How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last? Answered (2023)

Are you unsure about how long does cottage cheese last after opening?

Well, let’s clear your doubts

Unopened cottage cheese lasts up to 7 days beyond the best-by date printed on the label. But once opened, you are looking at 7 to 14 days when refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Does Cottage Cheese Go bad?

We are talking about a dairy product. It has just as many chances of outliving its best-by date as it does of going bad before it was supposed to expire. But having a rough estimate can still help. The shelf life depends on whether the cottage cheese is opened or unopened. Unopened ones outlast their opened counterparts. So, if you do not plan to consume them immediately, do not open the container.

1. Unopened Cottage Cheese

With unopened containers, you can trust them to last a few days past the best-by date. You will notice a best-by date printed on the label. That is a good indicator of whether your container of cottage cheese will still retain its freshness. But that is not necessarily the expiration date. Cottage cheese should be okay for 3 to 5 days after that date, given you haven’t opened it.

UnopenedBest-by date + 3 to 5 days
Opened5 to 7 days
cottage cheese in the wooden pan

2. Opened Cottage Cheese

When it is opened, cottage cheese will not last past 5 to 7 days. Once a couple of days pass, you might notice some separation. But know that it is okay. With flavored ones, some preservatives might already be added. They will last a few days more, but that is an exception.

Once the container is opened, the leftovers will be fresh for a week to 2 weeks at most if sealed well and refrigerated. But if it is past its printed date, its storage period will drop to 3 to 7 days. It all depends on how old the cheese is. Taking the label and the date mentioned on it is crucial.

How to Store Cottage Cheese?

When stored well, cottage cheese can last for much longer. Moisture and temperature control are of the essence. Cottage cheese is susceptible to bacteria growth and contamination, so I suggest avoiding the pantry. Warm temperatures will shorten its shelf life drastically. Do not allow moisture to seep in. Want to keep bacteria out of your cottage cheese? Use an airtight container. 

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In general, there are 2 ways of storing cottage cheese, and none of them is leaving it at room temperature. Regardless of where and how you store it, do not leave it on the countertop. That is the easiest recipe for disaster.

Let’s look at the other 2 scenarios:

1. In The Fridge

Storing the cheese in your fridge can be a good way to keep it fresh. The fridge’s cool temperature will keep the cheese from drying out. It will also slow down the process of contamination. Close the container properly. If the container shows signs of damage, transfer the cheese to an airtight container and toss it back into the fridge.

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2. In The Freezer

Not planning on eating the cheese right away? Consider freezing it. You can minimize bacterial contamination by tossing it into the freezer. Always use an airtight container while storing cheese in the freezer. If you buy them in bulk, I suggest dividing them into smaller tubs. This way, you can thaw specific portions at the time of use.

Signs Cottage Cheese Has Gone Bad

While cottage cheese is great to have at home, it is still dairy. This means it will go bad sooner or later. If you want to know whether cottage cheese is still edible, look at the tell-tale signs. This way, you can avoid adding them to dishes.

Here are some ways to tell if cottage cheese has gone bad:

1. Appearance

Remember, the cheese should be white. If you buy the smooth kind, it should be just that. For the chunky kind, it should not be too chunky since that can be a sign of spoilage. In short, the cheese should look how it did when it was first opened. If you notice any alteration in its look, it might be good to toss it out. 

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Cottage cheese often loses moisture when it spoils, so if it seems watery, do not eat it. If there is mold or organic growth of any kind, avoid it. The same holds for discoloration. 

2. Smell

The cheese should have a very light and slightly cheesy aroma. When it starts smelling too pungent, avoid consuming it. Any unpleasant smell from the cheese is a sign that it has gone bad.

3. Texture 

The texture of the cheese should not change. For chunky cottage cheese, it is a little trickier. It is naturally chunky, but it becomes chunkier as time passes. This is an indicator that it is not fresh anymore. As for smooth ones, if they become grainy in any way, avoid them. Dried-out or hardened cheese is bad news as well.

bell pepper and cheese dish

4. Taste 

Remember, the cheese should always have a light and creamy flavor. Take a bite out of your cheese, and see if there is any sourness or general unpleasantness. If yes, it’s best to stay away from it. If the cheese feels grainy in the mouth, it’s time to bid adieu.

Also Read: Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

Why Avoid Spoiled Cottage Cheese?

Cottage cheese, being a dairy product, can make you sick when it spoils. Harmful bacteria contamination can produce toxins. Consuming them can lead to food poisoning as the toxins affect your digestive tract’s lining. Your body will face adverse reactions, making you feel ill.

You might feel bloated and uncomfortable. You can be susceptible to vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Try to be hydrated with sports drinks, water, and herbal teas. Do not drink rich beverages like milk. Steer clear of caffeinated beverages like sodas and coffee till your symptoms alleviate. 

You can expect the symptoms to pass in 48 hours. If you still feel uncomfortable after that, seek medical help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Which is healthier cottage cheese or yogurt?

Ans. If I were to compare yogurt and cottage cheese, yogurt would be the healthier choice by a thin margin. A cup of plain low-fat yogurt, either regular or Greek-style, contains about 154 calories. In comparison, low-fat cottage cheese of the same amount will have 182 calories. It is also higher in protein, with 27 grams per cup, compared to yogurt’s 12 grams.

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Q2. Is cottage cheese a superfood?

Ans. Yes, cottage cheese is a superfood in the sense that it is highly nutritious. It includes vitamin B, protein, and minerals such as selenium, calcium, and phosphorus. If you want to build muscle or lose weight, this is a good option to consider. It is both tasty and healthy. What’s more, you can add it to multiple recipes and make it tastier.

Q3. What is difference between cottage cheese and paneer?

Ans. There are a few differences between paneer and cottage cheese. For making paneer, milk is curdled to separate the whey from the so-called cottage cheese. Wrap the cottage cheese in muslin cheesecloths and placing a weight on each side. This will eventually set the cottage cheese into what you get at the store.

Q4. Is cottage cheese a fat burner?

Ans. Many consider cottage cheese a companion of weight loss. Weight loss diets often include this cheese. Its low calorie and high protein content make it ideal for weight loss. For those who maintain a high protein diet, cottage cheese can be a healthy and tasty addition.

Q5. Is cottage cheese healthier than cheese?

Ans. Yes, cottage cheese is often considered healthier than cheese. It has more casein protein in comparison to cheddar cheese. This is why it is often recommended during pregnancy. Cottage cheese can be healthier than cheese while still being just as tasty.

The Bottom Line

While dairy products are great for snacks, meals, and baking, they also spoil fast. Cottage cheese is highly versatile and can be added to any recipe to make it great. But knowledge of how to store it goes a long way. 

If you are planning to savor it later, the freezer is a good place to store it. If there are immediate plans, toss it into the refrigerator, and you will be good to go! 

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Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker

I am a food lover and the founder of FoodQueries. I have years of experience when it comes to food. I have been cooking since childhood and I know a thing or two about storing, cooking and freezing food in the right way.