String cheese is a favorite lunchbox snack and not just for kids. We all love something easy to toss into a bag. It’s simple to eat, whether you’re in a lunchroom or trapped finishing work at a desk.
You might find buying this people-pleasing snack in bulk tempting, except for that pesky expiration date. No one likes food waste, especially when it’s because you lose food to preservation limits. The cold fridge can’t save your string cheese forever.
But maybe something colder can come along and save the day. Can you freeze string cheese?
Your freezer can help prevent food waste by storing extras or preserving leftovers. But it isn’t a cure-all for everything. Some foods stay edible but not tasty.
You need to know if you can rely on your freezer to keep your cheese safe to eat and tasty.
Can You Freeze String Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze string cheese.
Freezing can be harsh on food with high water content. String cheese has low water content, meaning it remains stretchy and chewy even after freezing.
That isn’t to say there’s zero moisture in the cheese. Sticking uncovered cheese in the freezer would dry it out, changing the taste and texture. But with the proper how-to, you can protect your yummy snack from freezer burn, absorbing funky smells and losing flavor.
Thawing frozen string cheese is simple. For individually packed string cheese, you can take one out the night before to toss into a lunchbox. If you want to get a few out to last the week, you can put them straight into the fridge. Larger chunks will require more warm-up time.
How to Freeze String Cheese
String cheese is available in a couple of types of packaging. The most common is the individually wrapped packets. Another option is buying blocks of string cheese. You can freeze both, but the second adds a step.
For both, we recommend labeling your string cheese. It gives you a reference point to watch how long you’ve stored the cheese in the freezer.
You can use whiteboard markers or a similar marker to write directly on the bag. You can also use stick-on labels or write on a scrap piece of paper or cardboard and slip it into the bag.
Individually Packaged String Cheese
With pre-packaged, individually wrapped string cheese, you don’t need to do any prep work. You can toss packaged string cheese directly into the freezer. But, for better results, we suggest placing the wrapped string cheese into a freezer bag.
- Optional: Separate string cheese sticks.
- Place the packaged string cheese into a freezer bag.
- Label the freezer bag with the date.
- Place bag in the freezer.
The freezer bag provides an extra layer of protection. Invisible flaws in the store packaging can risk freezer burn. If enough cold air neutralizes the moisture in your string cheese, you’ll lose flavor and the stringy texture.
It also helps you avoid fishing for lost string cheese in the freezer. It can be disappointing to find a small forgotten item long after it’s still good.
String Cheese Blocks
For blocks of string cheese, or if you’re making your own from solid blocks of cheese, you don’t have individual packaging. It will be time-consuming, but you need to separate the strings.
- Put string cheese into small bags or cover with plastic wrap.
- Place the bagged or wrapped string cheese into a freezer bag.
- Label the freezer bag with the date.
- Place bag in the freezer.
There are two options for this step. You can separate every single one, essentially making your own individually wrapped string cheese, or you can split a few chunks.
You can use snack bags or sandwich bags for the first layer. You can find small freezer bags, which are the best for this step. If you don’t have bags, you can also use plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Once you’ve bagged your cheese as singles or small groups, you can place them into a freezer bag.
How Long Will String Cheese Last in the Fridge/Freezer?
The typical life of opened string cheese in your fridge is seven days. One week to go from yummy snack to smelly waste.
You might have caught the word ‘opened,’ and that’s because sealed packaging makes a difference. The minute you break the seal on store-bought food, whether it’s twisting a milk cap or tearing apart a chip bag, the end is nigh.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that dire. The printed expiry date isn’t suddenly wrong because you opened the product. The expiry date is a guideline, a prediction, and not a guarantee. Many foods are fine after that date, and your string cheese is no exception.
But keep in mind that if you’re opening your fridge often or taking out a string cheese package only to change your mind and put it back, that can affect its longevity. If the packaging is damaged or if your fridge lost power, consider the one-week rule.
Now freezing string cheese changes the story. Cheese can stay edible for up to 2 months in your freezer. If it’s been longer, check the cheese before dumping. It can last if adequately sealed.
If you know you have too much cheese in your fridge to eat on time, and you’re asking can you freeze cheese sticks? Set aside as much as you can reasonably eat (or want to eat) and freeze the rest.
Your lunchbox will thank you.
How to Tell if Your Frozen String Cheese is Bad
Like most dairy products, a foul smell is an indicator that your cheese has gone bad. However, cheese absorbs odors. Whatever neighbor shared space with your string cheese might add a scent. It would be edible, but the new smell might turn your stomach.
A clear visual that your string cheese isn’t safe to eat will be mold. If you see specks of unusual color, often grey or green, then mold has invaded.
You can cut off the mold section and eat the remaining cheese. However, this is a risk. It can be difficult to tell how much has spread inside. If you cut in half and see no mold, then that section is safe. If you’re unsure, don’t risk it.
If your string cheese seems dry, it is safe to eat. Unfortunately, dry string cheese isn’t as stringy. You might also notice less flavor. Your kids might not be as willing to eat this less peel-able cheese, but you can mince it for other uses.
What to Do with Frozen String Cheese
Sometimes you can do everything right, and your string cheese will still come out of the freezer dry. You’ve preserved the nutritional value but lost some texture.
Never fear. As long as there’s no mold, you haven’t wasted food. You can transform your crumbly cheese into another delicious consumable.
Dried-out cheese will retain flavor, even if it’s less than before. You can boost that remaining flavor by adding other ingredients.
Melted String Cheese
Who doesn’t love melted cheese? The smell is mouth-watering enough, but it can improve the taste of any warm meal.
But, string cheese melts differently than block cheese. It can take longer and doesn’t melt as evenly as block cheese. If you’re melting in the oven, you likely won’t notice the difference.
If you’re melting string cheese in the microwave, you need to keep an eye on it. If you have time, you can reduce the power and melt over a longer time. The longer time can help soften your string cheese more evenly.
You can make Stringy Macaroni & Cheese or add it as an extra topping on frozen pizza.
Crumbly String Cheese Topping
If you find your dry cheese incredibly crumbly, you can break off bits over a salad or pasta. You might grate the cheese if you want longer pieces, but it might break apart naturally.
You can add the crumbles onto an Italian dish, like spaghetti, instead of grated parmesan.
You might also try a Vegetable Cheese Salad. If your string cheese is mozzarella flavor, there’s no substitution necessary.
- Chop up cucumber, tomato, green onion, green and red pepper.
- Pour in mayonnaise and sour cream with your crumbly string cheese.
- Stir and enjoy.
If you’re a fan of flavored crackers, try string cheese as a topping. Slice or tear off as much as you like for a cracker sandwich.
With the simple how-to and a few fun ideas, the simple question “can you freeze string cheese” is a resounding yes.
If you’re unthawing your frozen string cheese for the first time, do a few experiments. You don’t want to open your lunch bag to discover a partially thawed snack.
You can try setting an individually wrapped string cheese on a kitchen counter for a few hours or leave a few in the fridge for a few days. If you’re trying out new string cheese ideas, it’s always helpful to start the prep process ahead of time.
Now you won’t have to add string cheese to your list of freezer horror stories.