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Can cheese slices be frozen?

Cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes, from grilled cheese sandwiches to cheese plates and cheese-topped casseroles. With so many options for enjoying cheese, it’s common for many home cooks to buy more than they can use before the cheese expires. This leads to the question: can you freeze cheese slices to extend their shelf life?

Can you freeze cheese slices?

The short answer is yes, you can freeze sliced cheese. Freezing allows you to preserve unused cheese slices so you can enjoy them later.

Most cheese varieties freeze reasonably well if stored properly. The ideal cheeses to freeze are hard cheeses like cheddar, colby, Swiss, Parmesan, and provolone. Softer cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese generally don’t freeze as well.

When frozen correctly, the texture and flavor of hard cheese slices will remain relatively unchanged. They may be slightly drier or crumblier once thawed but will still taste good and can be used as you normally would in recipes.

How to freeze cheese slices

Follow these simple steps for freezing cheese slices:

  1. Make sure the cheese is fresh. Freeze cheese as close to the purchase date as possible for best quality.
  2. Cut the cheese into usable slices or blocks if it isn’t already sliced. Slice or cube the cheese into portions that suit your cooking needs, like sandwich slices or 1/2 cup crumbles for tacos.
  3. Wrap the cheese slices tightly in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or waxed paper. Make sure there is no air exposed to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Place the wrapped cheese in freezer bags or airtight containers. Squeeze out excess air before sealing.
  5. Label the packages with the type of cheese and date.
  6. Freeze for up to 3 months at 0°F or below. Place in the coldest part of the freezer, either the bottom or back.

Cheese frozen for longer than 3 months may suffer more texture and flavor damage. Freezing in smaller portions rather than a big block makes for easier thawing.

Can you freeze sliced deli cheese?

Pre-packaged sliced deli cheeses like American, Swiss, cheddar, and provolone can also be frozen successfully. Look for deli cheese with no added preservatives, as the preservatives can cause an unpleasant texture after freezing.

Follow the same steps as above, tightly wrapping stacks of deli cheese slices in plastic wrap or wax paper before freezing. Deli cheeses may not freeze as well as block cheeses since they have been more processed.

Can you freeze shredded cheese?

Shredded cheese can be frozen but may become a bit drier and not melt as smoothly when thawed. To freeze shredded cheese:

  • Spread shredded cheese in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Place in the freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours.
  • Transfer to resealable plastic freezer bags.
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal.
  • Return to freezer for up to 3 months.

The thinner layer helps shredded cheese freeze faster so large ice crystals can’t form and damage the texture.

How to thaw cheese

Thaw frozen cheese slices, blocks, and shreds in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature or in the microwave, as this can cause texture changes. Cheese loses some moisture during freezing, so it may have a slightly different crumbly or dry texture when thawed.

Grate or slice thawed cheese as needed. Use within a week for best flavor and performance. Refreeze any unused thawed cheese rather than keeping it in the fridge for too long.

While thawed cheese is suitable for most recipes, it may not melt quite as smoothly, so it’s best for:

– Sandwiches
– Pizza
– Salads
– Cheese plates
– Snacking
– Crumbles and toppings

Avoid using thawed cheese for delicate baked dishes like souffles or cheese sauces, where perfect melting is key.

Things to avoid when freezing cheese

There are a few things to keep in mind when freezing cheese:

  • Avoid freezing soft fresh cheeses like ricotta, goat cheese, mozzarella, feta, brie, and cream cheese. The high moisture content can cause texture changes during freezing.
  • Don’t freeze cheese that has already been shredded, sliced, or crumbled, as it will lose texture quality. Cut from a block before freezing.
  • Prevent freezer burn by wrapping cheese air-tight in plastic wrap and bags. Freezer burn causes dry, rough patches.
  • Don’t freeze cheese in its original packaging. The packaging isn’t meant for freezing. Re-wrap for long-term storage.
  • Avoid freezing and thawing cheese repeatedly. The texture will degrade more with each thaw cycle.

Signs your frozen cheese has gone bad

Frozen cheese that has been properly stored in the freezer should last for up to 3 months. However, there are a few signs that indicate your frozen cheese may have gone bad and should be discarded:

  • Mold – Cheese kept past its prime can develop mold once thawed or even before fully thawing.
  • Dry, crumbly texture – Excessive dryness and crumbliness likely signals freezer burn.
  • Off smell – Cheeses like blue cheese have a strong aroma, but other cheeses should not smell sour or off.
  • Weeping – Excess liquid draining from thawed cheese is a sign of spoilage.
  • Discoloration – Green, blue, or black discolored spots indicate mold.
  • Sliminess – A slippery, slimy texture is unappetizing and unsafe to eat.

When in doubt, remember the old saying “When in doubt, throw it out” applies to questionable frozen cheese as well. Don’t taste cheese that shows signs of spoilage.

Shelf life of fresh vs. frozen cheese

Cheese Type Refrigerator Freezer
Hard cheese block 2 to 4 weeks 6 months
Hard cheese sliced 1 to 2 weeks 3 months
Soft cheese 1 to 2 weeks Does not freeze well
Shredded cheese 1 week 3 months
Deli sliced cheese 1 week 3 months

As shown, freezing cheese extends its shelf life significantly. Properly frozen cheese lasts considerably longer than refrigerated cheese before going bad.

Key takeaways

Freezing cheese slices and blocks gives you several more months to enjoy your favorite cheeses. Keep these key tips in mind:

  • Hard cheeses freeze best.
  • Wrap cheese air-tight before freezing.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
  • Use thawed cheese within a week for best quality.
  • Don’t refreeze thawed cheese more than once.

With proper freezing and storage methods, most hard cheeses emerge ready to use in cooking and snacking. Freezing is a smart way to cut down on food waste and save money by preserving cheese longer.


Freezing cheese slices and blocks is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of cheese while retaining good flavor and texture. Most hard cheeses can be kept frozen for up to 3 months if properly wrapped. Soft fresh cheeses don’t freeze well but ricotta and cottage cheese are exceptions. Thaw frozen cheese slowly in the fridge before using. With the proper freezing and thawing techniques, you can enjoy your favorite cheese varieties for longer.