We all love cheese, but sometimes dairy products such as cheese and cream cheese go bad faster than we can eat them. Can you freeze cheese? Can you freeze cream cheese? It turns out that you can freeze most of them with a few exceptions and precautions. Here's how to do it correctly.
Table of Content
- What is the best type of cheese for freezing?
- Can you freeze fresh mozzarella cheese?
- Can you freeze feta cheese?
- Can you freeze goat cheese?
- What types of cheese can you not freeze?
- Tips for freezing cheese
- Recipes with cheese
- Can you freeze cream cheese?
- Can you freeze all types of cream cheese?
- Can you freeze cream cheese spread?
- Can you freeze cream cheese dip?
- Can you freeze cream cheese frosting?
- What can you do with frozen cream cheese?
- Recipes to use frozen cream cheese
- Frequently asked questions
- You may also like
- Join the conversation
Freezing is a great way to save leftovers and prevent waste. How many times have you used half a block of mozzarella, or cheddar and wondered what do to with the leftovers? Can you freeze them? Should you freeze them?
Yes, you can freeze most cheeses, although some don't freeze well. And there are some that you should never freeze. For example, some cream cheese can be very grainy and lose its texture once thawed. Others don't shred properly after you freeze them. Let's explore these in categories.
What is the best type of cheese for freezing?
Yes, you can freeze cheese, but you may lose texture, quality, and taste. Some may become crumbly and mealy upon thawing. It can also significantly change its texture and consistency. However, despite the texture change you can still use these frozen forms in dishes like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, etc.
So, what cheese is best to freeze?
The easiest types to freeze are the block variety, a brick of cheese, and semi-hard cheeses. American cheese such as Monterey Jack, or other hard cheeses, including parmesan, Emmental, Gouda, blue cheese, white or yellow cheddar, queso fresco, and provolone, are ok to freeze. You can freeze them in their original packaging or rewrap them in plastic and aluminum foil. Then, place them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
You can freeze store-bought shredded cheese. It often contains some starch or anti-caking ingredients that prevents it from sticking. This starch absorbs the excess moisture during thawing. And if you have shredded/grated it yourself, place it in freezer-safer storage or plastic bag and remove as much air before sealing. You can freeze shredded for up to a month.
Premade slices of cheese from the supermarket in their original wrapping can be simply kept in the freezer and thawed in the fridge without any issue. And if you slice it yourself, layer them between sheets of parchment paper to prevent sticking. You can freeze these for up to a month as well. Frozen Swiss cheese slices are great to use on grilled cheese sandwiches.
Can you freeze fresh mozzarella cheese?
Cheeses like mozzarella or pizza cheese have a very high water content. You can freeze block or shredded mozzarella. However, it does tend to have a very crumbly texture after thawing due to the expanding and contracting of moisture during the process of freezing and thawing. I explain it below in the FAQ.
- Freezing shredded mozzarella cheese - Some shredded cheese such as mozzarella has a high moisture content. While cheeses with high moisture content may not be ideal for freezing, shredded mozzarella, which is most often used to cook on pizzas and sauces, tend to be perfectly fine.
- One way to avoid shredded mozzarella from clumping during freezing/thawing is to add a tablespoon of cornstarch or plain flour and give it a good mix. The starch prevents them from sticking to each other and absorbs excess moisture during the thawing process.
- Alternatively, you can freeze the shredded cheese on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 minutes. Once frozen individually, place it in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Can you freeze feta cheese?
Yes, though feta is stored in water it does not have a high content of water. Rather, it is similar to block cheese. So, the best way to freeze feta is to transfer it to a plastic wrap. Wrap it well, then place it in a freezer-safe bag. In fact, you can freeze it for up to a month.
Can you freeze goat cheese?
You can freeze goat cheese. However, it changes the texture and becomes crumbly. To freeze, wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. You can use it in recipes that don't require baking, such as pesto sauce. Goat cheese is sensitive to oxygen, so it should always be kept well wrapped in the fridge or freezer.
- You can wrap it in its original packaging or in plastic wrap.
- Place it in a freezer-safe bag and it will keep for up to 3 months.
- You can freeze it in a block, or in cream cheese form.
- A great way to minimize waste is to precut the block into small chunks and then remove only the amount you need.
What types of cheese can you not freeze?
Soft cheeses are the worst cheeses to freeze. Camembert, brie, cottage cheese, paneer, and ricotta do not freeze well.
- Soft cheese like paneer, ricotta, and cottage cheese loses its texture when thawed. However, while these may not be ideal to eat for breakfast or make your favorite dip you can still use them in cooking and baking. For example, use cottage cheese or ricotta to make lasagna.
However, you can freeze dishes made with these varieties. For example, you can freeze lasagna made with ricotta. The reheating process takes care of the texture.
- Well-aged cheeses like pecorino romano/ Parmigiano-Reggiano tend to become very unstable when frozen. These do have a long shelf life of 12 months or more so the best way to store these is actually in the refrigerator, not the freezer.
