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Can You Freeze Cream Cheese? Here’s How to Do it Correctly?

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Cream cheese can be a lifesaver. Few food items manage to turn around any dish and make it awesome. Cream cheese is one of them. Its rich, creamy texture can complement all kinds of cakes, soups, wraps and can even go into making a pasta sauce when you have run out of a base ingredient. 

However, as much as you would like to have it around, it does not have a very long shelf-life, even if you keep it in the refrigerator. It starts turning sour and goes bad within a span of ten to fifteen days. This means you have to consume it in large amounts to prevent wastage, or you need to come up with a way of preserving extra cream cheese so that you can use it later. 

Can You Freeze Cream Cheese

One of the best ways of doing so is freezing. Freezing helps preserve many food items, and you can attain favorable results with cream cheese. After all, once you have used a portion of a tub of cream cheese, the leftover can be used at a later date if you freeze it. 

The question is whether freeing cream cheese is a good idea and does it affect the cheese in any way. Read on to find out more.

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Effect of Freezing Cream Cheese

Before you consider freezing cream cheese, you should be aware of its effect on the cheese. You can freeze the cream cheese for up to two months. After that, however, it will not retain the creamy texture you love so much, and the consistency will differ significantly. 

You will not be able to use it as a spread, and you can only ideally use it in recipes like baked food and desserts. And this is because cream cheese has a significant amount of moisture due to the presence of cream. It’s one of the reasons why cream cheese tastes so much better than other kinds of cheese. 

When you freeze it, the moisture freezes into ice crystals. The moisture thaws back when you thaw it again. However, it cannot blend back with the cheese again. As a result, you get a gritty, crumbly texture that separates the cream and the cheese. It is best suited for recipes that require some heating and cooking rather than simply using it as a spread on bread and bagels.

How to Store Cream Cheese in the Freezer?

Avoid simply putting the cream cheese tub in the freezer. The best way to store the cream cheese is to put it in a ziplock bag and airtight container. However, there is a slight difference in storage technique depending on whether or not you have opened the package of cream cheese. Here is what you can do.

#1. Freezing an Open Box of Cream Cheese

In case you have unsealed and used a portion of cream cheese from the box, you should never put it in the freezer all by itself. That results in a case of freezer burn. This is not common with just cream cheese but with any other item. To avoid this, you should do the following. 

  1. Step

    Transfer the open block of cream cheese from its original box or container to a freezer or food saver bag. You can also use a sealable container.

  2. Step

    Wrap the sealable container in cling wrap for added protection. 

  3. Step

    Label the container with the date of the cream cheese into the freezer. This will help you remember when you need to use up the cream cheese. 

Freezing an Open Box of Cream Cheese

#2. Freezing an Unopened Box of Cream Cheese 

If you have bought a pack of cream cheese but have not had a chance to use it, you can store it directly in the freezer. The carton and foil on the original pack are enough to protect the cream cheese from freezer burn. 

As an added layer of protection and to prevent moisture or ice from penetrating the packaging, you can still wrap the cream cheese in cling film or foil. After this, you can store it for two months.

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Can All Types of Cream Cheese Be Frozen?

There is an impressive variety of spreadable cream cheese sold in plastic tubs. However, it is best to keep that kind of cream cheese in your regular refrigerator and not freeze it. This type of cream cheese can only last for two weeks in the fridge and only stays fresh for up to a month even after it is frozen. 

When Not to Freeze Cream Cheese?

As mentioned earlier, cream cheese does not stay fresh in hot weather. Therefore, if you leave an open pack of cream cheese at room temperature, you should ideally discard it. Because within this time, the cheese would possibly change color and give off a faint smell. 

Freezing the cream cheese at this point will not reverse the effect. Ideally, it would be best to discard the entire box instead of freezing it. In addition, it would be best to be extra careful about the odor and color as it indicates an overgrowth of bacteria in the cream cheese. It could be a health risk by increasing the chances of food poisoning. 

Can You Make Frozen Cream Cheese Creamy Again?

Once you have brought out the cream cheese from the freezer, you will notice it turning grainy and crumbly. You may observe a lack of dense and smooth texture later. Unfortunately, this is a sacrifice you have to make when you choose to store cream cheese in the freezer for a length of time. However, do not be discouraged. Even if you do not get that perfect creamy texture, you can still make it suitable for use in other ways. 

#1. Whisking

Once you have brought the cream cheese out of the freezer, start whisking it. This is one of the simplest ways of making your cream cheese fit for use again. Thaw the cheese a little bit till it becomes soft, and whisk away! This will significantly reduce the crumbly texture, and your cream cheese will immediately start looking better. 

Whisking

#2. Use the Microwave

The microwave can prove to be a handy tool in bringing back the creamy smoothness of your cream cheese to a great extent. First, transfer the cream cheese from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw. 

Once it has defrosted, transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl. Be careful to remove any foil as it may catch fire and turn on the microwave for ten seconds. Next, stir the cream cheese, and make sure you also fold in all the cheese from the sides and the bottom of the container. 

Please put it back into the microwave again for another ten seconds and give it another stir. Repeat the process till you find the cream cheese has reached a texture you prefer. Again, you will notice a significant improvement in its consistency.

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#3. Stovetop Method

The stove method requires some extra time, but it gives you more control over the temperature. First, transfer the cream cheese from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw for a day. 

Once defrosted, fill a saucepan with some water and place it on heat. Then place a smaller bowl inside the saucepan, ensuring that no water comes in from the outer saucepan to the inner bowl. The smaller bowl should also not touch the bottom of the saucepan, or it might get heated too much. It would be perfect if you had a double boiler. 

Put the cream cheese into the smaller inner bowl and stir it gently. The cream cheese will slowly start getting creamy. Continue till you reach your desired texture.

Tip to Remember

When handling cream cheese out of the refrigerator, it is always a good idea to let it soften for a while. Then, all you have to do is leave it on the counter for ten to fifteen minutes. The cream cheese contains fat, and the fat solidifies in the cold. Trying to work with such cheese can be laborious and, most importantly, could lead to lumps in the cheese. Hence, always soften it first, no matter how you intend to use it. 

Tip to Remember Freeze Cream Cheese

Conclusion

It can be incredibly difficult to resist boxes of cream cheese when you see it in the store. Cream cheese does not go back after freezing it. Cream cheese is safe for consumption unless it has bacterial growth, which is impossible in the freezer. The gritty and crumbly texture only alters the appearance of the cheese physically. Still, it does not pose any health risks. 

You can use frozen cream cheese for a large variety of desserts and baked items, where the cream cheese needs to be folded with other ingredients. Freezing and thawing the cream cheese correctly will let you increase its shelf life and prevent food wastage, which is one of the important steps towards sustainable living. You will notice that your recipes will come out perfect, and it is a brilliant method of using leftover cream cheese.

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