Can You Freeze Cheese?

There are a few caveats when it comes to stashing cheese in the freezer.

May 06, 2020
We love cheese for its calcium but the high fat content can lead to some unpleasant GI woes during exercise. You may not have to avoid cheese all together. If you typically tolerate cheese without issues, opt for a small amount of low fat cheese and give it at least 2 hours of lead time before your work out begins.

Cheese

We love cheese for its calcium but the high fat content can lead to some unpleasant GI woes during exercise. You may not have to avoid cheese all together. If you typically tolerate cheese without issues, opt for a small amount of low fat cheese and give it at least 2 hours of lead time before your work out begins.

Photo by: Magone/Getty Images

Magone/Getty Images

Do you find yourself with an abundance of cheese? Don’t worry, you can freeze most cheeses for a month (at least) without significant damage to taste or texture. Thank cheeseness! Read on to learn our tips on the very best way to store cheese in the freezer, plus additional helpful tips about freezing different varieties.

How Does Freezing Affect Cheese?

Many soft cheeses don’t freeze well, and here’s why. Soft cheese contains a lot of moisture. When that moisture freezes, it expands and ruptures the cheese’s cell walls. When the cheese thaws, it has little structure left and weeps out the moisture, becoming crumbly or grainy in the process. Yuck.

Some cheeses with less moisture do freeze well. In the freezer, they can last for up to six months according to the USDA. Bear in mind that when they’re thawed, they might have slightly less flavor or thaw less well.

Note that freezing does not affect the nutrients in cheese.

Portion of Cheddar (detailed close-up shot) on vintage wooden background

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Portion of Cheddar (detailed close-up shot) on vintage wooden background

Photo by: HandmadePictures/Getty Images

HandmadePictures/Getty Images

Cheeses that Freeze Well

In general, blocks of processed cheese like cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, etc. that have a smooth and uniform texture freeze quite well. Hard cheeses tend to freeze well because they contain very little moisture, meaning there’s not much in the cheese that will expand upon freezing and damage the cell walls. However, note that hard cheeses do last for a long time in the refrigerator: up to six months before opening and up to four weeks afterwards, so you might not need to freeze them at all.

  • Processed block cheeses
  • Cheddar (aged cheddar will become crumbly but won’t lose its taste)
  • Swiss
  • Parmesan
  • Camembert
  • Muenster
  • Provolone
  • Blue (will become crumbly but won’t lose its taste)
  • Edam
  • Romano

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Photo by: Image Source/Getty Images

Image Source/Getty Images

Cheeses that Don’t Freeze Well

That expensive wheel local cheese? Yeah, it’s the opposite of a block of processed cheese, meaning it will not freeze well. Break out the crackers and finish it instead! Also, fresh cheeses that contain tons of water don’t freeze well because, as already mentioned above, that water expands during freeing and damages the texture and flavor of the cheese. Your best bet is eating fresh cheese soon after buying — it’ll last for a week in the refrigerator.

  • Cottage cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Brie
  • Cream cheese
  • Mascarpone
  • Processed cheese slices

How to Freeze Hard and Semi-Hard Cheeses

  1. Portion the cheese. Cut a block of cheese into chunks that are a few inches wide.
  2. Wrap in parchment paper and foil. Wrap each chunk tightly and fully with a layer of parchment paper and then a layer of tinfoil.
  3. Place in a resealable plastic bag. Transfer the wrapped pieces to a resealable plastic bag, suck out all of the air, seal the bag and label it with the contents and date.
  4. Store the cheese in the freezer for up to 6 months.

How to Freeze Soft Cheeses

  1. Grate the cheese. Grate cheeses like mozzarella or young cheddar.
  2. Place in a resealable plastic bag. Transfer the wrapped pieces to a resealable plastic bag, suck out all of the air, seal the bag and label it with the contents and date.
  3. Store the cheese in the freezer for up to 6 months.

How to Thaw Frozen Cheese

When you want to use the cheese, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw and then use it up as quickly as possible. This might take up to a day, depending on the size of the cheese, but thawing it slowly is important because it allows the moisture to be reabsorbed into the cheese.

How to Cook with Frozen Cheese

Because freezing can compromise cheese’s texture, it’s best not to eat it raw. Instead, use it in dishes you’ll cook like soups, sauces or casseroles.

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