To freeze, or not to freeze? That is the question many of ask ourselves about food items you can often find in bulk (thank you, Costco!), especially when it comes to dairy products like cream cheese.
So if you’ve found yourself wondering whether you could freeze cream cheese to use at a later time—and whether or not you really want to—you’ve come to right place! :-)
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
If you’re simply wondering whether or not you can freeze cream cheese, the short answer is yes! The long answer is yes, but proper steps need to be taken to avoid freezer burn and to ensure the thawed cream cheese is ready for use.
That’s why I decided to write this blog post—to help provide all the additional information you may need to know about freezing cream cheese! We’ll explore exactly how to do it, plus how to thaw cream cheese, tips for using it, and how not to use it to get the best results.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
How To Freeze Cream Cheese
To freeze unopened cream cheese, simply toss it in your freezer as is. The foil package will keep out air and moisture while the paper box provides an additional layer of protection against freezer burn.
If the cream cheese you want to freeze has been opened, no problem! Just transfer it to a freezer bag or another airtight container and label it with the current date.
Either way, your cream cheese will stay fresh in your freezer for three to six months. However, if you notice freezer burn on your frozen cream cheese at any time, you should toss it out. (Tip: The best way to prevent freezer burn from affecting your cream cheese is to use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air from the storage bag before freezing!)
How To Thaw Cream Cheese
After freezing cream cheese, the best way to thaw it is to put it in your refrigerator overnight. That way, the frozen cream cheese will thaw gradually over several hours, yielding a much better texture than you’d get if you thawed it at room temperature.
How Does Cream Cheese Change After Being Frozen And Thawed?
The most noticeable difference between fresh cream cheese and frozen cream cheese that’s been thawed is the texture. That’s because about half of the content of cream cheese is water, and that water separates from the cheese curds during the freezing process, creating ice crystals.
Because of this separation, thawed cream cheese tends to be more crumbly, grainy, and less spreadable than the fresh stuff. But if you give it a good stir (or better yet, let an electric mixer to the work for you), it’ll get nice and creamy again and be ready to use in any of your favorite cream cheese recipes.
And speaking of cream cheese recipes, even though the texture will change somewhat after being frozen and thawed, the flavor of your cream cheese will be unaffected. So let’s look at some ways you can put it good use!
How Can I Use Thawed Cream Cheese?
Due to the change in texture, I wouldn’t suggest you spread previously frozen cream cheese on your morning bagel. However, it’ll taste great in almost any cooking or baking recipe!
Here are a few dishes you can make with thawed cream cheese:
- Creamy Ranch Chicken
- Chili Cheese Dip
- Fruity Dessert “Pizza”
- Pound Cake
- …and more!
So whenever there’s a good sale on cream cheese, it’s definitely worthwhile to pick up a few extra boxes to stick in your freezer. It’s one of those great ingredients to have on hand for quick dinners (or to satisfy a sudden pound cake craving!) :-)
What Other Dairy Products Can I Freeze?
- Now that you know you can freeze cream cheese and how you can use it, you might be wondering what other dairy products you can freeze! Here’s a quick overview of dairy items that freeze well:
- Milk: Plastic milk cartons have indents that allow for expansion in the freezer. Once thawed, just shake the carton to remix the contents and use as desired.
- Buttermilk/Heavy Cream: Freezing cream, buttermilk, and other thicker dairy products is easy! Stick unopened cream or buttermilk right in the freezer, or pour them into ice cube trays or freezer molds if you have some leftover after using it in a recipe.
- Yogurt: Yogurt fares surprisingly well through the freezing and thawing process, and frozen yogurt makes a delicious treat! I like to stick popsicle sticks right through the lid of my favorite yogurts and them freeze them for a delicious frozen yogurt treat.
- For more information about freezing all sorts of different foods, you can find out more at 20 Ways To Use Your Freezer To Save Time And Money.
Do you have a favorite cream cheese recipe?