Cream cheese frosting in a pot and spread over cupcakes

Top 10 ways to use up leftover cream cheese

If your tub of cream cheese is about to turn, use up those last few spoonfuls in one of our recipes. Try it in a cake frosting, pasta sauce or melty fondue. 

Versatile cream cheese is a fairly robust fridge product, but beyond that foil lid, those last few dollops can go from pure white to something altogether fungal in a short space of time. If you’re done with spreading it on sandwiches and bagels, try one of our leftover-friendly recipes.

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How to store cream cheese

Cream cheese should be used as soon as possible once the seal has been broken. It lasts for around a week and a half, possibly two weeks. The most obvious sign of spoilage is mould, however other pointers are a sour smell, grey or yellow tinges or a slimy, watery texture.

We don’t recommend freezing cream cheese – you’ll end up with a crumbly product as the extreme temperature causes it to separate.

Leftover cream cheese recipes

We’ve chosen recipes that use three-quarters or less of a standard 200g tub of cream cheese.

1. Omelette

Pea and herb frittata in a pan

Enrich a thick, grilled frittata with cream cheese. For this version, leave a few lumps of cheese intact when whisking the egg mixture – this way you can enjoy  melty cheese pockets when it’s cooked.

Pea, feta & summer herb frittata

2. Cakes and bakes

Cranberry and cream cheese muffins on a tray

While other dairy products like yogurt or buttermilk can be used within a cake batter, cream cheese is best reserved as a topping. If you don’t have enough to make a full batch of frosting, dollop a small amount onto cupcakes before baking, which results in a deliciously soft, embedded icing.

Cranberry & cream cheese muffins
 

3. The ultimate sandwich

Two toastie halves with blackberry sauce and cream cheese

While cream cheese in a butty is nothing new (a natural partner for smoked salmon, ham, chicken, turkey and tuna), we have a sandwich that flips the whole concept on its head. Try this fried brunch treat with blackberry sauce and layer of warm cream cheese. French toast will never look the same again.

Poor knights of Windsor with blackberry compote
 

4. Fondue

melty cheese fondue in a round baking dish

While for many households, an over-full cheese box may be an uncommon sight, if you do have a wealth of fromage to munch through, throw it all into a food processor and blitz into a Swiss chalet-worthy fondue.

Melty cheese fondue pot
 

5. Frosting

Make your own silky cake frosting by combining a little cream cheese with icing sugar and butter.

Easy carrot cake
Apricot, cinnamon & olive oil cake
Carrot & cream cheese cupcakes
Fruity traybake
Courgette & orange cake 

Watch our video on how to make cream cheese frosting:

6. Sauces

Once melted, cream cheese becomes silky and smooth, ideal for stirring through hot pasta or added to casseroles in place of crème fraîche or cream. If you want to get inventive, use it instead of garlic butter in a cheat’s chicken Kiev, or skip laborious egg yolk whisking and use it as a base to homemade hollandaise or béarnaise. Simply melt over a low heat, then add mustard, lemon and herbs.

Creamy ham, mushroom & leek spaghetti
Cheat’s chicken Kiev
Garlic chicken parcels

7. Cheat’s cheesecake

Two glass pots of layered berry cheesecakes

These dainty Swedish-style cheesecake pots make an easy yet impressive dinner party dessert. Mix cream cheese with double cream and orange zest, then pour on a crushed ginger snap base and top with zingy lingonberry jam.

Lingonberry & ginger cheesecake pots

8. Meatballs

Beef meatballs on skewers in a bowl

One of the finer innovations of the food world is creating a hidden cheese centre within a mince patty. While a burger works well with a slice of mozzarella or cheddar embedded in its core, stuffing a dollop of cream cheese in a meatball will have your diners in raptures. Just make sure you warn them first – when very hot, the cheese becomes a lava-like stream.

Beef & cheese meatballs

9. Ice cream

Blackcurrant cheesecake in a square tub

Enjoy all the flavours of a classic cheesecake in frozen form by folding cream cheese into an ice cream mix. This version with blueberries doesn’t even require a churner.

Blackcurrant cheesecake ice cream
 

10. Paté

Kipper pate in a pot and being spread over toast

Skip heavy butter and use cream cheese as the binding agent for a paté. We like this version that uses the much-maligned kipper – as unglamorous as its image may be, it packs a mean punch when combined with spinach, parsley and horseradish.

Kipper paté

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How do you use up leftover cream cheese? Leave a comment below…