Does Cheesecake Go Bad?

Who doesn’t love cheesecake? It’s sweet, decadent, and surprisingly filling. If you’ve bought a large portion or baked a whole cake and got some leftovers, how do you store this dessert? More importantly, does cheesecake go bad?

Or maybe you’re hosting a small party for a few friends in the middle of the week. And while they love your cheesecake, you can’t find the time to whip it up the same day you throw the party. So you’re thinking about making it in advance, but you’re not sure if freezing it will work or not.

In either case, if you’re ready to learn a thing or two about storage, shelf life, freezing, and going bad of cheesecake, read on.

A caramel cheesecake slice in front of the rest of the cake.

How to Store Cheesecake

Since the main ingredient of cheesecake is cream cheese, I’m fairly sure you know you should keep it refrigerated.

Obviously, you should keep it covered, so it doesn’t absorb odors from the fridge and doesn’t dry out. To cover it, use a cake carrier, or cut the leftovers into smaller pieces and put into airtight containers. Alternatively, you can wrap the cake with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

If you’re serving the cheesecake with a topping that doesn’t refrigerate well, it’s better if you put the cake into the fridge sans-topping and add the finishing touches right before serving.

Slice of fruit-garnished cheesecake on a black plate
(credit: Tina Guina)

Can You Freeze Cheesecake?

As you probably expect, the cheesecake in the fridge keeps freshness for only a few days. So if you want to keep it around for longer, it’s best to freeze it. And cheesecake is one of the cakes that freezes quite well, and many bakeries recommend freezing the leftovers.

Obviously, how your cheesecake freezes depends on the ingredients and the recipe you or your bakery follows. In other words, when it comes to freezing, not all cheesecakes are created equal. But as a rule of thumb, you can assume dense cheesecakes without sensitive toppings usually freeze very well.

Tip

For best results, freeze the cake without any topping and add it right before serving the goodie.

When it comes to how to freeze the cake, it’s super simple.

Basically, you need to wrap the cake with something freezer-safe, so the cake doesn’t dry out or suffer from freezer burn. It can be anything like an airtight container, freezer bag, or a double layer of aluminum foil. Just make sure you don’t squash the pieces when wrapping.

When you need to thaw the cake, put it in the fridge the night before you want to serve it. Or a few hours before you need it, at the very least .

Last but not least, as long as you’ve thawed the cheesecake in the fridge, you can refreeze it if needed.

Slice of cheesecake with topping
Image used under Creative Commons from ponafotkas

How Long Does Cheesecake Last

As you know, cheesecake is made from dairy products, particularly cream cheese. Eggs are also included in most recipes. These ingredients are quite delicate, so the cake doesn’t retain freshness for that long.

Generally, the shelf life of store-bought cheesecake is 5 to 7 days in the fridge unless the packaging label specifies a shorter period.

When it comes to homemade cheesecake, you usually don’t want to keep it refrigerated for longer than 5 days. Or shorter, if the recipe you follow says so, or there are some highly perishable ingredients.

If you need to store cheesecake for longer, freezing is the way to go. The cake should keep good quality in the freezer for at least a few months.

Tip

If you’re planning to freeze the cheesecake for your guests to enjoy, it’s best if you test freezing a small amount of that exact cake ahead of time. This way you will learn what to expect after thawing and if the cake is good enough to serve to your friends.

 FridgeFreezer
Cheesecake (homemade)3 – 5 days1+ month
Cheesecake (store-bought)5 – 7 days3+ months

Please note the periods above are only rough estimates. As usual, the store-bought variety lasts a bit longer because it usually has some preservatives added, and the homemade variety is usually preservative-free.

Chocolate cheesecake
Image used under Creative Commons from Claire Thompson

How to Tell If Cheesecake Has Gone Bad

Unfortunately, there isn’t a good way to tell if cheesecake has gone bad.

Obviously, if there’s mold, discolorations, or it gives an unpleasant odor, you should discard it. But usually, those signs show up after storing the cake for 2 weeks, or even longer.

That emans the safest way to go about this is simply to toss out homemade cheesecake that you store for longer than 5 to 7 days, and the store-bought one after 7 to 9 days. Yes, even if it looks perfectly fine.