Did you know that there are thousands of different types of cheese, without even counting special flavored cheeses like herbed or smoked or spiced cheeses?
There are so many different types of cheese, and many of them have different expiration dates and storage requirements…
So can you freeze cheese? Let’s find out.
‘CAN YOU FREEZE CHEESE’ forms part of our ‘Kitchen Basics’ series here on Northern Nester, perfect for you if you’re new to any of our incredible recipes (see here), homesteading life or getting started in the kitchen! Click here to view the whole series!
Can You Freeze Cheese?
Many kinds of cheese change their texture in the freezer, and become crumbly and won’t melt evenly.
For that reason, many experts simply recommend not to freeze cheese. However, the answer really depends on what kind of cheese you are freezing.
Here’s a quick reference table:
|Type of Cheese, in an Airtight Wrapper||Shelf Life in the Fridge||Shelf Life in the Freezer|
|Hard cheeses in chunks (Parmesan, Romano, asiago)||indefinitely||Not recommended|
|Grated hard cheese||1-2 months||6-8 months|
|Semi-hard cheese without air chambers in chunks(cheddar, Monterey jack)||6 months||Indefinitely, but will have the best flavor before 8 months|
|Semi-hard cheese with air chambers in chunks (swiss)||6 months||Not recommended|
|Sliced semi-hard cheese||1 month||Up to 8 months|
|Semi-soft cheese (Havarti, Gouda, Emmental, muenster)||2-4 weeks||Not recommended for cheeses with air pockets|
|Sliced semi-soft cheeses||2-4 weeks||1-2 months|
|Soft cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, feta, brie, bleu, cream cheese)||Follow manufacturer expiration date||Not recommended|
|Processed cheese (Kraft singles, Velveeta)||Indefinitely||Indefinitely|
|Processed and packaged shredded cheese (bagged store brands)||Follow manufacturer expiration date||Indefinitely|
As a general rule, the best cheeses to freeze are firm and uniform in texture, like cheddar, provolone, Gouda, etc.
The worst cheeses to freeze are soft and have a delicate flavor, like queso fresco, ricotta, paneer, etc.
Because both processed cheese and hard cheeses have a nearly infinite storage life in the refrigerator when stored properly, it doesn’t make sense to freeze them and they can simply be kept in the fridge.
Because high levels of moisture and the presence of air pockets can cause the cheese to freeze unevenly or damage the texture, and because there are so many different kinds of cheeses, it’s a good idea to test a small amount of your preferred cheeses in the freezer.
Cut an inch square cube, freeze it for a day or two, and then thaw it and see how it has changed.
A small test will help you determine how best to store your favorite cheeses.
How to Store and Freeze Cheese
Believe it or not, the best way to store cheese also depends on what kind of cheese you have.
Hard cheeses store extremely well in the fridge, and if they develop a little bit of mold, it can simply be sliced off without harming the rest of the block of cheese.
Hard cheeses are stored best in the refrigerator, wrapped in parchment paper or butcher paper that allows them to breathe.
They last longer wrapped in paper than in plastic, unless they are vacuum-sealed.
Grated hard cheese can be placed in a freezer bag and frozen.
The best way to store semi-hard cheeses for long periods is to slice them first.
Many of these types of cheese have air pockets, which cause the cheese to freeze unevenly and damage the texture.
Slicing these cheeses eliminates those air pockets and makes it easier to store these cheeses for long periods.
Slice semi-hard cheeses, and place parchment paper between the slices so they separate easily.
They can then be placed in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, or frozen and kept for 8 months or more.
Most semi-soft cheeses can be sliced and stored like semi-hard cheeses.
They have greater moisture content, and will not last as long in the refrigerator or freezer, but it’s still a good idea to slice them, separate the slices, and then place them in an airtight container.
Soft cheeses are so different that the best storage method varies by the type of cheese.
These are the most perishable, and it’s best to follow the package instructions and expiration date.
However, as mentioned above, you may want to take a small amount of soft cheese and freeze it and see what happens.
**Got some eggs you need to store? Find out if you simply freeze eggs or not in this guide here!!!**
Can you freeze cheese for a year?
The best cheese to freeze for a year is a big block of American, cheddar, or jack cheese.
You can also freeze processed cheese slices or bagged shredded cheese for a year or more.
How do you defrost frozen cheese?
The best way to defrost cheese and preserve its flavor and texture is to defrost slowly, by moving the cheese from the freezer to the refrigerator and allowing it to thaw while still tightly wrapped.
This may take 24 hours or more.
Can sliced cheese be frozen and used later?
Yes, many varieties of cheese can be sliced and frozen for use later.