Tips for freezing cheese
- Keep them in the coolest part of the freezer. And avoid keeping it on the door, where it will be subject to constant temperature change.
- When possible, freeze it in its original packaging. These are special packaging that helps keep them fresh.
- Or, you can wrap the cheese in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe bag. The plastic wrap will prevent freezer burns and help during thawing.
- Always thaw cheeses in the refrigerator, not on the counter. This way there is no drastic change in temperature.
Recipes with cheese
Can you freeze cream cheese?
Cream cheese is great to have on hand for snacks, but it does not stay long in the fridge. So, the best way to extend its life is to freeze it. You can freeze cream cheese in a few ways.
- Unopened cream cheese in its original packaging can be stored directly in the freezer. The label has the best before date so keep that in mind.
- Or, transfer leftovers to an airtight container and place a plastic wrap over it to prevent freeze burns.
- You can also place it in a freezer-safe bag to maximize freezer space. The advantage of a freezer bag is that you can then break the cream into smaller parts and use a portion of it as needed.
The best way to thaw or defrost cream cheese is to transfer it to the fridge for a few hours.
Can you freeze all types of cream cheese?
While you can freeze all cream cheese the more water content there is the more it will lose texture when thawed. For example, full-fat like Philadelphia, and mascarpone, will thaw beautifully and look almost the same as fresh CC while low-fat CC will have lots of water separation and look like cheese curds when thawed. Full-fat CC will be easy to reuse while low-fat CC will only have used in cooking or baking.
Can you freeze cream cheese spread?
You can freeze cream cheese spread to prevent spoilage. Or to make it last longer, you can also wrap and store it properly. In fact, cream cheese spread is just cream cheese mixed with a solution. You can freeze it for up to a month in a freezer bag. Also, it is a good idea to let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before using it.
And it is important to note that the texture of the spread may not be the same once thawed. But, you can microwave it to warm it and then whisk it thoroughly with a whisk to help consistency.
Can you freeze cream cheese dip?
CC dips make an excellent party appetizer. But when you want to store it in your refrigerator, cold temperatures can cause it to become hard. And, it typically gets lumpy when frozen. Even worse, it can separate into oil and water when thawed. So while you can freeze a dip, it’s not always a successful process. You can try warming and re-whip it to help bring it back consistency
Can you freeze cream cheese frosting?
Yes, cream cheese frosting has the combination of powdered sugar with full-fat cream cheese. The powdered sugar does a great job of stabilizing the cream cheese. And cream cheese frosting with butter does an even better job of freezing. So the only thing you need to do is stir with a whisk to help smooth and bring it back to consistency.
What can you do with frozen cream cheese?
While the frozen cream cheese may not have the best texture in bagel sandwiches, frosting, or cookies, it can still be used in desserts like baked cheesecakes, and cream cheese pound cake.
Recipes to use frozen cream cheese
Frequently asked questions
It should be stored in the original packaging to keep it from becoming moldy or tainted. The original packaging also has the best use before date.
Ideally, the ice crystals formed during the freezing process affect the taste and texture. The moisture in the cheese expands during freezing and contracts as it thaws. This breaks down the molecular structure which leads to a loss of texture. The firm variety will become crumbly while the cream variety will become grainy when thawed.
While many kinds of cheese can be frozen often when you thaw cheese they may not have the same texture when you crumble, grated, or melt it. So, using them appropriately is key. For example, salads or sandwiches are better with fresh rather than frozen cheese. Instead, use them in recipes where the texture will be altered during the cooking process such as a cheesy casserole dish.
Grated unlike shredded is made from a hard block that has low moisture content so it is the best way to store it without losing flavor is by freezing it. When thawed grated usually will not lose its texture, color, or taste. Grated parmesan is a great freezer cheese to have on hand.
No matter what cheese you choose to freeze the one thing to always ensure is that you use freezer safe or vacuum-sealed bags that keep air and moisture out. This will prevent the formation of bacteria and keeps it fresh longer and safe to eat.
- The best way to defrost or thaw CC is in the fridge for a few hours.
- You can also place it in a glass bowl or microwave-safe bowl and use the defrost function.
- Alternatively, you can use the stovetop method with a double boiler over the saucepan on the stove on medium heat to lightly help the CC soften.
Cream cheese is half moisture so one of the big issues with freezing the frosting is the water separates and looks like cheese curds. One way to help bring it back to consistency is to whip the frosting in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy.
The best way to thaw a cake with frosting is to keep the cake wrapped in the foil wrapping in a cardboard box until thawed. The box helps to absorb some of the moisture
Wow! Great tips on preserving cheese! I like to buy my cheese in bulk at Sam's Club and sometimes I can't use it fast enough. Now I can freeze what I don't use and not waste it.
I never knew you could freeze cheese before. This will be a great way to save on some cheese! Thanks for the share!
This was really informative and helpful. I hate throwing away cheese because I've forgotten about it or it has gone bad, now i know if I can freeze it before that happens! Thanks
Great tips for each kind of cheese! Great resource, thank you!