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How to Soften Cream Cheese

Learn how to soften cream cheese in a pinch with these 3 easy methods. Whip up your favorite recipes in no time using perfectly softened cream cheese!

cream cheese on blue and white plate

Softening Cream Cheese – 3 Ways!

Looking for a way to soften cream cheese quickly? There’s a few different methods that I use if I forgot to place it on the counter to soften before making a recipe. All ways work great in a pinch, so it really depends on which method you like best. With these tips, you’ll be able to whip up your favorite recipes in no time using softened cream cheese with the perfect texture!

cream cheese stick on counter

1) Soften on Counter

Softening cream cheese on the countertop at room temperature is my preferred way. I find this way leaves it the most evenly softened and it’s easy to set out an hour before I’m ready to bake. You can also cube the cheese into small pieces to help it soften quicker.

Time required: This method takes about 1 hour.

cream cheese in bowl of water

2) Soften in Water

For a quicker method than softening on the counter, you can place the block of cream cheese in a bowl of warm water. Make sure the foil is sealed and the water is not too hot. Using hot water will melt instead of soften.

Time required: This water bath method will take about 5-10 minutes.

cream cheese on plate in microwave

3) Soften Cream Cheese in Microwave

This microwave method is the quickest way to soften cream cheese. Simply remove the wrapper and place on a microwave-safe plate. Then microwave about 10 to 15 seconds, or until softened. Watch carefully so it doesn’t melt.

Time required: This method will take about 15 seconds.

cream cheese softened on plate

Recipes with Cream Cheese:

There are all kinds of recipes that call for softened cream cheese. It’s used in all types of desserts, like cakes, brownies, cookies and cupcakes. Or savory dishes like dips, sauces and casseroles.

cream cheese on blue and white plate

How to Soften Cream Cheese

Learn how to soften cream cheese in a pinch with these 3 easy methods!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins

Equipment

  • Bowl (if using water method)
  • Plate (if using microwave method)

Ingredients 

  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 package)

Instructions

  • Microwave method: Remove the wrapper and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds, or until softened (keep an eye on it so it doesn't melt).
    cream cheese on plate in microwave
  • Water method: Place the block of cream cheese (with the wrapper on) in a bowl of warm (but not hot) water. Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until softened.
    cream cheese in bowl of water
  • Counter method: Set the block of cream cheese out on the counter to soften about an hour before using. You can also cube the cream cheese and let it sit out on a plate so that it softens faster.
    cream cheese stick on counter

Author: Jamielyn Nye

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