If you have an extra block of parmesan or some shredded cheese that’s getting near to its spoilage date, you may be wondering, can you freeze cheese? It’s actually not a simple yes or no answer. Of course, you can freeze all cheeses but you may not like the end result with all cheeses. Since freeze ranges from hard to soft varieties, not all of them freeze well and freezing may change their usage in the future.
What makes the difference?
When it comes to deciding whether or not to freeze cheese, you’ll want to consider the cheese texture. For example, mozzarella is bubbly and stretchy which is why a classic cheese pizza is delicious. American and Cheddar cheese which melt well make a cheeseburger a great choice. However, once you put cheese in the freezer, it’s texture is going to change. Keep in mind that that some cheeses do better than others when put in the freezer. Cheese that has been frozen and then thawed may also develop a gritty or a crumbly texture so you may only want to freeze cheese that are then going to be cooked in dishes.
Best cheese for freezing
The best cheese for freezing include blocks of cheese. Cheddar, monterey jack, and parmesan wedges are some of the best options. If their packaging has not been opened, then freeze them without opening the container. If you have already opened, freeze them in a resealable plastic bag with the air removed. Shredded cheese can be frozen but you’ll also want to remove the air before freezing and seal them well. Most cheeses can be frozen for about three months.
Worst cheese for freezing
Some types of cheeses don’t do well in the freezer and should be avoided if possible. Soft cheese such as camembert and brie do not freeze well in addition to ricotta and cottage cheese. Their texture can be significantly changed from freezing. You can make a lasagna with the softer cheeses and it will typically continue to taste fine. However, if you want to make a ricotta dip or use brie on a cheese plate, then you’re better off avoiding freezing it. Most soft cheeses should only be frozen if you plan to cook them after their thawed.
Freezing and thawing
Cheese that has been frozen can be thawed by then putting it in the refrigerator. Keep the cheese in the original packaging and allow it a few hours for it to thaw. Use the cheese as soon as possible once it’s been thawed. You can also use the cheese frozen without thawing if you prefer. For example, frozen mozzarella can be used directly on a pizza and does not need to be thawed ahead of time.
Freezing sliced cheese
Cheese that has been pre-sliced from the grocery store and is in the original packaging is the best option for freezing. It typically already has the air removed and has been placed in a sealed container. If you’re slicing a cheese yourself, then you should put slices in a freezer bag but separate them with sheets of parchment paper. This will keep them from sticking together. If you don’t take the time to do this, then the cheese will probably freeze in one block. Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the plastic bag.
Freezing cheese dishes
Dishes that contain cheese typically will freeze and reheat fairly well, even if you use a softer cheese. For example, think about a lasagna that contains ricotta cheese. It’s common to purchase a frozen lasagna and you can make and freeze your own if you prefer. Make sure that you seal any dishes that contain cheese well to avoid any freezer burn. They can typically be kept in the freezer for a few months and then reheated or cooked according to their reheating directions.
In general, most types of cheese can be frozen but their end result may not always be desirable. Cheese with low moisture content freeze and defrost the best so do this with your harder cheeses and use caution with any softer cheese. Use this guide to learn how to best manage your cheese to avoid spoilage and use it within the recommended time frame.