You have got some shredded cheese leftover and wonder if you can freeze it, then you’ve come to the right place.
A brief answer:
Yes, you can freeze shredded cheese. Its taste, texture, and fridge life after thawing depends mainly on the type of shredded cheese you’ve frozen, though.
For example, I’ll always freeze my shredded cheddar and Gorgonzola, but I would refrain from freezing cottage cheese, ricotta, or feta. It all boils down to personal preferences, so to answer the question, yes – shredded cheese can be frozen, and if you want to learn more, stick with me and let’s dive deeper into details.
How to Freeze Shredded Cheese?
There are only a few things you should keep in mind while freezing shredded cheese, such as choosing the suitable freezing container, putting a timestamp on it, and how to avoid sticking together (if you care about that at all). Follow these steps, and you won’t have a speck of a problem:
Step 1a: Place Unopened Shredded Cheese Containers in the Freezer
If you plan on freezing store-bought shredded cheese, you can skip more than half the steps. The original packaging of shredded cheese products negates the chances of freezer burn occurring, and more often than not, these packs are perfectly sized.
Simply put the package at the back of your freezer, and remember to pull it out after two to three months.
Note: If you want to avoid sticking together, you need to open the bag and choose one of the methods outlined below.
Step 1b: Place Shredded Cheese in Freezer Bags
For freezing leftover shredded cheese, buy heavy-duty freezer wraps or bags. Alternatively, you can use airtight containers. Place your shredded cheese in these containers and seal them shut.
Optional: Avoid Sticking together
Before you put your shredded or grated cheese in a bag, know that it can clump together. This makes it more difficult to portion it.
To avoid this you have 2 options:
- Add a bit cornstach or flour to the bag.
- Pre freeze. This means spreading your cheese on a baking sheet and put it in a freeze for a while. This way all single pieces will freeze without clumping together. Once they’re frozen, you just put the pieces in a freezer bag and the sticking together shouldn’t happen again. Of course, this method takes up a bit of space in your freezer.
Step 2 Mark the Date and Place the Label on the Container
I encourage all home chefs to work on developing this helpful habit. Labeling food containers prevents spoilage and waste, so mark the date of placing your shredded cheese in the freezer and stick the slip on the container.
Step 3: Place the Package at the Back of your Freezer
The evaporator fan of your freezer is located at the back, which is why this is the area where the temperature is the lowest. Place your shredded cheese packs at the back of your freezer.
What Happens if You Freeze Shredded Cheese?
Shredded cheese stored in freezer bags will retain its taste, although its texture will most likely change a bit. It’s an excellent idea to freeze hard cheeses, such as brick cheese, gorgonzola, Swiss cheese, or cheddar.
Here you can learn more about freezing blue cheese like gorgonzola.
Softer cheeses can be frozen as well, but their texture can become pretty hard and crumbly. That being said, you probably won’t feel as if you’re eating feta after you thaw it.
There are reasons against freezing certain kinds of cheese, even though they may freeze phenomenally well. For instance, gorgonzola cheese is home to lactic acid bacteria, which dies at freezing temperatures. Although gorgonzola is a robust, hard-layered cheese, you can lose its gut-improving benefits by freezing it.
Benefits of Freezing Shredded Cheese
- It’s good for eating for months after being thawed
- All types of shredded cheese can fit in standard freezer bags (you don’t need overly expensive freezer-friendly packages)
- Hard cheeses usually have the same taste and chewiness after being thawed
- It’s easy to avoid freezer burn completely
Drawbacks of Freezing Shredded Cheese
- Softer shredded cheeses don’t freeze as great
- They won’t melt as good after being thawed
- Many kinds of cheese are inhabited by helpful bacteria, which die off at freezing temperatures
- You can only freeze it up to two months before it begins losing quality
Does Shredded Cheese Freeze Well?
The texture, sturdiness, and milk type are the three main things that determine how well any cheese type can freeze. The story with shredded cheese is slightly different, as you will be freezing dozens of cheese bits instead of large blocks and chunks.
Simply put, larger pieces of cheese freeze better. Their interior remains intact, while their surface layer may become a bit rougher and almost crunchier. When freezing shredded cheese, you will be freezing the tiniest bits; it’s essential to follow the steps above as closely as you can, in which case your shredded cheese will freeze well.
How Long Can You Freeze Shredded Cheese
I’ve talked with some colleagues who believe most kinds of shredded cheese can be kept in a freezer for up to a year. Personally, I disagree because cheese won’t taste, feel, and chew the same if you’ve kept it longer than three months.
Technically, you can store almost any cheese in your freezer for more than a year. If you don’t mind the loss of taste, a mealy, firmer texture, and a slightly different smell, you can keep your shredded cheeses frozen even longer.
As a connoisseur of most dairy products, I prefer my cheeses to taste them the way they always do; that’s why I recommend pulling shredded cheese packs out of the freezer within three months tops.
How To Defrost Shredded Cheese?
