Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?

The short answer is yes. Cream cheese can be frozen, but it all depends on how you're going to use it.

Andy Lyons
Andy Lyons

Cream cheese is a staple ingredient in everything from mashed potatoes to cheesecakes, but you don't always use up a whole container. Your freezer can help you make the most of every last bit of cream cheese. You can freeze cream cheese, but you'll need to consider how you plan to use the thawed cream cheese as the texture may become grainy. The great news is that it's still useful (and delicious!) in baked goods, casseroles, and dips.

How Long Will Cream Cheese Last in the Refrigerator?

The experts at Philadelphia Cream Cheese recommend using cream cheese by the "best by" date on the package. After opening, cream cheese will last for up to 10 days in the fridge or by the "best by" date. Store opened cream cheese in an airtight container.

How to Freeze Cream Cheese

Don't let that block of cream cheese in your fridge go to waste! For best results, freeze unopened packages of cream cheese. The layers of foil and cardboard in the original packaging will help prevent freezer burn. If you’re freezing opened cream cheese, transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag with the air pressed out. You can also use a vacuum sealer to help preserve freshness.

To freeze individual portions of cream cheese, fill one large freezer bag with cream cheese and gently use your finger to score the cream cheese into smaller portions. Once frozen solid, break the frozen cream cheese in pieces along the scored lines. Add the pieces to a large freezer bag and use just what you need.

How Long Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese will last in the freezer for up to two months. Be sure to label all packages and containers to help ensure you're using it within the two month period. Do not refreeze cream cheese once it has been thawed.


How to Thaw Frozen Cream Cheese

When you’re ready to thaw the cream cheese, the best method is to let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. You may find the cream cheese has separated once thawed. A quick whisk will bring the mixture back together but you'll notice the texture will remain changed. Cream cheese is half water which develops ice crystals when frozen. This causes the water to separate from the cheese curds, resulting a grainy texture. "Cream cheese can be frozen, but the texture will change and may become grainy—which may affect the texture of the end product. From a food safety point, it is fine, but the integrity of the product will change once frozen," says Lynn Blanchard, Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen director.

Best Uses for Frozen Cream Cheese

"You could use thawed cream cheese in casseroles or baked goods, but if the texture of the cream cheese will stand out in what you are making, you should use refrigerated cream cheese instead," says Blanchard. Rather than spreading thawed cream cheese on your bagel or using it in cheesecake, try using it in recipes where texture is less of an issue. Try adding it to a batch of homemade cookies or baking it into a rich pound cake. It's also great in creamy casseroles (like this homemade mac and cheese) or stirred into a bubbly baked dip recipe.

Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting?

You can freeze cream cheese frosting for up to 3 months because of its high fat content. For optimal freshness, ensure the cream cheese frosting is stored in an airtight container or freezer bag. Any air that gets in creates moisture, which can cause freezer burn. Once ready to defrost, thaw out the cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator overnight. Do not microwave it as the cream cheese frosting will no longer be the texture and consistency you expect for a frosting. 

Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Dip?

If you’d like to prepare your cream cheese dips ahead of time, or purchase ready-made dips ahead of your party, you can freeze them for up to two months. If you have leftover cream cheese dip, you can freeze it for two months in an airtight container or freezer bag. If using a freezer bag, be sure to remove as much air as possible. When you’re ready to thaw, remove the container and place it in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, give it a few good stirs. You may notice changes to the texture, consistency, or taste after thawing, but it is still safe to eat.

Now that you know how to freeze cream cheese, you can take advantage of grocery store sales and stock up. Use this helpful guide to freezing cream cheese to ensure it stays fresh and freezer burn-free.