Does Cream Cheese Go Bad?

Have you ever wondered “does cream cheese go bad?”? If you have and you don’t know the answer, this article is here to help. Cream cheese is a dairy product often used as a sandwich spread, but it has quite a few other uses as well. The answer to the main question is affirmative – cream cheese goes bad, just like any other dairy product and almost every other food product. Besides that, there are a few things you should know about it – how to store it, what’s its shelf life and how to tell if it’s already bad. If you’re interested, read on.

How to Store Cream Cheese

Just like almost any other dairy product, cream cheese should be stored in the fridge. It doesn’t really matter if the package is closed or opened, remember to always keep it in the refrigerator. Once the package is opened, make sure it’s covered tightly when not in use. When it comes to cream cheese sold in blocks (don’t mistake them with spreadable cream cheese), it can be frozen. If you’d like to keep it for a longer period of time, freezing it is the thing to do. Before putting the block into the freezer, make sure it’s covered tightly. If the block is still unopened, you can freeze it as-is, but if it’s opened, put it into freezer bags or wrap with freezer wraps. One more thing to remember – frozen and thawed cream cheese changes its taste a little and becomes crumbly, therefore it works best in cooked dishes.


Sandwich with Cream Cheese
(credit: stu_spivack)

Shelf Life of Cream Cheese

Unopened package of cream cheese (either block or spreadable) should be good for 3 weeks up to 1 month after the date on the package, provided it will be stored properly. Once it’s opened, it should be used within a week, maybe two. Of course it might be fine even for a few days longer, but it probably won’t be of its best quality at that time. If you will decide on freezing cream cheese (only blocks, not spreadable!), it’s recommended to not keep it frozen for more than 2 months. That’s obviously for quality reasons, because you can keep it in the freezer for much longer.

How to Tell if Cream Cheese is Bad

There are at least a couple of things that can indicate that the cream cheese you got is spoiled. First off, it’s its appearance. If you can find any signs or mold, the product becomes yellowish or greenish, or it gets slimy across the top, those are sure signs of spoilage. If it develops “funny” or “off” odor, throw it aways as well. If it seems to be fine (its appearance and odor are fine), just taste a little. If the taste is fine, it’s nothing to worry. If it’s slightly altered, it’s up to you (if the taste will be good enough for what are you planning to do with the cream cheese). If it’s significantly changed, throw the product away.

As you should know by now, cream cheese does go bad pretty quickly, although it has a longer shelf life than some other dairy products. When it comes to cream cheese in blocks, one might extend its shelf life by freezing it.