Whether it’s brie’s silky smoothness, cheddar’s sharp tang, or feta’s crumbly texture, cheese provides an array of options that can appeal to all tastes.
But there are times when a wedge or block of cheese sits unopened in the fridge, on the verge of spoiling.
What if you have more cheese than you can eat before it expires?
Can you freeze cheese?
Yes, absolutely! Most cheeses freeze well allowing you to enjoy their rich flavors months after purchase.
The first time I froze cheese, it was a bit of an experiment. I tried it with some leftover cheddar to avoid food waste.
A few weeks later, I brought a frozen cheddar block out to make pizza. I was impressed that the cheese kept its taste and texture after a slow thaw in the fridge.
So this is your cue to give your leftover brick of cheese a new life in the freezer!
What you need for freezing cheese
Here’s what you need to freeze cheese:
- Cheese: Choose a high-quality cheese to freeze. Cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, and Gouda freeze better than soft cheeses.
- Plastic wrap or freezer bags: Wrap the cheese in an airtight container. This works best with plastic wrap or freezer bags.
- Aluminum foil (optional): Wrapping cheese in aluminum foil before putting it in plastic wrap or a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag helps prevent freezer burn.
- Labeling materials: Label the cheese with the date it was frozen and the type of cheese to monitor its storage period.
- Permanent marker: Write labeling info using a permanent marker.
- Freezer: Cheese needs a freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or below to freeze well.
How to prep your cheese for freezing?
These steps help prepare your favorite cheese for freezing:
- Select the cheese to freeze: Cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, and Gouda freeze better than soft cheese types.
- Portion the cheese: Slice the cheese into manageable pieces. Smaller quantities are simpler to defrost and use.
- Wrap: Wrap each cheese chunk individually to avoid sticking. For this, use plastic wrap or freezer bags.
- Aluminum foil (optional): Before using plastic wrap or freezer bags, wrap your cheese slices in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
- Label packages: Label each box with freezing information: the date and kind of cheese.
- Remove air and seal: Squeeze out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn. Make sure the packaging is sealed.
How to freeze cheese: 3 ways
These three processes can help freeze extra cheese in various forms:
For pizza, casserole, and taco fans, freezing shredded cheese is a great option. Smaller cheese portions make it easier to get what you need without freezing the whole batch.
- If you have a lot of shredded cheese, separate it into smaller portions for specific recipes.
- Put each portion of shredded cheese into freezer bags.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible from each bag before sealing it tightly.
- Write the date and kind of shredded cheese on each bag using a permanent pen.
- Store the labeled bags should in the freezer. Frozen shredded cheese can be used in recipes without thawing.
Blocks of cheese
This method is very useful for preserving the texture and taste of hard and semi-hard cheeses.
- For easy handling, chop a block of cheese into smaller pieces.
- To limit air exposure, carefully wrap each cheese block with plastic wrap.
- Wrap each plastic-wrapped cheese block in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
- Write the date and cheese kind on each wrapped block using a permanent pen.
- Remove the air and seal the plastic wrap or foil.
- Put the cheese in the freezer, labeled and wrapped. Refrigerator thawing is recommended in this case.
Slices of cheese
If you like making cheese sandwiches or cooking with cheese slices, this is the way for you.
- You can store cheese slices in their original packaging or portion them into smaller stacks.
- Each slice stack should be carefully wrapped in plastic wrap.
- Wrap plastic-wrapped stacks with aluminum foil for further protection.
- Label the stacks with the date and cheese kind using a permanent marker.
- Seal the plastic wrap or foil to remove excess air.
- Store labeled and wrapped cheese stacks in the freezer. Thaw them in the fridge before using.
These procedures will preserve the quality and avoid freezer burn when freezing shredded cheese, blocks, and slices.
How long can you freeze cheese?
The sort of cheese and how well it’s packed to avoid freezer burn determine its freezing time:
- Hard and semi-hard cheeses (e.g., cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, Gouda): 4-6 months properly packed and kept at 0°F (-18°C)).
- Soft Cheeses (e.g., cream cheese, Brie, feta): 1-2 months (due to their moisture content).
- Processed cheeses (like American cheese slices): up to 6 months.
Don’t forget to label your cheese to use it within the recommended time frame!
How to thaw frozen cheese?
Thawing frozen cheese correctly preserves its texture and taste. Here are the most common methods:
Refrigerator thawing: Recommended!
- Place your frozen cheese in its package in the fridge.
- Depending on the amount and thickness, let the cheese thaw gently for several hours or overnight.
Thawing cheese in the fridge preserves its quality and avoids mushiness.
Quick room temperature thawing: Not recommended for soft cheeses!
- Place your cheese at room temperature. Soft cheeses may become too soft or lose their firmness.
