Yes, you can freeze cheese! However, it’s not recommended to freeze all kinds of cheese. Some cheeses don’t freeze well. In our discussion, you’ll learn how to freeze cheese and what kinds of cheese to freeze and what kinds of cheese you shouldn’t be freezing.
Cheese connoisseurs can attest to the fact that cheese is best enjoyed fresh. But it isn’t always possible to use up large amounts of cheese before the best before date, which is why you need to look for ways to preserve its freshness.
Freezing is an effective food preservation method that’s been around for around 3,000 years. It’s known to reduce so much waste, save tons of money, and increase the shelf-life of many foods.
This post covers just about everything you need to know about freezing cheese.
Can you freeze cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cheese! Note, though, that it can change the texture of the cheese.
Still, if you take proper steps to tightly seal the cheese before freezing and then slowly defrost it, most cheeses will come out unscathed. By following our simple steps below you should feel comfortable freezing cheese.
Another great thing about cheese is that you can buy it in bulk and still don’t experience any shortage of recipes to enjoy it. Cheese won’t last forever in the refrigerator, so you may consider freezing it, but there are many factors you need to keep in mind to learn how to store it properly.
But it’s easy to do so, fret not!
Dairy products are known to react strangely when it comes to freezing them. Some types of cheese can be frozen, but you need to let them thaw and they are then much more suited for cooking purposes. Frozen cheese, once it’s thawed, can be the perfect addition to a cheesy casserole recipe.
Essentially, you may find that frozen and then defrosted cheese isn’t quite as appealing on crackers. For one, I tend to stick to only cooking with thawed cheese.
Tips from the pros: Freezing cheese
This is a quick overview of how I freeze cheese with a few notes. All of my recommended steps with detailed instructions are listed below.
- Hard cheese freeze best. Cheddar cheese, gouda, provolone, and colby are examples of cheese that freeze well.
- Softer cheese such as Brie or ricotta doesn’t freeze quite as well but it isn’t impossible.
- When freezing a soft cheese it is crucial that you wrap the cheese more than you think is necessary. Then you must defrost the cheese slowly.
- Cheese shouldn’t be frozen more than once.
- To freeze cheese you wrap it in plastic wrap, foil, and place it in a baggie.
How to freeze cheese
These steps may seem a bit overboard but these are how you’ll get the absolute best results when freezing cheese of any kind.
If you use this process, you could even freeze cheeses such as brie or goat cheese and have them turn out very close to how they were when they were fresh.
Note: This process works best with unopened cheese.
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- Freezer bag
Step 1: Wrap the cheese
- Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap. Wrap it around completely about 3 times.
- Then wrap it in aluminum foil. Be sure to fully contain the cheese and seal the foil so that you don’t see any gaps.
- Place the wrapped cheese in the freezer bag. Press all of the air out of the baggie and seal it.
- Write the kind of cheese and the date on the baggie. (Trust me, you will forget what kind it is. This is a crucial step.)
Step 2: Freeze the cheese
- Place the cheese in the freezer. If it is a soft cheese you may want to place it in a plastic container until it is frozen. This will prevent it from getting smushed.
Step 3: Defrost the cheese
- Place the frozen cheese in the refrigerator and allow it to defrost slowly for 24 hours.
How long can you keep cheese in the freezer?
Cheese can last in the freezer for up to four months. Some people suggest that you can push this freezing time up to nine months but our experience is that the flavor starts to degrade after a few months.
However, unless you notice freezer burn after defrosting, it is likely safe to eat for up to a year. Just use your best judgment after defrosting the cheese.
Generally, for cheese that’s been in the freezer for over four months, I only use it for baking purposes or casseroles.
How to defrost cheese
The best way to defrost cheese is to allow it to slowly defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge and allow it to slowly defrost.
If you’re in a hurry you can unwrap the cheese and allow it to defrost on the counter for up to 45 minutes. Don’t leave the cheese out longer than that before placing it in the fridge.
Slow defrosting allows the cheese to maintain its texture and not become too crumbly. It’s recommended that you leave your frozen cheese in the original packaging or the plastic bag you stored it in to help it retain moisture as it thaws in your fridge.
You can defrost your cheese overnight, for a whole day, or until it has defrosted completely. If you store your cheese in solid blocks, it will take a lot longer to defrost than shredded cheese.
Defrosting cheese at room temperature can cause it to dry out. Cheese that’s stored above 40 degrees Fahrenheit is also a lot more likely to get spoiled.
Can you freeze cheese slices?
Yes, you can freeze cheese slices. If you’re wanting to freeze American cheese slices, it’s best that you leave them in the original packaging and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil and then place it in a baggie.
Follow our detailed instructions on how to freeze cheese.
What kinds of cheese should not be frozen?
I recommend against freezing soft cheese if you can avoid it at all. However, all cheese can be frozen. But it’s important to note that when you defrost soft cheeses such as brie or cream cheese, the texture may not be what it once was.
Hand-crafted cheeses, on the other hand, are known to have delicate flavors so they should be bought in smaller portions and enjoyed fresh.
It isn’t recommended that you freeze fresh curd cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese, and quark because they’re high in moisture content. Soft and ripened cheeses like Fontina, Brie, Muenster, and Camembert are always best eaten fresh and stored in the refrigerator.
Cheese spreads, processed cheese, and other types of cheese that have fine pockets or holes in them are unsuitable for freezing because the tiny air pockets can cause their quality to deteriorate even more. (source for further information)
Grated hard cheese such as Romano and Parmesan can be stored in the freezer, but it’s better to keep them inside the refrigerator where they can safely last for up to a year.
Does freezing cheese change the texture and flavor?
Yes, freezing cheese can affect the flavor and texture of cheese. Cheese that’s kept inside the freezer develops tiny ice crystals on the inside that can disrupt its internal structure.
When frozen cheese is thawed, moisture is released, causing it to dry out, become crumbly, and develop a mealy texture.
The bottom line
Keep these pointers in mind if you love adding cheese to your dishes and can’t help but buy it in bulk every time you do a grocery run.
For best results, it’s suggested to consume frozen cheese within the first three months of storing it.