How To Freeze Cheese
With cheese being a little tricky to freeze, it is important to make sure it has every opportunity to freeze successfully. That’s why we’ve outlined three different approaches to take when it comes to freezing cheese.
Before you do anything, you need to check the type of cheese you want to freeze. Semi-hard cheeses such as cheddar, gruyere or Emmental can generally be frozen without too many problems.
Softer and creamier cheeses don’t tend to freeze well, so it might be worth trying to eat them instead of freezing them.
If you are confident your cheese can be frozen then let’s dive in and find out how:
- Prepare Cheese
Firstly, decide how you want to prepare your cheese. You can freeze it grated, sliced or even as a whole block! Although it isn’t recommended to freeze a block of cheese if you can help it. For best results, you want to be able to defrost a portion at a time as once your cheese has thawed out you need to eat it quickly.
Once you have portioned out your cheese, wrap individual portions tightly in cling film. If you are grating your cheese pop it into a freezer bag instead. Squeeze out any excess air and seal the bag tightly.
- Bag Up
Pop your wrapped cheese into a freezer bag.
Label the bag with the name of the contents and the date. Pop the bag into the freezer and freeze it.
How to Freeze Grated Cheese
If you’re going to freeze cheese then grating it is one of the better approaches to take.
It is one of the recommended methods for freezing cheese as it helps avoid the cheese separating and forming too many crystals. It is these crystals forming that changes the texture of cheese.
Freezing grated cheese is fairly easy. Just follow this method.
- Bag Up
Grate your cheese and pop it into a freezer bag.
Label the bag with the date, so you know when you need to use the cheese by.
- Flash Freeze
Pop the bag into the freezer and freeze it for about half an hour.
After half an hour, take the bag back out and give it a gentle shake. This will help to separate the cheese, so it doesn’t stick together.
- Return to Freezer
Pop it back into the freezer.
How to Freeze Cheese Slices
Sliced cheese can also be frozen whether it is a cheese you have sliced yourself or pre-sliced cheese bought from a supermarket.
If you have excess American cheese slices, these are perfect for burgers, and they also freeze really well. Just pop them into the freezer – making sure you keep them sealed in their original packaging.
There are a couple of extra steps to take when it comes to freezing slices of cheese cut from a block.
- Layer with Greaseproof Paper
Cut up some greaseproof paper slightly larger than the slices of cheese. Pop a piece of greaseproof parchment paper in between each slice of cheese. This helps to stop the slices from sticking together and makes it easier to grab out just the right amount of cheese later.
Wrap all of the slices together in cling film.
Pop this into a freezer bag and label it with the date before putting it in the freezer.
How to Freeze Cheese Dishes
Freezing cheese can be a bit of a challenge. The texture can change, it can lose its flavour and can be quite unpalatable in some cases. But are there any cheese dishes worth freezing to improve on this?
How to Freeze Cheese Sauce
You can freeze cheese sauce, but there is a chance that the texture will change during the freezing process. However, if you have leftovers that will go to waste, then there is no harm popping it in the freezer for a later date.
Make sure the sauce is completely cooled before starting.
- Bag Up
Put the cheese sauce in an airtight container or pop it into a freezer bag.
Label the bag or container with the date and pop it into the freezer.
You might want to double bag it just to make sure there are no spills in the freezer. You can keep your frozen cheese sauce in the freezer for about four months.
When it comes to defrosting it, you need to take it out of the freezer and pop it into the fridge to defrost it slowly overnight.
You might find that the sauce has changed texture slightly, but you should be able to fix most texture problems by heating it slowly in a saucepan whilst stirring gently.
How to Freeze Mac and Cheese
The bad news doesn’t continue when it comes to mac and cheese because, finally, it’s a cheese dish that you can freeze with fairly good results:
You can either leave it in the dish you cooked it in, or you can scoop it into bags as portions. It depends on how you expect to consume it in future.
Whether it’s in a dish or a bag, you need to protect it. If in a dish, wrap in several layers of clingfilm. If in a bag, seal it up tight and ensure it is fully air-tight.
Label it up and then freeze.
Yes, there are going to be a few changes to the texture. Frozen mac and cheese is never going to be as good as a freshly cooked tray of it. But it is still a great meal to have ready-to-go from the freezer.
4 Tips for Freezing Cheese
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 4 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing cheese to have the best results:
- Maybe Leave it in the Fridge – Cheese lasts an incredibly long time in the fridge. This is especially true if you have bought good-quality cheese, wrapped it properly and store it in an airtight container. So you need to consider whether it will actually be fine in the fridge or not.
