How Long After Opening Is it Safe to Eat Cream Cheese?
Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker
Peggy Woodward, RDN has insight for a reader who asks, "How long does cream cheese last?"
PEGGY: How long after opening is it safe to consume (reduced-fat) cream cheese? —J.F., Erie, Pennsylvania
It’s often tough to know how long cream cheese will last because the “expiration” dates on the packaging can be confusing.
According to Philadelphia Cream Cheese, under normal refrigerator conditions of 40° at all times, an unopened package of cream cheese is good 1 month past the “Best When Purchased By” date on the carton. Once opened, cream cheese should be used within 10 days.
To learn more about cream cheese, including how it’s made and where it’s from, check out this cream cheese FAQ.
How to Use Up Leftover Cream Cheese
Baked Crab DipWe enjoyed this exquisite crab dip at my grandson's wedding reception. It looks fancy but is easy to make. You can even fill the bread bowl early in the day and chill it until serving. Just remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. —Marie Shelley, Exeter, Missouri Go to Recipe If you need some more cheesy inspiration, here are our top cream cheese dip recipes.
Obatzda (German Beer Cheese Dip)Obatzda, otherwise known as German beer cheese dip, is so delicious and creamy. It's the perfect dip to make the night before at get-together. —Beate Trinkl, Einsbach, Germany
Red Velvet Pound CakeThis delicious red velvet pound cake is the perfect combination of flavors. Make sure the cake has cooled before icing it, and for extra crunch sprinkle some roasted pecans on top. —Robin Smith, Old Fort, North Carolina
Heavenly Cheese DanishThis tempting cheese Danish bakes to flaky perfection's shines with the simple gloss of an egg wash. It tastes just as decadent as any breakfast pastry you'd find in a bakery or coffee shop. —Josephine Triton, Lakewood, Ohio
Decadent Spinach-Stuffed ShellsI created this comforting stuffed shells dish to serve on Christmas Eve, but it’s so good we enjoy it all year long. It can easily be assembled and frozen to bake at a later date. If you have any leftover cheese mixture, it can be served as a dip either cold or spooned into ramekins and baked until brown. If you don’t like roasted red peppers, feel free to substitute chopped sun-dried tomatoes in the filling and any other pasta sauce. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, CO
Key Lime Blondie BarsHere’s my tropical take on a beloved treat. These key lime bars combine the taste of the classic pie with a blondie batter and cream cheese frosting. You can make a thicker crust if desired. —Kristin LaBoon, Austin, Texas
Strawberry Pretzel PieThis cool no-bake strawberry pretzel pie is the perfect antidote for your sweet tooth this summer. Made with pantry staples, and well, as easy as pie to make, it’s become one of my family’s most requested warm-weather treats. —Shauna Havey, Roy, Utah
Apples 'n' Cream PancakeThis cozy recipe is delicious for breakfast or brunch. I usually make a double batch because everyone wants more! With our own orchard, we have plenty of Delicious and Winesap apples—they make this a true midwestern meal. —Ruth Schafer, Defiance, Ohio
Apricot SaladColorful gelatin salad adds a spot of brightness to any table. It blends well with this holiday feast. We children didn't know if it should be a salad or dessert, with its smooth texture and delicate flavor.—Fae Fisher, Callao, Virginia
Mini Cherry CheesecakesThese little cheesecakes make a fun dessert that's just right for cooks who don't have a lot of time for fussy recipes. Plus, you get to eat a whole mini cheesecake yourself! —Kay Keller, Morenci, Michigan
Pumpkin Swirl BreadThis combination of pumpkin, nuts and dates makes a delicious, golden pumpkin cream cheese bread. The surprise inside—a rich creamy swirl—is like a luscious layer of cheesecake in each slice. —Cindy May, Troy, Michigan
Spinach TurnoversThe flaky cream cheese pastry adds sensational texture to these hot appetizers—and just wait until you taste the wonderful filling. I usually fix a double batch and freeze some to have on hand in case unexpected guests drop by. — Jean von Bereghy, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Pineapple Sheet CakeThis sheet cake is perfect for serving to a crowd. It keeps so well that you can easily prepare it a day ahead and it will stay moist. I often bring it to church potlucks, and I have yet to take much of it home. —Kim Miller Spiek, Sarasota, Florida
Duo Tater BakeI made this creamy and comforting potato dish for Thanksgiving and it was a winner with my family. They said to be sure to include it at every holiday dinner. It's a keeper! —Joan McCulloch, Abbotsford, British Columbia
