Soft cream cheese in various ceramic bowls on a white background
Here's How Long Cream Cheese Can Safely Be Out On Your Countertop
When a recipe calls for softened cream cheese, you may be tempted to leave a chilly block on the counter overnight, but this would be a huge food safety mistake.
Per the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), foods requiring refrigeration, like cream cheese, can spend no more than two hours outside of the fridge.
As cheese cream is made with minimal processing, naturally occurring bacteria on the cheese may be present, and will grow under the right conditions.
Cream cheese has a high moisture content and low acidity, creating the perfect conditions for bacteria to multiply to an unsafe level when left at room temperature for too long.
Since you won't be able to tell how much bacteria is on your cheese at a glance, use a timer when leaving cream cheese on your countertop to make sure it's not out too long.