Can You Freeze Cheese?
How well does cheese fare in the freezer? Here's what you need to know.
I don't know about you, but I constantly find myself tossing moldy cheese before I even get around to using it. Until now, it seemed like a sad fact of life that I had to accept. But then I learned you can freeze cheese...well for some cooking purposes at least. Curious? Keep reading to learn how you can freeze cheese to extend its shelf life, saving you money and frustration.
Related: Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
Can You Freeze Cheese?
Good news for all you cheeseheads out there: Yes, you can freeze cheese. But is it a good idea? It's complicated. The quality of the cheese can change after being frozen and thawed, with some types changing more dramatically than others.
But cheese is still perfectly safe to freeze for later use, so long as you're okay with a change in texture. Freezing cheese is an effective way to extend its shelf-life, thereby saving you money and reducing food waste. Keep reading to learn exactly how you can freeze cheese, plus some of the best (and worst) types to freeze.
How Freezing Affects Cheese
When you freeze cheese, tiny ice crystals form on the inside. When it's thawed, the water is then released, causing the cheese to have a more dry, crumbly texture. For this reason, soft cheeses tend to be more adversely affected by freezing, as they have higher water contents.
Best and Worst Cheeses to Freeze
When it comes to freezing (and a lot of other things), not all cheese is created equal. Hard and semi-hard cheeses are going to be your best bet due to their lower moisture and higher fat contents.
Some grated hard cheese, like Parmesan and Romano, can actually last up to 12 months in the refrigerator. It's best not to freeze these, so you don't experience the loss in quality that comes with freezing.
For best results, stick to freezing cheeses that are meant to be used in cooked dishes (like shredded cheeses or cheese slices designed for grilling), rather than those meant to be eaten fresh. If you do decide to freeze cheeses that are to be eaten fresh, remember their texture may become dry, crumbly, and even mealy.
Best Types of Cheeses to Freeze:
- Monterrey Jack
- Pizza Cheese
Worst Types of Cheeses to Freeze:
- Cottage cheese
- Queso fresco
How Long Does Cheese Last in the Freezer?
Frozen cheese should be used within six to nine months of freezing. Like all foods, you should not refreeze cheese that has been previously frozen and thawed.
How to Freeze Cheese
Learn step-by-step how to freeze cheese, whether it's whole, shredded, or sliced.
- How to freeze blocks of cheese: Leave blocks of cheese in its original packaging. Wrap it in parchment paper, followed by a loose covering of aluminum foil. Place in an airtight freezer bag or container to prevent freezer burn. Label the bags with the date and freeze for up to nine months.
- How to freeze shredded cheese: Divide your shredded cheese into freezer bags and squeeze air out. Label the bags and freeze for up to nine months.
- How to freeze slices of cheese: Separate the slices using parchment paper. Store in an airtight container or bag. Label the bags and freeze for up to nine months.
How to Thaw Frozen Cheese
Thaw frozen cheese of all types in the refrigerator for seven to eight hours per pound. Shredded cheese for use on pizzas or casseroles can be cooked from frozen. Use within two to three days of thawing.