How long does cream cheese last and does it go bad? Well, cream cheese has a limited shelf life but it does last a while if unopened, in its original packaging, and stored in the fridge at all times.
It is a versatile dairy product that can be used in many recipes, no matter if it's being eaten straight out as an appetizer dip sauce, a spread or to form the base for stuffed cheeseballs, making sure this fresh will always suffice!
So how do you know if the soft cheese waiting in your fridge for 2 weeks is fit to be used again? What are the indicators that you should look for? Read on to find out.
How long does cream cheese last
Cream cheese is a product of milk, cream, and salt. Dairy products can easily go bad if not handled or stored correctly.
For soft cheese that has been stored in the fridge at all times and unopened then your first point of call would be to check the label. Unopened cream cheese in its original packaging has a best-by-day of about 1 year or a bit longer.
However, if opened then it should be consumed within one week as that is when the freshness is guaranteed for.
How to Tell if Cream Cheese is Bad?
Like any other dairy product, cream cheese will get spoiled after a certain period.
The general expiration periods vary across different cheese brands. It is important to understand the storage terminology on packaging
For example, Philadelphia cream cheese under normal conditions and unopened packaging stays in good condition one month past the “Best By’ date on its carton or tub. That may not be the case for other brands
If your cheese is opened and has been sitting in the fridge unused for more than two weeks, you might want to look for indicators and signs to know if it is still in its peak condition.
Tip: avoid dipping directly into cream cheese if you intend to still keep it in the fridge as whatever you are dipping may make it spoil quickly
Taletell signs for spoilage
The Visible Changes
It’s simple, a spoiled cream cheese looks different. Look for any mold, greenish, or yellow patches/dots (or any other discoloration). Search out for a slimy surface as that is a prominent indicator of spoiled cheese.
Moreover, if the cheese isn’t cheesy anymore, it isn’t good for use. So lookout for any dryness or signs of it being grainy.
Smell it out. This is the most effective way of knowing if your soft cheese is still in good condition. If it has a rotten sour smell, get rid of it.
It’s most likely spoiled or has just started. Risking to use this may lead to food poisoning.
The Sour Taste
In case both the appearance and the smell of your cream cheese is okay, then do some tasting and you will be sure about its condition. Just take a small piece and taste it to see if it’s sour or bitter.
This won't mess up your stomach and is totally safe. However, if you inject large portions of spoiled cream cheese, things can go south quickly.
Cream cheese is not like other cheeses that you can cut off the molded part and still be able to consume. The mold on top of soft cream will pass through, so if this were your only warning before eating it then chances are high for making yourself sick or even worse
Is Cream Cheese Healthy?
It’s delicious for sure. But is cream cheese healthy? Not really as it is high in fat content but if you love it so much then maybe go for the light variety. Here is all you need to know about the health benefit of cream cheese.
Rich source of vitamin A
Low in protein
As with everything in life, moderation is key. Cream cheese is high in fat and calorie and should be consumed in moderation.
Does cream cheese go bad if not refrigerated
You don't want to leave your cream cheese out at room temperature for long. I would say a maximum of 1 hour. After that, it may become a breeding ground for bacteria.
It’s made of fresh dairy products and can spoil in no time. So you should put it in a refrigerator sooner than later.
How long can you keep cream cheese after opening
Anywhere from a week to 10 days. Once you have opened your cheese, you must use it within the next 10 days or the day specified on the package.
Even after that, if you are using it after a week, I suggest you check out for all the indicators of it being spoiled (better safe than sorry)
Can cream cheese left overnight be eaten
Absolutely not, soft cheese lasts around 2 hours. After that, bacterial growth starts which makes it unhealthy and useless. So throw it out real fast!
Can it go moldy
Yes. Molds are pretty common with spoiled cheese even with the one stored in the fridge. With soft cheese such as ricotta or cottage cheese, molds can make the entire product useless.
Because it spreads throughout the cheese flesh. So the contamination isn’t just on the surface.
Can I freeze cream cheese
Yes, but depends on what you intend to use it for after it thaws. You can freeze cream cheese for up to 3 months in the freezer.
However, you should know that the texture will be different once thawed. That said, it will still be edible but won't be easily spreadable. It is best used for cooking, that way, you won't be able to tell the texture change
What can I do with the leftover cream cheese
The leftover soft cheese is still good enough for a yummy dip sauce, pasta base, or baking it into delicious treats. You can use it in many ways depending on your preference. Personally, I like to use it for stuffed chicken breasts.
Here are a few things you can do with your leftover cream cheese:
- Make pimento cheese
- Stir it into scrambled eggs
- Stir some into polenta
- Add it into mashed potatoes
- Make cream cheese ball
Can I eat cream cheese past its expiration date?
No. Eating expired cream cheese is not an option. It can cause health problems and upset your stomach.
Ingestion of expired products can even prove to be fatal in some cases. So closely monitor the expiration date on your cheese and use it accordingly.
Cream cheese always belongs in the fridge. Unopened, it can be stored for 1 month after its best before date.
If opened, it must be consumed with 1 week. The shelf life of unopened cream cheese is about 1 year but it should be refrigerated and do not leave your cheese out of the fridge overnight.
When you are in doubt the check for the signs of spoilage mentioned above. It is better to be safe than sorry. It is just soft cheese and very economical so, never take the chances of consuming an expired one.
I hope this article was helpful to you in some way! Thanks for reading!