- Leave the cheese in its package at room temperature for 30-60 minutes or until it achieves your preferred consistency.
Thawing in cold water: Fastest!
Use cold water to thaw the cheese faster.
- Wrap the frozen cheese box in a plastic bag to prevent water from entering.
- Submerge the bag in a bowl of cold water. Keep the cheese wrapped to avoid water absorption.
- Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cool.
- The cheese’s thickness and packaging determine thawing time, so it varies between 1-3 hours.
Microwave thawing: For immediate use, with caution!
If the cheese has to be used immediately, you can microwave it, although it may defrost unevenly and alter texture.
- Remove the cheese from the box and put it on a microwave-safe platter.
- Thaw the cheese in 10- to 15-second intervals on the microwave’s defrost or low power setting.
- Avoid overheating and melting the cheese by checking it after each increase.
Microwave thawing is good for immediate use in recipes but it may not provide the original consistency.
When possible, defrost your cheese in the fridge to preserve the best texture and taste!
Can cheese freeze well?
Cheese freezes well, although the kind, packaging, and thawing methods affect its success. Here’s how various types of cheese freeze:
- Hard and semi-hard cheeses (e.g., cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, Gouda, Monterey Jack) freeze well. They can be stored for 4-6 months without losing taste or texture. Thawing can potentially make them somewhat crumbly.
- Soft cheeses (e.g., cream cheese, Brie, feta) become crumbly or watery due to their high moisture content. So they may not be acceptable for all culinary purposes. They freeze well for 1-2 months.
- Processed cheeses (e.g., American cheese slices) freeze well because they melt gently. They can be frozen for 6 months or more without losing texture or taste.
Follow the tips for freezing and thawing your cheese to achieve the best results every time.
Cheese freezing FAQs
Can you freeze shredded cheese?
Yes, you can freeze shredded cheese. Hard and semi-hard cheeses like shredded mozzarella and cheddar freeze well if properly packaged and stored.
Can you freeze cheese slices?
Yes, properly wrapped and preserved cheese slices can be frozen.
How to freeze cheese slices?
Follow these steps to freeze your slices of cheese:
- Wrap each cheese slice in plastic wrap or put them in an airtight container.
- Wrap slices in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn (additional protection)
- Label the cheese package with the date and type of cheese.
- Ensure there’s minimal air inside.
- Store your wrapped and labeled packages in the freezer.
Can you freeze cheese cubes?
Yes, properly wrapped cubed cheese freezes well.
Can you freeze grated cheese?
Yes, you can freeze grated cheese. It’s a great way to store store-bought or handmade grated cheese for later use in recipes without thawing.
Can you freeze hard cheese?
Yes, hard cheese freezes well. When appropriately packaged, harder cheeses like Parmesan and Pecorino Romano can be stored in the freezer for a long time.
Can you freeze cream cheese?
Cream cheese can be frozen, however, the texture may change after defrosting. The cheese can become gritty or separated, making spreading difficult. It’s still good in cheesecake, sauces, and casseroles.
I wrote a separate post about freezing cream cheese to make sure you have a guide to follow.
Can you freeze ricotta cheese?
After thawing, ricotta cheese may change texture like cream cheese becoming gritty or watery. Frozen ricotta works best in lasagna or filled pasta, where texture variations are less evident.
Check my post about freezing ricotta cheese to learn more.
Can you freeze cottage cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cottage cheese.
Freezing cottage cheese can make it gritty or runny after thawing. But it’s still great in casseroles or baked goods.
Even though this delicious cheese isn’t the best candidate for freezing in comparison to other kinds, I gave it a try. You can find more details in this blog post: Can you freeze cottage cheese?
Can you freeze mozzarella cheese?
Yes, you can freeze mozzarella. Shredded mozzarella, in particular, freezes well.
I often use it in cooking and baking after thawing and it tastes delicious, similar to fresh mozzarella.
If you’re curious to discover how I freeze it, check out this mozzarella freezing guide.
Can you freeze Parmesan cheese?
Yes, hard Parmesan or Pecorino Romano freezes well. The best results come from freezing it in an airtight container or bag.
Check out my step-by-step guide to freezing Parmesan for more info!
Can you freeze feta cheese?
Yes, you can freeze feta but it may crumble when thawed. The texture shift is less visible when crumbled frozen feta is used in salads or cooked foods.
Can you freeze Brie cheese?
Yes, you can freeze Brie but thawing it can make it crumbly. Dishes like baked Brie work best with frozen Brie.
Can you freeze camembert cheese?
Camembert cheese, like Brie, can be frozen but becomes crumbly after thawing. It’s better in prepared dishes than as a standalone cheese on a cheese board.
