If you ever find yourself with leftover cream cheese that you want to save for later, you might ask the question can you freeze cream cheese? The answer is yes! But it’s important to follow some guidelines to ensure it stays creamy and fresh.
In this post, I’ll share some tips on how to freeze cream cheese for later use and provide you with some mouth-watering cream cheese recipes you can try at home!
What Is Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is a soft cheese made from a mixture of cream and unskimmed milk. It has a sliky smooth texture and a slightly tangy flavor.
This cheese is a popular choice for various recipes, such as dips, spreads, frosting, and cheesecake. It’s also commonly used as a topping for bagels or toast and can be flavored with herbs, spices, fruits, or other ingredients.
Cream cheese is typically sold in small blocks or tubs and can be found in most grocery stores or supermarkets.
What are the benefits of freezing cream cheese?
Freezing cream cheese can be a total game-changer, and it comes with several benefits, including extended shelf life, reduced food waste, and increased convenience.
What is the right way to freeze cream cheese?
Opened cream cheese must be stored in an airtight, freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag. Before sealing the container or plastic wrap, remove as much air as possible by pressing down on the cream cheese and smoothing out any air pockets to avoid freezer burn.
However, if you’re dealing with opened Philadelphia cream cheese, there’s no need to transfer it to another container since it’s already in a secure rectangular box with foil.
On the other hand, unopened cream cheese can be frozen directly in its original packaging because the foil wrapping and cardboard box provide sufficient protection.
Remember to label the container or bag with the date and amount of cream cheese to keep track of it in the freezer.
Once packaged, put the cream cheese in the freezer with an ideal temperature of 0°F (-18°C), the standard temperature for most home freezers. For optimal storage, frozen cream cheese should be kept in the freezer for two months.
If you notice any changes in color, odor, or flavor in your cream cheese, it is best to discard it instead of freezing it.
How to thaw cream cheese?
To thaw refrigerated cream cheese, let it defrost slowly in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. While it is possible to defrost frozen cream cheese at room temperature, it should not be left out for longer than 2 hours to avoid the risk of bacterial growth.
Once the cream cheese has been thawed, you may notice that the thawed cream cheese texture is slightly different from fresh cream cheese. Don’t worry! Ice crystals form when freezing cream cheese, and the water that was once emulsified with the cheese curds separates, resulting in a grainy texture.
Things to Consider When Freezing Cream Cheese
While it is possible to freeze cream cheese, here are a few things that you have to remember:
- As mentioned, cream cheese that has been frozen may not have the same creamy consistency as fresh cream cheese. If you plan to use defrosted cream cheese as a spread for crackers, bagels, or bread, it is advisable not to freeze it. It’s best to freeze cream cheese only if you plan to use it in sauces, casseroles, baked goods, or desserts.
- It is best to freeze cream cheese in small portions so you can thaw only the amount you need.
- If you use frozen cream cheese in a recipe that requires it to be whipped, whip it while it is still cold.
- Avoid freezing cheese mixed with other ingredients, as these may not freeze well.
Can I freeze cream cheese, and it still be good?
Definitely! Although the texture and consistency change from smooth and creamy to gritty, crumbly, and grainy, there are still ways to make frozen cheese creamy again. While the result may not be perfect, it can come close.
How do I make frozen cream cheese creamy after freezing?
Use the microwave
One way to restore frozen cream cheese’s smooth texture and creamy consistency is by using the microwave.
Heat the cheese in a microwave-safe bowl for 10 to 30 seconds. Then, use a spoon to stir it until it becomes creamy and soft. Repeat this process until you achieve your desired texture and color.
Use the stove
It can be difficult to prevent the cream cheese from becoming too dry in the microwave, but with the stove, you have complete control.
Simply fill a regular-sized saucepan with water and place it on the stove. Take a glass bowl and place it in the saucepan, making sure that the water doesn’t overflow into the bowl. Heat the bowl of water, and then add the frozen cream cheese. Stir it until it becomes soft and creamy.
Use a electrical mixer or a manual whisk to whip the thawed frozen cream cheese for about 30 seconds to one minute until it becomes light and fluffy. This process can help incorporate air and make the cream cheese creamier.
7 Delicious cream cheese recipes
If you love cream cheese as much as I do, here are some delicious recipes you should definitely try at home!
Cheesecake bites are small, bite-sized portions of cheesecake often served as a dessert or snack. They are typically made by preparing a traditional cheesecake recipe, pouring the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper cups, and then baking or freezing the mixture.
Once the cheesecake bites are fully cooked or frozen, they can be removed from the muffin tin and enjoyed as a finger dessert.
For more cheesecake recipes, check out 27 Instant Pot Cheesecake Recipes.
Classic ham and cream cheese pinwheel
A classic ham and cream cheese pinwheel appetizer is made by spreading cream cheese over a soft tortilla wrap, topping it with slices of ham, and then rolling it up tightly. The wrap is then sliced into small pinwheel-shaped pieces, often secured with toothpicks.
The cream cheese adds a soft and creamy texture to the pinwheels, while the ham provides a salty and savory flavor. Classic ham and cream cheese pinwheels are a popular party food or finger food, as they’re easy to whip up and prepared in advance.
Cream cheese dips
Cream cheese dips are a crowd-pleasing appetizer that can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for later use. To make a frozen cream cheese dip, combine cream cheese with your favorite herbs, spices, or vegetables. Freeze the dip in a airtight container, then thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Serve with crackers, chips, or vegetables for a delicious appetizer.
Check out Jalapeno Corn Dip With Cream Cheese.
Cream cheese stuffed jalapeños
Cream cheese stuffed jalapeños are a spicy and flavorful appetizer consisting of fresh jalapeño peppers stuffed with a mixture of soft cheeses and various spices.
To make them, simply remove stems and seeds and fill them with your favorite cream cheese mixture. The stuffed peppers are baked or grilled until the peppers are tender and the cheese filling is melted and bubbly.
Cream cheese frosting
Cream cheese frosting is a sweet icing that combines cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. The ingredients are whipped together until they form a smooth and creamy mixture, which can then be used to frost cakes, cupcakes, or other baked goods.
This dessert has a tangy and slightly sweet flavor and is often used to complement the flavors of spiced cakes or carrot cakes. It can also be added as a filling or topping for cakes, rolls, and other sweet treats.
Cream cheese and fruit popsicles
Cream cheese and fruit popsicles are a refreshing and sweet treat made by blending cream cheese, fresh fruit, and sweeteners such as honey or sugar, then freezing the mixture in popsicle molds.
Popular fruit options for cream cheese and fruit popsicles include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches. These popsicles are a healthier alternative to traditional ice cream treats, as they’re lower in sugar and are made with fresh, natural ingredients. They’re also a great way to beat the heat and enjoy a cool and delicious snack during summer.
Cream cheese and Oreo pops
Cream cheese and Oreo pops are a sweet and delicious treat made by blending cream cheese and crushed Oreo cookies, forming the mixture into balls or pops, then freezing them.
To make the pops, combine the cream cheese and Oreo cookie crumbs in a bowl until fully mixed. The mixture is then formed into tiny balls or pops using a spoon or scoop, and a lollipop stick or popsicle stick is inserted into each ball or pop. The pops are then frozen until firm, usually for a few hours.
You may also enjoy the following: