Can You Really Freeze Cheese?
Too much Cheddar on your hands? Here's what to do.
Extra cheese is a good problem to have. Especially because you can freeze it to use later—some cheeses, anyway. Read on to find out which cheeses can be successfully stored in the freezer, and which ones should stay in the refrigerator.
Shredded or unshredded block cheeses (Cheddar, part-skim/low-moisture mozzarella, Monterey Jack, etc.)
According to the National Dairy Council, cheeses that are sold pre-shredded or in solid blocks can be stored in the freezer (tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, then place in a ziplock freezer bag) up to six months with good results if the cheese is going to be cooked, like in a pot of macaroni and cheese. Once defrosted, frozen cheese can have an unpleasant crumbly texture when eaten as-is. Let shredded cheese thaw in the refrigerator 24 to 48 hours in advance so that the ice crystals will melt and add moisture back into the cheese. Use the thawed cheese as quickly as possible.
Fresh cheeses (fresh mozzarella, ricotta, etc.)
Keep fresh cheeses in the refrigerator to preserve their delicate flavor and texture. Ricotta can be stored in the freezer for up to three months, but it may have a gritty texture when defrosted and is best used in cooked dishes, like lasagna. And fresh mozzarella or burrata (which are typically packaged in water) should also be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within five days.
Hard cheeses (Parmesan, pecorino, Parmiganio-Reggiano, etc.)
These firm, aged cheeses are typically sold in wedges, and can last four to six weeks if stored properly in the refrigerator. You can also grate the cheeses and store it in the freezer in a ziplock freezer bag.
Soft cheeses (brie, camembert, goat, etc.)
Once frozen, soft cheeses don't defrost very well. Store in the refrigerator up to two weeks for the best flavor and texture.