Can You Microwave Cream Cheese?

by Charlie

Cream cheese, which is made from milk and cream, is one of the most consumed cheeses in America. It has a mild taste and soft texture with smooth consistency. Because of its properties, cream cheese works as an excellent spread on different food items like crackers, toast, bagels, and lots more.

Based on your personal preference, you can choose from the double-cream, flavored, regular, and whipped variants of cream cheese. Although cream cheese has a high fat content, it is rich in other nutrients and vitamins. 

Cream cheese provides us with significant amounts of vitamin A, which boosts the immune system, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Because of its low lactose content, cream cheese is a potential substitute for anyone with lactose intolerance.  

Now, if you’ve used cream cheese significantly in the past, you’ve probably had to soften it for a meal you were cooking. Softening is usually required when cream cheese has been stored in the fridge or freezer for a while.

There are various approaches that can be used when you want to soften cream cheese. However, in this guide, I’d like to shed more light on the microwaving approach. 

Can you microwave cream cheese? Yes, you can microwave cream cheese. For great results, heat cream cheese at 15-second intervals inside the microwave. Larger portions of cream cheese may require an additional 10 seconds of heating.

Because the microwave has high heating power, you must be careful so that the cream cheese doesn’t get too soft. It is advisable to constantly flip the block of cream cheese on its side as it heats inside the microwave.  

What to Know when Microwaving Cream Cheese  

Usually, most people prefer to soften their cream cheese by leaving it to sit out at room temperature. This method doesn’t expose the cream cheese to the risky conditions that microwaving does.

However, softening cream cheese at room temperature can take up to 1 hour. If you don’t have that much time to wait, your best bet is to microwave the cream cheese

Regardless of its potential to seriously melt cream cheese, microwaving can still give you the results you desire – you just have to pay close attention when heating the cream cheese. Microwaving saves you so much time by getting the cream cheese softened in less than 30 seconds; although larger blocks may take a few seconds longer.  

This article contains the necessary steps you need to follow when microwaving cream cheese. If you’ve tried it in the past and didn’t get the desired results, things should be different this time around. 

How to Microwave Cream Cheese  

As I stated earlier, the microwave gets really hot quickly. It is important to pay close attention when microwaving your block of cream cheese. Failure to monitor the microwaving process will leave you with a bowl of overly melted cream cheese and a messed up microwave.

So, if you don’t want to spend several minutes wiping melted cheese from inside your microwave, make sure you keep an eye on the process. Simple steps to follow are: 

  1. Start by removing the block of cream cheese from its original packaging. Place the block of cheese on a microwave-safe dish and put it inside the microwave.  
  2. Change the microwave’s heating power to medium-high and heat the block of cream cheese for the next 5 seconds. Once the first 5 seconds have lapsed, check on the cream cheese to see how much it has softened.  
  3. Flip the block of cream cheese on its side, close the microwave back and heat again for another 5 seconds. Remember to pay close attention as the cream cheese heats in the microwave. As you heat the block of cheese in 5-second intervals, make sure that you turn it on all its 4 sides.    
  4. After about 25 seconds of heating in the microwave, your cream cheese should be satisfactorily soft and smooth.  

Alternative Methods for Softening Cream Cheese  

Alternatively, your block of cream cheese can be softened at room temperature or by thinning with other ingredients. If you have enough time to wait, these methods are safer than softening in the microwave. 

Softening Cream Cheese at Room Temperature 

  • Start by cutting the block of cream cheese into thinner slices – doing this will make the cream cheese soften faster. If left to soften as a big block, the outer areas of the cream cheese will soften while the inner areas remain solid. 
  • After cutting the block of cream cheese into thinner slices, leave the slices inside the original container and place on the kitchen countertop. Let the cream cheese remain at room temperature for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes at room temperature, the cream cheese should have been satisfactorily softened. 
  • If you want the cream cheese to soften much faster, you can also spread it flat with a metal spoon or roll it thin with a rolling pin. 

Softening Cream Cheese by Thinning with Other Ingredients 

  • Scoop the portion of cream cheese you wish to soften into a bowl and add a table spoon of milk. 
  • Mix the milk with the cream cheese and constantly add little more milk to the mix until the cream cheese is softened completely. 
  • Because you don’t want the thinning ingredient to significantly influence the cream cheese’s taste, you need to be careful with which thinning agent you use. 
  • Melted butter, lemon juice, whipped cream, and mascarpone are great thinning agents for softening your block of cream cheese.  

Related Questions:

Questions commonly asked in relation to this topic include:  

How long can Cream Cheese Sit Out? 

Cream cheese can be left to sit at room temperature for only 2 hours. After 2 hours, any cream cheese still at room temperature should be disposed of. 

Can Cream Cheese thicken again if already melted in the Microwave? 

No, cream cheese will not get thick again once it has been melted inside the microwave. 

How do you make Cream Cheese Fluffy?

Use a mixer to whip up your cream cheese so that it can get fluffier for whatever recipe you intend to use it in. 

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