If you’re familiar with Italian cuisine, you know there is one ingredient that constantly appears in the recipe: delicious cheese. Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is the most popular name in the cheese industry with its rich and creamy texture.
However, you only need a few slices of cheese for a recipe. That leads to the fact that more than half of a cheese block is wasted. However, you can reuse the cheese plenty of times once you know how to store parmesan cheese properly.
So if you want to enjoy Italian dishes and save your money from buying new cheese, check out how to freeze parmesan cheese in my post!
Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese?
Unless you are an Italian who uses parmesan cheese virtually in every meal, it might take you a long time to use up a few blocks. That’s why storing food is important to extend its shelf life for future usages. Normally, there are two common ways of storing cheese: freeze it or fridge it.
Unlike soft cheeses like Feta cheese, parmesan cheese has a hard texture that can endure the freezing process better. That means the color and flavor of the cheese will be unaffected by low temperature. When stored in the fridge, parmesan cheese can last up to 6 weeks and six months when freezing.
How To Freeze Parmesan Cheese
Prerequisites Before Freezing Parmesan
Before starting to freeze your huge piece of parmesan cheese, you need to take a few minutes to think of how you can use the cheese in the future.
Although frozen parmesan cheese still has the same flavor and color, the texture of the cheese becomes crumbly gradually due to the crystallization of the cheese’s natural moisture content at freezing temperature.
Therefore, you must consider the frozen amount wisely before putting it in the freezer. Should parmesan cheese be refrigerated?
Here is a little guide for you to consider:
If you love blue cheese and tend to use it regularly in your recipes, it is best to keep it in the fridge with plastic wrap or a wax paper cover. You can still maintain the integrity of the cheese’s texture and fresh flavor.
If you buy the parmesan for a special recipe only, or you don’t know what to do with it in the future, then you should freeze it for a few months.
It is common to freeze the whole cheese like cottage cheese. However, with the effect of freezing on parmesan cheese’s texture, you should consider whether it is wise to keep the whole huge slice. Depending on your cooking types, you might freeze the cheese in different forms.
If you tend to use the cheese as an addition to a sauce or pasta filling, it is ideal for cutting it into small blocks or shredding it before freezing. With this way, you don’t need to thaw and defrost the whole slice of cheese more than one time.
So, every time you need the cheese, you only need to take enough blocks and melt them on your pasta while other blocks can remain frozen. Now let’s find out how to freeze parmesan cheese in this basic instruction:
Freezing Parmesan Cheese Instructions
Step 1: Prepare The Cheese
As mentioned above, you can cut the cheese into smaller blocks or shred it into slices. If you need to shred it, choose the perfect slices so they can withstand the low temperature. For cheese blocks, you can cut them into 1 – 1,5 inches cheese cubes.
Another way you can store the cheese is to grate them. As many popular recipes ask for grated parmesan cheese, such as macaroni and cheese, pastas, and casseroles, you might as well grate them before freezing. When under a low temperature, the cheese can be affected if there is no cover over it.
Therefore, it is important that you keep your Parmigiano cheese in an airtight container or a plastic wrap. Seal the container tightly and put it in a freezer bag for absolute caution.
Step 2: Cover The Cheese
With the freezer bag, your cheese still gets cold, but other food inside can not penetrate the cheese texture and undermine the flavor of the cheese.
Step 3: Label The Bag
If you have a freezer full of food like mine, you would definitely need to label every freezer bag. It might sound like an unimportant step, but it is always best to be organized, right? It also saves you a lot of time trying to find the frozen parmesan cheese or even get a frozen Pecorino instead of Parmigiano.
When labeling the bag, you should put the name of the cheese, the date, and how to reuse it, such as: “Parmesan cheese, March 24th, grated on pasta.”
How To Defrost Freeze Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese, a hard cheese, is perfect for side dishes and salad. Many people are concerned about whether parmesan cheese can melt and how to soften hard parmesan cheese because of the interesting texture.
