Cheesecake is one of those desserts that is just too good to waste. It is also versatile enough to freeze, thaw, and then freeze again. However, even the richest cheesecake has its limits. Leave it out on the counter too long, and it is not only unsafe to freeze, it is also unsafe to eat. Be good to your cheesecake and it will be waiting for you in the freezer the next time you have a sweet tooth.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is very specific about the conditions in which a cheesecake can go into a deep freezer for a second go-round. A cheesecake that still feels cold, as if it had been sitting in the refrigerator, is a candidate for freezing. If the cheesecake still has some crystallization from the previous freezing, then that is even better. A thawed cheesecake that has been sitting at room temperature above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more cannot go back in the freezer. You must throw it away.
Less Than Two Hours
A thawed cheesecake left sitting in room temperature above 41 F it can go into the refrigerator, as long as it hasn’t been sitting out for more than the two hours, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wrap slices or the whole cheesecake in plastic wrap before refrigerating. Wrapped in plastic the shelf life of the cheesecake is approximately three days. If you have an airtight container in which you can store your cheesecake, then it will increase the shelf life to five days.
Before popping the cheesecake in the freezer, decide if you want to freeze the whole cheesecake or individual slices. While slices are more convenient, they will only keep for about three weeks, whereas a whole cheesecake can last up to three months in the freezer. Wrap the cheesecake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. After wrapping, slip the cheesecake in a heavy-duty freezer bag. If you have plastic freezer containers, place the wrapped cheesecake — freezer bag and all — inside of a plastic freezer container, which will prevent the cheesecake from becoming squished.
If you know that you will be eating a frozen cheesecake at least a day ahead of time, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. This will ensure safe thawing without worrying about spoiling. If you realize at the last minute that you need the cheesecake for company or as a snack for yourself and that you forgot to take it out of the freezer, you can defrost it on the counter. But remember, once thawed, it can sit on the counter for a maximum of two hours. Cut into slices, a frozen cheesecake should take no more than 30 minutes to thaw.
References and ResourcesCheesecake.com: Cheesecake Serving Suggestions – Put Your Cheesecake Center Stage
U.S. Department of Agriculture: A Consumer's Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes
Prepared Pantry: What to Do With Leftover Cheesecake? Refrigerate or Freeze?