The short answer is yes you can freeze leftover cheese balls.
However, you’ll need to make sure that it hasn’t been left sitting at room temperature for too long before doing so. You can freeze both store-bought and homemade cheese balls, but there are some common mistakes that people make when trying to do so.
Cheese balls are made from cream cheese and grated cheese. The former component is called an emulsion which means that it has the potential to separate during the freezing or defrosting process. So, you might want to take some precautions to avoid this from happening.
Cheese balls also often come with a crunchy exterior which might become soggy and mushy after freezing.
If you’re making homemade cheese balls, you can prevent this from becoming a problem easily.
How To Freeze Cheese Balls
If you’ve bought cheese balls from the store but want to freeze them until they’re needed, you can keep them in their original packaging and place them straight into the freezer. Make sure that you don’t open them or piece the packaging as this could affect the freezing process.
On the other hand, if you’ve made your cheese balls yourself and want to freeze the leftovers, you’ll need to use some plastic wrap. Take two squares of plastic wrap and tightly cover each cheese ball twice. This is to protect the ball shape from becoming dented.
Now wrap the plastic-covered cheese balls in a layer of aluminum foil and put them in the freezer. You can leave cheese balls in the freezer for up to one month, so make sure that you make a note of the day that you introduce them to the freezer.
If you’ve made the cheese balls at home, you should avoid putting the crunchy exterior onto the cheese before freezing them. This will avoid the taste and texture from being too affected by the entire process.
However, if your cheese balls are store-bought you can either freeze them with the crunchy exterior and hope for the best or remove as much of it as you can. The latter will take more time and patience, but sometimes extra effort pays off in a big way.
How To Defrost Cheese Balls
Emulsions should be defrosted slowly to avoid separation from occurring. There isn’t a great deal you can do to rectify a separated cream cheese ball, so it’s vitally important that you don’t rush defrosting them.
Take the cheese balls you want to defrost and put them straight into the refrigerator for around 24 hours. This will ensure that they’re completely defrosted before you remove the packaging or wrap.
After the 24 hours are up remove them from the refrigerator and leave them to acclimate to room temperature. This will make the cheese more malleable and easier to spread. Reaching room temperature shouldn’t take too long, so you should only do this around 15 minutes before you want to serve the cheese balls.
Remove them from the aluminum foil and plastic wrap. If you have removed the crunchy exterior you can now put a fresh coating back on. To do this, pack on the seeds or nuts and lightly roll the cheese balls around your palms to ensure that it sticks.
An added bonus of doing this is that you can put as much or as little crunching topping on as you and your guests want. You can also add jelly or other spreads onto the defrosted cheese ball.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Cheese Balls
Cream cheese has a tendency to separate in the freezer as it is an emulsion.
Usually, this wouldn’t mean too much because you could just whip the components back together before serving. However, cheese balls cannot be whipped as they are meant to remain in their shape throughout the freezing process.
Avoiding this can be difficult, but you should ensure that you slowly defrost the cheese balls in the refrigerator to avoid it as much as possible. If this doesn’t work and your cheese balls have still separated, you can roll the balls between your hands to try and combine the components back together.
Freezing cream cheese can result in a grainy texture, so bear this in mind. However, you might not notice this as much if your cheese balls include a crunchy layer of nuts or seeds.
Speaking of nuts and seeds, freezing this layer will end in the crunchy layer being not so crunchy after all. In fact, the seeds and nuts will become soft and mushy, which is undoubtedly undesirable.
To avoid this, don’t freeze the crunchy layer wherever possible. If you don’t feel like picking small seeds out of each leftover cheese ball, you can always hope for the best and take a chance with freezing it. However, we would put in the extra effort just to salvage the cheese ball texture.
In summary, yes it is completely possible for you to freeze your cheese balls. They can be left in the freezer for up to one month without going bad. To avoid the cheese from separating; however, you will need to take a few precautions before you put them in the freezer.
First, remove the crunchy exterior wherever possible. Next, wrap the cheese balls in two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of aluminum foil. To defrost them, set aside at least 24 hours before you want to serve them.
Remove them from the freezer and place them straight into the refrigerator. Leave them alone for 24 hours and allow an additional 15 minutes out of the refrigerator to soften them up for serving. Once they’re defrosted you can add all of the additional toppings.
There are a few factors to consider before freezing your cheese balls. For example, the soft cheese could separate and alter the consistency. Also, if you’re freezing store-bought cheese balls you might not be able to remove the seeds and nuts.