If you’re stocking up for an emergency, or simply bought too much at the store, here’s how you can freeze cheese and a few things to avoid for the best results.
Freezing for food storage is great for stocking up on essentials and help you make fewer trips to the grocery store. I’ve been cooking for the past two weeks using items I already have in my pantry and freezer and it’s been fun to find the best ingredient swaps so I can work with what I have.
Which cheeses freeze best?
Not all cheese freezes the same way! You’ll find the most success with hard and semi-hard cheeses.
Freezing won’t affect the flavor of harder cheeses. Look for things like big, smooth blocks of sharp cheddar which will hold up better to freezing than many other types of cheese. Extra hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano will come out of the freezer best.
In this post, we’ll also talk about shredded cheese, which does well in the freezer, especially if you plan to use it for cooking.
Soft cheeses, like cottage cheese and cream cheese, can become watery or grainy after thawing, so it’s best to stick to the harder cheeses. You also want to avoid freezing cheeses like queso fresco, swiss, and brie neither of which will come out of the freezer tasting, or looking right.
You can! To do this, make sure you’re using smaller blocks. This will help prevent the cheese from getting too dried out.
It is common for block cheese to become a little bit crumbly after freezing, so this method is best if you’re planning to melt it down to use in a recipe.
I have never had success freezing those individually wrapped sliced American cheese you get at the store. It tends to crumble when you try to thaw it out and really isn’t worth trying to piece it back together. Plus, they last forever in the fridge.
If you are trying to freeze real sliced cheese that you’ve purchased pre-sliced for sandwiches, this can be done. Here is how:
- Place the cheese slices individually on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Freeze them for 30 minutes.
- Transfer frozen slices to a zip bag.
You can also place a small piece of parchment paper in between each individual slice of cheese and store it in an airtight container.
This is the best way to freeze cheese! Shred the cheese of your choice and measure it out by the cup into freezer-safe zip bags.
Label each bag with the amount of cheese you’ve put inside so that you know how many bags to pull out when you need shredded cheese for a meal.
Make sure you also label each bag with what type of cheese is inside since many types look similar to one another.
Tip: freeze shredded cheese in 1 to 2 cup bags to prevent blocks of cheese from forming.
After you’ve filled each bag, stick a straw down into the bag and close the zip seal around it. Then, use the straw to suck out as much air as you can from the bag. Pull the straw out of the bag, finish sealing it and freeze!
If you aren’t shredding your own cheese, you can also toss bags of store-bought shredded cheese into the freezer in their zip bags.
This is a softer cheese, but I’ve had a lot of success with freezing it! Simply freeze your log of goat cheese as is from the store.
If you purchased a large log of goat cheese, break it up into smaller pieces, wrap it individually, or make smaller balls. Once frozen, transfer into a zip bag.
How long can you keep it in the freezer?
Cheese will stay good in the freezer for up to six months. Buying cheese in bulk and saving it in the freezer is one way to save a lot of money on your grocery budget!
Related: How to freeze & thaw milk
How to thaw cheese
You can thaw cheese by sticking it in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it, or by setting it on the countertop for about 30 minutes.
Can you freeze macaroni & cheese
While we’re on the topic of cheese, what about macaroni and cheese? You can freeze that too!
This can be a huge time-saver, especially if you are teaching independence and letting kids get their own lunches ready during the day.
Here’s how to do it:
- Prepare the macaroni and cheese the same way you normally would, and let cool.
- After the macaroni and cheese to cool down, place in freezer-safe zip bags, spreading the noodles as flat as you can in the bags, to help with even re-heating later on.
- To reheat, place in a microwave-safe bowl and stir macaroni halfway through reheating. You can add a drop or two of water to keep it moist.
Just a few of my favorite recipes to make with freshly thawed cheese!
If you’re looking for more freezer tips check out this post where I show you how to freeze everything from milk to pancakes!
If you’re stocking up for an emergency, or simply bought too much at the store, here are the best ways to freeze cheese & a few pitfalls to avoid.
Place the cheese in your freezer in its original container or another air-tight freezer container. Zip bags work great for this, just make sure you label them clearly.
When you’re ready to use the cheese allow to thaw in the fridge.
Cheese will stay good in the freezer for about 6 months.