You’re set to try out a recipe with cream cheese as a primary ingredient. And, you buy the cream cheese ready to prepare a tasty meal.
But then an emergency comes up, and you’ll no longer be able to make your meal. What happens next? Can you freeze cream cheese, or will it go to waste?
This article offers a detailed guide on whether or not to freeze cream cheese. Read on.
What is Cream Cheese?
According to the FDA, cream cheese is a soft, uncured cheese that contains a minimum of 33% milkfat and maximum moisture of 55%. All the dairy ingredients used in its preparation are pasteurized. Additionally, stabilizers such as carrageenan and carob bean gum are added during the production phase.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
Yes, freezing your cream cheese is safe and a sure way of avoiding wastages. However, the sudden cooling will alter its texture, making it unideal for spreading on bread.
Once thawed, the cream cheese will be crumbly and relatively less creamy. It is best used for baking and cooking other meals. For example, you can use it to make pound cakes and casseroles.
Benefits of Freezing Your Cream Cheese
Does freezing cream cheese really work? What are the advantages? Well, this technique is undoubtedly one of the most effective preservation methods. It extends the shelf life of the cream cheese.
As such, the technique will eliminate any chances of wastages, thus saving you money. While the cream cheese texture will change, its quality will remain the same, and the final products will taste as good as when you’d have used fresh cream cheese.
How to Freeze Cream Cheese Effectively
Freezing cream cheese may present two different scenarios:
- Freezing unopened cream cheese
- Freezing opened cream cheese
Freezing unopened cream cheese happens when you buy them in large quantities, and you need to preserve them for prolonged use. While buying in bulk is an excellent idea for many household items, cream cheese is undoubtedly an exception. We do not recommend that you buy in bulk since you’ll not feel the smoothness of cheese after freezing it.
If you’ve already bought the cream cheese, then you shouldn’t worry! Freezing it is a sure way of prolonging its shelf-life. Since it’s unopened, you’ll just pack it into the freezer right away.
While this may sound like a brilliant idea, we recommend that you do not keep your cream cheese in the freezer for more than two months.
How to Freeze Opened Cream Cheese
If you’ve already opened your cream cheese, you should never freeze it when open. Instead, it would be best if you transferred it to an airtight container before freezing it.
If you don’t have an airtight container, but you own a vacuum sealer, then you shouldn’t worry. Just seal the packaging bag to ensure that you store it in a vacuum. Ensure that you seal it well to avoid air seepage.
This practice will protect your cream cheese from cross-contamination, which will further alter its taste and increase the chance of going bad.
Why Does Frozen Cream Cheese Become Grainy?
Like we earlier indicated, cream cheese contains 33% fat and 55% moisture. When you freeze it, the moisture turns into ice crystals.
After thawing the cheese, the water from the crystals does not emulsify into cheese curds. As such, thawed cheese will almost always be separated and grainy.
How to Thaw Your Frozen Cream Cheese
You should ensure that you remove the cheese from the freezer several hours before using it; even overnight can be ideal. Let it sit under room temperature until it’s completely thawed.
How to Make Your Frozen Cream Cheese Creamy Again
If you still need the unique taste of your cream cheese, then you can use the following simple techniques to regain the creaminess:
- Use a Microwave. After your cheese has thawed for approximately 24 hours, you should transfer it into an oven-safe bowl and microwave it for 10 seconds. Repeat this process until you get the consistency that you desire.
- Stovetop. Put some water in a saucepan and place it on your stovetop. Place your thawed cream cheese in a small bowl and put it in water. If you have a double boiler, you can use it for better results.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese? The Verdict
Freezing your cream cheese is a viable method of keeping it safe for a long time. However, it will lose its texture. As such, you should only freeze it as your last resort. Avoid buying cream cheese in bulk to eliminate the need to freeze.
If you freeze your cream cheese, you should ensure that you do it right. This way, you will eliminate any chances of contamination that may have adverse health effects.
This article provides a detailed guide on how to freeze cream cheese, thaw it, and restore its creaminess. Read on for unique tips. If you follow all the tips provided herein, you’ll assured of safety and creaminess of your cream cheese.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese -FAQS
Does Philadelphia cream cheese freeze well?
Philadelphia is well known for cream cheese frosting. Most restaurants in the region have complicated cheese freezers that efficiently freeze the cheese without losing its taste. When you visit Philadelphia, taking a cream cheeseburger or any other cheese meal is a must!
Is cheese still good after being frozen?
Yes, cheese can remain in the freezer for up to 6 months (recommended is two months) before going bad. However, it will lose its original creamy taste and become grainy.
How do you defrost cream cheese?
To thaw your cream cheese, you should remove it from the freezer at least 24 hours before the anticipated time of use. Let it sit on a counter table under room temperature. If need be, you can heat it using a double boiler to regain its creaminess.
Can expired cream cheese make you sick?
Yes, you should not take any product that is past its expiry date. It may have adverse side effects that may even be fatal. Always check the expiry date before freezing your cheese.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.