Does Parmesan Cheese go bad? Answered (2023)

I’ll say it for all of us- Parmesan is one of the best cheeses in the world. Whether you want it for pasta, soup, or as a pizza topping, it sits perfectly.

You can bring lots (and I mean A-LOT) of parmesan, which will never be enough.

But does parmesan go bad?

Let us find out.

For years, I bought grated parmesan cheese instead of block cheese. Not only was it convenient to use, but it was easy to store. But did you know block parmesan can last longer than grated one? No, right? Well, in this article, we will tell you all about parmesan. Whether it is the shelf life or how to look for a stale parmesan. We have it all covered.

How Long Does Parmesan Cheese Last After the Expiration Date?

The life of parmesan cheese depends on its packaging and the way its sold. For example, a grated and a block parmesan cheese will have different shelf-life. Similarly, sprinkled parmesan will have a different shelf-life than a block and grated parmesan.

So, read further if you want to know how long each cheese will last.

Grated Parmesan Cheese

grating the cheese for garnishing

Remember when you bought a grated parmesan from a refrigerated source? Grated parmesan is often refrigerated because it has a faster rate of spoilage. When you buy grated parmesan, it stays fresh for 3-4 days before degrading in quality. Thus, make sure to consume the grated cheese within a week. 

Block Parmesan Cheese

cheese cubes on the table

Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese that will last for 6-8 months when properly sealed. But if opened, block parmesan cheese will retain its freshness for a couple of months. Although you can consume it for months, the cheese will start to degrade in quality. When buying a block of parmesan cheese, look at the “best by” date. This will give you a rough estimate of its shelf-life.

Also Read: Does Mayo Go Bad?

How to Store Different Types of Parmesan Cheese?

Using parmesan cheese for a long is easy if you know how to store it. To make it easier, we have different ways in which you can store fresh and grated cheese. 

Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese, which means it can survive without a fridge. But refrigerating it is the way to go if you want to retain the freshness of parmesan. A fresh parmesan in the fridge can last up to 7-8 weeks or longer if stored properly. At room temperature, the same cheese will be good for just 2 weeks before it begins to rot away.

Remember: When storing parmesan at room temperature, wrap it tightly. Once under good wraps, store the cheese in a cool, dry place. While wrapping the cheese, make sure you have no loose ends. Loose ends can introduce moisture to the cheese, making it home to bacteria.

If the fresh cheese is still sealed, leaving it at room temperature can last 3-4 weeks. But in a fridge, you can extend the life of unopened parmesan to up to 6 months.

Grated or Sprinkled Parmesan Cheese

Did you know grated sprinkled parmesan cheese is processed cheese? The good news: if unopened, it can live up to a year in your pantry. Once opened, you must store it in the fridge to keep it fresh. At room temperature, place the sprinkled cheese in a cool, dry place.

using grated cheese

Tip: The sprinkled parmesan packaging will read “refrigerate after opening.” We suggest following the instructions and refrigerating it to extend its shelf-life.

You can also store the cheese in the freezer to use it for much longer. But storing it in the freezer can alter the taste and texture of the cheese. Therefore, we recommend storing the grated/sprinkled cheese in the fridge.

Health Issues When you Consume an Expired Parmesan Cheese

different varieties of cheese on the table

One thing I can say: consuming expired parmesan is unlikely to happen. It is because parmesan has a long shelf life and is consumed before expiration.

But in case you consume expired parmesan, here are some common risks. Expired parmesan is responsible for causing several allergic reactions or respiratory problems. It is because expired parmesan produces poisonous mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can make you seriously ill when you consume stale parmesan.

In addition to that, stale parmesan contains harmful bacteria such as:

  • Coli
  • Salmonella
  • Listeria
  • Brucella

These bacteria can cause food poisoning and induce stomach cramps. You can suffer from constant cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.

Also Read: How long does cheesecake last in the fridge?

Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad? Signs to Look Out For In a Bad Parmesan Cheese

Although parmesan is unlikely to go bad, look for signs like molds or foul smells. Signs that are common to both block and grated parmesan cheese are: 

Appearance of Mold

One significant sign of stale cheese is the presence of mold. But one good thing about mold infecting cheese is that you can remove the mold part. Yes, you read that right. Remove that part if you see signs of mold on your parmesan. Mold on the part of the cheese block does not mean the entire cheese is rotten. 

But if you see mold in grated/sprinkled parmesan, you must toss the entire pack. The mold may have spread to the other strands of the parmesan.

Patches of Discoloration

Before going further, remember a block of parmesan has a naturally darker rind. This does not mean the entire block of parmesan is bad. But if the discoloration patches appear elsewhere, then you have stale cheese. The stale cheese will have slightly darker patches than the original color.

A stale cheese smell AWFUL

The smell of stale cheese stands out whether you have taken a whiff before. The smell of fresh parmesan is something our noses can pick up anywhere. The difference between stale and fresh parmesan is clear. A stale parmesan will emit a rancid or sour odor. Once you smell it, toss the entire container to avoid any health risks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How long does Parmesan cheese last in the fridge?

Ans. Have a sealed block of Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator? A refrigerator can keep your unopened cheese fresh for 7-9 months. An opened block of Parmesan cheese however will remain fresh for 2-3 months in the refrigerator. A grated pack of Parmesan will be safe for a week before it begins to stale.

Q2. Is it OK to eat expired Parmesan cheese?

Ans. Yes. A properly stored parmesan can be consumed after its expiration date. But make sure to look for signs of mold or rancid smell. If you see signs of spoilage, toss away the parmesan.

Q3. How long after the expiration date can you eat Parmesan?

Ans. An open package of parmesan can remain fresh for up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Grated Parmesan, however, degrades in quality faster and will last for a week.

Q4. Does grated Parmesan cheese go bad in the fridge?

Ans. Yes, if not stored properly, grated Parmesan cheese can go bad in the fridge. A sure-shot way to store the cheese is in freezer bags or an airtight container. If the cheese smells sour or has an off-taste, it is time to throw it away.

Q5. How do you know if Parmesan cheese went bad?

Ans. A stale parmesan cheese will show signs of mold and develop a very hard texture. A rotting cheese will also darken in color and will emit a pungent smell.

The Bottom Line

Apart from being a versatile culinary ingredient, parmesan is a keto-friendly food. Want it sliced? Grated? Shredded on pizza, burritos, lasagna, or salad? Whatever you want, parmesan can make it happen. It can elevate the taste of your meal from ordinary to mind-blowing. Thus, to prevent the parmesan from going bad, it is important to store it properly. Make sure you seal the remaining parmesan in an airtight container.

Want to keep the parmesan in the pantry? Make sure you wrap it properly and store it in a dry place. Have molds appeared on your parmesan block? Remove the moldy part, and voila, you are good to go!

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Archana Bisht

Archana Bisht

A foodie with a flair for talking non-stop. You can find me hogging down food or browsing Pinterest for more recipes in my free time. My favorite cuisine is Italian. That being said, I am an excellent pasta cook and love experimenting with ingredients. You can also find me petting strays and feeding them every chance I get