Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
Many ask this same question: “Can you freeze cream cheese?”
The short answer is “YES! You can freeze cream cheese.”
However, there will be changes in texture once you thaw cream cheese that has been frozen. The cream cheese will take on a grainy texture and be more crumbly when it thaws. This is due to the fact that the liquid ingredients separate from the solid ingredients during freezing and will not be fully emulsified once thawed.
For best results, only use thawed cream cheese in recipes where it will be heated (casseroles, hot dips, etc.). You should not notice a difference in texture or flavor in this case.
Don’t worry though- there are ways to reincorporate the liquid and regain the creamy texture we all want for a simple cream cheese spread.
Keep reading to learn about best practices for freezing, thawing and usage.
How To Freeze Cream Cheese:
Before freezing your cream cheese, be sure to check the date. Cream cheese should last a couple of months in the refrigerator, but will stay fresh much longer in the freezer.
Remember to freeze the cream cheese as soon as possible though. There is no point in freezing cream cheese that is already past it’s expiration date!
*One organizational hack that always helps with freezer organization (and really food organization in general) is to write expiration dates on all of your food.
Don’t bother writing the date you actually put the food in the freezer- then you’ll still have to do the math later on how long the food item has been in the freezer, if it is still good to be eaten, etc. Write the date it can no longer be consumed and you’ll save yourself time and energy later by doing the legwork up front.
Easy but important step in simplifying your food organization!
Cream cheese is already packaged well for freezing.
Some prefer to simply stick cream cheese blocks in the freezer as they come- wrapped in sealed foil and a cardboard box. This should be adequate protection against freezer burn if the boxes have not previously been opened.
However, it would never be a bad idea to add an extra layer of protection with a freezer bag or even a vacuum sealing system.
And if your cream cheese has been opened previously, you definitely need another layer to protect from freezer burn. Use a freezer bag or a vacuum sealing system to seal the cream cheese before transferring it to the freezer.
How to Thaw Cream Cheese:
There are several methods for thawing cream cheese.
The first is to simply place the frozen cream cheese in the refrigerator. Allow it to thaw for several hours or even up to overnight. Planning ahead for this is great!
Another option to thaw your cream cheese more quickly is to set it out on the counter to thaw for a few hours.
These are both great options, especially if you plan to use the cream cheese as an ingredient in a recipe that involves baking (or anything to heat / melt the cream cheese).
However, if you are interested in using the cream cheese as a spread for bagels, toast, rice cakes, etc., you will want to heat it to reincorporate all of the ingredients. This will result in a much creamier spread.
You can easily use the microwave to heat the cream cheese, but be sure to heat in short increments (15-20 seconds) and stir in between each increment.
Another option is use the stove top method. Obviously a double boiler is best, but a glass bowl over a pot over even a smaller pot over a larger pot will work. Boil some water in the lower pot, add the block of cream cheese to the upper pot or bowl and stir constantly.
As long as it is stirred well when hot, it will regain that creamy texture once cooled.
Uses for Frozen / Thawed Cream Cheese:
*Again, frozen / thawed cream cheese is best used in recipes where it will be heated and melted to reincorporate all ingredients.
Here are some delicious recipes that would be perfect for incorporating frozen cream cheese:
In case you’re wondering what other food items can be frozen that you may have never thought about before, check out this video:
Now that we’ve answered the question “Can you freeze cream cheese?,” are there any other favorite recipes using thawed cream cheese? Leave them in the comments below- we’d love to hear from you!