There are several types of cheese that you can freeze without any problem. Simply place the blocks, slices or grated cheese in a sealed container and freeze for two to six months. Although freezing wet or artisanal cheeses is not recommended, most cheeses sold in blocks in supermarkets do very well in the freezer. The texture will get a little more grainy, but the flavor should stay the same, so it's best to melt the cheese for use in a plate or grind it for a topping rather than eating the thawed slices straight.
Method 1 of 4: Preparing Cheese Blocks for Freezing
Step 1. Cut the larger blocks into 250g pieces
Avoid placing a large slice of cheese directly in the freezer. It is best to cut it into smaller blocks first. If you need to freeze a slice or large block of cheese, cut it into pieces of no more than 250g. Depending on how you intend to use the cheese, you can even cut it into smaller chunks.
Cutting the cheese will cause the pieces to freeze and thaw evenly
Step 2. Seal the cheese pieces in plastic
Use plastic wrap, a ZipLoc-type bag, or a vacuum-sealed plastic bag. Wrap the plastic tightly around the cheese and get as much air out of the wrap as possible to avoid frostbite burns. Put the wrapped cheese in a freezer bag to add an extra layer of protection.
- The packaging must be moisture resistant.
- If the cheese block already weighs 250 g or less, leave it in its original packaging. Put it in a freezer bag to add an extra layer of protection.
Step 3. Affix a date tag to the cheese before taking it to the freezer
That way you'll know what kind of cheese it is and how long it's been in the freezer. Use a permanent marker to write down the type of cheese, the date you wrapped it, and the product's expiration date. Then put it in a dry part of the freezer.
Keep the freezer door closed to allow the cheese to freeze quickly and completely
Method 2 of 4: Freezing Grated or Sliced Cheese
Step 1. Slice or grate the cheese to make it easier to melt
If you intend to use a block of hard cheese when preparing a dish, cut it into smaller pieces before freezing it. Use the grater or put the cheese in the food processor with the grater extension to chop it into fine strips. Another option is to cut the cheese with a knife into individual slices.
If you bought the cheese already grated or sliced, you can also freeze it. Just make sure it's expired and doesn't have any signs of mold
Step 2. Store the grated cheese in a reusable plastic bag
If you have grated the cheese at home, put it in a ZipLoc-type bag. If you have bought it grated in the market, make a hole in the original packaging and squeeze it gently to remove the air. Then close it tight.
If necessary, place the package in a second bag, suitable for freezing, to block the entry of air
Step 3. Separate the cheese slices with parchment paper before wrapping them
To freeze sliced cheese, cut a rectangular piece of parchment paper for each slice of cheese. This goes both for cheeses sold in slices and for those you cut at home. The paper should be 1.5 cm larger than the slices so that you can easily loosen them once frozen. After the paper is cut, make a pile by alternating the cheese pieces with the wax paper.
- Once the pile is ready, wrap it up and close it tightly, as if it were a block of cheese.
- When you need to pick up slices from the stack, pull the baking paper up to separate as many pieces as needed.
Step 4. Note the date and type of cheese on the package before taking it to the freezer
With a permanent marker, write down the type of cheese, the expiration date, and the freezing date on the package to see how much longer you can eat the cheese. Then place the package in a dry part of the freezer. Leave it there until it's time to defrost the cheese.
Method 3 of 4: Thawing the Cheese
Step 1. Use frozen cheese within two to six months
Softer cheeses such as gouda, gruyere and brie should not be left in the freezer for more than two months. The hardest and most processed ones can be frozen for up to six months. Take a look at the date you wrote down on the package and throw away the cheese if it's been six months after freezing.
Grated cheeses with holes (such as Swiss cheese) or cracked (such as gorgonzola) are at greater risk of frostbite. Check them out once in a while to make sure they're still okay
Step 2. Thaw the cheese in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours
Before eating, you need to make the ice crystals dissolve, returning moisture to the cheese. Leave the grated or sliced cheese in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. To thaw thick slices and blocks, wait around two days for the cheese to return to its original consistency.
- Take only the amount of cheese you intend to use in the next few days from the freezer. If the cheese is grated, open the bag and drop or break the required amount. In the case of slices, loosen them by pulling the pieces of parchment paper. Then reseal the cheese wrap and return it to the freezer.
- If you have frozen a block of cheese, you will need to thaw it whole.
Step 3. Cook or eat the thawed cheese within two to three days
Even if there is still time before the expiration date, eat the thawed cheese as soon as possible to get the most out of it. Use it on pizzas, lasagna, hideaways and other baked dishes, melt it into a hamburger or over a serving of nachos, or toss it crushed over a salad to enjoy the flavor without having to deal with the gritty consistency caused by the freezing. Anyway, eat the cheese any way you like, but don't forget that it shouldn't be longer than a few days.
After three days, throw away any thawed cheese that is left over
Method 4 of 4: Choosing Cheese to Freeze
Step 1. Freeze grated, sliced or block processed cheeses
Processed cheeses found in blocks on the market, such as cheddar, provolone, dried mozzarella and Colby Jack, among others, are perfect for freezing. Whether picked from the cold cuts counter or purchased pre-packaged, cheeses of this type can be frozen in small blocks, sliced or grated.
These cheese varieties tend to melt easily. Try using them to prepare oven and stove recipes after thawing
Step 2. Store natural, hard, and aged cheeses in the freezer to make them more crumbly
Before freezing a hard or aged natural cheese, think carefully about how long you intend to keep it and how you would like to consume it. Aged cheeses such as pecorino, asiago, parmesan and gorgonzola can be frozen, grated or in small blocks. Once thawed, they will become more crumbly, making them perfect for use in recipes or to play over a variety of dishes.
- Most aged cheeses can last up to four months in the refrigerator, so freezing may not be necessary.
- If you plan to use crushed gorgonzola cheese in a salad, freeze it for six months.
Step 3. Freeze soft natural cheeses to use in oven and stove recipes
Soft natural cheeses, such as brie, can even be frozen, but they tend to have a watery, grainy consistency. Therefore, only freeze them if you intend to melt them or use them in any recipe that goes into the fire.
- Keep the cheese in the refrigerator if you want to use it as a biscuit paste. Thus, it will retain both flavor and texture.
- There's nothing wrong with freezing soft natural cheese to use on a plate. After all, the cheese will melt during cooking or heating.
Step 4. Avoid freezing wet cheeses
Keep cheeses such as cottage, ricotta and cream cheese in the refrigerator and use them until the expiration date printed on the package. Also avoid freezing cheeses normally stored in water, such as burrata or fresh mozzarella in balls.
- Freezing will interfere with the super-delicate texture and flavor of the cheese. Depending on the variety, the cheese may be dry and lumpy or watery and limp after thawing.
- It's okay to freeze these cheeses if you're preparing a dish, like a lasagna or a little hideaway.
- Since the cream cheese has already been baked, you can freeze a cheesecake without any problems.