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Checking whether cream cheese is softened using the back of a spoon
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5 from 4 votes

How to Soften Cream Cheese

Three different ways to soften cream cheese quickly and easily.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to soften cream cheese, soften cream cheese
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 129.27kcal
Author: TipBuzz


  • 8 oz cream cheese regular or light*


Microwave Method

  • Unwrap the cream cheese and put it on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Place in the microwave. Then microwave on full power for 15 seconds.
  • Check the cream cheese. If it’s not soft enough, microwave for 5 seconds more. Repeat until fully softened.**

Hot Water Bath Method

  • If the cream cheese is sealed in foil, use it as is. Otherwise, wrap the cream cheese tightly in plastic wrap to seal.
  • Fill a medium bowl with hot tap water.
  • Submerge the cream cheese in the water, using a paper weight or mallet to hold it down.
  • Let it sit submerged for 5-10 minutes until soft.

Countertop Method

  • Unwrap the cream cheese and cut into long strips about ½-inch (12 mm) wide.
  • Arrange the strips on a plate with space in between.
  • Let rest for 15-20 minutes until soft.



  • * Light or low-fat cream cheese may not soften as smoothly due to its reduced fat content. If needed, whip it with a whisk to make it completely smooth after softening.
  • ** It may take longer depending on the strength of your microwave oven.
  • It’s normal to have some liquid to seep out of the cream cheese during softening. Add the liquid to the recipe along with the softened cream cheese.
  • Softened cream cheese should give in to light pressure from the back of a spoon and have a spreadable consistency. Otherwise it’s still too firm.
  • How to defrost cream cheese? If your cream cheese is frozen, let it sit in the refrigerator to thaw overnight or longer before softening.


Serving: 1.5oz | Calories: 129.27kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.54g | Protein: 2.24g | Fat: 12.94g | Saturated Fat: 7.29g | Cholesterol: 41.58mg | Sodium: 121.34mg | Potassium: 52.16mg | Sugar: 1.21g | Vitamin A: 507.64IU | Calcium: 37.04mg | Iron: 0.14mg