- Consider Your Use of Cheese – If you plan on freezing cheese and then using it in sandwiches, then you’re going to need to think again. Frozen cheese will only work well in cooked dishes such as frozen mozzarella for a pasta bake or pizza.
- Protect, Protect, Protect – If you’re going to do one thing when storing cheese in the freezer, ensure it is completely protected from external elements, including air and odours. Wrap it, bag it, place it in a container – anything to protect it.
- Avoid Soft, Delicate Cheese – Brie, camembert and stilton will never freeze well. Your best approach is to not bother freezing it.
How Long Can You Freeze Cheese?
A semi-hard cheese such as cheddar can be kept frozen for up to about six months.
After this time you run the risk of the cheese degrading and losing some of that delicious taste. Softer cheeses will begin degrading almost immediately so the quicker you can use them, the better!
You Can Freeze Cheese for Around 6 Months
How Do You Defrost Cheese?
When it comes to defrosting cheese you need to allow it to thaw out slowly. Take the cheese out of the freezer and pop it onto a plate. You are best doing this the night before you need to use the cheese.
Pop it into the fridge and allow it to defrost slowly.
As an idea, 500g of cheese will take approximately 8 hours to defrost in the fridge. This will be dependent on how you prepared it before freezing. If you are defrosting slices of cheese instead of grated then you might find that it takes a little longer. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time before you need to use the cheese.
Can You Refreeze Cheese?
You should never refreeze cheese once it has been defrosted. The structure of the cheese would be compromised a little too much and you could end up with a crumbly cheese that you can’t use.
Not only would it change the texture of the cheese too much but heating, thawing and freezing allow bacteria to grow and this could make you ill.
Does Cheese Freeze Well?
Unfortunately, cheese is not one of those food products that is ideal for freezing. No matter how carefully you freeze the cheese you will find the texture of it changes.
Even a cheese that freezes better than most will significantly change texture once it has been thawed out. It will be crumbly and a lot drier than it was before you froze it.
This is why if you are freezing cheese, you should only really use it in cooking. Heating the cheese can help break down the crystals formed in the freezing process, and your cheese will melt as normal.
You won’t be able to use it in its raw state in sandwiches or as part of a cheeseboard.
However, if you plan to cook your cheese in a sauce, melt it over a dish or make a cheese toastie then you shouldn’t notice too much of a difference at all. It will still taste just as good.
Which Cheeses Freeze Well?
Cheeses that freeze well are the types of cheese that are considered to be semi-hard or hard. These are cheeses that you would need a sharp knife to cut. Cheddar is a prime example of a cheese that can be frozen fairly successfully.
So if you need to freeze cheese then choose cheeses that have a similar texture to this cheese.
These are a few hard kinds of cheese that do freeze fairly well.
- Red Leicester
There are also a few kinds of cheese that freeze fairly well even though they are softer. These tend to be cheese with higher fat content.
Which Cheeses Do Not Freeze Well?
There are some cheeses that won’t freeze well, no matter what you do. These tend to be the creamier, softer cheeses that either spread or have that lovely gooey texture.
These are cheeses similar to Brie – so check the texture of your cheese before freezing. If it has a similar texture to Brie, then it is likely that you won’t be able to freeze it.
These are some cheeses that you definitely shouldn’t attempt to freeze.
- Cream Cheeses
- Blue Cheeses
- Low-Fat Cheeses
If you’ve still got questions about freezing cheese or cheese in general, then these may help:
Can You Freeze Cheddar?
We’ve mentioned cheddar a lot on this page and for good reason: It’s one of the only cheeses that can freeze fairly well.
It won’t ever be quite as good as when it was fresh but if you want to have a long-term supply of cheddar which can be used in sauces or melted over potato-topped pies then this is the best cheese to freeze.
Can You Freeze Parmesan?
Parmesan can and will freeze. With it being a hard cheese like cheddar, it is one of the better cheeses to freeze but there are some precautions you will want to take when it comes to freezing it.
One of the most important things to do is to ensure it is stored in an airtight container. If you want more details on freezing it, we’ve actually put together a dedicated guide to freezing parmesan.
Can You Freeze Camembert?
No! That’s the hard truth. Camembert, being so soft, is one of the worst cheeses you can attempt to freeze.
It will, of course, freeze but it’s not something you’d actually want to do. Like parmesan, we’ve written a dedicated article about freezing camembert that you may want to check out.