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If you’re like me, you probably make more cream cheese frosting than you need. So, what do you do with leftover cream cheese frosting? Can it be frozen? Let’s take a look at your options.
What Is Cream Cheese Frosting Made Of?
Your basic cream cheese frosting is made from cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla flavoring. A tablespoon of heavy cream, half and half, or milk can also be used to thin out your frosting if the consistency is a little too thick.
What Is Cream Cheese Frosting Good On?
Cream cheese frosting is so good you can eat it by itself. Seriously! But, it is so rich you could probably only enjoy a spoonful or two at a time.
There are a ton of uses for cream cheese frosting.
Think cupcakes, carrot cake, red velvet cake, blondies, brownies, red velvet whoopie pies, cookies, banana bars, pumpkin spice cake, and so on.
Anytime you want a sweet, rich thicker frosting for your dessert, opt for the basic cream cheese frosting. You can’t go wrong!
Now let’s take a closer look at the star ingredient.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cream cheese but with limited success. According to Cook’s Illustrated, you can freeze blocks of cream cheese but once it thaws your cream cheese will be grainy and crumbly. This will make it unusable in some applications such as spreading on a bagel or making cheesecake.
Cook’s Illustrated found that defrosted cream cheese had a grainy and crumbly texture. They recommended utilizing previously frozen cream cheese for recipes such things as cakes and biscuits, where the grainy texture wouldn’t be noticed.
They also found previously frozen cream cheese to be unacceptable for spreading on bagels and in foods such as cheesecake.
How Long Will A Brick Of Cream Cheese Last In the Freezer?
Because cream cheese will get crumbly and grainy when frozen, and because it can pick up odors from the freezer, it is best to use the frozen bricks of cream cheese within 1 to 2 months. To help ensure it doesn’t pick up odors, store the bricks of cream cheese in a freezer ziplock type bag or in another freezer-safe, airtight container.
The manufacturer of Philadelphia Cream Cheese recommends their cream cheese can be frozen for up to two months.
How To Make Previously Frozen Cream Cheese Creamy Again
Once your frosting has thawed, you will likely need to blend the frosting with a tablespoon or so of heavy whipping cream (my first choice), half and half, or milk to help it get back to its smooth, creamy consistency.
How To Freeze Cream Cheese Frosting
If you find yourself with leftover cream cheese frosting and want to freeze it for later, be sure to freeze it properly.
Remember, air and freezer odors are the enemies. You want to freeze your cream cheese frosting in an airtight, freezer-safe container to prevent odors. You also want to remove as much of the air as you can prior to freezing. And lastly, you may want to double-wrap your frosting so to speak.
What I mean by this is that you may want to put two freezer-safe layers between the other frozen items and your frosting. Here’s how.
You can choose to freeze your leftover frosting flattened (with air removed) in a freezer-safe quart-size plastic-type bag. Then, you could take several quart-size freezer bags and place them inside a gallon-sized plastic bag.
Or, if you freeze your leftover frosting in freezer-safe plastic containers, you could nest the smaller container inside of a larger one.
Pro Tip: If you’re freezing your frosting in a container, take a small amount of plastic wrap and gently press it into the top of the frosting before putting it on the lid. This helps keep air from getting to it.
How Long Does Cream Cheese Frosting Last In The Freezer?
If stored properly in an airtight, freezer-safe container, your cream cheese frosting will retain its quality for 3 to 6 months.
If you’re opting for a longer storage time, be sure to double-wrap your frosting to prevent it from picking up odors from your freezer.
Pro Tip: Make sure you write the date you froze it as well as the date by which you need to use your frosting. I always plan on using mine within 1 to 2 months just to be safe. Use a black sharpie and freezer labels. Here are the ones I use.
How Do You Thaw (Defrost) Cream Cheese Frosting?
You should always thaw cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator to prevent possible bacteria growth.
How Long Is Cream Cheese Good After Opening?
Most manufacturers recommend using cream cheese within 10 – 14 days of opening. If you’re unsure about your brand, check your packaging or your manufacturer’s website for recommendations on their product.
How To Tell If Cream Cheese Is Bad?
If your cream cheese has an “off” smell or your see visible signs of mold, throw it out!
With soft cheeses such as cream cheese, you cannot just cut away the mold. The mold will actually send roots out through the cream cheese infecting the whole brick or container.
Can You Eat Or Freeze Expired Cream Cheese?
When dealing with soft cheeses like cream cheese, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Consume or freeze the product before the manufacturer’s expiration date.
If your cream cheese has passed the expiration date, do not freeze it or eat it. Throw it out!
Can Cream Cheese Frosting Be Left Out Of The Refrigerator?
According to the USDA, cream cheese, “must be refrigerated for safety”.
Bacteria can start to grow on cream cheese after only 2 hours at room temperature.
However, FoodSafety.gov recommends if your cream cheese has been above 40°F for more than 2 hours you should throw it out.
Pro Tip: When thawing cream cheese for a recipe, you should set a timer, make your frosting, and get it refrigerated as close to the two-hour mark as possible to prevent bacterial growth.
The above is the “official” recommendation I make based on food safety guidelines. It would be highly irresponsible for me to do otherwise.
How Sugar Affects Length Of Time Cream Cheese Frosting Can Be Left-Out
However, I can tell you growing up in the South, it is not uncommon to have a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting sitting out on the counter all day long during a family gathering.
I have never worried about getting sick from cream cheese frosting and no one I know, to my knowledge, has gotten sick from it.
To be honest, I don’t hesitate to eat a piece of red velvet cake that has been sitting out for hours at a family gathering. But, I don’t push my limits more than this. I never leave cream cheese or cream cheese frosting out on the counter overnight.
But, in an effort to be as thorough as possible for you, I did a little more research. I discovered that the sugar in the cream cheese frosting helps preserve it.
And that’s probably why no one I know has ever had problems when cream cheese frosted desserts were left unrefrigerated for hours.
According to Cook’s Illustrated, the sugar in the cream cheese frosting helps preserve it. And they feel comfortable leaving cream cheese frosting stored at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
However, as I said previously, my official recommendation must be based on the information found at FoodSafety.gov.
Remember, the health of your family should be of utmost importance.
A doctor’s visit is way more expensive than any brick of cream cheese or dessert with cream cheese frosting.
So, err on the side of caution when dealing with soft cheeses like cream cheese.
The main thing you want to try and do is to keep your food out of the “danger zone”.
What Is The Food Danger Zone?
According to the USDA, the “Danger Zone” is when a food’s temperature is between 40° F and 140° F.
This is the temperature range where bacteria grow most rapidly.
What Can You Do With Leftover Cream Cheese Frosting?
- Freeze it.
- Make frosted cookies.
- Bake a cake.
- You can make frosted brownies or bars.
What Kind Of Desserts With Cream Cheese Frosting Can You Freeze?
- Banana cake
- Pumpkin Bars
- Carrot Cake
- Red Velvet Cake
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Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen
Homemade cream cheese frosting beats the canned stuff every.single.time!
If you love cream cheese frosting but don’t always have time to make it, start making double or triple batches and pop the extra into your freezer.
Just be sure to take the time to protect it from picking up odors before popping it into the freezer because it will pick up odors if you’re not careful.
Do you have any tips to share? If so, I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time…