Mozzarella, a curd cheese hailing from southern Italy, is crafted using the pasta filata method, primarily from Italian buffalo’s milk. Unlike most cheeses, Mozzarella is enjoyed fresh within hours of production or preserved in brine for up to a week. However, improper freezing can often lead to spoilage.
So Can You Freeze Mozzarella Cheese, And If Yes Then How Do We Freeze It?
Yes, you can freeze mozzarella cheese for 3-6 months. Wrap it tightly, remove the air, and label it. To thaw, use the refrigerator. For extended freezing life, divide it into portions and consider vacuum-sealing before freezing.
How To Freeze Mozzarella Cheese?
Freezing mozzarella cheese is certainly an option, but there are some key considerations to keep in mind.
- Freeze It Fresh: Before freezing mozzarella, ensure it’s fresh and in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag to prevent freezer burn. Divide it into portion-sized chunks for convenience.
- Storage Duration: Mozzarella cheese can be frozen for up to 6 months. After this period, its texture and flavor may deteriorate.
- Thawing Tips: For best results, thaw mozzarella cheese slowly in the refrigerator. Avoid microwaving, as it can affect the texture.
- Use Frozen Mozzarella Wisely: Once thawed, use it in cooked dishes like lasagna or pizzas for the best results.
How to Store Mozzarella Cheese?
Proper storage is key for preserving mozzarella’s taste and texture. Here are some tips for storing different types of mozzarella:
- Fresh mozzarella – Store in brine (salt water solution) in its original container or jar, or in a resealable plastic bag submerged in the brine. Change the brine daily. Use within 1 week for best quality. Refrigerate at 35°F.
- Low moisture, block mozzarella – Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
- Shredded mozzarella – Store in a sealed container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- Unopened mozzarella – Refrigerate in original store packaging until the expiration or use-by date.
Mozzarella should always be refrigerated at 35°F or below. Discard if mold appears or if the cheese smells odd or sour.
How To Thaw Mozzarella?
Here are some tips for properly thawing frozen mozzarella:
- Refrigerator thawing: Place frozen mozzarella in the refrigerator overnight. This slowly thaws the cheese while minimizing moisture loss.
- Cold water thawing: Seal the frozen mozzarella in a plastic bag, then submerge in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until thawed. This method thaws the cheese faster than refrigerator thawing.
- Microwave thawing: Microwave frozen mozzarella at 30% power, checking every 30 seconds until pliable. This is the quickest thawing method but can make the texture rubbery.
- Room temperature thawing: Leave frozen mozzarella sealed on the counter for 1-2 hours. Do not thaw for longer than 2 hours.
Once thawed, use the mozzarella as soon as possible for the best quality. Avoid refreezing mozzarella after it has been thawed.
How To Use Frozen and Thawed Mozzarella?
Frozen mozzarella is best for cooking applications rather than eating fresh. Here are some ways to use thawed frozen mozzarella:
- On pizzas, in casseroles, lasagnas, and baked pastas where the mozzarella will be melted and cooked.
- In savory breads, rolls, and biscuits. The kneading and baking will improve the texture.
- Shred or dice to use as a topping for soups, stews, and roasted vegetables.
- Blend into dips, pesto, sauces, or spreads.
- Mix with seasonings and spices to make flavored cheese balls.
Avoid eating cubed or sliced mozzarella straight from the freezer. Thawed mozzarella will have a dry, grainy texture compared to fresh. Enjoy it melted or cooked in recipes that mask the texture change.
How To Tell If Mozzarella Cheese Has Gone Bad?
Watch for these signs that mozzarella has spoiled and should be discarded:
- Unpleasant sour, cheesy smell
- Mold growth (may appear black, green, blue, or white)
- Excessive liquid in the packaging
- Dried-out, crumbly, or cracked texture
- Dark yellowish color instead of white
- Slimy consistency
- Rancid taste when eaten
Discard mozzarella if it is past the expiration date or has been left unrefrigerated too long. Soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella spoil faster than aged cheeses.
Well-stored mozzarella can last 1 week (fresh), 1 month (refrigerated block) or up to 2 months (frozen) past the sell-by date. But rely on smell, mold, and texture rather than the date alone to determine if it has gone bad. When in doubt, throw it out.
Q1. How do I freeze fresh mozzarella?
A1. To freeze fresh mozzarella, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or waxed paper, store in freezer bags removing air, and freeze up to 2-3 months.
Q2. Will frozen mozzarella still melt?
A2. Yes, frozen mozzarella will still melt smoothly when thawed and cooked, though the texture may be slightly drier.
Q3. How long will mozzarella cheese last in the refrigerator?
A3. Fresh mozzarella lasts 1 week past its expiration date if kept refrigerated and sealed in its original packaging or brine.
Q4. Can you freeze sealed fresh mozzarella?
A4. Sealed, packaged fresh mozzarella can be frozen for up to 2-3 months with little quality loss when thawed slowly.
Q5. Can you freeze fresh mozzarella packed in water?
A5. Fresh mozzarella stored in water can also be frozen successfully for 1-2 months. Drain water before freezing.
Q6. Should I freeze the mozzarella before shredding it?
A6. It’s best to shred mozzarella just before use after thawing rather than freeze pre-shredded, to maximize texture.