Yes, you can freeze Philadelphia Cream Cheese. However, cream cheese is an emulsion, meaning that it is a mixture of fat and water. This is important as when an emulsion is frozen these two properties tend to separate and therefore will thaw with a different consistency.
So, if you want to freeze the Philadelphia Cream Cheese for baking or dipping purposes, the thawed product should be fine as you can whip the properties back together.
However, if you want to spread the cheese on bagels, the consistency might lack the original magic.
When people freeze their Philadelphia Cream Cheese and find that it has separated in the freezer, they’ll often throw it out straight away under the presumption that it has gone bad. This is untrue, though, you often just have to whip some life back into the spread.
How to Freeze Philadelphia Cream Cheese
How you freeze your Philadelphia Cream Cheese depends on whether the tub is already opened or not. If you’re wanting to freeze a completely unopened tub of cream cheese you can simply place it in the freezer in its original packaging.
However, if your Philadelphia Cream Cheese is opened and you want to freeze it before it goes bad in the refrigerator, the process on how to do so is a little tricker.
Often, when people want to freeze cream cheese, it’s because the spread is on the verge of turning and you want to preserve it as much as possible.
Freezing the entire tub together and defrosting it all at once will only allow you to take one serving out of the entire tub. Make sure that you never refreeze previously frozen cream cheese.
So, the smarter alternative is to freeze the cream cheese in single-serving sizes so that you can defrost them as and when you need them.
To do so, you should use small freezer bags. Spoon tablespoons of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, or however much is considered a serving to you, and seal the bag before putting it in the freezer.
Make sure to label the bags with the date so that you can remember how long it’s been left in the freezer.
How to Defrost Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Remove either the entire tub of unopened Philadelphia Cream Cheese from the freezer, or take out as many servings as you need of the spread. Leave them either out on the counter at room temperature or in the refrigerator to thaw.
Bear in mind that the latter method will take longer for the cream cheese to properly thaw, so remove it from the freezer in plenty of time.
You might find that the fat and water have separated in the single-serving freezer bags or the tub. Don’t panic - if this is the case, you can simply massage the cream cheese while it’s still in the freezer bag as it begins to thaw.
This will mix the components back together to leave you with somewhat of the same consistency as before it went into the freezer.
If you have a tub and open it to find separated Philadelphia Cream Cheese, you can tip the spread into a bowl and whip it back together before adding it back into the original tub.
Make sure that you use your Philadelphia Cream Cheese within 24 hours of it being defrosted. Philadelphia Cream Cheese can remain in your freezer for up to two months, which is where the dated bags will come in handy.
Factors to Consider before Freezing Philadelphia Cream Cheese
There are a few factors that might affect your decision to freeze your Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Just because you can freeze something, does not mean that you should freeze it. Below are the most pressing considerations to think about before freezing your cream cheese.
The Expiry Date
If your Philadelphia Cream Cheese is on the verge of turning bad after being open for a while, you can still freeze it to preserve it for longer than if you were to leave it in the freezer. However, freezing does not necessarily mean that you’re going to be able to use it for up to two months in the future.
In fact, that estimate is for fresh cream cheese with plenty of life left in it, so you’re going to have to estimate how long you can freeze it for without it spoiling. Always check the freshness as the cream cheese is thawing to prevent eating bad spreads.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese can be used for baking, spreads, and dipping sauces. As we’ve already mentioned, Philadelphia Cream Cheese is an emulsion which often will separate when being frozen. While you can whip it back into shape, the consistency will often be affected by this which might not make it nice to taste.
Whipped Philadelphia Cream Cheese is excellent for dipping sauces and baking when other ingredients and techniques can mask the consistency, but spreading it on a bagel might not be what you’re hoping for.
Bear this in mind when considering whether or not to freeze your Philadelphia Cream Cheese to avoid disappointment.
To sum up, yes, it is possible to freeze Philadelphia Cream Cheese and it can be quite the money saver when you don’t want to shell out for an entirely new tub of cream cheese when you have one leftover in the refrigerator.
You can freeze Philadelphia Cream Cheese both in its original tub when it’s unopened as well as in single-serving sized freezer bags or containers. Just make sure that the containers are airtight and suitable for freezing.
Defrosted Philadelphia Cream Cheese can remain in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours before having to be discarded. You can generally keep Philadelphia Cream Cheese frozen for up to two months, but you might need to alter this duration depending on the expiry date for your cream cheese.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese is also prone to separating when frozen, so make sure that you have a whipping spoon at the ready!