Can You Freeze Pimiento Cheese?

Not exactly.

Classic Pimiento Chese

Hector Manuel Sanchez

Whether homemade or store-bought, pimiento cheese is a Southern staple. Sure, if you dive into its history the South’s favorite spread may have originated in the North, and New Yorkers like Ina Garten have their own take on it, but nonetheless it's a Southern favorite.

If you've ever found yourself with extra pimiento cheese on hand, you’ve likely wondered if you can save it for another day by popping it in the freezer. Not so fast.

Unfortunately, not everything is freezer-friendly. We did a little digging and discovered that pimiento cheese, as lovely as it is, does not freeze all that well.

Why You Shouldn't Freeze Pimiento Cheese 

Like a lot of products, although you can freeze pimiento cheese, it won’t be the same when it thaws. This isn't surprising given that mayonnaise, often a main ingredient in pimiento cheese, doesn’t freeze that well.

Mayonnaise is an emulsion, so when it thaws ice crystals formed while freezing will break down the cell walls, which causes the mixture to separate.

Dairy, like cream cheese, sour cream, and Cheddar cheese, are also often included in pimiento cheese, and those products don't freeze well either (for the same reasons).

All this is to say, pimiento cheese becomes grainy and separates after freezing. In fact, that’s exactly what Palmetto experienced when they experimented with freezing their product.

"We froze a tub of Palmetto Cheese for 24 hours and let it thaw out in the refrigerator. The first noticeable difference is the dried out appearance of the cheese at the top of the tub. The oil found in mayo and cheese will separate when you freeze it. The product itself retained its physical texture, but the smooth creamy taste was replaced with a slightly watery and grainy texture," the company says on their website.

"After this experiment, we would not recommend freezing Palmetto Cheese. There is just no comparison between the fresh and frozen product. If you simply can’t bring yourself to throw it away, try utilizing it in a recipe such as macaroni and cheese. We do not suggest serving a thawed out tub as is,” Palmetto continued.

So, the best thing to do if you have to freeze extra pimiento cheese is to use it in a recipe instead of on its own. Luckily for you, Southern Living has plenty of recipes that can use up thawed, less-than ideal pimiento cheese.

How Long Does Pimiento Cheese Last in the Fridge? 

Now that you know that freezing leftover pimiento cheese is not the best idea, you might be wondering how long you have to use up what’s left. If we’re talking store-bought, that will vary brand to brand, so consult the label for helpful use-by and sell-by dates.

As always, discard the product if visible signs of spoilage like mold or off-smells are present, regardless of what the dates say.

If you have homemade pimiento cheese to use up, our test kitchen suggests storing it covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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