How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out?

How long can Cream Cheese sit out

In this article, we are going to find out how long cream cheese can sit out and some tips to prolong its lifespan. If you love cooking and you need this ingredient for a dish, better read on.

Cooking with fresh ingredients can be very tricky because of the possibility of food spoiling.

With an incorrect cooking method and wrong preparation, the result can be chaotic. Take cream cheese, for example. This ingredient is made from heavy milk and cream, which each have short lifespans.

If you are cooking with cream cheese, you need to understand that it can easily get spoiled. Storing it in the fridge is a must to prolong its lifespan.

Otherwise, you are only spoiling the ingredient and potentially serving bad food to your family.

Cream Cheese

Leaving Cream Cheese at Room Temperature

When getting groceries, keep in mind that cream cheese cannot be left out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Hence, if you have other errands to run, better do so before hitting the grocery store. This way, you can come straight home and get the ingredient into the fridge.

Leaving cream cheese at room temperature for an extended time will only cause spoilage.

Remember, it has to be stored at a cool temperature to prevent bacteria from growing.

In fact, this information is backed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The department recommends to always refrigerate foods like cream cheese to avoid disease-causing bacteria E.coli from growing.

Bacteria grows faster in temperatures between 40ºF to 140ºF.

Thus, leaving cream cheese out in the open for hours causes bacteria buildup.

This rule also applies to pre-packed sandwiches bought anywhere. If the sandwich is in your bag for more than two hours, consider disposing of it.

Leaving Cream Cheese to Soften Overnight

So, maybe you’re thinking it’s okay to leave cream cheese out overnight to soften it from the fridge. The answer is no, you cannot do this.

Even if the cheese is ice-cold, if you leave it in the open for more than two hours, bacteria starts to grow.

If your fridge loses power, cream cheese can sit in the cold for three to four hours. Exceeding this timeframe means throwing out the ingredient due to spoilage.

To soften the cheese, you can simply set it out for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. The texture will be good and taste will not be different.

Expiry of Cream Cheese

If you store cream cheese inside the fridge, the lifespan can be longer. Left unopened, it can last up to three weeks inside the fridge.

However, after the packing is open, expect that it will only last a few days, with a maximum of six days. Overall, it all boils down to how the cream cheese is stored.

There is also a variety of cream cheese that comes wrapped in foil.

These are safe for consumption two months after the expiry date, permitting the cheese is stored in the fridge at all times.

Cream Cheese on Cupcakes

Cream Cheese in Baking

As mentioned, cream cheese is used not only for desserts but also in some dishes.

One effective way of softening it is by putting a slab into the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. The cheese will easily lay flat and you can use it for your cooking.

Cream cheese is made out of milk fat, hence, the texture is softer but thicker than butter. It can be used for frosting, as a dip, or as a spread in sandwiches.

The reason why it expires easily compared to other aged cheese is because cream cheese is pasteurized from fresh milk.

Signs Cream Cheese Has Gone Bad

There are clues that indicate if cream cheese has gone bad. And you don’t need to take a bite to find out. For starters, the appearance can look rotten or moldy.

If you inspect the cheese, tints of yellow or green mean it has gone bad.

Another sign that cream cheese has gone bad is a sour smell.

A pungent and sour smell indicates that bacteria is present in the cheese. If this is the case, better throw it out than risk food poisoning.

Additionally, the texture must be intact and not slimy or soft. Fresh cream cheese is firm, yet soft in texture. However, when it looks like melted cheese, it is spoiled.

Look for a cream cheese substitute in your kitchen right away.

Tips for Extending the Lifespan of Cream Cheese

For the ingredient to last until its expiration date, you need to store it in a cool area, a.k.a. the refrigerator. After every use, put it in the fridge to avoid bacteria buildup.

Another good way to extend its lifespan is to use the right container, the ones that aren’t susceptible to bacteria. Foil is good or wrapping it tightly can help prevent bacteria invasions.

Finally, it is important to use clean utensils when using cream cheese.

The utensil comes in contact with the food, so use only clean ones and avoid cross-contamination.


Now that you know how long cream cheese can sit out of the fridge and tips on how to prolong its shelf life, don’t hesitate to share this information with your friends.

Cream cheese is a good source of vitamins and minerals that are good for the body. However, it also causes food poisoning with improper storage.

Make sure to place cream cheese inside the fridge and avoid leaving it at room temperature for more than two hours.

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