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Can Cheesecake Go Bad?

Let’s pretend for a moment that you’ve bought or made too much cheesecake. I know it’s almost impossible (at least for me), but let’s say that actually happened. Now you’re wondering how long does it last, and how to store this deliciousness so that it lasts the longest. Can cheesecake go bad?

Cheesecake is one of the most popular sweet desserts out there. But even though there are thousands of recipes available, storage, shelf life, and the process of deterioration and going bad are pretty much the same for all of them. Or most, at the very least. If you’re following a recipe you found online that doesn’t resemble your typical cheesecake, make sure to check how long it lasts and what’s the best way to store it.

Without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of cheesecakes.

Homemade cheesecake
Homemade cheesecake

Can Cheesecake Go Bad? How To Tell That Cheesecake Went Bad?

The filling of this dessert is a mixture of cheese (cream or ricotta), eggs, and sugar ([WIKI]). And as we all know, neither eggs nor cream cheese lasts forever. Thus, of course, cheesecake goes bad.

Saying if this creamy dessert is bad already is often quite tricky. Signs of mold, altered smell, or discolored filling are sure signs the cheesecake is no good anymore. But those often show up quite late, especially when it comes to cheesecakes that you order online, which often have a bunch of preservatives added.

What I’d suggest you do instead is to stick with the storage periods I outline below. That is, of course, if the dessert looks perfectly okay. And if you store the cheesecake for longer than 3 or 4 days already, always sample a small piece to check its taste. If the creamy and sweet main layer starts to taste sour, it’s time for it to go.

Cheesecake dusted with powdered sugar
Cheesecake dusted with powdered sugar

How Long Does Cheesecake Last?

The periods I outline here work great for almost all of cheesecakes out there. But as I already mentioned, consult the recipe to make sure it doesn’t come with a different set of guidelines.

Store-bought cheesecake, generally speaking, lasts between 5 ([EC]) and 7 ([JC]) days in the fridge, while homemade one is good for about 5 days ([CAC]). That’s how long the mixture of cream cheese, eggs, and sugar should be at peak quality.

Of course, many cheesecakes come with some topping. And sometimes that topping is more volatile than the filling. If that’s the case, the creamy dessert will be okay as long as the topping is. If that’s a homemade cheesecake, consider adding the topping right before serving if that’s possible.

Cheesecake closeup
Cheesecake closeup

How To Store Cheesecake?

Storing cheesecake is no rocket science. It should sit in the fridge, sealed tightly.

Store-bought ones often come in plastic containers, and those are good enough for storage purposes. If that container is not resealable, wrap the cake in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container.

If yours comes only wrapped in paper and put inside a plastic bag, what you do with it depends on when you plan on consuming it. If you’re going to eat it right away or within like 2 to 3 hours, leave the cake as is on the kitchen counter. Otherwise, discard the plastic bag, transfer the dessert to an airtight container and refrigerate.

When it comes to homemade cheesecake, you can cut it into pieces and transfer them to airtight containers. Or use a large cake container if you happen to have one, provided that it fits into your fridge, of course. Similar practices apply to bread pudding.

If the given storage period isn’t long enough for your needs, consider freezing the cheesecake.

Cheesecake in a storage container
Cheesecake in a storage container

Can You Freeze Cheesecake?

You’ve probably seen frozen cheesecake in a supermarket. Or if you’ve ordered cheesecake online, it arrived frozen or half-defrosted with dry ice packs all over the package. That’s a pretty sure sign you can freeze this dessert if I’ve ever seen one.

Doing it is super easy, too. All you need is some plastic wrap and freezer bags or containers. First, tightly wrap the cake with plastic wrap ([EC]). Then, for some added protection against cold air, put the wrapped cheesecake in a freezer bag or container. Bags take less freezer space, but if you’re worried that the dessert will get squished, a container is the way to go.

When it comes to defrosting, there are two options ([JC]), both quite time-consuming. First is to leave the cake overnight in the fridge, and then bring it to room temperature on the counter for about 2 to 3 hours before you serve it. The other is to defrost it on the counter for about 4 to 5 hours. As you can see, both require some planning-ahead to have it ready when guests arrive.

If you won’t use the whole thing in one sitting, it’s best to defrost it in the fridge, then cut as much as you need and bring to room temperature. You can refreeze the rest ([JC]), or leave in the fridge if you plan on eating it within a couple of days.

If you’re interested in learning more about the topic, I wrote a whole guide on freezing cheesecake on my sister site CanYouFreezeThis.com.

Frozen cheesecake with frost on the surface
Frozen cheesecake with frost on the surface

In a Nutshell

  • Mold, off smell, and filling discoloration are sure signs the cheesecake is done for. Also, check if the filling didn’t start to turn sour.
  • Commercially-bought cheesecake lasts 5 to 7 days, homemade up to 5 days.
  • Store cheesecake in the fridge, tightly sealed. If there are only a couple of hours between when it’s baked and when you plan on eating it, keeping it on the kitchen counter is okay.
  • If you need more than the mentioned 5 to 7 days, freeze the cheesecake.

References

Cheesecake and coffee
Cheesecake and coffee