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Approximately how long can cream cheese stay unrefrigerated?

asked by Brette Warshaw over 4 years ago
8 answers 290158 views
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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 4 years ago

When I'm going to be making cheesecakes, I leave the cream cheese at room temp overnight.

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added over 4 years ago

I work around food and anything that has dairy in it that is left out must have a four hour code on it.

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added over 4 years ago

While I do NOT recommend it...I was traveling to see The Friend, who adores cheesecake. No cream cheese in the country he's living in. My suitcase with the fresh mushrooms, cream cheese, and Vermont Cheddar was stuck at an airport for 4 days. It was winter, and the airport was in a relatively cold climate, so we risked using the cream cheese. The cream cheese was in the sealed plastic tubs -- and it was OK.

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added over 4 years ago


The official answer for all soft cheeses is 2 hrs. max. > 40F Because it's unripened and high in moisture, cream cheese, like milk, is considered a high-risk product.

That said, boulangere's answer seems fine for two reasons -- factory-sealed containers and cheesecake comes up to pasteurization temp during baking.

To expand a little, cream cheese frostings made with at least 4 cups of sugar per 8 ounces of commercial cream cheese are considered safe to leave unrefrigerated. Unlike me, bacteria don't like sugar.

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 4 years ago

True, cheesecake does reach pasteurization temp during baking, and even prior to that, cream cheese is made from pasteurized products. As well, it is relatively low in water, which is the factor you're most concerned with.

0bc70c8a e153 4431 a735 f23fb20dda68  sarah chef
Reiney

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 4 years ago

In pastry class we left it out overnight all the time - sometimes 18 hours before using. I can almost guarantee this would be how professional bakers would treat cream cheese (though can't speak from direct professional experience on that one).

You just can't speed up softening cream cheese to room temp, it just doesn't react to heat/microwave well. Same for marscapone. We used it for both baked and unbaked cheesecakes / products (e.g. tiramisu).

For food safe purposes, you may wish to restrict this to sealed/unopened containers.

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added almost 3 years ago

I wouldn't keep it out for more than an hour and 45 min but it really depends on where you are keeping it.
Example: sun, shade etc.

E057f656 d59a 41e5 9040 b908d9ba5186  stringio
added over 1 year ago

I have read that you should not leave it out for more than 4 hours. I make cream cheese frosting all the time and always follow that rule.