Cream cheese is one of those food items that often goes on sale. This makes it ideal to stock up on when cheap. However, the bad news is that it is a dairy product that typically does not stay fresh for months upon months. Your average opened cream cheese product will stay good for about one month. Kraft (makers of Philadelphia) state that their unopened cream cheese stays good a month beyond the “Best By” date stamped on the package. Many people wonder “Can you freeze cream cheese?” given it has a rather quick expiration time.
Freezing Cream Cheese
Cream cheese, like other soft cheese, is the worst cheese to freeze. Soft cheese products typically contain significant moisture. When this moisture freezes, it impacts the texture because ice crystal can directly form in the moisture. Thawed cream cheese will separate and small pools of wateriness will form on the surface. You may also notice a grainy texture when you eat it. Trust us, this is not something you want to spread on a fresh bagel.
However, all is not lost if you freeze cream cheese. Yes, you can freeze cream cheese, but it is not typically suitable for consumption immediately after it thaws. A little preparation is required. Try giving it a vigorous whip for 30-60 seconds after thawing. This may bring back some of the original texture, but it likely won’t be as when you bought it. Your best bet is to use the cream cheese in a recipe, especially one that calls for several ingredients. Most people will not be able to tell a texture difference unless it is consumed on its own.
How To Freeze Cream Cheese
If you choose to freeze cream cheese, it is best to keep it in the original unopened container. No additional packaging is required if the product in unopened, sealed, and in a plastic container. If the product is opened or in a box container (block-style), add it to a Ziploc bag with the air removed and seal it tightly. You can transfer the cream cheese directly to individual bags, but remember that the original packing provides an additional layer of protection.
Freeze cream cheese up to six months, but the less exposure time in the freezer, the better. Thaw it in the refrigerator as you sleep and eat it within two days. Never thaw cream cheese at room temperature to avoid contamination.