More than a couple of hours sitting at room temperature can start to creep into the danger zone of bacteria growth. Bacteria starts to grow when temperatures reach between 40 - 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This two-hour rule even applies to new, unopened packages of cream cheese.
The fastest method for softening cream cheese is: The Microwave Method.Unwrap the cream cheese and place it on a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Your microwave may default to high power, if possible microwave on 50% power at 10-second intervals.
Hot Water Bath:Fill a medium bowl with very warm water and place the cream cheese in its foil wrapper in the water for approximately 10 minutes until soft. For extra protection to the cream cheese, place the foil package into a small Ziploc bag before placing it into the hot water bath.