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingAs a mother of three sons, sweets are a staple in my kitchen! I buy ripe fruit on sale and freeze it to make this cake. My banana cake with cream cheese frosting is a favorite among loved ones at my family picnics and dinners. —Bonnie Krause, Irvona, Pennsylvania
Baked Simple Meatball StroganoffIf you like meatball subs, you'll love this tangy casserole that has all the rich flavor of the popular sandwiches with none of the mess. Italian bread is spread with a cream cheese mixture, then topped with meatballs, spaghetti sauce and cheese. Bravo! —Gina Harris, Seneca, South Carolina
Red Velvet Thumbprint CookiesThese festive sugar-coated red velvet cookies are perfect for Christmas. They're just as delicious as they are beautiful. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
Shrimp Appetizer SpreadThere's no secret to this creamy seafood appetizer—it's simply delicious! I originally tasted it at a friend's house, and I liked it so much that I requested the recipe. It's since become a family favorite. —Brenda Buhler, Abbotsford, British Columbia
Pecan Pumpkin DessertI always make this treat for Thanksgiving. A friend gave me the recipe, and I've since shared it with many others. —Sue Williams, Mount Holly, North Carolina
Cucumber CanapesI always get requests for the recipe for these canapes whenever I serve them. They're delicate finger sandwiches with a creamy herb spread and festive red and green garnishes. —Nadine Whittaker, South Plymouth, Massachusetts
Easy Cheese-Stuffed JalapenosA few years ago, I saw a man in the grocery store buying a big bag full of jalapeno peppers. I asked him what he intended to do with them, and he shared this recipe for stuffed jalapenos with me right there in the store! —Janice Montiverdi, Sugar Land, Texas
Potato ChowderOne of the ladies in our church quilting group brought this savory potato soup to a meeting, and everyone loved how the cream cheese and bacon made it so rich. It's easy to assemble in the morning so it can simmer on its own all day. —Anna Mayer, Fort Branch, Indiana. If you like this, then you must try these cream cheese appetizers.
Red Velvet Jar CakeI love to make these red velvet jar cakes for friends, family and teachers. Red velvet is my favorite during the holidays, but you can use your favorite cake and frosting flavors. Then dress up the jars with homemade labels and ribbons for gifting. Don't forget to tie a spoon to the jar; everyone likes to dig right in! —Lillie Collier, Mobile, Alabama
Spinach-Beef Spaghetti PieWith its angel hair pasta crust, this cheesy ground beef, tomato and spinach pie is always a hit when I serve it. Each neat slice has layers of pasta, cream cheese filling and spinach topping. —Carol Hicks Pensacola, Florida
Fruit-Topped BlintzesMy mother is a wonderful cook who always likes to prepare (and improve on!) dishes she's sampled at restaurants. That's what I did with these blintzes, and my family loves my fruity version even more than the original.
Puff Pastry Chicken BundlesInside these golden puff pastry "packages", chicken breasts rolled with spinach, herbed cream cheese and walnuts are a savory surprise. I like to serve this elegant entree when we have guests or are celebrating a holiday or special occasion. -Brad Moritz, Limerick, Pennsylvania
Paddy's Reuben DipThis slow-cooked spread tastes just like the popular Reuben sandwich. Even when I double the recipe, I end up with an empty dish. —Mary Jane Kimmes, Hastings, Minnesota
Cool Strawberry CreamThis fruity, luscious dessert makes a wonderful ending to a special dinner. When fresh strawberries are not available, substitute two packages frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed and drained, for the fresh. —Joyce Cooper, Mount Forest, Ontario
Walnut Pumpkin Cake RollThis is one of my family's favorite dessert recipes, especially for holiday gatherings. —Mary Gecha, Center Rutland, Vermont
Pineapple Ham CasseroleLiving in Hawaii, I wanted to share this recipe which features pineapple. It's our most important fruit crop. —Marsha Fleming, Kula, Hawaii
Cherry Cheese WindmillsThese pretty cookies look fancy, but they are really not much work. They're perfect for any occasion. —Helen McGibbon, Downers Grove, Illinois
Creamy Strawberry CrepesTake summer-ripe strawberries plus a creamy filling and tuck them into these delicate strawberry crepes for an elegant brunch entree. —Kathy Kochiss, Huntington, Connecticut
Italian Cream Cheese CakeButtermilk makes every bite of this awesome Italian cream cheese cake recipe moist and flavorful. I rely on this recipe year-round.—Joyce Lutz, Centerview, Missouri
Chicken BurritosThis mouthwatering chicken burrito recipe makes enough for two casseroles, so you can enjoy one today and freeze the other for a busy weeknight. They're super to have on hand for quick meals or to take to potlucks. —Sonya Nightingale, Burley, Idaho.
