Cotija is frequently grated as a topping or condiment for salads and other foods that it goes well with, just like Parmesan, although the salty flavor makes it a bit sharper. It is normally produced using traditional rennet from an animal stomach and pasteurized cow’s milk.
Cotija cheese is frequently offered in Hispanic or international specialty markets and many supermarket stores. Although Cotija Cheese is frequently called crumbly cheese, it is semi-hard.
When grated, it crumbles easily since it is dry. Therefore, Cotija is frequently eaten with sour cream in Mexican food. It’s also eaten as part of the well-known delicacy “Carne enchilada,” which comprises corn tortillas wrapped around slices of tender beef or pork marinated in tomato and lemon juice sauce. (Learn Can You Freeze Jambalaya)
The question you may need to ask is, how long is Cotija cheese good for after opening? It can last up to 10-days when in the refrigerator, yet this may not be long enough for you to use it all.
So, is Cotija Cheese freezer-friendly? Can I freeze Cotija cheese? Yes, you can freeze the cheese for up to six months if you prepare it right.
In our guide, you can learn how to get the cheese ready to freeze. By the end, you’ll know how to keep it safe and the thawing process, so you get the best taste from your frozen cheese. If you love cooking, you’ll love the tips on freezing and using hard cheeses.
How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last In The Freezer?
Cotija cheese is a highly salty cheese made from cow’s milk that is quite hard. It can be used in salads on soups and is frequently used in tostadas. In addition, it is frequently used in Mexican cuisine.
Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?
Cotija cheese can be frozen for up to 6 months. Each slice of cotija cheese must be carefully wrapped to shield it from the freezer’s air and environment.
Fortunately, since the cheese is hard, it doesn’t develop ice crystal formation like soft, high moisture cheeses.
How To Freeze Cotija Cheese?
Mexican cheese is a firm, crumbly cheese with a salty flavor. In recipes, it can be substituted for Parmesan or other hard cheeses. Cotija cheese can be frozen in small amounts for up to two months.
To eliminate the possibility of ice crystals developing, they must be frozen as quickly as possible.
Here are the basic steps:
- Cut your cotija cheese into small pieces with a sharp knife.
- Place your cotija cheese on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Freeze for around one hour or until the cheese is solid.
- Transfer your frozen cotija cheese to a zip-top sealed plastic bag with the air squeezed out and stored in the freezer for up to two months.
Cotija cheese is an excellent dairy product, and thankfully the answer to, can you freeze Cotija cheese, is yes, you can freeze this cheese like most cheese variations.
In contrast to mozzarella, which is softer and more delicate, ice crystals won’t significantly alter the cheese’s flavor or texture.
Cotija cheese can be frozen in a variety of ways. However, the method we would choose is:
1. Slice Cheese
- Cotija cheese may be frozen in individual slices, making it an excellent salad topping.
- Cotija should be cut into pieces that are between 1 and 2 inches thick; any thinner and they may crumble.
2. Wrap Slices
To keep each slice of Cotija safe, wrap it in wax paper, then cover it with cling film; double wrapping helps prevent freezer burn when freezing Cotija cheese.
3. Bag Your Cheese
Place your wrapped cotija cheese slices in a freezer bag. Seal the bag while removing as much air as possible.
4. Label and Freeze
Label the bag, and add the type of cheese and the date you froze it.
You can place your cheese in the plastic package and then use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air before placing it into the freezer. This method will last 12 months, if not more.
If you are freezing shredded cotija cheese, you may need to place it carefully inside a moisture-proof container. You’ll need to remove air from the bag yet pushing too hard could make the shredded cheese into a block. (Read Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese)
How Long Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?
Freezing Cotija cheese means it can last for 6 to 9 months, but in ideal circumstances, it may be preserved permanently.
This is much longer than cotija cheese would keep in the refrigerator, where it would only keep for 1-2 weeks once opened.
While freezing Cotija, you must keep an eye out for any changes that could mean it has spoiled. The cheese is a hard cheese and should be discarded if it becomes grainy, moldy, has a sour taste, or suffers from freezer burn.
How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last In The Refrigerator?
In the refrigerator, Cotija cheese can last for up to two weeks.
Cotija cheese is safe to eat after the date shown on the packaging; the cheese is a hard Mexican cheese yet might become crumblier and less tasty. However, it is suitable for consumption after ten days at room temperature.
You should never thaw Cotija cheese at room temperature because it will soon lose moisture and dry out.
The best way to defrost cotija cheese is to place cheese in the fridge overnight.
If you’re in a hurry, you may alternatively soak the wrapped cheese blocks in a dish of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
The partially defrosted frozen Cotija cheese blocks can then be put in the refrigerator to finish defrosting before being used in your Mexican cuisine recipes.
Cotija cheese should be used in queso fresco as soon as it is defrosted because else, it will dry out too much and become unpleasant to use.
Can You Refreeze Cotija Cheese?
If you think about can you refreeze cotija cheese or any cheese, it isn’t advised. The cheese’s texture will be drastically altered by the quick temperature changes for it to be enjoyable to eat.
Does Cotija Cheese Freeze Well?
Cotija cheese freezes well for up to six months, though the freezing process causes a slightly crumblier texture than usual.
How Do You Store Leftover Cotija Cheese?
Knowing how to store this cheese means you must know how to thaw frozen Cotija cheese?
Cotija Cheese can be defrosted in two ways.
Cotija Cheese should never be defrosted at room temperature since it will quickly lose moisture and dry up.
The ideal way to defrost it is gradual, in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight if you’re in a hurry.
The cheese block or container can also be immersed in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
It can then be used as instructed in your recipe or returned to the refrigerator overnight to defrost thoroughly. It’s a good idea to cook with something as soon as Cotija Cheese has thawed.
How to Use Thawed Cotija Cheese?
Cotija Cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different ways. Two common ways after you freeze Cotija Cheese are:
1. Mix into Veggie Omelets.
Cotija Cheese is the perfect complement to vegetable omelets because of its salty, nutty flavor and crumbly texture.
2. Use In Soup.
To a bowl of chilled gazpacho or tomato soup, thawed Cotija Cheese can lend a salty kick.
How to Tell Cotija Cheese is Bad?
When you freeze Cotija cheese, pay close attention to the Cotija cheese’s odor, texture, and color to determine if it has gone bad.
If the cheese smells funny or molds, it’s no longer suitable to eat.
You should discard cheese if it tastes odd, turns discolored, or changes in texture.
Freezing Cotija Cheese can be stored in the freezer safely for 6 to 8 months as long as it is kept in a tightly sealed container.
Does Freezing Affect Cotija Cheese?
Cotija Cheese doesn’t have a long shelf life and should be used within about two weeks of purchase.
However, you can freeze Cotija cheese in the freezer, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap, and use an airtight container such as a resealable bag. When freezing Cotija, squeeze the air from the bag and keep it for 6 months. (Find the Best Freezer For Garage)
Like many hard cheeses, freezing affects the texture of Cotija.
The drying effect is intensified during freezing, leaving the cheese drier and more crumbly than first frozen.
What Cheeses Are Freezable?
Although technically any cheese can be frozen, some types take to freezing better than others.
It is preferable to freeze cheeses that are prepared into meals instead of eating them immediately.
You can freeze hard and semi-hard cheeses like Cheddar, Swiss, brick cheese, and blue cheese. However, their texture may become crumbly and mealy.
Both mozzarella and pizza cheese can be frozen, especially shredded pizza cheese. However, this may harm the texture and melting characteristics.
Some semi-soft cheeses, such as soft goat cheese or Stilton, are also suitable for freezing.