Quick Answer: Does Cream Cheese Go Bad? Like any dairy product, cream cheese will eventually go bad. In fact, compared to harder dairy products, this soft product is likely to spoil a lot faster. You can expect an open pot of cream cheese to last one to two weeks when kept in the refrigerator. Signs of the cheese going bad include a change in texture, smell, and appearance.
In many households, cream cheese is a staple breakfast food. However, it isn’t something we all use every day.
Therefore, it is important to understand just how long a pot of cream cheese will last before and after it’s been opened.
If you’ve found a pot of cream cheese at the back of your refrigerator and want to know if it’s gone bad, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll explore everything about cream cheese in relation to it going bad.
Let’s get started!
What Is Cream Cheese?
To understand if cream cheese goes bad, you first need to know what it is and how it is made.
Cream cheese is a type of soft, mild fresh cheese made from cream and milk. It usually contains 33% milk and has a moisture content of approximately 55%.
Cream cheese tends to differ from other cheeses as it is made and eaten fresh.
Other soft cheeses like brie don’t have to be fresh when consumed.
Cream cheese is quite easy to make. Lactic acid bacteria are added to the cream, or a combination of cream and milk to decrease the pH.
This makes the cream coagulate. In simpler terms, the mixture separates and leaves us with curds and whey.
When the curds are heated and mixed with stabilizers, the cream cheese is formed.
Most people use cream cheese in baking or eat it in the morning with their breakfast. Some cooks also like to put it in mac and cheese and a pasta sauce.
Does Cream Cheese Go Bad?
Now you know more about what cream cheese is, answering the question does cream cheese go bad is a lot easier.
Because cream cheese is a fresh product that contains dairy, it will eventually go bad. Considering it’s a soft cheese it will also spoil a lot faster than other dairy products.
The reason for this is down to the cheese’s high moisture content.
On average, you can expect a pot of unopened cream cheese to last approximately two or three weeks past its expiration date. However, this can only be the case if the cheese is kept in a refrigerator.
Once your cream cheese has been opened, it will most likely last another week or two before spoiling. Again, this relies on you keeping it in the refrigerator.
Do Processing Methods Play A Part?
You might be interested to hear that the way your cream cheese is processed also affects its shelf life.
Some pots of cream cheese are made via heat processing. Cream cheese made using this method is designed to last in a refrigerator for nearly six months.
There are even packaged cream cheeses that will stay shelf-stable for months before opening.
With this in mind, before assuming the cream cheese in your refrigerator has gone off, you should check the packaging first. You might just find it has a longer shelf life than expected.
How Can You Tell If Your Cream Cheese Has Gone Bad?
Luckily for us, checking to see if our cream cheese has gone bad isn’t that difficult. In fact, it’s actually very easy. The main signs cream cheese has spoiled are relatively obvious.
These signs include changes in texture, smell, and more noticeably appearance. If you take a look at your cream cheese and mold is visible, the cheese has completely dried out and separated.
Alternatively, if it has a strong sour smell or odd odor, the cheese has expired. In both instances, make sure you throw it out.
A quick look at your cream cheese will usually be all it takes to tell if the cheese has spoiled. If the cheese has spoiled, you’ll likely see mold growing on it. Sadly, the only thing you can do if this is the case is throw the cheese out.
The reason we reiterate this is because with harder cheeses, removing small dots of mold is okay. Unfortunately, this is not the case with a soft cheese like cream cheese.
This is because cheese mold can permeate soft cheese easily.
Another key sign to look out for in terms of appearance and texture is a dried, waxy, and yellow appearance and feel. Technically, you could still eat the cheese if it looks and feels like this, but it wouldn’t be pleasant.
Other obvious signs include cracks, separation, and large pools of liquid. However, don’t worry about small pools of liquid as they are normal.
Can We Freeze Cream Cheese?
You’ll be pleased to hear that cream cheese can be successfully frozen. However, due to cream cheese’s crumbly texture, once frozen, you should only use it in recipes that require it to be cooked.
This may seem a little frustrating but it’s a much better solution than throwing it away.
You could try your best to use it for other things but you’ll struggle. Once thawed, cream cheese will be very difficult to spread. It could even taste quite unpleasant until it has been thoroughly cooked.
Freezing your cream cheese is fairly simple. All you need to do is tightly wrap it up so that no air comes into contact with it. Once that’s done, you can place the cream cheese in your freezer.
Tightly wrapping the cream cheese is important because it prevents the cheese from drying out and losing flavor.
Over time, your freezer will dry your cream cheese out. Therefore, we recommend only freezing cream cheese for a couple of months.