How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out

There are many types of cheese with different textures and flavors but in this case, it’s about the cream cheese. This is a type of fresh cheese that is made of mixing milk and cream. Due to its soft and refrigeration dependency, it raises the question of how long can cream cheese sit out the fridge.

How Long Can Cream Cheese Sit Out? The answer depends on the room temperature as the Foodsafety.Gov states at temperatures above 40 °F, it can stay for 2 hours. After this time, they recommend getting rid of the cream cheese.

If the temperatures are above 90 °F, then the cream cheese can sit out the fridge for 1 hour before starting to spoil.

Cream cheese is used for different cooking purposes and baking. If you are new to using cream cheese, now you know it has a short life span out of the fridge and spoils quickly.

There are some occasions you need to serve food in potlucks or other gatherings with cream cheese. The cheese has to be stored in a cold container with ice.

The ingredients of cream cheese are the major factor for its short life span at room temperature. Since its made from milk butter/fat which spoils easily.

What About Unopened Cream Cheese?

Most of the unopened cream cheese could on average last 3 to 4 weeks past the expiry date while stored in the refrigerator.

If you decide to store the cream cheese while wrapped with a foil, it can last for up to 2 months past its expiration date in a freezer.

These unopened cream cheese include;

  • Reduced-fat cream cheese
  • Flavored cream cheese
  • In a plastic container
  • Neufchatel cheese

How To Know if Cream Cheese Has Gone Bad

There are several ways to know if the cream cheese has gone bad to discard it.

The first thing you will notice is the appearance of the cream cheese. The presence of yellow or greenish color and signs of rottenness or molds are a big indicator of a cream cheese gone bad.

Smell: If the cream cheese has a strong sour smell, then its time to get rid of it. Sometimes the cheese may not show the first signs of changing color and molds but smelling it can determine the freshness of the cream cheese.

Taste: When stored in the fridge, the cream cheese may not produce pungent smell but tasting it can help know if the cream cheese is bad. When the taste is sourer and off than the normal taste, it may have gone bad.

The consistency: Appearance of the top packaging of the cream cheese to be slimy or soft instead of firm, its a sign of spoiling cream cheese.

Always it’s better to follow the recommended storage and time to use the cream cheese. Purchasing enough cream cheese to use in a short period without long storage periods in the fridge is a good way to avoid spoilage.

If accidentally left open at room temperature, follow the 1 and 2-hour rule for safety.

Tips To Extend The Lifespan of Cream Cheese

People have devised some methods to extend the shelf life of the cream cheese even past the expiration date given. Fortunately, you can use the following methods if you would like to extend the lifespan of your cream cheese.

  1. Always ensure the temperature is right for the cream cheese. Once you open the cheese, you should put it back in the refrigerator and store it at 40 °F or below. While at room temperature, avoid temperatures between 40 °F to 90 °F and above to prevent it from spoiling.
  2. For a longer lifespan, store the cream cheese in the freezer while wrapped with foil.
  3. Use airtight containers for storage in the fridge. This prevents bacteria from entering the container and spoil the cream cheese.
  4. Ensure the utensils you use to cut and spread the cream cheese are clean free from bacteria that can come into contact with the cheese. For instance, if the utensil cut meat or other food items, it transfers the microbes to the cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since cream cheese spoils easily and faster, some questions arise from people wondering if…what happens. Here are some of the most asked questions.

Can I leave the cream cheese out overnight to soften?

No, it’s not recommended to let the cream cheese sit out overnight because bacteria start to grow hence spoiling the cheese. There is no need to do this since cream cheese softens within 20 minutes at room temperature.

As answered in the post, cream cheese can be let to sit out without refrigeration for up to 2 hours only as stated by the USDA.

Can you cut the mold off the cream cheese?

Not a good idea, these soft cheeses like cream cheese or cottage cheese mold can grow and penetrate deeper than you think. This is possible for hardy or semisoft types of cheese like Cheddar, Swiss and Colby.

What happens if you eat spoiled cream cheese?

Eating a spoiled cream cheese wont kill you but there are health issues that can develop since people’s immune systems can differ. It’s also hard to eat spoiled cream cheese because it tastes very sourer than normal and the pungent smell is horrible.

If it tastes okay, then it means the cream cheese is still fresh and fit for consumption.

Can expired cream cheese make you sick

Expired cream cheese develops molds that spoil the cheese and once visible, you should throw away the cheese. These molds and other bacteria can build toxins that can cause small harm.

The extend to get sick means the cream cheese is extremely rotten again which is impossible to eat.


Spoiled cream cheese can cause food poisoning to human beings and this why is important to use only fresh cream cheese.

Cream cheese gets spoiled easily and faster and you should not allow it to sit out the fridge for more than 2 hours.

Consider the storage methods and tips to extend the lifespan of cream cheese for safe cooking and baking practices.

I hope this post answers the question, How long can cream cheese sit out the fridge? Happy cooking and healthy living!