Can you freeze American cheese?
This question has probably crossed your mind a time or two if you have found yourself with an abundance of cheese on hand and not enough time to consume it before it goes bad. Well, today, we’re going to answer just that! Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about American cheese and extending its refrigeration life.
What is American Cheese?
While American cheese may not be as fancy as other cheeses (in fact, some people don’t consider it to be real cheese at all), it does serve a practical purpose in a variety of dishes. American cheese is easy to use in dishes, affordable, and incredibly versatile.
For many cheese aficionados, American cheese often gets a bad rap because of how it’s made. It’s not unusual for different chemicals and processed ingredients to go into the cheese during its production. With specialty cheeses that you might find at a deli counter, you’re likely to get a higher quality cheese without those ingredients.
It really depends on the consumer what you are looking for in a cheese. And with some people, American cheese is seen as an unhealthy option among the different cheeses available.
How Long Does American Cheese Last?
Unlike specialty cheeses like Gouda and Blue Cheese, American cheese has a different process it undergoes with no real restrictions as far as what that process entails. Typically, you will find that American cheese is in a mixture of Cheddar and Colby cheese.
When you purchase American cheese, you will typically find that it is cut into pre-wrapped slices. If you’re buying American cheese from the deli counter, then you might get the slices, but they are not pre-wrapped. These fresh packages can last two to three weeks.
If you want to store American cheese for a long time, pre-packaged slices may be a better option. Just be sure to use or properly preserve your American cheese before the expiration date on the label.
Can American Cheese Be Frozen?
Whether you bought your American cheese in bulk or just won’t be able to eat through the amount that you have sitting in your fridge, freezing your cheese is a great way to preserve it. Typically, you can freeze American cheese for up to six months and still maintain its quality. But after six months, it may lose its texture and taste.
Freezing American Cheese
Step 1: Wrapping
It is important that you wrap your American cheese carefully before you store it. Luckily, a lot of American cheese is sold in pre-wrapped slices, which makes things a lot easier. If your cheese is not already pre-wrapped, you must tightly wrap each cheese layer in either plastic wrap or wax paper.
Step 2: Place Your Cheese in a Proper Container
Once you have your American cheese individually wrapped, the next step is to place the wrapped pieces in a freezer-safe storage container or a freezer bag. By putting your frozen American cheese in a container, you are giving your cheese a second layer of protection during the freezing process.
This is important because cheese can absorb other odors from the fridge. By keeping it concealed will keep that from happening.
Step 3: Label Your Cheese
Once you have your American cheese ready and prepared for storage, you need to label it with either the date you froze it or six months after the date you froze it. This will help remind you when you should consume the cheese by.
Step 4: Freeze It
Place your cheese into the freezer and remove slices as you need them.
When it comes time to use your frozen American cheese, thawing it out is simple and straightforward. Simply pull out however many slices you need and let them thaw in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Once they soften up, you will be able to use them on all your sandwiches and dishes.
How to Use Frozen American Cheese
Here are just some ways you can use frozen American cheese once you have let it thaw out.
- The classic American grilled cheese sandwich
- Homemade cheese sauces for vegetables
- Baked macaroni and cheese
While you can typically top sandwiches with thawed out frozen American cheese, it’s best to use fresh American cheese for recipes that call for large quantities of the ingredient. These include recipes like soup and mac and cheese.
The reason for this is because you want the highest quality and taste with your dishes, and the only real way to get that is with fresh American cheese. On a sandwich, you won’t be able to tell the difference much, but on a dish that calls for American cheese as the main ingredient, you might notice a bit of variation in flavor.
Final Thoughts on How to Freeze American Cheese
So can you freeze American cheese? If you have pondered this question before, I hope our helpful guide has helped to clear up the confusion a bit. If you have ever frozen American cheese, let us know in the comment below how your experience was.