How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out: The Shelf Life Of Cream Cheese

It seems some people like to store their cream cheese on the countertop. But how long can cream cheese sit out?!

I’m going to answer that question and tell you how long you can leave cream cheese sitting out before it spoils.

Normally cream cheese will stay good out of the fridge for about a week (if it is not hot and humid). But as you’ll see, there is one important exception to this.

You should never leave the unrefrigerated cream cheese out on the counter. Why? It can go bad. Really fast.  I’ve heard of people who left it on the counter, and within a day, it was bad.

There are different types and brands of cream cheese, and I don’t know if everyone lasts this long, but for some cheap stuff, it will be about three to five days before you could get sick from it.

How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out?

Cream cheese should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. After that, it should be refrigerated to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and refrigerate cream cheese as soon as possible, especially if it has been opened or is being used in a recipe that will not be cooked.

Is It Ok To Leave Cream Cheese Out Overnight?

You should never leave cream cheese lying around for too long because it could grow bacteria that are harmful. This is especially important to keep in mind if you live in a hot and humid area.

Even if the cream cheese has been sitting out for less than two hours, it’s possible that harmful bacteria could develop from exposure to high temperatures.

If you leave the cream cheese out overnight, there’s a chance that harmful bacteria can form before you open it up and discover the problem.

Bacteria will thrive at room temperature and spoil your food quickly, so make sure to refrigerate cream cheese immediately after purchase and always use it before its expiration date.

How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out
How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out

Can You Put Room Temperature Cream Cheese Back In The Fridge?

Of course, you can use room-temperature cream cheese in the fridge! It won’t last as long as the cream cheese in the tub because it will start to oxidize, but it will still be good for at least a week or two.

But what about putting room-temperature cream cheese in the fridge? Is that ok? Well, that is not recommended. That would be a really bad idea!

How Do I Know If Cream Cheese Is Bad?

One way to tell if your cream cheese has gone bad is by smell. It will smell sour or maybe like old cheese. It will have a weird taste, too. If it looks more yellow instead of white, that is not a good sign either.

There are a few signs that cream cheese may have gone bad:

  1. Smell: Sour (like old cheese) or smells like chemicals
  2. Taste: Strange (more yellow than white) or tastes bad
  3. Color: Has a yellowish hue instead of the usual clear color
  4. Shape: Looks more like a glob rather than a clean block of cream cheese.

Why Does Cream Cheese Go Bad So Quickly?

Cream cheese goes bad faster than regular blocks of cheddar and Monterey jack cheese because it has much more moisture in it.

The high moisture content causes the growth of mold on the outside of the package and other nasty stuff inside the package.

That is why it is important to keep cream cheese in the fridge. If you see mold or weird stuff growing on the outside of your cream cheese and it smells bad, throw it out!

One last thing: If you don’t plan to use your cream cheese right away, put it back in the fridge and put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of it before putting the lid back on. This will keep the cream cheese from getting really warm and open up the package.

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Hello! I'm Naznin Aktar, the food enthusiast and recipe curator at Naznin's Kitchen. Want to turn everyday ingredients into extraordinary dishes? Explore Naznin's Kitchen for a collection of recipes that are sure to inspire your inner chef and delight your loved ones.
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