Broccoli Potato SupremeMy family insists that this two-in-one casserole makes an appearance at all of our special meals. Every bite is doubly delicious! —Jane Birch, Edison, New Jersey
Berry-Cream Cookie SnapsMy mom and I made up this recipe by combining two others. These cute cookies are crispy on the outside and light and fluffy inside. You could also bake the cookies flat and serve the filling as a cookie dip if you like. —Crystal Briddick, Colfax, Illinois
Cheesecake with Berry SauceThis creamy cheesecake is a family tradition; I've even shipped it to my daughter as a special treat. Using frozen seasonal berries, it's an excellent dessert any time of year. —Jeanette Volker, Walton, Nebraska
Creamy Grape SaladEveryone raves when I bring this refreshing, creamy grape salad to potlucks. For a special finishing touch, sprinkle it with brown sugar and pecans. —Marge Elling, Jenison, Michigan
Peanut Butter Pudding DessertHere's a fun layered dessert that will appeal to all ages. If you want it even nuttier, you can use chunky peanut butter, and if you're not a fan of cashews, substitute your favorite nut. This peanut butter lasagna is one of my favorite pudding desserts. —Barbara Schindler, Napoleon, Ohio
Hash Brown Broccoli BakeHere's a perfect dish for a potluck or holiday buffet. It goes well with fish, poultry, pork or beef. Cheddar cheese can be substituted for Swiss. Often, I double the recipe to serve a crowd. —Jeanette Volker, Walton, Nebraska
Creamed CornFive ingredients are all you'll need for my popular creamed corn recipe. It's wonderful no matter what the occasion is. Try it on a barbecue buffet or holiday menu. —Barbara Brizendine, Harrisonville, Missouri
Marshmallow-Almond Key Lime PieSummer is peak season for Key limes—a must for this pie’s distinctive sweet-tart flavor. Unlike other Key lime pies, mine has a smooth marshmallow layer on top. This makes it stand out as a crowd favorite. —Judy Castranova, New Bern, North Carolina
Baked Onion Cheese DipThis cheddar-Vidalia dip gets a nice kick from an added cup of pepper Jack cheese. It's fun to serve with an assortment of crackers and breadsticks. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Contest-Winning Raspberry Cream PieThis recipe is delicious with either fresh-picked or frozen raspberries. That means you can make it year-round. One bite of raspberry pie will instantly turn winter to summer. —Julie Price, Nashville, Tennessee
Pina Colada Fruit DipA taste of the tropics will be welcomed by your holiday guests. The cool and creamy dip can be served as an appetizer or a dessert. —Shelly Fisher, Hermiston, Oregon
Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon FrostingWhen I spread these spicy gingerbread rounds with my lemony cream cheese frosting, I knew I had a hit. Cardamom and allspice add a hint of chai tea flavor. —Aysha Schurman, Ammon, Idaho
Vanilla Bean CupcakesMy son loves these vanilla bean cupcakes! Flecks of vanilla bean in the moist, tender cupcakes give them special-occasion status. —Alysha Braun, St. Catharines, Ontario
Crab & Artichoke DipNearly every time my girlfriends and I get together, we dip into this rich and creamy snack and our favorite bottle of wine. It’s so convenient to use the slow cooker to make this recipe—it’s a perfect fit for our relaxed friends nights. —Connie McKinney, Marshall, Missouri
Classic Make-Ahead Mashed PotatoesThese make-ahead mashed potatoes save me a ton of time on Christmas Day. No more frantically whipping the potatoes while hungry family and guests hang around the kitchen! —Marty Rummel, Trout Lake, Washington
Spinach Dip-Stuffed MushroomsI use a melon baller to hollow out the mushroom caps and make them easier to stuff. The apps fit neatly into muffin tins or a deviled egg tray for traveling. —Ashley Pierce, Brantford, Ontario
Lemon-Blueberry Pound CakePair a slice of this moist lemon-blueberry cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's a staple at our family barbecues. —Rebecca Little, Park Ridge, Illinois
Artichoke Phyllo CupsI wanted to create a bite-sized version of rich, creamy artichoke dip. These adorable phyllo cup appetizers were a total success! —Neel Patel, Champaign, Illinois
Cream Cheese SpritzA hint of orange and cinnamon highlights these Christmastime classics. I like to add colorful sprinkles before baking them. The recipe is from a booklet that came with a cookie press in the 1950s...and I still have the press! —Sarah Bedia, Lake Jackson, Texas
