Mozzarella cheese is easy to freeze, but it likely won’t come out of the freezer very appetizing to eat straight from the bag. Shredded and block mozzarella cheese becomes crumblier once frozen, and fresh mozzarella cheese becomes soggy.
So, can mozzarella cheese be frozen? Yes, you can. But we only recommend doing so if you want to use the mozzarella in recipes that’ll melt the cheese. We’ll share our tried and trusted tips here for making your mozzarella cheese freezing experience quick and easy.
Yes, you can freeze mozzarella cheese. However, freezing cheese changes its texture to a state that doesn’t make it very pleasant. Therefore, it’s best to freeze mozzarella cheese if you plan on using it in recipes where it’ll melt.
Now, can you freeze fresh mozzarella? While you can technically freeze fresh mozzarella cheese, we don’t recommend it. That’s because fresh mozzarella has an extra high moisture content.
The higher the moisture content of mozzarella, the more chance ice crystals have to form around the cheese. In fact, it’s the moisture content that changes the texture of mozzarella.
More on freezing cheese:
There are two approaches two freezing mozzarella cheese, depending on the situation. Let’s look at both of them.
1. Freezing Store-Packaged Mozzarella:
If you encountered a killer sale on mozzarella cheese at your grocery store and are staring at the pile of packages on your kitchen counter wondering what to do now, you’re in luck—storing them is as easy as popping them in your freezer.
You might be wondering—can you freeze shredded mozzarella cheese? How about sliced mozzarella cheese?
Yes, you can freeze all of it, keeping the mozzarella in the package it came in as long as it’s airtight (not wrapped in plastic wrap). Just remember that if you purchase fresh, soft mozzarella cheese blocks, they won’t freeze well. So, plan on eating that mozzarella first and freezing the rest.
Now, if you open store-bought mozzarella and want to freeze it, the situation changes. Here’s a hint: You shouldn’t freeze opened mozzarella in the package it came in. So, if this is your situation, follow the steps in the next section.
2. Freezing Opened Mozzarella
Sometimes, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. So, if you have a mound of opened mozzarella that you won’t be able to eat before it spoils, it’s time to prepare it for freezing.
Vacuum sealers work best for bagging mozzarella cheese for freezing. However, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, freezer bags are the next best option.
When using a freezer bag, do your best to squeeze out as much air as possible. Air is detrimental to frozen mozzarella because it creates freezer burn.
The way freezer burn works is that air forces mozzarella to lose its moisture. That moisture then congregates on the surface of the cheese, creating hundreds of tiny ice crystals.
Luckily, freezer burn isn’t harmful to your health. However, it’s an unpleasant side effect from improperly preparing your mozzarella for freezing, especially since your mozzarella will already come out of the freezer with a different consistency than when it went into it.
As a final note, if you plan on freezing slices of mozzarella cheese, place a piece of wax paper between each slice. That way, it makes it easy to remove a portion at a time from the freezer as you need it.
Keep in mind that these instructions are for shredded, sliced, and blocked mozzarella cheese. If you wish to try your hand at freezing fresh mozzarella cheese, pat the mozzarella as dry as possible, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in a freezer bag.
Now that we’ve convinced you to sap out all the air from your freezer bags, it’s time to label the bags with the date. That way, you can gauge how long they’ve been in your freezer.
Mozzarella cheese stays good in the freezer for around nine months. That said, “good” is relative—no matter how carefully you package it, you can expect your mozzarella to come out with a dryer, more crumbly texture than when you put it in your freezer.
It’s also essential that you check your mozzarella cheese before storing it in your freezer. If it’s already showing signs of nearing the end of its shelf life, it’s best not to freeze it.
Freezing older mozzarella cheese won’t make it last longer. Instead, your freezer, which you should have set to at least zero degrees Fahrenheit, will preserve the cheese until you pull it back out. And, yes, you guessed it—that mozzarella will be at the end of its shelf life and in a dryer, less appealing state.
Once you’re ready to use your frozen mozzarella, you’ll need to know how to thaw it. One of the safest options is to thaw it in the fridge. That way, your cheese will slowly thaw without risking the possibility of too many bacteria accessing it.
The length of time mozzarella cheese takes to thaw depends on the size of the slices. For example, shredded mozzarella cheese often thaws within a couple of hours. On the other hand, large blocks of mozzarella cheese could take a day.
Alternatively, if you’ll be using your mozzarella in a recipe where you’ll need the cheese to melt, you can try pulling it out of your freezer to use immediately.
Determining if frozen mozzarella cheese is bad is tricky since your mozzarella will naturally change texture in the freezer. However, below are some signs to watch out for:
- Pungent smell
- Sour taste
Remember, if you freeze mozzarella cheese, especially if it’s shredded cheese, you can expect it to crumble upon thawing. Alternatively, if you venture to freeze fresh mozzarella, it’ll likely become soggier.
You should never consume mozzarella if you notice mold. The Mayo Clinic says that mold penetrates deeper into soft and shredded cheeses, and while not all mold hurts people, some varieties are harmful.
How To Use Frozen Mozzarella Cheese
Frozen mozzarella retains much of its flavor when you pull it out of the freezer. However, since it loses its elastic texture, you should use it in dishes that involve heat to melt the cheese.
For example, using frozen mozzarella as a pizza topping is an excellent choice. You can thaw the mozzarella in advance or place it directly onto your pizza while it’s still frozen before baking it.
You can also make mozzarella sticks, add some cheese to a multi-cheese macaroni and cheese, or melt it over pasta dishes. Frozen shredded mozzarella is also great to add to scrambled eggs or as a garnish for soup.
Before you package your mozzarella for freezing, it’s a good idea to consider how you’ll want to use it in the future. That way, you can divide out portions accordingly.
If you still have questions about freezing mozzarella, we’ve got your back covered with these answers.
You can freeze mozzarella balls, but you must drain the water and pat them dry before doing so. Then, individually wrap the balls in plastic and store them in an airtight freezer bag. When you remove the mozzarella balls from the freezer, they’ll likely have a soggier texture than before.
If you freeze mozzarella, you can still use the cheese within nine months of freezing. You can expect ice crystals to form around fresh mozzarella. Tiny air pockets will likely drain the moisture content of shredded and block mozzarella, giving them a crumblier appearance.
The best way to preserve fresh mozzarella is by keeping it in a container of water in your refrigerator. Although we don’t recommend freezing fresh mozzarella, if you choose to do so, you must drain the water and pat the mozzarella as dry as you can manage.
Mozzarella cheese generally lasts for five days in the fridge from the date that you open it. If you realize you won’t be able to consume all your mozzarella cheese in that timeframe, it’s crucial to freeze it as soon as possible. The sooner you freeze an open package of mozzarella cheese, the better its flavor retention.
Technically, you can leave your mozzarella cheese in the freezer for as long as you’d like since bacteria don’t grow well in temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the sooner you eat your mozzarella, the fresher the taste and better the texture (relatively speaking). We recommend eating your mozzarella within nine months of freezing it.