You have several options at your disposal when it comes to defrosting shredded cheese. The simplest solution is letting your shredded cheese thaw on its own at room temperature, the fridge thawing method that takes the most time but rewards you with the best results, and the microwave for the impatient home chefs. Let’s take a look at each:
Thawing at Room Temperature
Nasty microbes and microorganisms are not attracted to shredded cheese as much as they are to meat and vegetables. It is entirely safe to leave your shredded or grated cheese out after being frozen for at least a week.
Although it will take hours for the ice to melt completely, keep checking your shredded cheese every 10-15 minutes. It shouldn’t thaw too rapidly (if the temperature is a bit higher than you expected), but it shouldn’t take too long either. In most cases, a package of frozen shredded cheese needs between two and three hours to thaw.
Thawing your shredded cheese in the fridge is better for several reasons. First of all, you’ll altogether avoid all the bad microorganisms, and your cheese will be as healthy as it was when you put it in the freezer.
Secondly, fridge thawing will prepare your shredded cheese for immediate use. You won’t need to process it any further; even if you do, it would be straightforward, basic tasks, such as washing it under cold water, for example.
The main drawback of fridge thawing is that it lasts nearly ten times longer. Frozen shredded cheese will thaw at a much slower pace while in the fridge (below room temperature).
Let’s say you’re preparing pizza for your whole family, and all the stores are closed. You can’t buy any cheese anywhere, but you have some frozen mozzarella in the freezer. If your family can wait some three hours for you to begin preparing pizzas, you can thaw shredded cheese at room temperature.
If not, microwave thawing can save the evening. Simply put the shredded cheese in the microwave, select the ‘Defrost’ setting, and set the timer to 30 minutes. You probably won’t need more than 20 minutes, though, as small chunks of food thaw more quickly.
Can You Refreeze Shredded Cheese?
Every time you freeze and thaw any dish, its microbiological content changes. In simpler terms, meat, vegetables, and dairy products are susceptible to attacks from harmful bacteria. Once infested, these foods turn bad (rancid). Freezing is followed by a loss of helpful bacteria, so every time you freeze shredded cheese, it’s slightly more rancid and slightly less healthy.
That being said, the freezing process can be repeated several times without significant side effects. After freezing and thawing your shredded cheese a couple of times, you will probably notice the difference in its taste and texture. Once you do, think about not refreezing your shredded cheese again; either use or discard it.
To avoid this problem, I like to freeze it in smaller portions per bag so I only take out what I need from the freezer at a time.
Freezing Different Types of Shredded Cheese
|Can you freeze shredded mozzarella cheese?
|Yes, but don’t freeze fresh mozzarella, as it can crystalize. Learn more about freezing mozzarella cheese.
|Can you freeze shredded parmesan cheese?
|Yes, up to two months. Here you’ll find a comprehensive guide about how to freeze parmesan cheese.
|Can you freeze shredded gruyere cheese?
|Yes, up to two months. More about freezing gruyere cheese over here.
|Can you freeze shredded Swiss cheese?
|Yes, up to six months. Dive deeper into freezing Swiss cheese.
|Can you freeze shredded cheddar cheese?
|Yes, up to three months. Learn how to freeze cheddar cheese with this comprehensive guide.
|Can you freeze grated cotija cheese?
|Yes, up to three months. Check this guide for more information about freezing cotija cheese.
|Can you freeze shredded feta cheese?
|Yes, up to three months. Consider using it before, as it may lose a portion of its quality. This guide goes deeper into freeze feta cheese.
|Can you freeze shredded provolone cheese?
|Yes, up to two months. More about freezing provolone cheese.
|Can you freeze shredded Velveeta cheese?
|Yes, up to three months. Read this guide to learn more about how to freeze Velveeta cheese.
Best Tips for Freezing Shredded Cheese
- Freezer wraps are ideal for freezing shredded cheese
- Remember that small chunks thaw much faster than larger chunks.
- You can immediately freeze store-bought shredded cheese without any preparation
- Thaw at room temperature instead of in the microwave whenever you can spare the time
Best Shredded Cheese Recipes
You can sprinkle or melt shredded cheese over pretty much anything, and it will taste delicious. If you’re a beginner home cook, I recommend starting out with Mac & Cheese. It’s as simple as it is tasty, but more importantly, it’s almost impossible to fail.
Whether frozen, homemade, or store-bought, most pizzas could use a bit of melted cheese, and you can use your thawed shredded mozzarella or cheddar for this.
If you’re making pasta or lasagne, make sure to sprinkle some shredded parmesan on top. It completely changes the taste and makes the meal richer.
Freezing cheese isn’t rocket science, but it’s not the most intuitive thing in the world. You’ll need adequate packaging, and there are multiple ways to go about thawing it later on.
What do you usually use shredded cheese for? Are you enamored with gorgonzola or can’t stand its taste? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to check out my other ‘How to Freeze’ guides!