Garlic-Herb Bagel SpreadThis creamy spread is loaded with oregano, basil, garlic and feta. The flavorful, savory combination is perfect slathered on a toasted bagel. But don’t stop there. Try it as a dip for crunchy breadsticks, too. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Pink Lemonade Stand CakeIf you love a moist and creamy cake, this one’s for you. The lemon juice and lemonade give the layers a tangy, citrusy touch, and the cream cheese frosting with sprinkles makes it extra pretty. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Carrot Cake with Pecan FrostingMy husband constantly requests this homey, old-fashioned version of carrot cake. The frosting is still tasty even without the pecans. —Adrian Badon, Denham Springs, Louisiana
Mediterranean Pastry PinwheelsThese quick appetizers are irresistible. The flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto balance beautifully. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
Pineapple Upside-Down CheesecakeMy mom often made pineapple upside down cake, but I prefer something creamier. This recipe looks just like her cake, but gets even tastier as pineapple upside down cheesecake. —Marilyn McGinnis, Citrus Heights, California
Fontina Rolled ChickenGood food has a way of transporting you to faraway places. My chicken with fontina and cream cheese is like a blissful trip to Italy. —Tammy Rex, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania
Cranberry Cream Cheese French ToastMy friend makes this French toast bake with blueberries, but I make mine with cranberry sauce. Either way, it’s divine. It makes a great brunch dish for Christmas morning. —Sandie Heindel, Liberty, Missouri
Heirloom Tomato PieMy green-thumbed neighbors like to share produce with me. I return the delicious favor by baking tomato pies for all. —Angela Benedict, Dunbar, West Virginia
Creamy Taco DipYou'll know this snack is a hit at your next gathering when you come home with an empty pan! —Denise Smith, Lusk, Wyoming
Creme de Menthe SquaresThis layered bar hits all the sweet spots: It’s airy, creamy, crunchy and the perfect mix of cool mint and rich chocolate. It has a vintage dessert appeal that no one in our family can resist. —Marilyn Blankschien, Clintonville, Wisconsin
Cool and Creamy Fruit SaladMy mom found this recipe in a magazine 25 years ago, and my family has been enjoying it ever since. I refrigerate it overnight before serving. It looks especially pretty in a trifle dish. —Susan Schiller, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
Parmesan Creamed SpinachThis rich and creamy spinach dish takes minutes to make. If I'm expecting guests, I'll double or triple the recipe. —Leann Ross, San Tan Valley, Arizona
Bagel with a Veggie SchmearI got this recipe from my favorite bagel shop in New York City. Now I make this every time I'm craving a quick and healthy breakfast. I like to add chopped pitted green olives to the schmear. — Julie Merriman, Seattle, Washington
Rhubarb and Strawberry Coffee CakeVanilla cake with cream cheese filling and strawberry rhubarb sauce make a grand finale for a Mother’s Day brunch. I made this to honor our moms and grandmothers. —Danielle Ulam, Hookstown, Pennsylvania
Star-Spangled Lemon Icebox PieWith a little chill time, my no-bake lemon pie turns into a potluck superstar. My kids like to arrange the berries in a patriotic pattern. —Lauren Katz, Ashburn, Virginia
Dilly Cheese BallMy whole family devours this herby cheese spread—even my son, the chef. Serve it with your favorite crackers. —Jane Vince, London, Ontario
Appetizer Tortilla PinwheelsA friend gave me this recipe, and whenever I serve these tortilla pinwheel sandwiches, people ask me for the recipe, too! The cream cheese pinwheels can be made ahead of time and sliced just before serving, leaving you time for other last-minute party preparations. —Pat Waymire, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Originally Published: October 19, 2018
Peggy is a Senior Food Editor for Taste of Home. In addition to curating recipes, she writes articles, develops recipes and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom, a foodie and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.