How Long Can Cream Cheese Really Be out of the Fridge?

Cream cheese is a type of fresh cheese, with a soft texture, made from milk and cream. A lot of people are using cream cheese for different cooking styles and baking purposes, but its lifespan can also be very short.

It is important to remember that cream cheese can easily get spoiled, so it must stay in the fridge if it is not going to be used. However, there are cases when the cream cheese is taken out from the fridge and is left outside.

If this is your first time using cream cheese, it is important for you to know how long can it sit out, and what are some steps to be done to prolong its lifespan.

How long can cream cheese be left out at room temperature?

Cream cheese is made of fresh dairy and therefore it should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. A tip is to keep this time frame in mind when you are running errands. Cream cheese is not something that you want to leave in your car for an extended time. Next time you set cream cheese on your counter, go ahead and set a timer so that you keep track of how long it has been out.

Is it safe to eat cream cheese left out overnight?

No it isn't safe to consume cream cheese that has been left out overnight. According to you should throw out cream cheese that has been above 40 degrees for over four hours. Bacteria can start to grow after 2 hours of room temperature exposure on cream cheese.

Can cream cheese sit out overnight to soften?

No, it is not a good idea to leave cream cheese on the counter overnight or for anything beyond a couple of hours. Bacteria such as E. Coli can start to grow on soft cheeses after just two hours at room temperature. Note that if your fridge loses power, you should also throw out cream cheese after 4 hours with no power.

What is the best way to soften cream cheese?

There are multiple options for softening cream cheese. Thankfully, it actually softens quickly. The best option is let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. At that point it should be perfect for any recipe.

How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out?

Traditionally, a lot of people are constantly using cream cheese for a lot of cooking and baking needs, spreads for bread and sandwiches, and even dips. Today, cream cheese is also used for frostings and desserts, and it can be easily bought from grocery stores.

As mentioned above, cream cheese is originally made from fresh milk fat and cream, and we all know that milk gets easily spoiled, which if opened, only lasts for a few days. The lifespan of cream cheese can highly depend on how it is stored.

If you put the cream cheese in the fridge and is left unopened, it will last for three to four weeks even after its expiry date. If you buy those that are wrapped in a foil, it can last for a maximum of two months after the expiry date.

If you have an opened cream cheese, you don’t have to worry as long as it stays in the fridge because they can last up to two weeks after the expiry date.As for the cream cheese that is already opened and is exposed at room temperature, it can only sit for two hours.

You have to remember that cream cheese is made from fresh milk so leaving it outside can spoil quickly. It is recommended that you should not use cream cheese that has been exposed to more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Clues That Your Cream Cheese Has Gone Bad

  • The appearance of your cream cheese looks rotten or moldy. You will know that your cream cheese has gone bad because of its appearance. If you see any signs of rottenness or molds, you should not use it anymore. You also have to check if your cream cheese has a tint of yellow or greenish color.
  • There is no consistency in the packaging. It is important to check the packaging of the cream cheese for consistency. If you see the top of the packaging to be slimy or soft instead of firm, then this is a sign that the cream cheese is spoiled.
  • If you are not sure of the packaging, it is better to open the package and check if the cream looks different.
  • The cream cheese has a strong sour smell. One of the most noticeable sign to make sure that the cream has gone bad is its bad smell. You will know that the cream cheese is bad if it has a pungent and a more sour smell.
  • The taste of the cream cheese is bad. There are times when you leave the cream cheese in the fridge for a long time but there is nothing wrong with the smell and appearance.
  • To be certain that your cream cheese is still suitable for eating, you have to taste it. You have to know that a spoiled cream cheese is sourer than the fresh ones. It is better to throw away a spoiled cream cheese than to suffer illness from eating it.

You have to be careful in evaluating whether your cream cheese is still edible to eat or that it needs to be thrown away. If you happen to leave your opened cream cheese outside the fridge, make sure you follow the two-hour rule to avoid making a bad food, or worst, illness.

How To Extend The Lifespan of Cream Cheese?

Now that you know how long can a cream cheese sit out, it is also important to know some of the ways to extend the lifespan of your cream cheese. However, you have to remember to throw away any spoiled cream cheese to avoid being poisoned.

  • Temperature matters. When you open your cream cheese but leaving some behind, you should immediately put it back in the fridge. Do not allow your cream cheese to stay at room temperature between 40-140 Fahrenheit to keep the bacteria from growing. It is better to chill it after use.
  • Use an airtight container. The Cream cheese is very susceptible to bacteria, which is why it is a must to use an airtight container. You may also use a foil and wrap it tightly to avoid any bacteria from getting in contact with the cream cheese.
  • Use the freezer. Another way of extending the life of your cream cheese is to wrap it in foil and place it in the freezer. Do not mix the cream cheese with your other meat.
  • Use clean utensils. If you plan to use your cream cheese as a spread, make sure you use clean utensils to avoid bacteria and other microbes from getting in contact with the cream cheese. Do not allow your cream cheese to get in contact with meat.


As mentioned above, cream cheese can only sit for two hours if left opened outside the fridge. You can do a lot with cream cheese, from baking to cooking to making dips, but they can easily get spoiled. It is important to wrap the used cream cheese in an airtight container or in a foil wrapper to maintain its freshness and good taste.

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