In this post, we will be going over how long cream can sit out before it is no longer safe to consume. Also, we will go over how it should be stored to last and stay fresh.
According to the USDA, cream cheese should not stay out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. The environment and temperature are huge factors in how long it can sit out safely.
How long can cream cheese sit out? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that cream cheese that has been out between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F should not be left out for more than 2 hours.
What is cream cheese?
Cream cheese is a soft cheese that is made of fresh milk fat and cream. It’s a smooth, soft, mild cheese often used as a spread on bagels.
Not only is it a great spread on bagels but it is often used to make desserts such as cheesecake, frosting, tarts, and so many more things sweet and savory. Even though it has a savory taste it can add a great creaminess to sweet treats as well.
Lots of dips, soups, and sauces also incorporate cream cheese to add in that creamy flavor and texture.
How long can cream cheese sit out?
It is important to make sure that cream cheese is kept in the refrigerator. It is made up of fresh milk fat so you do not want to leave it out on the counter for long lengths of time. Regardless if it is opened or not the same rules apply.
Two hours is the max amount of time that you can leave the cream cheese out safely. This is because E.coli and salmonella will start to grow between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F, also known as the “danger zone”.
It is also important to take into consideration the environment that you are leaving it out in. If it is a hot summer day and you have a table set up outside for a brunch or shower, you may not want to leave it out for two hours.
Direct sunlight and heat will diminish the amount of time that you should keep cream cheese sitting out. It is best to make sure that it is out of the sun and in a cool setting to allow for the two-hour rule.
Because it is a soft cheese the life span is a lot shorter than say a cheddar or parmesan cheese. It is best to keep it cold and use it before the expiration date on the package.
How to store cream cheese
The best place to store cream cheese is in the fridge. Keeping it cold will allow for the freshness to last through the expiration date on the package.
If you are setting up a buffet of some sort and you have to leave out a container of cream cheese, I recommend that you have it sitting on ice to keep it cool and also as I said before out of the sun.
As soon as it is no longer being used and it has been less than two hours, get it back in the fridge. If you are in question if you should keep it or not, I suggest that you throw it away. You do not want to chance food poisonings.