Cream cheese is on sale right now for Easter cooking and I am excited to stock the freezer with cream cheese we can use later when the price goes up. I love cream cheese on bagels or to may ham rolls, Its the perfect addition to creamy mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and creamy baked mac and cheese. I buy it in the fall and spring when the price drops to 80 cents or less a back for Thanksgiving and Easter. When people ask me can you freeze cream cheese I am more than happy to fill them in on how to not only freeze cream cheese but how to make it useable afterward?
Can you freeze cream cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cream cheese. This is a great way to make your cream cheese last up to 6 months longer making it perfect for stocking your kitchen between the holiday sales. The best prices usually occur around Easter and Thanksgiving where the prices drop very low in hopes that you will do all of your shopping for your holiday dinner there spending more on the full priced items to help the stores make up for the loss they take wit the sale items. When freezing cream cheese it loses some of its creamy texture but you can still use it in cooking and you can revive the texture with a couple of easy tricks.
Unopened cream cheese can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month after the sell by date marked on the package allowing you to store several weeks or even months worth of cream cheese without needing to place it in the freezer. Freeze the cream cheese you plan freeze right away. Letting it sit in the refrigerator past the sell by date, before freezing will lower the quality of the thawed product overall. When you pull the cream cheese out if you are not using it right away you will regain the time between when you bought it and it’s usual shelf life.
How to you freeze cream cheese
For the best results freezing cream cheese leave it in both the foil packaging and the box. This will give you layers of protection while the foil is already an airtight seal to prevent freezer burn. For more protection place the packs of cream cheese inside a freezer back and remove all of the excess air.
If you are using a vacuum sealer to freeze your cream cheese remove it from the outer box but leave it in the foil. The foil wrapping is designed to protect the cream cheese and is important for extending the life of store-bought cream cheese beyond that of homemade cream cheese.
Be sure to label each package with a use by date so there is not guessing later. Another great label for your frozen cream cheese is how long between when you froze the cream cheese and the sell-by date for judging how long the cream cheese will be good after you thaw it.
How to thaw and use frozen cream cheese
When you are ready to use your cream cheese thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If you need to quickly thaw it places in a zip local bag and into a bowl of warm water. Rotate the warm water when it cools until the cream cheese is thawed. For even thawing flip the cream cheese over with each water change or weight it down so it does not float.
After freezing cream cheese it will be less creamy with an almost crumbly texture. This is fine to use in cooking your favorite recipes. The lack of creaminess will not be noticed in any cooked dishes where the cream cheese will be melted.
How to make frozen cream cheese creamy again
There are two ways to return cream you have frozen back to a creamy texture. Either method will bring it back to nearly the same consistency you are used to in fresh cream cheese.
The microwave method. Place your fully thawed cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir and repeat until you have a creamy texture. Be careful to not overheat and to mix well to avoid dried cream cheese along the edges.
Stovetop Method. I prefer to use the stove top when I am doing pretty much anything. For cream cheese, I feel I have more control over the heating process so there is no risk of the sides getting dry and hard like in a microwave. Place the cream cheese in a double boiler or a large glass bowl over a medium saucepan. Stir constantly until smooth.
Store thawed cream cheese in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 7 days after opening. Leftover cream cheese makes a great addition to your favorite easy egg dishes, mashed potatoes, and a creamy addition to grilled cheese sandwiches.