Why You Should Think Twice About Freezing Your Cream Cheese

Cream cheese lovers may wonder whether or not you can freeze cream cheese, and the answer is, well, complicated. Cream cheese is a soft cheese comprised of milk and cream. The combo of these two creates high-fat content. In fact, according to ScienceDirect, cream cheese has to be at least 33% fat and no more than 55% moisture. But whether you're making cream cheese frosting or spreading it over homemade bagels, you want to ensure that the cream cheese is, at its optimal, tasty.

But what happens when you buy too many 8-ounce boxes of the must-have spread, or you want to avoid a tub of Philadelphia cream cheese going to waste? How do you preserve cream cheese for future use? It's a real dilemma but not one without a solution. The obvious answer would be storing it in the freezer to keep it from spoiling, right? According to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, cream cheese doesn't freeze well unless combined with heavy cream. But if you must, there are a few guidelines you can follow to get the best use out of the brick.  

How to properly store cream cheese in the freezer

As Cook's Illustrated explained, the biggest hang-up with freezing cream cheese is the way it thaws. This is due to the 55% moisture that makes up cream cheese. When cream cheese freezes, the water and cheese curd separate, changing the texture from smooth and creamy to gritty and grainy once it thaws. This crumbly consistency doesn't make for a great spread. But, as AllRecipes noted, it can be used in recipes where you can't taste the difference in texture, like pound cakes and oven-baked casseroles.

If you do decide to freeze your cream cheese, however, The Krazy Coupon Lady shared a few tips. First, the site suggested starting with unopened cream cheese in its original packaging. Then you should wrap the unopened cream cheese in plastic (cardboard and foil are also great substitutes) to prevent freezer burn. Your cream cheese will keep up to five months in the freezer. To mitigate any weird texture issues, the blogger also recommended using the microwave to defrost cream cheese, getting it as close as you can to its original consistency, per The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Thankfully, with these tips, it's possible to extend the shelf-life of cream cheese and restore it back to its fresh, creamy goodness.