How to know if cream cheese has gone bad

Updated February 21, 2017

Cream cheese is a soft, white cheese made from milk fat that was created in 1872 by American dairyman William Lawrence. Unlike hard cheese that can last long, cream cheese it best consumed while it's still fresh. Whether you've forgotten about the cheese at the back of the refrigerator or had a power failure, inspect the cream cheese to make sure it remains fresh, and when it doubt, throw it out.

Check the expiration date on the outer box or wrapper of the cream cheese. It is safe to use unopened cream cheese up to one month past the expiration date. Once opened, it should be used within 10 days.

Discard cream cheese if it grows mould or turns green. While certain cheeses are made with mould, such as blue cheese, Gorgonzola and Roquefort, cream cheese should not.

Discard cream cheese if your refrigerator lost power for several hours, causing a marked rise in temperature.

Consider throwing away cheese if it crusts on the outside.


If your home experiences a power outage, do not open the refrigerator. Keeping the door closed helps to retain the cold for a longer period of time.

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About the Author

Kristie Brown is a publisher, writer and editor. She has contributed to magazines, textbooks and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.