Does Cream Cheese Go Bad? How Long Does Cream Cheese Last?

Cream cheese can be an essential ingredient in your kitchen. If you are using a recipe that calls for softened cream cheese, it can be challenging to determine how long it can be out of the fridge before it goes bad.

Quick Answer

Cream cheese can be left out of the refrigerator for a total of two hours. If it is left out for longer than that, harmful bacteria, E. Coli, can grow on cream cheese and cause sickness. The cream cheese temperature needs to be below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it is safe to use.


To make sure your family’s health is not in jeopardy when eating recipes with cream cheese, read on to determine the signs and information you need to keep your family safe.

Does Cream Cheese Go Bad? How Long Does Cream Cheese Last?

Depending on the type of cream cheese you are using, the shelf life can differ. Ensure you are using the appropriate guidelines when working with different cheeses as described in the following guidelines.

How Long is Cream Cheese Good at Room Temperature?

Quick timeline: Any time between when you take your cream cheese out of the fridge to two hours after is the right time to use it. Since soft cheese has a short shelf life and can spoil quickly, keeping your cream cheese at a lower temperature will ensure a smaller margin for spoiling.

Room temperature: When sitting out, the room temperature air can cause the cream cheese’s temperature to rise to the right softening level, but it can still be dangerous for you if you leave it out for too long.

Health concerns: After taking cream cheese out of the refrigerator, it can only be at room temperature for two hours. After two hours, your health becomes at risk due to the E. Coli bacteria that grows when food hits between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This can cause food poisoning and more possible severe health conditions.

Time management: If your recipe calls for softened cream cheese, make sure you keep track of the time and the cheese’s temperature, so you may avoid spoiling your recipe.

How Long Can Cream Cheese Stay In the Fridge?

Refrigerator Timeline: Depending on if your full-fat cream cheese is open or not, cream cheese can last in your refrigerator for up to one month. If open, cream cheese should be used up within ten days; but it can be used within one month if unopened.

Types of cheese: If you decide to use reduced-fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, the time it can be used is reduced to 2-3 weeks. The unpasteurized low-fat milk and cream in cream cheese can spoil if unrefrigerated or kept above 40 degrees Fahrenheit due to its delicate nature.

Shelf life: Each cream cheese brand might have a small difference in shelf life due to different processing times or methods. But each type of cream cheese is made soft and spreadable through every company’s packaging methods. 

Expiration Date: If cream cheese is stored correctly (kept cold), the expiration date will be less of a guideline. Keep an eye on the temperature in your fridge to make sure that your cream cheese does not spoil.

How to Soften Cream Cheese?

There are a couple of different ways you can soften your cream cheese and eliminate the health risks. Depending on your time constraints, you can have softened cream cheese in as little as ten seconds.

Room temperature: First, if you have time or you have other things you need to accomplish, you can leave your cream cheese out on a counter. The room temperature will soften it, but you need to make sure that you don’t leave it out for longer than two hours.

Microwave: A microwave can be used to speed the process along. For an 8 ounce block of cream cheese, microwave your cream cheese for 15 seconds. If there are more than eight ounces, you can add 10 seconds for every eight ounces.

Hot water: If you are afraid of uneven heating in the microwave, you can put the foil brick in hot water for 15 minutes. Flip the brick every five minutes and poke the foil to check softness. 

Piece method: A final trick for softening cream cheese is to cut it into pieces. Use a sharp knife and place the cubes under plastic wrap for 30 minutes. This will speed up the process and soften it quickly.

How To Know If Your Cream Cheese Has Gone Bad?

Easy signs: If you notice your cream cheese is turning green or growing mold, it is time to throw it away. Cream cheese is best used when it is still fresh, so when the cheese is left out for over two hours, or your fridge loses power, it would be best to get rid of it.

Texture signs: Unspoiled cream cheese will have a creamy texture and be easily spreadable. On the other hand, spoiled cream cheese will taste sour, smell bad, and have an uneven, bumpy texture with a watery surface.

Taste signs: If you are unsure if your cream cheese is terrible, you can taste a small amount of cream cheese. A small amount of spoiled cream cheese will not harm you but make sure you pay attention to the details.


When you make a recipe using cream cheese, it is essential to utilize the proper tools and strategies to keep you and your family safe.

How to Extend Your Cream Cheese’s Life?

There are a few different ways to extend the life of your cream cheese. Each one has positives and negatives, but will allow you to use the cream cheese for a more extended period of time.

  1. Keep cold. Keep your cream cheese in the fridge for as long as you can before you use it. This can cut down on the possibility of it spoiling.
  2. Use the freezer. You can put your cream cheese in the freezer. The cream cheese can be utilized for up to two months after the expiry date by being placed in the freezer. The texture might not be the same, though, but it will still be suitable for recipes.
  3. Store in an airtight container. Use a container that is a little bit bigger than the brick of cheese and creates an airtight seal. This will keep the fresh cheese longer.

Utilizing these tips will ensure your cream cheese will last longer.

Wrap Up

When using cream cheese, it is vital to know how to store and use the product. Now that you know, you can make delicious cream cheese dishes without the possibility of health concerns!

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