How Long Does Cheese Last: Shelf Life, Storage and Expiration Dates – Tips To Tell If Cheese Is Bad?

How Long Does Cheese Last: There are so many foodies around the world who crave more use of cheese on their favorite food items and are relatively less concerned about the actual taste of the main dish itself. The pleasure of having slices of cheese over your creamy toasted sandwich is nearly unbeatable. Will you ever give up on using extra pieces of cheese on your Margherita Pizza? Definitely not! But good things never last forever and so does the shelf-life of cheese.

When it comes to cheese, we need to keep in mind that it won’t deteriorate suddenly when its shelf-life ends. Its quality keeps decreasing and you will notice a change in the way it tastes. You shouldn’t risk consuming cheese that has surpassed its shelf-life as it will cause havoc in your abdomen. This article will give you an idea about how long does cheese last so that you can utilize your favorite type of cheese in its fresh form.

How Long Does Cheese Last

Does Cheese Go Bad?

Similar to almost all the edible food items in this world, your cheese will go bad too after a period of time. The specific time period totally depends on the type and variety of cheese. It mostly goes bad due to improper storage. Improper storage leads to the growth of mold over it and that’s how the cheese becomes inedible even before the end of its shelf life.

Shelf Life of Different Types of Cheese

We have mentioned below the shelf life of all types of cheese. Thus, you won’t be confused anymore about the shelf life of any type of cheese after buying it. The following table depicts how long a particular type of cheese lasts in the fridge:

Type of Cheese Variety of Cheese Shelf Life after unpacking
Cottage Soft 7 Days
Brie Soft 7 Days
Blue Soft 7 Days
Ricotta Soft 7 Days
Goat Soft 7 Days
Feta Soft 7 Days
Mozzarella Soft 7 Days
Cream Soft 14 Days
Cheddar Semi-Hard 1-2 Months
Swiss Semi-Hard 1-2 Months
Colby Hard 3-4 Weeks
Shredded Hard 3-4 Weeks
Parmesan Hard 3-4 Weeks
Gouda Hard 3-4 Weeks
American Hard 1-2 Months

As you can observe in the above table, the life span of any cheese after its unpacking depends mostly on its type. Hard varieties of cheese last 3-4x longer than soft ones. The hard ones are less prone to bacterial spoilage as they contain less moisture.

You don’t need to keep an unopened hard cheese in the fridge, but it will last much longer if you do so. A refrigerated and unopened block of hard cheese will last for 6 months. After buying any variety of cheese, do check the above table to confirm how long cheese last.

How to Store Cheese?

For storing cheese in the fridge, the safe temperature is below 4°C. If the temperature of the fridge is set above 4°C, the cheese will be at risk of getting spoiled by the bacteria as their multiplying rate significantly increases with higher temperatures. A fridge with built-in thermometers will be an excellent investment for dairy business owners.

Such fridges ensure the longevity of cheese. You should preferably use cheese paper, wax paper, or parchment for wrapping blocks of cheese. Never wrap cheese in non-porous and tight material like plastic. The cheese should be stored either in a drawer or on the middle or top shelf.

To avoid contamination of cheese, keep it above raw fish, poultry, and meat. You can also store cheese in a freezer. The safe temperature for freezing cheese is -18°C or below. However, you avoid freezing soft cheeses like cream, cottage, and ricotta cheeses as well as processed ones like American cheese. If you wish to know how to examine if your cheesecake has gone bad, check below Can Cheese Cake go Bad?

How Long Does Cheese Last

How Long Does Cheese Last 1

Cheese, Water, Milk Solids, Emulsifiers [INS (iii), INS 452, INS 340 (ii)], Iodised Salt, Preservatives [INS 200, INS 234]

Nutritional Information
Approximate Values Per 100 g

Energy 313 kcal
Fat 25 g
Carbohydrate 3.0 g
of which added sugar 0.0 g
Protein 19 g
Calcium 551 mg
Phosphorus 885 mg
Sodium 1439 mg
Vitamin A 281 mcg

Signs of Non-Edible Cheese

A majority of cheese manufacturers mention a best-before date on their packaging. You should not look at it as the date of expiry. Actually, it denotes the date up to which the cheese will be of the best quality. But cheese can turn into a non-edible item even before this date.

The longevity of cheese depends on quality control during its manufacturing and its storage after it’s unwrapped. Irrespective of the best-before date, you should always inspect the cheese and then have it. The following are the signs of inedible Cheese:

  • If there are specks of green or blue surface mold on your cheese, you should cut off a minimum of 1 inch below and around the contaminated spots.
  • If processed cheeses like shredded, sliced, and crumbled cheeses, as well as soft ones like cream cheese and cottage cheese, contain mold, you must discard them immediately.
  • Cheddar, Gruyère, Gouda, and Blue cheeses develop black or red mold on getting spoilt.
  • When Mozzarella, Feta, and Blue Cheese get spoiled, they give out a yeasty smell.
  • Do not consume any cheese which smells like ammonia or chlorine.

Read More:

How Long Does Cheese

Interesting Facts about Cheese

We are sure that you don’t want to miss out on knowing some interesting facts about your favorite garnisher, i.e. cheese! Check out the below facts:

  • It requires up to 10 pounds of Milk to simply make 1 pound of Cheese.
  • The Orange Cheddar Cheese isn’t naturally Yellow. Annatto seeds are added to change their natural color.
  • Wisconsin is the top producer of Cheese in the world. It produces 2.5+ Billion pounds of cheese every year.

FAQs on Shelf Life of Cheese

1. Can Cheese become inedible without mold?

Yes, cheese can turn unfit for consumption even without mold growing on it. Mold is not the only factor due to which cheese becomes inedible. Once the shelf life of cheese comes to an end, the quality will start deteriorating.

2. How long does hard cheese with an unopened package last in the fridge?

Hard cheese with an unopened package will last 6 months, while soft cheese

3. What can the consumption of spoilt cheese do to the human body?

On consumption of spoilt cheese, a human can face symptoms of food poisoning if the immune system is weak.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have now understood how long does cheese last. Soft cheese will last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator after unwrapping it, while hard one lasts 3-4 weeks. You should closely observe refrigerated cheese to ensure that it’s safe for consumption. If there’s mold on it, slice off at least 1 inch below and around the moldy areas.

Never consume cheese that smells unpleasant. Make sure your fridge’s temperature is below 4°C if you store cheese in it. Use porous material like wax or cheese paper for preventing the cheese from drying out.  Stay tuned to our site to avail latest updates on Freeze Cottage Cheese and Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese etc.

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