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Should I store feta in brine or olive oil?

Feta cheese is a classic Greek cheese that is creamy, crumbly, and salty. It is usually made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep and goat’s milk. Feta is a brined cheese, meaning it is cured and stored in a saltwater solution known as brine. However, many people also like to store feta in olive oil. So what is the best way to store feta – in brine or olive oil?

Storing Feta in Brine

Storing feta in brine is the traditional method of storing and preserving this type of cheese. The brine solution contains about 7-10% salt which helps inhibit bacterial growth and prevent the cheese from spoiling quickly. Here are some of the main benefits of storing feta in brine:

  • Keeps the cheese moist and prevents it from drying out
  • Maintains the classic tangy, salty flavor of feta
  • Extends the shelf life of the cheese
  • Cheaper than storing in olive oil
  • More authentic storage method

Feta stored in brine can last in the refrigerator for up to a month past the expiry date printed on the package. The saltiness of the brine penetrates the cheese and gives it that characteristic salty, tangy feta taste. Many traditionalists believe brine-stored feta has a better overall flavor. The only downside is that the cheese becomes quite salty over time in the brine solution.

Storing Feta in Olive Oil

While less traditional, many people enjoy storing feta cheese in olive oil. Here are some of the benefits of this storage method:

  • Olive oil prevents the cheese from drying out
  • Creates a smooth, creamy texture
  • Infuses the cheese with delicious olive oil flavor
  • Cheese doesn’t become as salty over time
  • Longer shelf life than brined feta

The oil prevents moisture from evaporating from the cheese and also creates a barrier to mold growth. Feta stored in olive oil will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 months. The downside is that the olive oil flavor will become dominant over time, masking the distinctive tangy feta taste. The cheese also becomes quite rich due to absorbing the oil.

Comparing Olive Oil and Brine Storage

Storage Method Brine Olive Oil
Shelf Life 1 month past expiry 2-3 months
Flavor Tangy, salty Mild, olive oil-infused
Texture Moist, crumbly Creamy, smooth
Cost Cheap More expensive

As you can see, both brine and olive oil have their advantages and disadvantages for storing feta. Brine is best if you prefer the traditional tangy, salty punch of feta. Olive oil gives you more extended shelf life and a creamier texture, but the original flavor profile of the cheese is altered.

Tips for Storing Feta

Here are some tips to get the most out of stored feta cheese:

  • If storing in brine, change the brine solution weekly to keep it fresh
  • Make sure feta is submerged in the brine or olive oil
  • Use good quality olive oil if storing in oil
  • Store feta in the refrigerator, not at room temperature
  • Blot off excess brine or oil before eating the cheese
  • Enjoy within a month or two for best flavor
  • Avoid cross-contaminating the cheese with other foods

Uses for Stored Feta

Here are some great ways to use up feta cheese that’s been stored in brine or olive oil:

  • Crumble over salads
  • Add to omelets or scrambled eggs
  • Mix into dips like tzatziki
  • Top baked potatoes or roasted veggies
  • Stuff into peppers or tomatoes
  • Blend into marinated bean or chickpea salads
  • Toss with pasta or rice
  • Layer on sandwiches or flatbreads

Buying the Best Feta for Storage

Look for high-quality feta from Greece for the most authentic flavor and texture. Feta made from sheep’s milk has a more robust flavor that holds up especially well to brining. Avoid pre-crumbled feta, as the large chunks store better. Check the ingredients – traditional feta is made from milk, salt, and rennet. Make sure to pick feta packed in brine, not water. For storage in oil, buy feta packed in a plastic pouch rather than a can or jar, as it allows more surface area contact with the oil.


While brine is the traditional storage method, both brine and oil have benefits for preserving feta cheese. For the true, tangy feta taste, opt for brine storage. If you prefer a creamier, smooth texture and longer shelf life, go for olive oil storage. Just be sure to use high quality ingredients. Proper storage gives you the flexibility to keep feta on hand for Mediterranean-inspired meals, appetizers, snacks, and more.