Many of my friends would testify that I’m a cheese guy at heart. The soft, creamy texture and lingering taste of cheese is second to none for me.
That’s why I couldn’t resist when there was a deal on Mozzarella Cheese at my local grocery store. I ended up buying a boatload of mozzarella. More than even I could chew, to be honest!
Though I couldn’t eat it all, I couldn’t bear to just throw them away. A bunch of questions popped into my mind. “Can I freeze Mozzarella Cheese Slices?” “If so, How?” “How Long will My Cheese Slices Last?” Well, you get the picture – if I could keep my mozzarella for longer I would find a way.
So I got my head down and did some hardcore research. I spent a lot of time researching before experimenting with a bunch of methods.
After going through a trial by fire and a few spoiled cheese blocks, I want to share what I learned with you in this article. Read on to learn how you can freeze mozzarella cheese slices and how long you can expect it to last.
Why Should You Freeze Mozzarella to Begin With?
Some cheese brands add preservatives to extend the shelf life of their product. However, not all of them do this – and to be honest brands with lots of artificial preservatives are best avoided. They’re certainly not the best quality. Even if your cheese does have preservatives it doesn’t have a huge impact on shelf life.
Because of mozzarella’s short shelf life, even when refrigerated, freezing becomes essential if you want to keep it edible for a longer period of time.
How to Freeze Mozzarella Cheese
How you approach freezing your cheese depends on the form it’s in. The steps you take will be different depending on whether your mozzarella is fresh, sliced, shredded or a whole block.
How to Freeze Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is delicious in all shapes and forms. Perhaps never more so than when it’s fresh. That’s because the fresh version contains more moisture than any other type. Because of this, I was a bit skeptical when freezing it. Chefs often advise to eat it ASAP so that the taste remains intact.
However, if like me you’ve bought too much to use and have no choice but to freeze it, here are the steps you should follow:
- First, you’ll need to get rid of the moisture inside. The best way to do this is by wrapping the mozzarella balls with paper towels. Leave it for a little while so that every drop of moisture is soaked up. This way, you’ll minimize the formation of ice particles when freezing. This helps to ensure the quality of your cheese when you defrost.
- To store in the freezer, you have a couple of options. You can either wrap the mozzarella in plastic wrap or place them in freezer bags. Whichever option you use, make sure you squeeze all of the air out before sealing the bag/wrap tight.
- The final step is putting the cheese in the freezer. I label my freezer bags using labeling rolls – this helps identify when the cheese was frozen and when best to use it.
How to Freeze Mozzarella Cheese Slices
Note that ‘mozzarella slices’ can refer to slices of a larger block or ball or the pre-packaged slices that you can buy.
Ok, so you haven’t made the cheese yourself – but you have sliced it yourself! When you freeze slices cut from a larger piece of mozzarella, the key thing is to prevent them from sticking together.
These are the steps you should follow to freeze mozzarella cheese slices:
- First take a baking tray and line it with a baking sheet.
- Next, place each of the slices onto the tray. Put the baking tray into the freezer, and leave in there for an hour. During this time the slices should harden.
- Remove the baking tray and take the now solid pieces from the sheet. Portion the pieces out into as many freezer bags or freezer-safe containers as you need.
- Finally, seal the bag or container (ensuring that any excess air is squeezed out if you’re using a bag) and place in the freezer.
You have two choices when it comes to pre-packaged mozzarella slices. You can pop them, plastic wrapping and all, straight into your freezer. When you’re ready to unfreeze just take them out and allow to thaw before using as you normally would.
On the other hand I’ve had better results by first unwrapping the individual slices. if you choose to do this, you should first place each slice on to a baking tray lined with a baking sheet in the same way you would using the homemade method. Pop the baking tray into your freezer and leave until the slices have solidified.
Once they’re solid, separate the individual slices of cheese and wrap them all in plastic wrap and seal, making sure that no excess air is in the package. You can also freeze them using an air-tight plastic container.
How to Freeze Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Shredded mozzarella is the most simple form to freeze. This is because it doesn’t have as much moisture as fresh mozzarella, blocks or slices.
There’s two ways you can get your hands on some shredded cheese. You can either buy some from the market or you can shred it yourselves. I shred my own cheese.
To freeze shredded mozzarella, follow these steps:
- Take your shredded cheese, wrap it within a baking sheet and put it in the refrigerator for a bit. This helps to harden the cheese before freezing. Trust me, it comes in handy!
- Next, wrap the entire thing in a plastic wrap before placing it in a freezer bag. Make sure to squeeze all excess air out before placing in the freezer. This helps to prevent freezer burn.
How To Freeze Mozzarella Blocks
Mozzarella blocks are trickier to freeze compared to fresh or shredded mozzarella. You’ll have to be careful about how much of the block you’re using in your recipes and how much you’re freezing.
- Rather than freezing the whole block, it’s best to chop the brick into chunks or slices first. Sometimes I’ll keep some slices for my sandwiches the next day and freeze the rest.
- The next thing to do is lay out the slices on a baking tray lined with a cookie sheet. Place the baking tray into the freezer so that the individual slices harden. This step is important as it stops the individual mozzarella slices sticking together.
- After an hour, take the individual slices out and place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all air before placing in the freezer to prevent freezer burn.
- I recommend writing the freeze date on your freezer bag so you know how long your cheese has been frozen for.
How Long Does Mozzarella Cheese Last?
|Condition||How Long it Lasts|
|Opened, Frozen||Up to 2 months|
|Opened, Refrigerated||Up to 5 days|
|Unopened, Frozen||Up to 5 months after the printed 'best before' date|
|Unopened, Refrigerated||Up to 1 month after the printed 'best before' date|
How to Thaw Frozen Mozzarella Slices?
Thawing frozen mozzarella is simple, but requires patience. You can’t just throw them into a recipe!
After removing from the freezer, put your cheese in the fridge for one day to slowly bring up the temperature and defrost. I’d advise against trying to speed up the process by leaving on the side to thaw out – this can potentially lead to the cheese going off completely.
A trick to retaining the original taste of your mozzarella slices is to pour some milk over them when thawing. Make sure to use thawed cheese within two hours of the process. It helps to keep the freshness intact.
Speeding it Up
If you’re hankering for some mozzarella now, there is something you can do to speed up the defrosting process.
I’ve found cold water to be surprisingly effective when defrosting. I submerge the freezer bag in cold water. This way, the cheese thaws within an hour or so.
It’s best to use the cheese within two or three days of defrosting to keep the flavor and texture intact.
How to Use Frozen Mozzarella Slices?
For the most part you can’t use frozen mozzarella straight out of the freezer before defrosting.
Shredded mozzarella is an exception, however. If you’ve shredded the cheese and want to use it immediately, you’ll have to use it on dishes that are cooked and warm. The heat from the dish will quickly defrost the shredded mozzarella. I recommend sprinkling frozen shredded mozzarella on a freshly cooked plate of ravioli for a delicious finishing touch.
Frozen mozzarella slices, blocks or balls should all be allowed to defrost before using. Once thawed, they can be used in recipes exactly as you would their ‘fresh’ counterparts.