Can You Freeze Cheese?

·3 min read
Photo credit: HandmadePictures
Photo credit: HandmadePictures

If you have too much shredded mozzarella in your fridge or an extra wedge of parmesan, you might be wondering: Can you freeze cheese? It's not really as simple as yes or no! Yes, you can technically freeze cheese. But do you want to freeze cheese? That's a bit more subjective—and it depends on the kind of cheese and what you're making.

It’s important to remember that texture is everything with cheese. Bubbly, stretchy mozzarella is what makes a classic cheese pizza extra delicious. Melty American or cheddar cheese is what makes a cheeseburger super decadent. Once you place cheese in the freezer, you should be aware that the texture will change. Sure, it's possible to freeze cheese—and many cheesy dishes taste great when baked from frozen (Ree Drummond's frozen goat cheese is proof!), but just keep in mind that some cheeses fare better than others in the freezer. And cheese that has been frozen and thawed may develop a gritty and/or crumbly texture—so it's not always great to serve raw.

What are the best cheeses for freezing?

Blocks of cheese, like a hunk of cheddar, a big piece of monterey jack, or a wedge of parmesan, are your best bet. If they're unopened, freeze them in their original packaging. If you already opened them, freeze them in a resealable plastic bag with as much air removed as possible. Packaged shredded cheeses are fine to freeze too—just press out the air before freezing and seal well. Freeze for up to 3 months.

What cheese can you not freeze?

Some kinds of cheese don't hold up well in the freezer. Avoid freezing soft cheeses like camembert and brie, as well as cheeses like ricotta and cottage cheese. Their texture will suffer. Yes, you can make a lasagna with ricotta or cottage cheese and stick it in the freezer and it will be fine. But if you're looking to make a ricotta dip, or eat cottage cheese for breakfast or put some brie on a cheese plate, you're better off with the fresh stuff.

Can cheese be frozen and thawed?

Yes, cheese that has been frozen can be thawed by putting it in the refrigerator. Keep the cheese in its original packaging and allow a couple of hours for the cheese to thaw, then use the cheese as soon as possible. You can also use the cheese frozen: For example, frozen shredded mozzarella can go right on a pizza—it'll melt in the oven.

How do you freeze sliced cheese?

You can freeze sliced cheese in different ways: If you’re freezing pre-sliced cheese from the grocery store, you can keep the cheese sealed and put it in the freezer. If you’re slicing a hard cheese yourself or if you have cheese from the deli section of your grocery store, you should put the slices of cheese in a plastic freezer bag with small sheets of parchment paper between each (otherwise they'll stick together and freeze into one block). Be sure to compress the air out of the plastic bag.

How do you freeze shredded cheese?

If you are shredding the cheese yourself, place it in a sealed freezer-safe plastic bag, removing as much air as possible. You can put pre-shredded cheese in the freezer and keep it in its original container or bag.