As we learn how to freeze parmesan cheese, I think it would be useful if I share with you how to defrost and soften it as well. There are different ways for you to defrost your cheese, such as microwave it, leave it outside, or put the cheese in the fridge. Each method has its pros and cons.
If you need to soften cheese fast, you can microwave it. However, the whey and milk in the cheese can be lifted from your cheese and leave it oily.
Another quick way is to leave it on a countertop. This method is simple but may alter the cheese’s texture tremendously.
Although defrosting parmesan cheese in the fridge can be up to a day, it is the most preferred method as the cheese will have more time to soften and maintain its fat contents, water content, and texture.
Similarly to defrosting ribs, here is how you can defrost parmesan cheese:
Step 1: Take out the cheese package from the freezer and check the bag’s integrity. This step is important as it determines whether you can keep using the cheese or throw it away. When checking the freezer bag or plastic container, make sure it is completely airtight.
If the cheese is exposed to the freezer’s air, not only the flavor and texture is different, the bacteria have also inhabited your delicious cheese. In this case, the only thing you can do is to buy a new piece of cheese.
Step 2: Put the cheese on a baking tray or a plate with the heavy-duty freezer bag on. It is recommended that you keep the whole packaging untouched as you will release the moisture and dry out the cheese texture if you open the jar or the bag.
Step 3: With the container, place the cheese on a separate shelf in the refrigerator to defrost it. You can leave the cheese from 1 to 2 days, depending on the thickness of the block of cheese. A standard slice can be used 24 hours, while a whole large block needs up to 2 days to be completely soft.
For cautious purposes, you can leave the cheese in the vegetable section to isolate and avoid other food bacteria and smell from ruining your cheese’s taste.
Step 4: Once the defrost duration is over, take the cheese out of the fridge and use it during the day. Only until now can you remove the freezer bag or airtight container. You can check if the cheese is completely defrosted by cutting a small slice. If you can cut it effortlessly, then it is ready to be cooked or melted.
You can leave it out at room temperature to bring up the cheese’s temperature if you don’t want to serve it cold. But don’t leave it too long outside as the cheese can go bad after 4 hours.
So how to tell if parmesan cheese is bad? When cheese is bad, there will be certain signs of spoilage, such as awful smell, different colors, and bitter or sour taste. Such soft cheese like feta, gorgonzola, and brie are easier to go bad than hard cheese.
Once you have taken it out of the fridge, you can cook the cheese, such as melting parmesan cheese on your favorite pasta. You would need to bring the temperature to 180 degrees Fahrenheit in order to meet the real parmesan cheese.
Ways To Use Freeze Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is amazing for eating as table cheese, but you can also combine it with many of your delicious recipes. With frozen cheese, you can melt the creamy cheese blocks on top of pastas. You can also grate them to add in hot chili, bean soups, and chicken stew.
The amazing ingredient is also great for your baking recipes. Imagine the melting parmesan cheese on top of your puffy bread wrapped in aluminum foil on parchment paper can make me feel hungry already.
1. Can You Freeze Pecorino?
Pecorino is another hard cheese that comes from Italy, like Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Therefore, you can definitely freeze Pecorino the same way you freeze parmesan cheese.
2. Can You Substitute Parmesan Cheese?
If you run out of parmesan cheese, don’t worry, you can substitute it with other hard cheese types such as Grana Padano, American Grana, Pecorino, and Reggianito. They have the same texture with slightly different flavors that can be used flexibly, depending on your recipe requirements.
Do you refrigerate parmesan cheese? Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is one of the most popular cheeses because of its creamy and distinctive taste that you can combine in many recipes. Because of its rich flavor, you don’t need to use much of a parmesan cheese block in your dishes that may lead to wasting the whole cheese block.
Therefore, learning how to freeze parmesan cheese and knowing “how long is grated parmesan cheese good for” is necessary for you to utilize this amazing ingredient in other recipes in the future without buying a new one every time you need it.