HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Using up Cream Cheese

I have 20 oz(s) of Cream Cheese with a USE BY DATE of April 14, 2014.

I'll never eat that many bagels by then ;-)

Any suggestions on how to use up the majority before it goes bad?

Thank you

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You can add to mashed/double baked potatoes or pasta sauces....but I my favorite way to have cream cheese without a bagel is to prepare a Cream Cheese with Chives/Green Onion Omelet.

    1. If it's unopened, it will be good well beyond the use-by date. Once you are dipping into it repeatedly it will start to mold. Personally, I just remove the mold but assuming you are less cavalier than I, you could open the container, divide it into smaller containers, and keep the unused ones in the colder part of the fridge.

      For other uses:
      - cream cheese frosting for carrot cake, banana cake, hummingbird cake, lemon cupcakes, etc.
      - dips for crudite and cracker platters
      - potted meat: grind up cooked meat, poultry, or shellfish, mix with grated shallot/onion, herbs, a little hot sauce or worcestershire, etc., and use as a spread for crackers, toast points, bruschetta, stuffed celery. A good use for cold cut ends, too.

      1. Cheese cake, which then can be frozen.

        1. Dip. Make lots and lots of dip. I mix half sour cream and half cream cheese with whatever ingredients to make my desired dip. I have a Muffaletta one I'm eating right now with celery. Very spicy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sisterfunkhaus

            What is in this muffaletta dip?? That sounds amazing.

          2. This easy apple tart from Laura Calder will consume 8 ounces of your cream cheese; it always generate raves from my guests:


            1 Reply
            1. re: janniecooks

              Sounds so good, and quite easy. Thanks!

            2. Oyster dip - equal parts cream cheese, plain yogurt, poached oysters, (smoked will do) lemon zest, Worcestershire. Serve with scoop-size Fritos.

              1. Cream cheese is my favorite food.

                Here's a few favorite ways I use it (other than bagels, of course…)

                Small cubes scrambled in your eggs, with fresh cilantro (keep the eggs soft-scrambled)

                Spread on nutty bread with yellow mustard, thin cucumber slices, and sprouts

                Large spoonful (or 2) of cream cheese in a bowl, topped with Pace Picante sauce, with lime Tostitos (don't judge, it's delicious)

                In a pita with yellow mustard, roast beef, sprouts and sliced black olives

                Stuffed into extra large pitted black olives as an appetizer

                1. Is this a spreadable cream cheese or the blocks?

                  The spreadable isn't good for cheesecakes and such because of the higher water content. You might be able to add flour or extra egg to counteract but not sure.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: daislander

                    I just looked at my container of whipped cream cheese, my local supermarket's house brand. There is no additional water or other liquid on the ingredient list, just some natural gums for stability.

                    1. Rugelach have always been my go-to usage for excess cream cheese. It's a component of the dough.

                      1. I agree with scrambling into eggs. It's really good.

                        Also, there are some ice cream recipes that use cream cheese. That'd work.

                        You could also make some dessert bars that have a cream cheese/sugar layer.

                        1. One of my favorite treats when I was a kid, cream cheese on graham crackers with jam on top. Of course you could just bake a cheesecake. Or make cheese danish.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rasputina

                            I used to have cream cheese and jelly sandwiches.

                            1. re: jbsiegel

                              Yep. A growing up staple for me, too.

                          2. bet it won't go bad any time soon, juss sayin.

                            jalapeño jelly over a blob of CC, lopped up w-crackers or toast points.

                            make a batch of CC/butter frosting and freeze then (soon) make a cake or cupcakes.

                            dollop on a plate pour a small jar of shrimp cocktail over the CC scoop onto basil trisket or Fritos scoops.

                            stir into gravy
                            add to salad dressing recipes

                            put on toasted "Everything" bagel and top CC w-cherry pie filling
                            ^^^^^TO DIE FOR^^^^^^

                            freeze a portion in zipper bag

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: iL Divo

                              Stir into a gravy? As the thickener instead of flour or corn starch?

                              1. re: Midknight

                                no as a flavor enhancer, richen it up a bit. not a lot, maybe a tablespoon

                            2. Pizza dip.
                              8 oz cream cheese, softened and spread in an 8x8 baking dish
                              1 jar pizza quick pizza sauce
                              1 cup mozzarella or pizza blend of shredded cheese
                              Any toppings you like on pizza chopped fine (pepperoni, bell peppers, onions and black olives for us)
                              1 tube refrigerated breadsticks cut into two inch pieces and baked according to the package directions. Dip goes into the oven at the same time. You are just warming through and melting the cheese.
                              To assemble just layer the cc first, sauce, toppings and then cheese.

                              Bean dip
                              8 oz room temperature cream cheese spread in an 8x8 baking dish
                              1/2 cup salsa mixed with 1/2 cup refried beans
                              1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
                              Nacho toppings like black olives, pickled jalapenos, scallions, diced tomatoes, seasoned ground meat if you want it really hearty.
                              A good sprinkling of hot sauce and sour cream to finish when it comes out of the oven if you like.
                              layer by following the list of ingredients and bake at 350 for 30 minutes and serve with tortilla chips.

