Cottage cheese is a soft curd cheese with a mild flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. It is hugely popular as it has many uses, from use in pasta to dips to desserts.
However, like most dairy products, cottage cheese has a short shelf life once opened, and a question often asked is, can I freeze cottage cheese to extend the shelf life? In our guide, we look at can cottage cheese be frozen and the best ways to work with large curd cottage cheese.
By the end, you’ll have enough information about which cheese can you freeze, be it regular or, more often, fat-free soft cheese of choice, cottage cheese. Freeze it and use it in your cooking, along with other ingredients? (Read Can You Freeze Mozzarella Cheese)
Can You Eat Cottage Cheese After It’s Been Frozen?
Cottage cheese can be stored in the fridge unopened for 7–10 days past its best by date, while there are no specific guidelines. Cottage cheese can be kept in the refrigerator for 5–7 days after it has been opened.
Cottage cheese low-fat options, like other soft cheese, can be frozen to extend its shelf life and make it last longer. Unopened cottage cheese can be frozen for 3–6 months. Cottage cheese can be frozen for up to 3 months after it has been opened.
Cottage cheese should not usually be frozen because it can change the taste and texture. However, if you don’t plan on eating it as a fat-free option, you can use it in many cooked dishes such as lasagna or soups where it is combined with other foods.
What happens when freezing cottage cheese?
When you find the answer to can you freeze cottage cheese, and it can be safely frozen, despite some manufacturers’ advice. Because cottage cheese is so wet, freezing it can affect its flavor and texture.
This is because freezing removes excess liquid and defrosted cottage cheese becomes very chunky like ricotta cheese.
Once frozen, you may also find that it may not be as rich as fresh cottage cheese, making it inappropriate for some recipes or for eating in salads.
Because frozen cottage cheese must be thawed before use, you need to divide it into portions because it can’t go through the freezing process a second time after being frozen.
Use an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and remove as much air as possible before freezing.
To use frozen cottage cheese, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, submerge the original container in cold water for several hours, changing the water every 30 minutes. Once thawed, you’ll need to drain off the liquid from the container before eating.
In cooked recipes, such as cheesecakes, casseroles, pasta dishes, or pancakes, thawed cottage cheese works well. It adds a creamy texture and a cheesy flavor to soups and sauces.
Does Freezing Cottage Cheese Ruin It?
Freezing cottage cheese doesn’t ruin it, although it changes its consistency. It can also taste different if you eat it by itself, yet it works fine in cooked dishes such as lasagna, where the taste is not as important, yet the creamy, cheesy consistency is.
Before freezing cottage cheese, select how many portions to freeze. You’ll need to freeze it in sections so you may thaw it as needed.
Cottage cheese can be frozen for three to six months. Cottage cheese, like other dairy products, loses its texture after being defrosted. It thickens considerably, but it can still be used in cooked and baked meals.
You get a much chunkier variety of cottage cheese if you stir it to balance out the texture, which appears more like ricotta cheese. The whey is mainly gone, and the cottage cheese’s freshness is gone as well.
Those modifications shouldn’t make a vast difference in cooked cottage cheese meals. You might need to tweak your recipe a little, but that’s it. Cottage cheese that has been thawed works well in pancakes.
It’s a personal choice whether to consume thawed cottage cheese by the spoonful with fresh fruit or in a salad. If you’re going to make something like this, fresh cottage cheese might be the best option.
How To Freeze Cottage Cheese
One of the most appealing aspects of freezing this dairy product is that it only requires a few minutes of active time.
Fill freezer containers or bags with smaller portions of the cheese. Of course, knowing how you’ll use the product in recipes makes portioning much easier.
If you’re not sure what to make, start with smaller servings rather than larger ones. It’s much easier to find a recipe that only calls for half a cup of cottage cheese rather than two cups.
It’s up to you whether to use bags or containers. Although a portion in bags takes up less space, containers are easier to clean up once the cheese has been thawed. You can wrap separate portions in cling film before adding to a bag or container so the portion won’t stick to another portion.
Add labels with your name and the date. This is beneficial if you have a large freezer and frequently freeze food. Feel free to place it in your freezer. You can keep that cottage cheese in the freezer for at least three months and possibly longer before it loses its flavor, and when wrapped well, it won’t suffer from freezer burn.
How To Defrost Cottage Cheese
The safest approach to thaw frozen cottage cheese is to place the container in the fridge overnight.
After you take the cheese from the fridge, submerge the container in cold water in the morning to ensure that it has been completely defrosted.
Water transmits heat more quickly than air, allowing your cottage cheese to defrost a little faster than it would without it. You may thaw cottage cheese on the counter if you’re short on time and need it to be ready in a few hours. (Learn How To Keep Bread From Molding)
There aren’t many differences in terms of how things are done. The dairy product container should still sit in a bowl of lukewarm water. Change the water every 30 minutes to an hour, or anytime it becomes ice-cold, to speed things up a little.
Please remember that this method will still take 2–4 hours to defrost, depending on how much cottage cheese you have. If you need it in half an hour, this isn’t an option.
If you want to defrost your cottage cheese this way, make sure you use it in a cooked or baked meal. Drain off any excess liquid before use.
Because it’s a soft cheese, freezing it separates the milk fat from the other cheese components. When thawed cottage cheese is exposed, it becomes liquid, and the solid components crumble. It doesn’t look as appealing, yet the taste is still there.
You could add frozen cottage cheese without first defrosting it in some dishes. Cottage cheese smoothies are a great example, and instead of ice cubes, use the frozen dairy product.
However, to get the best dish, it is best for cooking. Use defrosted cottage cheese in cooked dishes such as pancakes, cakes, casseroles, and pasta.
After thawing, frozen sour cream and buttermilk separate and become much thinner than before freezing. Thawed cottage cheese works in the opposite direction, resulting in a chunkier defrosted cottage cheese than you started with. (Learn How To Tell If Zucchini Is Bad)
Products in the freezer can sit there for months, so it could be worth making up your dish and freezing this rather than freezing your cottage cheese portion. Mixing up baked dishes or a pile of pancakes with leftover cottage cheese and freezing makes things more accessible and convenient.