How Long You Can Really Keep Cream Cheese In The Fridge?

With so many appetizing ways to enjoy cream cheese, it's no surprise that there's likely a tub of it tucked away somewhere in your fridge. Spread it on a toasted bagel, plunge a salty pretzel into it, or mix it into a sweet dessert for that added touch of creaminess — the list of uses for this spread goes on. 

The reigning champ among dairy-lovers seems to be Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which was the first brand ever produced in America, and its trusted name has certainly stood the test of time. Today you can find lots of different cream cheese flavors that range from fruity to savory to even spicy.

There are many variables that determine the shelf life of cream cheese. It's important to ensure the temperature inside your refrigerator stays below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature higher than that and you run the risk of rapid bacteria growth in your food, which can lead to food poisoning (via Tips Bulletin). Yikes. 

Other things you'll want to keep in mind are how your cream cheese has been processed and packaged, what type it is, and whether it's been opened or not.

When does cream cheese go bad?

All things considered, an unopened container of cream cheese will generally keep well for three or four weeks past the listed sell-by date. Open it, and you're looking at 10 days of peak freshness (via Upgraded Home). Always be sure to check the smell, color, and texture of your cream cheese whenever opening it to make sure it's still good to use (per Lucky Belly). Discoloration or mold will be very noticeable, and if you're tasting any texture that is grainy or slimy, chances are it has already expired. And no, you probably don't want to eat expired cream cheese

Furthermore, food experts recommend not leaving cream cheese out of the fridge for over two hours, so remember to store it properly soon after using it.

Chances are you'll find all kinds of uses for your cream cheese and will come up with some tasty ideas to ensure you use it all before it goes bad. If you're now thinking about that lonely container of cream cheese that's been sitting in your fridge for a while, you might want to go take a peek.