Cream cheese is a tasty snack and useful recipe ingredient to have on hand, but it doesn't stay fresh in the refrigerator for too long. So whether you like to stock up or just want to keep one package over a period of months and use a little bit at a time, you might be wondering if you can freeze it.
Uses for Frozen Cream Cheese
You can freeze cream cheese, but it will change the texture considerably, making it more crumbly and less creamy. Frozen cream cheese is best used in baked or cooked dishes where the change won't be noticeable.
So if you want to freeze some cream cheese to use on your next cheesecake, go for it. Just know you probably won't be happy with the results if you're hoping to fill your freezer with cream cheese to top your morning bagel. It won't spread the way it does when it hasn't been frozen, and freezing is not a good option if you want to use the cream cheese as a spread right from the package.
But that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of a sale. Unopened cream cheese can be safely stored in the fridge for a month past the sell-by date stamped on the box. Of course, you should always discard any cheese that has mold on it or that smells or looks bad. Trust your senses and toss anything that's questionable.
How to Freeze Cream Cheese
Some websites recommend adding another layer of wrapping to cream cheese before you freeze it, but that really isn't necessary. Blocks of cream cheese already come wrapped in foil and boxed in cardboard, and that's ample protection against freezer burn. Just tuck them in the freezer and try to use them as soon as you can.
They'll keep indefinitely but will be at their best if you use them within two months. Sounds like a good excuse to make a cheesecake, don't you think?
And while it probably goes without saying, you shouldn't waste freezer space freezing old cream cheese. It's not going to be any better than the day you put it in there. So if you have something that needs to be thrown out, go ahead and chuck it. No one likes to waste food, but risking your health by eating old cheese is not worth it.
When you're ready to pull some cream cheese from the freezer, just shift it over to your fridge and allow it to thaw. Then use it as you normally would for cooking or baking.
Freezing Other Cheeses
If you have limited freezer space, you might find freezing other cheeses to be more worthwhile. Hard and semi-hard cheeses, like cheddar, Parmesan, and mozzarella tend to freeze better than soft cheeses, like cream cheese.
In fact, you probably won't notice any changes in taste or texture if you freeze a hard cheese. So go ahead and load up the next time you come across a good sale or coupon.