How long does cream cheese last? Opened cream cheese can last for two weeks while an unopened package can last up to two months in the fridge.

Cream cheese is considered one of the most versatile soft cheese. You can buy it in all groceries and supermarkets nationwide, available in different types and textures– regular, reduced-fat, whipped and flavored. One of the most popular brands is Philadelphia. Opened cream cheese can last for two weeks while an unopened one can last up to two months.

Before you purchase cream cheese, it’s best to know how much you are going to use, so you don’t buy too much of it. It’s also a good idea to know the signs of spoiled cream cheese and how to properly store it for a longer shelf life.

Shelf Life of Cream Cheese

Like other dairy products available on the market, cream cheese has a best before or sell-by date instead of an expiration date. This gives the store owners an idea of until when they can sell the cheese. After hitting the best-by date, the cheese will still be usable and safe until some time, as specified below.

Unopened Cream Cheese

  • Unopened cream cheese in plastic containers and flavored cream cheese can last for three to four weeks in the refrigerator after the sell-by date.
  • Reduced-fat cream cheese can last for two to three weeks in the refrigerator.
  • A foil-wrapped block can last up to two months past the best-by date when kept frozen.

Opened Cream Cheese

Once opened, all types of cream cheese– in plastic containers or foil-wrapped, can last for one to two weeks in the refrigerator. In the freezer, opened foil-wrapped one can last for two months.

The shelf life of cream cheese will quickly decline if not stored properly. Spoiled cream cheese, like other spoiled food products, can result in foodborne illnesses if accidentally consumed.

Signs of Spoiled Cream Cheese

Using your senses will be the best technique to check if your cream cheese has gone bad, so you can minimize the health risks. Here are a few signs of spoiled cream cheese.

  • Discoloration. Cream cheese should have a white or cream color. If your cheese has turned yellow or you notice patches of discoloration– blue or green mold formation– then it has already gone bad.
  • Dry or slimy texture. Cream cheese should be smooth or creamy. If your cheese feels dry, grainy, chalky or has a slimy texture, then it is already spoiled.
  • Unpleasant smell. Cream cheese should smell mild, light and pleasant. Bad one smells pungent, sour and rotten.

How to Properly Store Cream Cheese

Proper storage of cream cheese is important to make sure it lasts longer and prevent bacteria contamination. Here are some tips on how to properly store your cream cheese and cream cheese frosting for best quality.

How to Store Cream Cheese

  • When grocery shopping, grab all dairy products including cream cheese last before going to the cashier to check out.
  • Don’t leave cream cheese at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Keep cream cheese refrigerated. Store in refrigerator with a temperature of 40º F or lower.
  • To maintain its consistency, do not freeze cream cheese packed in plastic containers which are softer than foil-wrapped blocks.
  • Keep the original packaging of foil-wrapped cream cheese refrigerated if still unopened. Once opened, transfer the cream cheese to airtight containers, freezer bag or wraps.

A note on freezing cream cheese:

You might have tried freezing your cream cheese before and noticed it had become crumbly after you thawed it. This is because cream cheese has a high moisture content, it is sensitive to the formation and melting of ice crystals. Freezing then thawing it separates its water content from the cheese curds, making it crumbly.

Frozen cream cheese can not only become crumbly but also lose some of its flavors when thawed. However, you can still use thawed cream cheese for casseroles. And remember, always use clean utensils for your cream cheese to avoid contamination and mold formation.

How to Store Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Keep prepared cream cheese frosting in an airtight container. Use a sealable plastic food bowl or freezer bags.
  • Refrigerate for up to three days. Do not freeze: this will ruin the consistency of the cream cheese icing.
  • Your icing will get stiff after refrigeration. You can use a whisk or electric beater to soften it up before using.
  • If you are storing desserts like cakes or cupcakes with cream cheese icing, use an airtight container to keep the frosting fresh.

Looking for more cream cheese recipes? Here are a couple street-smart ideas that you might like.

1. Best Carrot Cake Recipe // 2. Creamed Mushroom Toast // 3. No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups // 4. Chicken Primavera // 5. Brownie Cheesecake // 6. Beef Sticky Buns // 7. Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Bread // 8. Double Strawberry Toast // 9. Stuffed Jalapeños

How long does cream cheese last? Learn how to properly store cream cheese along with some amazing cream cheese recipe ideas.

About the Author

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, an author and a sous vide fanatic who believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she's on a mission to help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.