Can cream cheese go in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can cream cheese go in the fridge?” We will also discuss the nutritional value and health benefits of cream cheese. We will also get to know the proper ways to store cream cheese.

Can cream cheese go in the fridge?

Cream cheese should always be stored in the refrigerator. It is commonly available in plastic tubs, cartons, or wrapped in metal foil. 

Improperly stored or packaged Cream cheese can undergo lipid oxidation, which can limit its shelf life. 

The shelf life of the cold-pack product is only a few weeks, whereas the hotpack cheese has a shelf life of up to 3 months on refrigerated storage.(1) 

Advancements in packaging technologies have played a vital role in reducing mold spoilage in cheeses. To inhibit mold growth, packaging materials can be treated with antimycotic agents, effectively hindering the development of molds. (2)  

How to properly store cream cheese?

The best way to store cream cheese is to keep it in its original packaging and refrigerated. Commercially sold cheeses often use advanced packaging techniques such as vacuum and modified atmosphere packaging. 

By creating an oxygen-restricted environment with a modified atmosphere containing over 50% carbon dioxide and less than 0.5% oxygen, these methods further prevent mold growth and spoilage.

However, certain challenges may still arise, particularly with package leakage and pinhole defects, which can inadvertently allow molds to grow and lead to spoilage. 

Ensuring a tight seal on the cheese package after opening is essential to counter this issue. If the original cream cheese packaging lacks a resealable option, you have several alternatives to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage. 

Transferring the cream cheese to an airtight container or a freezer bag can effectively extend its shelf life. Alternatively, wrapping it in plastic or aluminum foil and securing it with rubber bands provides another reliable method to preserve its quality and prevent mold growth. (2)

Can you freeze cream cheese?

Freezing cream cheese is possible, but it’s important to note that the quality may not remain the same. During freezing, cream cheese tends to lose moisture and become dry, resulting in a crumbly texture once thawed.

In certain recipes, the altered texture may not pose a significant issue. However, it’s not suitable for use as a sandwich spread after thawing due to the changes in its consistency.

The behavior of cream cheese during freezing is influenced by factors such as its initial consistency, ingredients, and overall quality.

When freezing cream cheese, opt for heavy-duty freezer bags or wrap it in aluminum foil for better preservation. Alternatively, using an ice cube or muffin tray can also be a suitable method for portioning and freezing. (3)

What are the signs of cream cheese spoilage?

Certain defects may be observed in these cheeses, such as whey separation during storage and a grainy, chalky texture, particularly in lower fat varieties. Careless storage or improper packaging of cream cheese can lead to lipid oxidation, negatively impacting its quality.

The texture and flavor of cream cheese are significantly influenced by its pH level. If the pH is too high (above 4.7), the cheese will become excessively soft and lose its distinctive flavor. 

On the other hand, an extremely low pH (below 4.6) can result in a grainy texture and overly acidic taste, affecting its overall appeal.

Molds can play both beneficial and harmful roles in cream cheese. While they contribute to fermentation, some molds can cause spoilage and produce mycotoxins. 

If you notice discolored patches or spots on the cream cheese due to mold growth or detect a slimy texture upon touch, it indicates spoilage, and the cheese should be discarded immediately.

Similarly, crumbly cream cheese signifies a loss of quality and flavor, which calls for proper disposal. If the cream cheese emits a sour smell or tastes sour, it is best to discard it promptly as it has likely gone bad and is no longer safe for consumption. (1, 2) 

What are the health implications of consuming contaminated cream cheese?

Eating spoiled cream cheese can cause food poisoning, leading to a range of distressing symptoms. 

These may encompass lesions from the mouth to the caecum, difficulty swallowing, stomach pain, fever, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. Typically, these symptoms become apparent within 2-5 days after consuming the contaminated food. (2)

What is the shelf life of cream cheese?

The cold-pack product has a relatively short shelf life, lasting only a few weeks. In contrast, the hotpack cheese can stay fresh for up to 3 months when stored in the refrigerator. 

However, if cream cheese is stored or packaged improperly, it may experience lipid oxidation, leading to a reduction in its overall shelf life.(1)

The longevity of homemade cheese is determined by the shortest shelf life of its individual ingredients. Though the added ingredients enhance the taste of homemade cream cheese, they can also influence its shelf life, potentially shortening it.

On the other hand, store-bought cream cheese typically comes with a clearly marked expiry date and tends to have a longer shelf life compared to homemade cream cheese. (4)


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “can cream cheese go in the fridge?” We also discussed the nutritional value and health benefits of cream cheese. We also got to know the proper ways to store cream cheese.


  1. Lucey, J. A.  Cheese Acid- and Acid/Heat Coagulated Cheese. Encyclopedia of Dairy Sciences, 698–705. 2011
  2. Sørhaug, T.  Yeasts and Molds Spoilage Molds in Dairy Products. Encyclopedia of Dairy Sciences, 780–784. 2011.
  3. Kim Chin, Rachael Ajmera, Can You Freeze and Thaw Cream Cheese?. Healthline Media LLC. 2021
  4. Wolfschoon Pombo, A. F.  Cream cheese: Historical, manufacturing, and physico-chemical aspects. International Dairy Journal, 117, (2021).

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