Cream cheese is a popular soft cheese that’s made by curdling cream or milk with a natural acid like vinegar. Another method involves adding a bacterial culture to thicken the milk or cream. These processes give cream cheese its tangy or sour undertones.
Cream cheese is sold in stores nationwide and can last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. That length of time does vary based on the formula and source of the cream cheese. It’s possible to make cream cheese at home, and the resulting product is less likely to last as long as a manufactured brand that needs to withstand shipping and time on the shelf.
In addition to eating cream cheese on its own, cream cheese is a highly versatile ingredient in many cooked dishes. Cream cheese is often sold in blocks and tubs, and since it’s usually consumed in fairly large quantities, it’s rare to find cream cheese in small sizes. When there’s leftover cream cheese after making a bagel, baked dish, or dip, many people end up asking themselves a critical question: Can you freeze cream cheese? And if so, can you freeze mascarpone cheese and other similar products?
The answer to both of these questions is thankfully yes. Frozen cream cheese is still safe to eat, but the cream cheese might change once it’s thawed and have a slightly grainy texture. The best way to freeze cream cheese is to wrap it in plastic or put it in an airtight, freezer-safe container. If unopened cream cheese is still sealed in its original container, that can be used as well.
Colder temperatures work better for freezing cream cheese, so always place the cheese in the coldest part of the freezer. The container or plastic wrap will protect it against freezer burn and discoloration.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese Icing?
Cream cheese icing is made with cream cheese, sugar, and butter. Some recipes call for other flavors such as vanilla extract. It’s commonly used on cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts that require frosting. Cream cheese icing is known for being particularly creamy and smooth. The exact thickness will depend on the recipe and the baker’s preference.
When asking if you can freeze cream cheese icing, it’s important to consider the end use of the frosting. Cream cheese frosting can be safely frozen and thawed, but it can lose its original consistency and texture. Therefore, if you’re hoping to freeze the frosting for use on a special cake, it might not look like it used to before you froze it despite being otherwise safe to consume.
If you need to freeze the frosting, follow the same recommendations as freezing cream cheese. Seal the icing in an airtight container to keep it as fresh as possible.
Can You Freeze Philadelphia Cream Cheese?
Philadelphia cream cheese is a popular brand owned by Kraft Foods. It was first introduced in 1872 by William A. Lauder. Although the original recipe called for cream, milk, white wine, and salt, the exact composition has changed over time as more and more flavors have been introduced to the market. For example, some flavors use low-fat milk or include other ingredients like cinnamon.
So, can you freeze cream cheese made by Philadelphia? What’s the difference? The main way that store-bought cream cheese differs from fresh cream cheese is that it’s stabilized with preservatives like carob bean gum. However, these additives don’t affect how the cream cheese behaves when frozen, so Philadelphia cream cheese can also be wrapped, sealed, or placed in an airtight container to freeze.
Can You Freeze Mascarpone Cheese?
Marscapone cheese is made from the milk of cows that graze in marshlands. The cheese is known for having a smooth texture, slight sweetness, and mild flavor, making it great for dips or spreading on crackers. It’s sometimes used as a substitution for ricotta, and it appears in many popular Italian desserts such as cannolis or tiramisu.
Cream cheese and mascarpone have different fat contents. Marscapone is lower in fat, which makes it less creamy compared to cream cheese. These differences don’t significantly affect a product’s ability to be frozen, so this type of cheese can withstand freezing and thawing just as well as cream cheese.
If you’re going to freeze mascarpone in a dish, remember to consider the other ingredients. Asking “Can you freeze mascarpone cheese?” and “Can you freeze a cannoli?” will produce two very different answers. Even though the mascarpone in a cannoli is perfectly safe in the freezer, a cannoli as a whole dessert won’t fare well because the shell is likely to become soggy from being exposed to the moisture in the filling before freezing.
How Long Can You Freeze Cream Cheese And Related Products?
Cream cheese and other related products will usually last for up to 2 months in the freezer when properly stored. To avoid losing track of time, label the container or plastic wrap when you place the cream cheese into the freezer. If you’re freezing multiple containers or blocks over time, this will also allow you to sort through them and use the oldest one first. Use a permanent marker to avoid smudging the date if the wrapper is exposed to moisture.