The creamy cheese I knew had startled me by becoming crumbly after freezing. First, I didn’t know what to do with it but then I added it to a hot fettuccine Alfredo, and it transformed into a delightful surprise.
Can you freeze blue cheese?
Yes, it’s possible to freeze blue cheese but it may acquire a crumbly texture.
For less visible texture changes, I add frozen blue cheese to salads, dressings, and cooked foods.
You can check out this list of alternatives to blue cheese to learn about different types of blue cheese and substitutes for more culinary experiences.
Can you freeze goat cheese?
Like other soft cheeses, goat cheese can be frozen but becomes crumbly or watery when thawed. Frozen goat cheese works well in prepared foods where texture variations are less essential.
Can you freeze Velveeta cheese?
Processed cheese products like Velveeta can be frozen but with some texture shifts.
After being frozen, it can be used in a variety of culinary applications, including mac and cheese and dips.
Can you freeze cheddar cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cheddar cheese, particularly blocks or shreds. Just make sure to prevent freezer burn by properly packaging it and it will freeze quite well.
Can you freeze grated cheddar cheese?
You can freeze grated cheddar cheese, as long as it is well-packaged and protected.
Cheddar-type cheeses are best reserved for dishes in which they will be melted or heated.
Can you freeze Swiss cheese?
You can freeze Swiss cheese, whether in block or sliced form. Proper packaging is key to the best quality!
Can you freeze block cheese?
Yes, you can freeze block cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella, and use it in various recipes after thawing.
Can you freeze cheese blocks?
Yes, you can freeze cheese in individual smaller or larger blocks, but they must be well-wrapped and sealed to avoid freezer burn.
Can you freeze cheese balls?
You can freeze cheese balls, but you must follow the correct freezing methods.
To avoid freezer burn, securely cover the cheese balls in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or an airtight container and seal them.
Can you freeze cheese curds?
Yes, cheese curds can be frozen. Seal them in an airtight container or freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.
Thawed curds are great for snacks or dishes where texture isn’t crucial.
Can you freeze mac and cheese?
Yes, you can freeze mac and cheese. It’s a handy meal to freeze.
Sort it into airtight containers or freezer bags and label them. Heat in the oven or microwave after thawing for simple mac & cheese recipes.
Can you freeze cheese sauce?
Yes, you can freeze excess cheese sauce in resealable plastic bags or airtight containers.
Label it clearly and provide enough space so it can expand. Defrost and heat on low heat in the oven or microwave.
Can you freeze queso dip?
Yes, queso dip can be frozen. Seal it in a container or bag that you can label, then store it in the freezer.
After defrosting, reheat on low in the oven, microwave, or stovetop.
Can you freeze cheesecake?
Yes, you can freeze cheesecake. Cheesecake is a great freezer-friendly dessert that can be frozen for 2-3 months.
When ready to use, thaw it in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Check out step-by-step instructions for freezing cheesecake here. It’s easier than you think!
What cheese can you not freeze?
Moist soft cheeses like cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, and fresh goat cheese generally change texture when frozen.
It doesn’t mean they can’t be frozen! But you should be ready for a noticeable change in texture: grainy, watery, or crumbly consistency.
These cheeses work best in cooked recipes where texture changes are less evident. So spreading them on bread or eating them uncooked isn’t the best idea (at least from my experience).
What was the last ingredient you froze? Share it in the comments!
The last thing I put in the freezer was an ice cube tray filled with milk and honey. I used it to make iced coffee lattes this summer. Here’s the guide I used: Can you freeze milk to preserve it?
How to freeze cheese
- Cheese of choice
Freezing Shredded Cheese:
- Divide shredded cheese into smaller portions for specific recipes.
- Place each portion in a freezer bag.
- Remove excess air from the bag and seal it tightly.
- Label each bag with the date and type of shredded cheese using a permanent pen.
- Store the labeled bags in the freezer. No need to thaw; use frozen shredded cheese directly in recipes.
Freezing Blocks of Cheese:
- Chop a block of cheese into smaller pieces for easy handling.
- Wrap each cheese block in plastic wrap to minimize air exposure.
- Further protect each wrapped cheese block by wrapping it in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
- Label each wrapped block with the date and type of cheese using a permanent pen.
- Store the labeled and wrapped cheese blocks in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator when needed.
Freezing Cheese Slices:
- Keep cheese slices in their original packaging or portion them into smaller stacks.
- Wrap each slice stack in plastic wrap.
- Provide extra protection by wrapping the plastic-wrapped stacks in aluminum foil.
- Label the stacks with the date and cheese type using a permanent marker.
- Seal the plastic wrap and foil to remove excess air.
- Store the labeled and wrapped cheese stacks in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge before use.
- Following these procedures will help preserve the quality of your cheese and prevent freezer burn when freezing shredded cheese, blocks, and slices.