                              Both are dead simple and get hoovered up at gatherings. My bf and I make these for lunch on the weekend and split it.

                              1. Pimento stuffed green olives, well drained, coarsely chopped - mashed with cream cheese ratio 1:1.

                                This makes a fantastic sandwich filling on your favorite bread with leaf lettuce...

                                1 Reply
                                1. I second the rugelach suggestion… Such a delightful dough to work with, and you can even freeze the disks.

                                  I use cream cheese in my rolled sugar cookie dough as well.

                                  The sweet possibilities abound… cheese muffins, coeur a la creme, yeasted cheese coffee cake, a giant bowl of cream cheese frosting (served with a spoon), cheese mousse, etc.

                                  On the savory side...
                                  Great mashed with potatoes or cauliflower. with a little sour cream and/or butter, salt, pepper, chives, etc.

                                  Quiche? http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/eggr...

                                  A nice spinach and mushroom sauce for eggs?

                                  Crockpot Stroganoff?

                                  Haven't made this, but cream cheese flan does intrigue me… http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cr...

                                  as does this Miso Cream Cheese… http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mi...

                                  1. Cream cheese is good mixed into turkey burgers, meatloaf, green chile enchiladas, lasagna, pie crust, flan, mac & cheese, broccoli au gratin, chocolate truffles.

                                    1. THANK YOU ALL! Great and thoughtful suggestions that I'm filing away.

                                      Quite coincidental that just a few hours after I posted this query, I came across a recipe for a baked spinach & artichoke side dish using 16 oz of cream cheese.

                                      Guess the universe is aligned.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: RedTop

                                        Do you have a link to the recipe? Sounds like my kind of dish.

                                        1. re: bear

                                          Here ya go:

                                          CAJUN SPINACH CASSEROLE

                                          4 packs, frozen spinach;
                                          Cajun seasoning (or--garlic salt, onion powder and pepper, added to taste);
                                          2 eight oz packs of cream cheese;
                                          seasoned bread crumbs;
                                          1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts.

                                          Place all spinach in a hot skillet until heated through and all water evaporated. Add the cream cheese and Cajun seasoning to taste. When cheese has melted into spinach, remove from heat and place in a casserole dish. Sink artichoke hearts "strategically" into the spinach and cover lightly with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

                                          BTW, I think any type spicing would work in the dish if you're adverse to Cajun seasoning.

                                          1. re: RedTop

                                            Thanks! Couldn't be simpler. If you try it, can you report back? I'd be really grateful. Hope it's delicious!

                                            1. re: RedTop

                                              This recipe sounds alarms. First, if the person who wrote it had thought it through, s/he would have realized that "packs" of frozen spinach is vague. Most likely this means 10-oz blocks of chopped but not necessarily. Some people may live where the standard is whole leaf in 16oz bags, or other options. Measurement for the artichokes is also needed.

                                              Second, there's more to Cajun seasoning than garlic salt, onion powder, and pepper. And how are you supposed to add it "to taste" when it's raw and cold?

                                              Third, there is no mention of volume or dimensions of the baking dish, which makes a tremendous difference in baking time.

                                              Finally, it sounds to me like it needs more texture and visual appeal - perhaps diced sweet or hot pepper, onion, and/or scallion.

                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                grey, it actually sounds more like a guideline than a recipe. That's not a problem for many here on the home cooking board since we often use something like this as a suggestion, but it certainly would be an issue for an inexperienced home cook.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  I'm adventurous, greygarious. I think I can make something interesting with the, as you state: "recipe sounds alarms."

                                          2. It sounds like you've already made up your mind but I wanted to suggest chicken pillows:


                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: UTgal

                                              Thanks for that recipe, UTgal. I'm definately going to try it before the outside temps reach 70 here in MI.

                                              1. re: UTgal

                                                gad that looks good, thanks for posting link Utgal

                                              2. Sound a bit weird, but I use cream cheese in my asparagus soup.
                                                It mellows it out the flavors.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: monavano

                                                  kinda like I wrote about why I'd use it in gravy.
                                                  it can have many advantages, not simply merely as topping an English muffin

                                                2. I put it into my mashed potatoes because clearly half and half and butter are not enough.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Njchicaa


                                                      in our MP's the sky's the limit.
                                                      the kid likes to add sour cream.
                                                      I like to add a high quality bleu cheese salad dressing.
                                                      my husband loves the inclusion of buttermilk.
                                                      for me also, give me some serious good grates of mozzo cheese tossed in.

                                                    2. CAJUN SPINACH CASSEROLE...a failed experiment(sigh). The dish was one note: bitter.

                                                      Used 48 oz of frozen, chopped spinach, 12 oz of marinated artichoke hearts, 16 oz of cream cheese, and a liberal dusting of Cajun Seasoning; and the topping of bread crumbs.

                                                      Followed the stovetop and oven directions as stated. It looked delightful. But the taste was definately off.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: RedTop

                                                        Thanks for the report and the warning, RedTop. Bummer.

                                                        1. re: RedTop

                                                          Interesting that you said bitter.
                                                          My rec of adding cream cheese to asparagus soup is because my taste buds perceive sharp/bitter without the cheese to round and smooth it out.

