Last Updated on January 14, 2023
Cream cheese icing is one of the most popular choices of icing. It is creamy, and smooth and has a wonderfully sweet taste that pairs well with many desserts. One may wonder due to the ingredients found in cream cheese: does cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?
Cream cheese icing is generally made up of cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and butter, with slight variations depending on the recipe. It is often used on cinnamon rolls, chocolate cakes, vanilla cakes, carrot cakes, spiced cakes, brownies, and cookies. It is a simple frosting that has a delicious taste.
Does Cream Cheese Frosting Need to be Refrigerated?
When you are not serving dessert with cream cheese icing, it should be kept refrigerated. Cream cheese icing can safely be at room temperature for two hours, but after that should be stored in the fridge. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that any food containing cream cheese should be refrigerated within two hours.
However, if you do forget to put your cream cheese icing in the fridge, it is generally fine at room temperature for up to eight hours. This is due to the sugar in the icing acting as a preservative. It is still recommended to put your cream cheese icing in the fridge within two hours, to avoid any foodborne illnesses.
Why Does Cream Cheese Frosting Need to be Refrigerated?
Cream cheese is made from cow’s milk and it is not aged or ripened, making it perishable. If left out for more than two hours, cream cheese and cream cheese products become prone to foodborne illnesses, such as E.coli. Leaving cream cheese out for more than two hours in the danger zone, which is 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit, can cause harmful bacteria to grow.
If cream cheese is in temperatures 90 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, it can only safely last for an hour. After two hours between 40-140 degrees and one hour above 90 degrees, bacteria can begin to double in rate, multiplying in as little as 20 minutes.
Though you are not able to see the bacteria, it can still be potentially very harmful. Children, the elderly and pregnant women are most likely to be affected by foodborne illnesses.
An unopened package of cream cheese can keep in your fridge for up to six months. After it has been opened, it can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks, as long as it is sealed.
Does Cream Cheese Frosting Need to be Refrigerated: Storing in the Fridge
Though cream cheese icing will likely be fine out for longer, it is still best to store it in the fridge within two hours, to avoid any harmful bacteria. Cream cheese icing may be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks and in the freezer for up to six months. Leftover frosting should be stored in an airtight container and frosted dessert should be covered.
Before serving cream cheese frosting, it is best to let it thaw for about thirty minutes in the fridge. If you have stored it in the freezer, you can transfer it to the fridge for a day and then let it thaw on the counter for thirty minutes as well. This will allow it to reach room temperature.
A cream cheese icing that has been in the fridge will have a cold, stiff texture, unlike its normal creamy and smooth texture. Letting it properly will allow it to be smooth and creamy again. For leftover cream cheese icing, you will want to re-whip it before using it to frost baked goods, as it will have likely separated.
Does Cream Cheese Frosting Need to be Refrigerated: Preparing Cream Cheese Icing
When making cream cheese icing, you will want to make sure to use block cream cheese. Spreadable cream cheese and whipped cream cheese have different textures than a block and will change the consistency of the icing. Blocks of cream cheese have the lowest water content, so they will prevent your frosting from being too soft and runny.
When making cream cheese icing, be sure to allow the butter to reach room temperature and the cream cheese to be soft, but cold. Softening your cream cheese and butter will assure that the ingredients will combine well and you will have a smooth, lump-free icing. If the butter and cream cheese are too warm, it will cause the frosting to be runny.
You will find some recipes call for unsalted butter and then a small amount of salt added to your cream cheese icing. This allows you to have more control over the flavor of your icing.
A Versatile Icing
Cream cheese icing is one of the most popular icing choices. It's famously used on carrot cakes, spice cakes, and cinnamon rolls. However, it also goes great with chocolate cake, vanilla cake, red velvet cake, Bundt cake, brownies, and cookies. Its smooth, creamy, and light texture is the perfect addition to any dessert.
Decorating with Cream Cheese Icing
Cream cheese frosting has a great texture for decorating baked goods. It is a good consistency for using a piping bag to create decorations. If the frosting starts to become too soft while working with it, you can put it in the fridge for a few minutes to stiffen it back up.
Spatulas are also a great tool for decorating desserts. They work well to evenly frost cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and brownies.
Can Cream Cheese Frosting Be Baked?
Unfortunately, cream cheese frosting can not be baked. If you heat cream cheese frosting, it will simply melt and become incredibly runny. This is why it's always recommended that you let whatever you're frosting come to room temperature first because no type of frosting can tolerate heating well. While cream cheese may work well in some cooking recipes, cream cheese frosting is different and should not be baked, or it will lose all of its shapes.
Why is My Cream Cheese Frosting Not White?
Cream cheese is not typically bright white, and as well as this, butter is often added to cream cheese frosting. Both of these things can mean that your cream cheese frosting looks more yellow than white. If this is the case, there are a few tips to use next time you make your cream cheese frosting.
- If your recipe calls for butter, try using vegetable shortening or heavy whipping cream instead. Both are white, rather than yellow. Vegetable shortening has little flavor, so it may make your frosting quite bland, whereas heavy whipping cream is likely to make your frosting incredibly sweet.
- As well as removing butter, you can also try adding white food coloring. Gel food coloring is the best way to lighten your cream cheese frosting.
