Do Cheesecakes Need To Be Refrigerated? [And Vegan Cheesecakes?]

Image of a cheesecake about to be refrigerated

Some cakes are safe to consume even if you store them at room temperature for several days. However, cheesecakes use dairy and egg-based ingredients and have perishable frostings. So, do cheesecakes need to be refrigerated?

Yes, cheesecakes should be refrigerated because they contain eggs and milk that spoil quickly. Dairy and egg promote the growth of bacteria that cause food poisoning when consumed. Refrigerating cheesecakes at a temperature below 40°F will slow down the bacteria growth and extend their shelf-life.

Let’s take a deeper look at this now.

Why Should You Refrigerate Cheesecakes?

Cheesecake is a deliciously creamy and decadent dessert.

It contains a thick biscuit or cake base and a luscious, creamy dairy-based filling.

Some cheesecake recipes involve assembling the base and frosting. Others have to be baked.

Regardless of the recipes, all traditional cheesecakes are dairy-based desserts.

They use ingredients like cream cheese, sour cream, fresh cream, and cheese.

Depending on the recipe, they will also have one or more eggs in the base and filling.

Milk and eggs form the primary ingredients for all cheesecakes.

As you may know, milk and egg-based dishes are highly perishable because of their high moisture content that promotes bacteria growth.

Dangerous bacteria like listeria and salmonella grow on their surface and cause terrible food poisoning.

However, refrigerating these dishes will slow down the proliferation of bacteria.

So it’s necessary to refrigerate cheesecakes.

How Long Can You Leave A Cheesecake Outside?

The USDA specifies that dairy-based foods, like cheesecakes, shouldn’t be left outside for more than two hours.

When you leave any dairy-based food outside for a long time, you compromise food safety.

In the case of cheesecakes, experts recommend baking them to an internal temperature of 150°F to 160°F, followed by cooling and prompt refrigeration.

You should always return cheesecakes to the refrigerator after grabbing the required quantity to reduce the chances of food spoilage.

If you accidentally leave it outside for more than two hours, it’s best to discard it.

It’s highly likely that harmful bacteria have grown in the moist dairy-filling of the dessert.

What Happens If You Consume Cheesecake That Was Left Outside For A Long Time?

If you leave your cheesecake outside the refrigerator for a few hours, you may not see any visible signs of spoiling.

However, hordes of harmful bacteria would have developed in it during this time.

Consuming such a cheesecake can cause various digestive concerns.

However, the extent of problems will depend on your immunity levels also.

Some people develop mild indigestion.

Others may suffer more serious consequences, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

It could even lead to a visit to the hospital.

Rather than risk such nasty outcomes, it’s better to toss any cheesecake that has been sitting out for too long.

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How Does Refrigeration Prevent Cheesecakes From Spoiling?

Firstly, you should understand that refrigerators don’t eliminate any bacteria that are already present in food.

They only slow down their growth and proliferation.

Dairy and eggs spoil rapidly at temperatures above 40°F because they are rich in moisture.

Refrigerators store food below this temperature and slow down the rate of spoilage of dairy and egg-based recipes.

Cheesecakes keep for five to seven days in a refrigerator, unless you finish it!

However, you should store them properly to maximize their shelf life.

Cheesecakes hold up in the refrigerator in airtight containers.

Wrap the cake in plastic wrap to prevent any moisture from entering it.

You can then put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

If you want your cheesecake to last longer than a week, consider freezing it.

Cheesecakes will last for up to 2 months in the freezer if stored properly.

Wrap it securely in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.

You can also cut your cheesecake into small portions and wrap each piece individually before freezing it.

How Can You Tell If A Cheesecake Has Gone Bad?

Cheesecake about to go bad

Eating a spoilt cheesecake can have drastic consequences.

The main issue is that cheesecakes don’t present any obvious signs of damage when they just begin spoiling.

Cheesecakes that have been left out for too long will have hordes of harmful bacteria colonies growing in them, and you may never know it.

They will start showing visible signs of deterioration only after several hours of being left outside.

They will smell off and taste different. The frosting will become runny.

There may also be signs of discoloration that indicate mold growth.

However, don’t wait to see these signs to suspect spoilage.

Always return cheesecakes to the refrigerator immediately after taking a slice.

If you suspect it has been sitting outside for more than two hours, get rid of it immediately.

Do Vegan Cheesecakes Need Refrigeration?

Vegan cheesecakes are a healthier plant-based alternative to dairy-based cheesecakes.

These recipes use plant or nut-based ingredients instead of dairy and egg for their center.

Since vegan cheesecakes don’t contain dairy, they usually hold up better at room temperature.

Nevertheless, it will also depend on the exact recipe.

Plant-based butter and fillings usually last longer than dairy-based and egg-based ingredients.

So these cheesecakes should be fine even if you leave them out for a little longer.

However, for food safety reasons, the safest way to store all protein-rich desserts is in the refrigerator.

Do Cheesecake Brownies Need To Be Refrigerated?

For food safety reasons, any food containing dairy and eggs needs refrigeration.

This reduces the growth of harmful bacteria, like listeria and salmonella, that cause digestive diseases.

Cheesecake brownies have chocolate-based cake bases and rich cream cheese frosting.

Since they are dairy-based deserts and the cream cheese frosting is perishable, it’s best to refrigerate them.

Regular brownies last for a few days at room temperature.

However, cream cheese brownies use fresh cream cheese for the frosting.

It harbors bacteria and is susceptible to spoiling when left outside for several hours.

Hence, refrigerate cheesecake brownies to keep their cream cheese frosting from perishing.

Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before stashing them in the refrigerator.

Alternatively, you can also place them in an airtight container for refrigeration.

Do Cheesecake Bars Need To Be Refrigerated?

You should store cheesecake bars in the refrigerator to prevent them from spoiling.

The creamy dairy-based center of the bar may not be too big.

Nonetheless, it can still become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

To prevent unwanted health problems, refrigerate these bars.

They will be good to consume for up to a week when refrigerated.

At room temperature, you should eat them within an hour or two.

So serve them immediately after you remove these bars from the refrigerator.

Wrap the leftovers, if any, in an airtight bag or plastic wrap before returning them to the fridge.

Do Cheesecake Cookies Need To Be Refrigerated?

The “cheesecake” in cheesecake cookies refers to the texture of these decadent desserts.

It doesn’t have a cream cheese filling or topping but has a softer and creamier bite than other cookies.

Cheesecake cookie recipes may include cream cheese. However, it’s usually baked into the base.

Now, desserts with perishable dairy content need refrigeration.

However, the cream cheese in a cheesecake cookie is mixed into the batter and cooked.

Hence, it will hold up at room temperature when stored properly. You don’t have to refrigerate it.

However, if you want your cheesecake to last for much longer, consider freezing it.

By freezing them in an airtight bag, they will hold up for several weeks.

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Does Sopapilla Cheesecake Need To Be Refrigerated?

The main difference between Sopapilla cheesecakes and regular cheesecakes is the ingredient used for the base.

Sopapilla cheesecakes have delicious cinnamon sugar cheesecake filling sandwiched between flaky layers of crescent roll dough.

They also have a generous cream cheese layer in the center, made of cream cheese and egg.

You can vary the toppings to create different flavors.

Since Sopapilla cheesecakes have a rich dairy-based center, they need refrigeration.

Take them out of the refrigerator when it’s time to serve dessert and promptly return what remains to the fridge.

Just like with other cheesecakes, you shouldn’t leave Sopapilla cheesecakes outside for more than two hours.

They will harbor bacteria and germs in the filling if you leave them outside for too long and become unsafe for consumption.

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