                                                          Oh well, live and learn!

                                                        2. I'm currently finishing a block of cream cheese past the use by date and am, not only eating it right this minute while I'm posting but, alive and well. Oh, you can make a veggie dip, I do that a lot!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: treb

                                                            The day is young.
                                                            Just kidding!

                                                          2. We have a family recipe for avocado dip that is 8 oz cream cheese, three avocados, 3 T minced onion, garlic powder, lemon juice, and salt to taste. It is really, really tasty!

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                              I have 2 nice large perfect avo's in the kitchen.
                                                              before we go out to dinner tonight to our favorite Mex resto, (where the hub always orders guac) I'll make yours here.
                                                              3 fold:
                                                              I know it'll be better (their's to me has a cheating factor mixed in that I can't quite figure out, perhaps a premade plastic container is somehow involved)
                                                              I have all the ingredients
                                                              I can save $10

                                                              1. re: pagesinthesun


                                                                it was and I emphasize was, delicious. I had 2 avo's so CC was cut back.

                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                  That puts a smile on my face! I'm glad you liked it!

                                                              2. The classic New Orleans party food snack is a block of cream cheese, softened a bit, and Pickapepper sauce poured over it. Use strong chips.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                  We use a block of softened cream cheese, cover with cocktail sauce and then rinsed and drained baby shrimps. I usually put a cocktail knife on the plate. Eat with Triscuits or other cracker of your choice.

                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                    jezebel sauce is good this way too! triscuits are good.

                                                                  2. Make old fashioned pimiento cheese. You need cream cheese. Grated yellow cheese, and jarred smoked red peppers or one chipotle, and a little mayo. You can add a little cream, sliced olives, grated sweet onion, or other things you have around. I like pimiento cheese scooped up with green pepper scoops, or cherry tomatoes, but the traditional way to enjoy it is between two slices of bread.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                      can also use in a grilled cheese app!

                                                                    2. Make a spread for smoke salmon sandwiches!
                                                                      What I like to do is lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped capers, parseley and plenty of dill and cracked black pepper. Mix it all together and lather onto bread with some smoked salmon.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Tokyoite

                                                                        "Make a spread for smoke salmon sandwiches!"

                                                                        you're making me hungry.........sounds so good

                                                                        1. Cream cheese frosting for cupcakes. That will surely use up the cream cheese quickly.

                                                                          Also, another tip for you: I never go by the use by date on packages. If it's properly stored in the refrigerator, you can get a couple of days, weeks, and even months more out of them.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: v2pham

                                                                            Philadelphia cream cheese comes in a nice pretty box, but that next layer of foil packaging can be challenging, especially to re-close.

                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                              i can give you a step by step.
                                                                              very zen-like systematic unfolding.

                                                                              start with pulling out the end foil so it is stretched out (still unopened)

                                                                              then turn center flap/seal.fold up to perpendicular from block

                                                                              now go to each end in turn and open that center seam and fold open the ends

                                                                              open that center seam all the way

                                                                              voillå. it is a perfectly flat, intact piece of foil with a beautiful block of creamy goodness..

                                                                              reseal by starting with closing center seam…work backwards through steps.

                                                                              breathe deeply and relax.

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                I'll try your method, if I can summon up the zen control. I usually attack it from one end like a ravenous dog, and then crimp up the foil as best I can. Thanks, pal!

                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                  mongo eat cream cheeeeeezzzzzzzz NOW


                                                                          2. Open package.

                                                                            Place package parallel to face.

                                                                            Place tongue in package.

                                                                            Eat cream cheese.

                                                                            Don't judge me!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. You could try a homemade version of Pizza Huts "Flying Fish Roe Salmon Cream Cheese Pizza " stuffed crust pie.


                                                                              Or just make an entire flourless pizza dough with CC and eggs.

                                                                              EDIT: Apparently the Pizza Hut pie is only available in Hong Kong

                                                                              1. The other day I walked into the kitchen to see DH stuffing partially thawed bananas back into the freezer. On the verge of making banana bread, he realized there was no sour cream.

                                                                                Since we buy massive Costco blocks of the stuff, I suggested subbing cream cheese and some milk for the sour cream. It was the best banana bread he ever made.

                                                                                1. I let it soften, stir herbs and garlic into it and use it to stuff chicken breasts.

                                                                                  We also have creamed spinach/ kale/ whatever greens we have fairly often and use CC in it to make it nice and thick.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                    makes an easy and delicious creamed spinach, along with the added minced garlic and some nutmeg.

                                                                                  2. scrambled eggs -- in bowl, scramble three eggs with some half and half and a touch of water. put in medium skillet that has butter melted in. then pour in your egg mixture, stir and then add tsp. size dollops of cream cheese all around and scatter on sliced bite-size bits of smoked salmon, keep stirring till creamy and just set. season with salt only after you've tasted it, because of the salmon. serve on toast or an english muffin.

                                                                                    1. i've kept cheese unopened well past its expiry -- as long as it is in its original sealed package, it will last a good long time after the "date" on the package.

                                                                                      once opened, now that's another story.