Many recipes called for softened cream cheese, but don’t explain how to soften cream cheese when you forget to remove it from the fridge ahead of time. Learn all the tips and secrets for softening cream cheese quickly and easily to get the best recipe results!

Use the back of a spoon to check whether the cream cheese is softened

Many recipes call for softened cream cheese before it’s mixed with other ingredients. As cream cheese has to be stored in the refrigerator, it takes a long time to soften if you just let it sit at room temperature.

Also it won’t be as fresh after being left out for too long. We have some tricks for you to soften cream cheese fast so that you can get the perfect softened cream cheese and start cooking right away.

How to Soften Cream Cheese Fast?

unsoftened cream cheese on a plate

Method 1: Microwave Approach – Fastest

Step 1: Unwrapped cream cheese.

Step 2: Place the unwrapped cream cheese on a microwave-safe plate or bowl.

Step 3: Microwave it on high for 10 to 15 seconds. If it’s not soft enough, add 5 seconds at a time until you get the perfect texture.

How To Soften Cream Cheese

Method 2: Hot Water Bath Approach

Wrap the cream cheese in a plastic wrap, and seal it completely. Then submerge it in a bowl of hot water, and make sure the water is not getting into the cream cheese. Leave the cream cheese in the hot water for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Method 3: Room Temperature Approach

Unwrap the cream cheese and cut it into long and thin slices. Lay the slices on a plate and they will soften much faster than sitting in the room temperature when it’s still in its original package.

Note: If there is some liquid coming out of the cream cheese after it’s softened, it’s totally normal. Just make sure to add the liquid together with softened cream cheese to the recipe.

How Long Does it Take for Cream Cheese to Soften?

If you take the cream cheese out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature in its original package, it can take over 1 hour to soften. But if you use the method above, it can take as little as less than 1 minute.

How Can You Tell Whether Cream Cheese is Soft?

Use the back of a spoon to gently press the cream cheese. If you can press easily and see the smooth texture, it’s ready for use as in the photo below.

Test whether cream cheese is soft using the back of a spoon

Watch Now: How to Soften Cream Cheese?

How Long Can Cream Cheese Last?

When stored in the refrigerator, an unopened package of cream cheese can last up to a month. Once opened, you need to use it within 10 days.

If it’s stored in the freezer it can easily last 2 to 3 months. It cannot last longer than 2 hours if left at room temperature. If the cream cheese has been softened, it’s better to be used as soon as possible.

Here are some delicious recipes that use softened cream cheese: