use As Required
It’s probably best to use thawed cream cheese as an ingredient in your recipes rather than on its own spread on a bagel. However, if you nail down the process, it’s quite possible to use it any way you like.
Freezing Cream Cheese FAQs
How Do I Make Frozen Cream Cheese Creamy Again?
If your cream cheese has turned a little lumpy after being frozen, you can smooth it out again by using warming it up in the microwave slowly. Follow the directions above to help smooth out its texture.
How Long Does Cream Cheese Last In The Freezer?
Cream cheese can last up to two months in the freezer when stored in an airtight container or plastic bag.
Does Cream Cheese Freeze Well?
Yes, cream cheese freezes very well compared to other dairy products like milk and cheese, but it still may end up a little grainy when thawed.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Blocks?
Yes, freezing unopened cream cheese blocks is the best way to freeze them.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Spread?
Yes, you can freeze cream cheese spread, but it may not taste as fresh when thawed. It may have some liquid pooling on the top combined with a more grainy texture.
Can you Refreeze Cream Cheese?
I would not recommend refreezing cream cheese. It will definitely split the next time you thaw it and become extremely grainy.
How To Freeze Cream Cheese
- 1 Plastic Wrap
- 1 Freezer Bag
- 1 Airtight Freezer-Safe Container
- 1 Package Cream Cheese
Freezing Cream Cheese
- Clean and sharpen the edges. Remove any contaminants.
- Wrap with plastic wrap, leaving no air gaps.
- Place the package in a freezer-safe bag or container.
- Date and freeze.
- Thaw and use when ready.
Thawing Cream Cheese
- Remove cream cheese from the freezer and place on a plate.
- Put in the fridge to thaw overnight.
- Use when ready.
Make Cream Cheese Creamy Again
- Once thawed, remove any packaging and plastic and then heat in the microwave for 10 seconds.
- Check consistency and mix before heating again.
- When ready, use your cream cheese as desired.