You can indeed freeze grated cheese. Once shredded, you can prevent your grated cheese from spoiling before you have a chance to use it by freezing it ready for use at a later date.
This goes for both cheese that you’ve grated yourself or store bought grated cheese.
Cheese can make an excellent addition to any number of different cheeses for cuisines from all around the world.
Better yet, depending on what dish you’re using it for, you may not even have to defrost it first. Just use straight from the freezer.
Here, we’re going to explain how to freeze your leftover grated cheese, how to defrost it, and then we’re going to look into all the factors you need to consider before you freeze it.
This article will look at the freezing and defrosting of cheddar and American grated cheese in particular. But if you’re interested in freezing other grated cheeses, we will make mention of that later on.
We would argue that mature cheese is best, simply because it has a much stronger flavor. But whatever strength of cheese you use the basic principles of freezing and storing your frozen grated cheese remain very much the same.
How to freeze grated cheese
The easiest way, by far, to freeze grated cheese is to buy store-bought ready grated cheese and place it straight into the freezer.
This is because the packaging will already be properly sealed, and there will be a label on the said packaging to give you a guideline as to what date you need to use it by.
Of course, because you’re freezing it rather than putting it in the refrigerator, it will last considerably longer.
If however you’re freezing cheese that you’ve grated yourself, we’ve got a different set of instructions for you.
The most important thing to ensure when you’re preparing the grated cheese for freezing is that the container you use has a good tight seal.
You can either freeze the grated cheese on its own or with a little flour or cornstarch (more on that very shortly).
The best container to store your frozen grated cheese is one that is transparent, air tight, resealable, and finally, easy to label. (More on the reasons why later.)
Adding a little flour or cornstarch to grated cheese before freezing helps to keep the pieces separated, which in turn makes it easier to use when you’re ready to incorporate it into your dishes at a future date, making it much easier to distribute the cheese evenly.
There is some debate as to how long frozen grated cheese will keep for, but we would argue that it’s perfectly safe in the freezer for 3 months if not 6 months.
How to defrost grated cheese
Before you get around to defrosting your grated cheese, you should first consider whether or not you actually need to defrost it.
This is because there are many different dishes, such as soups, pasta dishes, stews and casseroles, where you can add your grated cheese into the mixture, while it’s still frozen.
The cheese will become incorporated in, matching the heat of the soup and really thickening it up for you, and bringing that all important cheese flavor.
If however you want to use your grated cheese in a cold dish such as a salad, then you will need to defrost it first.
Luckily this is a particularly easy and simple thing to do.
The best way to defrost your grated cheese is to leave it to defrost naturally in your refrigerator overnight.
If however, you forget to get it out to defrost the cheese the night before, there is a solution. You can leave the grated cheese to defrost at room temperature for about 20 minutes or so.
The really good thing about defrosting grated cheese is that because it has been shredded it will defrost much better than if you were defrosting an entire block of cheese.
Factors to consider before freezing grated cheese
This article is about freezing most any grated cheese, such as the more popular cheeses, like cheddar and American cheese.
However before you go ahead and freeze your grated cheese, you need to consider the type of cheese. As well as tasting different, these cheeses behave differently too.
We have a number of different articles which can explain to you how to freeze particular cheeses.
- To learn how to freeze mozzarella cheese.
- To learn how to freeze parmesan cheese.
- To learn how to freeze feta cheese.
- To learn how to freeze blue cheese.
The other important thing to think about is the storage container. Here’s what to look for in your container for frozen grated cheese.
- It should be transparent - so that you can check it looks ok
- It should be easy to label - so that you can add a use-by date
- It should be airtight - vacuum sealed cheese maintains its shape and texture really well, as long as you let it fully defrost slowly, and vacuum sealed cheese also doesn't get freezer burn
- It should be re-sealable - so you can just use a little bit at a time and keep the rest for another day
Freezing your leftover grated cheese for use at a later date is a great idea. It definitely doesn’t need to go out in the garbage. And when you’re ready to use it there’s a huge variety of dishes that you can incorporate your grated cheese into.
If you follow the guidance provided here, you can be sure that your grated cheese won’t spoil, and you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite cheese again, however you like it served.
The key things to think about are the type of cheese, and the container you use to keep the frozen grated cheese in. And remember, grated cheese defrosts better than blocks of cheese, and cornstarch will keep the pieces separate.
It’s going to taste just great!