- You could also try using imitation vanilla extract too, instead of pure vanilla, as imitation vanilla is often clear.
How to Turn Cream Cheese Frosting Into Cheesecake?
If you have any cream cheese frosting left over, you can easily turn it into a topping for your cheesecake. If your cream cheese frosting is made of basic powdered sugar, cream cheese, and butter, all you need to do is:
- Add ½ cup of sour cream and a pinch of salt to the frosting and mix well. Keep beating until completely smooth.
- At this point, you can choose to add the frosting to your cheesecake or chill it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
Cream cheese frosting on cheesecake is just absolutely delicious!
Why Did My Cream Cheese Frosting Crack?
Your cream cheese frosting may crack if you add it to your baked goods too early. Your baked goods must be completely cool on the inside and out before you add your frosting. It's likely that if it's too warm when your frosting begins to set and harden, it'll start to crack.
How to Make Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Frosting?
In recent years, both vegan diets and lactose-intolerant individuals have become increasingly popular. For this reason, you may be wondering how to make cream cheese frosting without the use of dairy products - we're here to help!
As well as being vegan and non-dairy, this recipe is also gluten-free; meaning it's suitable for a range of dietary lifestyles. To make this, you'll need:
- ½ cup of vegan butter
- an 8 oz tub of softened vegan cream cheese
- around 3-5 cups of sifted powdered sugar.
This recipe makes around 2 cups of frosting. Now all you need to do is:
- Grab a bowl and add the butter.
- Beat the butter until light and fluffy. At this point, add the cream cheese and keep mixing until the mixture becomes smooth.
- Once smooth, add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Only add the next cup of powdered sugar once the previous cup is completely combined. Once you've reached the desired consistency, you can stop. This will be between 3-5 cups of sugar, depending on how thick you like it.
You can keep this frosting in the refrigerator for around 5 days.
Do Cream Cheese Cookies Need to be Refrigerated?
When it comes to cookies in cream cheese, it all depends on whether you used it in the cookie batter itself, or if you're using the cream cheese as a topping, such as frosting. If your cookies have cream cheese in the batter, experts say that they are at very low risk of spoiling if left at room temperature. Like any cookies, they will spoil over time, but they would be no more of a risk at room temperature, than those made with butter.
However, if your cookies have a cream cheese frosting, they should absolutely be refrigerated. At room temperature, cream cheese is only safe for around two hours before it begins to spoil. If it's a cooler day, they may last for slightly longer out of the fridge. But it is advised that they be left out of the fridge for no longer than two hours.
If you're looking for another way to keep your cookies fresh, you could try freezing them. As long as they're in an airtight container, cookies can last a while when frozen.
Does Canned Cream Cheese Frosting Need to be Refrigerated?
The answer to this depends on whether the canned cream cheese frosting has been opened or not. More often than not, cream cheese frosting can be found in the baking aisle of grocery stores, and will not be refrigerated. The storage instructions often state that it should be kept in a cool, dry place.
However, once the cream cheese frosting has been opened, the storage instructions change. It should then be refrigerated and used within 30 days. As well as this, any baked goods that have been decorated with cream cheese frosting should also be refrigerated too. Your cream cheese frosting will spoil quickly if not stored correctly.
How Long Can Cream Cheese Frosting Sit Out?
Experts have said that cream cheese frosting can only sit out for around 2 hours. Any longer than that and it will begin to spoil. Some bakers will say that cream cheese frosting will be okay left out for a few hours longer, as long as it's in an airtight container.
However, it's always best to follow the FDA's advice when it comes to cooking and baking, and they do not advise any longer than two hours at room temperature. After this time, bacteria will begin to breed and the cream cheese frosting will start to go bad. You can check whether your cream cheese frosting is bad by doing a smell check. If it smells sour or bad, it's time to get rid!
Do Cakes With Cream Cheese Frosting Need to be Refrigerated?
Like any baked goods that have cream cheese frosting, cakes do need to refrigerate. American buttercream does not need to be refrigerated and can be left safely at room temperature. However, this is not the case for cakes with cream cheese frosting.
For best results, they should be left at room temperature for no longer than two hours. At this point, the cake will begin to go bad and will very quickly need discarding. If it's a cooler time of the year, they may last slightly longer. But it's always best to be safe when it comes to dairy products.
Keeping It Cool
I hope this article has helped to answer the question: does cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated Cream cheese icing is a delicious addition to any dessert. Its mouth-watering scrumptious taste, along with its creamy smooth texture will leave you wanting more. It is a simple frosting to make that is guaranteed to fulfill your sweet craving.
Due to the cream cheese being perishable, cream cheese icing needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer. Though it may stay fresh for up to eight hours at room temperature, it is best to refrigerate it within two hours to avoid harmful bacteria. Storing cream cheese icing in the fridge will also help it stay fresh and it can be stored for up to two weeks.
Please comment if you have any questions about this article or have any remarks regarding this post!
Karen is a passionate pastry chef who loves to create delicious baked goods. She has been in the culinary arts for over 10 years, honing her skills and perfecting her craft. Karen is known for her creativity and attention to detail, creating unique desserts that bring a smile to everyone’s face. She is always looking for ways to challenge herself and come up with new recipes that are both tasty and visually appealing. Karen loves to experiment with different flavors and textures, and she is committed to providing the highest quality of products to her customers.