When it’s time to thaw the cream cheese, place it in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours before needing it to slowly unfreeze. Cheese products should never be thawed or left out at room temperature since this can cause bacteria to rapidly grow on the outside while the inside remains frozen. Never use the microwave to thaw cream cheese faster since it’s likely to melt or heat unevenly.
Thawing slowly in the refrigerator will allow the cheese to adjust to higher temperatures in stages, which can help it retain its original texture and flavor. Once the cream cheese is fully thawed, it should be used within a week.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese In Any Container Or Bag?
There are many containers that are designed specifically for freezing with materials that can flex without breaking or cracking. Plastic is a cheap and lightweight material that can also be paired with airtight lids to freeze cream cheese. Some designs include silicone gaskets that improve sealing and allow for air to be drawn out of vents when the lids are pressed tight.
You can also use plastic bags to save space in your freezer if hard-sided containers are too bulky, but they should be designed for use while freezing. Not all snack or gallon bags are optimized to seal out the air in those conditions. Vacuum food bags are particularly effective because they remove as much air as possible before being heat sealed by a separate device.
Freezing cream cheese (or anything else) in a glass container is not recommended due to the risk of breakage. Foods like cream cheese will expand during freezing, which can crack or break glass if there isn’t enough extra space left at the top. This could pose a safety hazard since you might not realize there’s broken glass in the freezer until you pick up the container of frozen cream cheese to move it.
Regardless of the material, the end goal of any container is to keep out air since that’s what causes food to dry out or lose its original texture. Unopened cream cheese can be left in its original container since opening it would unnecessarily expose it to air. Aside from issues of taste or quality, opened cream cheese is susceptible to bacteria since the air allows bacteria to multiply.
Is It Safe To Eat Frozen Cream Cheese With Freezer Burn Or Ice Crystals?
If your frozen cream cheese wasn’t sealed or covered properly, the frozen cream cheese may have ice crystals, appear flaky, or show some areas of discoloration. From a quality perspective, you might want to get rid of it because the texture and taste of the thawed cream cheese will be far from ideal. However, frozen cream cheese that has ice crystals or discoloration isn’t necessarily unsafe to eat as long as it was maintained at a safe temperature.
The exposed parts of the frozen cream cheese will be most affected by freezer burn. With a large block or container of thawed cream cheese, you may be able to scrape away the dry or discolored parts of the thawed frozen cream cheese to uncover the cream cheese that’s still in decent condition.
Can You Refreeze Cream Cheese More Than Once?
It’s not recommended to refreeze defrosted cream cheese or freeze cream cheese once it’s started the thawing process. Once you thaw frozen cream cheese for any length of time, you’ve reintroduced it to a temperature range where bacteria can form. Freezing won’t kill the existing bacteria, so subjecting frozen cream cheese to this cycle could result in the cream cheese accidentally going bad. Once you’re finished with defrosted cream cheese, it should be discarded if you’re not planning to eat it. This rule even applies regardless of whether you’re using unopened cream cheese, opened cream cheese, or frozen cream cheese that’s homemade.
Alright, hopefully by this point you’re comfortable enough to know the answer to can you freeze cream cheese is a yes, along with some other variations like Mascarpone. Freeze cream cheese is a great way to stretch out some extra amounts you wind up with as usually, you have to buy much more than you need. =)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
How Do You Make Cream Cheese Creamy Again?
If texture is important, mix the cream cheese before use to help it regain some of its original creaminess. For cream cheese frosting, you can try whipping it again until it’s light and fluffy. Creating a more distinct texture by adding sprinkles or sugar may also conceal any problems with the cream cheese.
What’s The Best Way To Use Thawed Cream Cheese?
Since cream cheese and other related products can have a slightly grainy texture after freezing, thawed cream cheese is especially suited for soups, dips, or baked goods where the consistency won’t play as large of a role. In those recipes, there are other flavors and textures to make up for any slight changes to the taste of the cream cheese.