Bagel with cream cheese

How to Keep a Bagel With Cream Cheese Fresh?

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A bagel in the morning lights up my day like no other. But biting into a soggy mess with little to no flavor is a nightmare we have all experienced. Keeping bagels fresh is a battle I have struggled with for a long time. However, it will come to an end today, as I will share some tips on how to keep them fresh.

To keep bagels fresh, place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag and place it in the freezer. It retains its freshness for 5-7 days. But it’ll get a bit stiff by the end of the week.

Bagels and cream cheese are different foods, and both age differently. They can be easily stored separately, but things get complicated once they are combined. Storing them is not the only issue. There is also the matter of thawing and reheating it once you’re ready to eat. So wear those chef’s hats, because there is a lot to cover.

How long do bagels last?

At room temperature, bagels last 5-6 days, but they tend to harden or go stale after 2 days. Here is a chart showing the overall lifetime of bagels.

TypeRoom TemperatureFridgeFreezer
Store-bought bagels2-3 days6-7 days3-4 months
Homemade bagels2 days4-5 days2-3 months

How long does cream cheese last?

A packet of opened cream cheese can last for 5-10 days, while unopened cream cheese remains good for up to a month past the use-by date. Frozen cream cheese can last for 3-4 months, but it messes up the texture of the cheese.

How to keep bagels fresh?

There are two ways to keep bagels fresh. You can wrap it in paper and leave it in the pantry, or you can store it in the freezer. Refrigerating bagels is not recommended, as it only makes them stale faster.

If I buy a bagel, I usually eat it within 2-7 days. In case I buy too much, I store it in the freezer for the future. However, storing bagels in the pantry is not the same as storing them in the freezer. Also, reviving a 1-month-old bagel is not the same as reviving a 2-day-old one. Here are the steps I usually follow when dealing with either of the two:

1. Eating a 2-day-old bagel – If I want to eat the bagel in the next 48 hours, I simply put it in a bread bag, seal it tightly, and leave it on the table. It retains its freshness without any effort.

2. Eating a 5 day old bagel – I’ve found that a bagel becomes stale if not eaten within the first week. I usually start by checking for mold, then moisten the bread with a damp paper towel and toast it for a few minutes. For a better texture, you can consider healing it in an oven at 350℉ for 5-10 minutes.

3. Eating a month-old bagel – I once attended a party where my friend had a bunch of leftover bagels, which she then transferred to me. To keep their freshness intact, I had to store them in the freezer. But before doing so, I cut them in half and placed them in ziplock bags. I also made sure to squeeze out any excess air before freezing them. I prefer the Ziploc Gallon Food Storage bags since they come with a bunch of bags that last me almost the entire year.

How to keep cream cheese fresh?

Since it’s a dairy product, cream cheese can last only for 2 hours at room temperature. If you’re planning to eat it after two hours, it’s better to refrigerate it and reheat it later in an oven or a microwave.

Now that you know how to keep both cream cheese and bagels fresh, it’s time to discuss how to keep them both fresh at the same time.

How to keep bagels and cream cheese fresh?

Since cream cheese can only last for two hours, it’s better to freeze both the bagel and the cream cheese, even if you’re planning to eat them within a week.

Even if the bagels can last up to 7 days without being frozen, the cream cheese cannot. It’s best to freeze them separately and combine the two when needed, but that’s not always the case.

I had my family over last month and made some cream cheese and bagels for breakfast. However, I overestimated their appetite and ended up making more than necessary. In the end, I was forced to store them away. Here are the steps I followed to ensure their freshness.

1. I placed the bagel and cheese in zip-lock bags and sucked out the air using a mini vacuum.

2. After that, I placed the bag in the freezer.

Since the bagel hardens and becomes stale if kept in the fridge, it’s best to keep the whole thing in the freezer. It remains good for up to 1-2 months, but the texture of the cream cheese becomes slightly grainy the longer you freeze it. So it’s better to eat as soon as possible.

How to heat or microwave bagels and cream cheese?

Due to the topping, it’s not ideal to reheat the cream cheese for a long time. Heat the bagels and cheese in 10-second intervals. Do not exceed more than 45 seconds in total and check back from time to time. Otherwise, the cheese can melt and run over the sides of the bagel. 

Here are a few tips to help you properly microwave bagels and cheese.

1. Place the bagels facing up to speed up the process.

2. Use a damp paper towel to moisten the base of the bagels.

Once done, your bagel should be ready to eat, but it may not have the original flavor depending on how long you freeze it.


It’s always better to eat your bagels fresh instead of freezing them for 2-3 months. You should also place some wax paper between the bagels to prevent the flavors from blending. Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful. Stay tuned for food articles in the future.

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