How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out And Does It Go Bad?

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In certain countries like the United States and Canada, cream cheese is a name given to cheese which has 55 percent moisture content and contains one-third of milk fat. It is unripen, smooth and soft cheese made from either just milk or from a mixture of cream and milk. 

Cream cheese is white in color having a rich but mild taste and is similar to cottage cheese. You can use cream cheese in baking cheesecakes as well as in sandwiches as a filling. You can use cream cheese to your heart’s content without having to worry about its spoilage, if you keep in mind the key steps mentioned in the article below.

How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out?

Dairy products such as milk, cream and cream cheese cannot sit out for a long period where the climate is normally hot and humid. The dairy products are best suited to keep at a lower temperature to maintain their nutrition, taste and texture.

Cream cheese can sit out for at the maximum two hours at normal room temperature, this time duration is estimated by food safety experts of the United States. Although other experts suggested a limit of 4 hours for allowing the cream cheese to sit out at room temperature.

What Happens if Cream Cheese Sits Out Too Long?

Cream cheese made of fresh dairy is prone to spoil quicker when left on the counter for too long, hence it is recommended to keep fresh cream cheese inside the refrigerator. However, there are cases when cream cheese is left out at the counter. 

Experts have limited the time for cream cheese to sit out for two to four hours. Beyond this time if cream cheese is left out for too long, the bacterial growth begins on the surface of cream cheese and it does not remain safe to consume.

What Should You Do If Cream Cheese Is Left Out Too Long? 

The taste and freshness of dairy products depends greatly on how well you store them. Cream cheese needs to be taken care of the same way as milk and cream. If the cream cheese in your house is exposed to a temperature higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 hours, it is unsafe to eat and should be discarded. 

Make sure not to taste the cream cheese to check if it’s still edible. The bacteria grow rapidly over cream cheese exposed to environmental humidity and temperature, especially in summers. You will need to say goodbye to cream cheese that has sat out too long.

How Long Can Cream Cheese Be In The Car For? 

When you are busy running errands, there might be some cream cheese you left in your car after buying. If the temperature of your car is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it is safe to assume that cream cheese will stay good for 3 to 4 hours.

However, you can still not leave cream cheese in the car for an extended time, 2 hours is the maximum it can stay in your car at normal temperature. Therefore, you might have to buy cream cheese at the end of your trip to keep it safe.

Does Cream Cheese Go Bad If Not Refrigerated? 

Cream cheese most certainly does go bad if not refrigerated. The bacteria which spoil the cream cheese is tasteless nor does it contain any odor or visibly change the appearance of the contaminated cream cheese. Hence, the cream cheese left out for more than 4 hours must not be consumed.  

Does Cream Cheese Go Bad If You Lose Power? 

The temperature of your fridge at the time of power outage is important to keep in consideration to tell how long the products in your fridge will remain safe after the power loss. Long power outages such as five to six hours can pose a serious threat to the dairy products preserved in your refrigerator. 

Cream cheese can go bad quickly if the power is out for more than four hours. You can extend the shelf life of cream cheese for the time being, by transferring it to the freezer which has a lower temperature as compared to refrigerators during power outages. 

What Temperature Is Safe For Cream Cheese?

The ideal temperature to keep cream cheese fresh is 40 or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the cream cheese refrigerated at all times. Leftover cream cheese should also be kept in the refrigerator for a prolonged shelf life. 

How to Store Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is made to be a product of daily consumption, and this means that it should be quickly consumed because it does not have a long duration and can spoil soon. Therefore it is necessary to know how to store it properly not to get damaged ahead of schedule.

As its name indicates, cream cheese is a dairy product, and like all these types of products in general, they must remain refrigerated so as not to cut, become acidic or spoil. A temperature of 40 ° F or lower is ideal for keeping it cool.

Apart from refrigeration, there are other things that you must put into practice to prevent the cream cheese from being damaged because only the environment with low temperatures is not enough. You must also do the following:

Keep it sealed

After being opened, the cream cheese must be closed again as long as it is not in use to remain safe in its packaging. Sometimes this comes without the ability to be sealed after having opened it, and in this case, what you can do is change the container where you keep the cream cheese for an airtight one or put it in a freezer bag.

In case you do not have any of these objects to be able to store the milk cream, what you can do is look for plastic to wrap or even aluminum foil and cover the container with one of these. Then you should use an elastic band so that it puts pressure on the edges where it covers them and that way a seal is created.

Use clean utensils

When you are eating and have your cream cheese to spread, the worst thing you can do is use a dirty utensil because you would be contaminating it with the remains of other food or maybe saliva, which would accelerate its decomposition process.

You should note that you can apply these same rules for any other type of spread, such as butter, melted cheddar cheese, and even non-dairy products such as sauces.

Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?

When it comes to freezing cream cheese, it can be said that it is an option but has its consequences. After all, being a dairy product that is also soft will present a side effect if frozen.

What happens is that when the cream cheese is frozen, its consistency is altered, and it becomes lumpy and separated, and although it can be solved if it is mixed, the question is that it will not remain the same as before being frozen. It can be used in recipes without any problem for practical purposes, but it won’t be as delicious if you plan to use it as a spread.

How Long Does Cream Cheese Last

As we have mentioned from the beginning, cream cheese is a dairy product for daily use that comes in small portion packages, and it is for that reason that it is easy to deduce that it is not long-lasting.

By being an edible product, the cream cheese comes with a label on the packaging that indicates before what date it must be used because by then, it is estimated that it will spoil.

In the case of cream cheese, which must be refrigerated from the beginning even to meet that date, the estimated duration is generally three to four weeks while it is closed and one week after being opened.

How to Tell If Cream Cheese Is Bad

We once again emphasize the point of long duration, which is a characteristic that cream cheese does not have. When it is approaching the expiration date, it is completely necessary to check if it can be consumed even a couple of days before that moment.

Luckily identifying if the cream cheese is spoiled is relatively easy. All you have to do is pay attention to what it looks like. If it looks yellowish or has mold or something suspicious in color is a clear sign that you should discard it.

Although the cream cheese looks good, it can be misleading, and you should check it out and maybe even try a bit, looking for sour and unpleasant sensations. If you find them, you should not consume the cream cheese.