American cheese is a type of processed cheese, usually made of a mixture of cheddar and Colby cheese. It is a very versatile cheese used in so many different dishes, from sandwiches, snacks, to cooked meals.
But what if you bought a load of American cheese, and you know you won’t eat it before it goes off?
Maybe you’re going on holiday, and you don’t want to come back to a fridge full of mold. But you don’t want to waste it.
Can you freeze it? What’s the shelf life of American cheese to begin with?
The Shelf Life Of American Cheese
American cheese (see also article titled ‘Can You Freeze Paneer?‘) has a fairly long shelf life, because it is a processed form of cheese.
It largely depends on the brand you buy and the ratio of different cheese as to how long it lasts, but you’ll still find that processed American cheese lasts a lot longer than most types of cheese.
You may even find that American cheese lasts a week or longer past its expiration date.
When frozen, American cheese can keep its quality and flavor for about 3 months before it starts to degrade. But, there is a trade-off.
Should You Freeze American Cheese?
While you can prolong the shelf life of American cheese (see also Freezing Velveeta Cheese) by freezing it, there is a chance that the freezing and thawing process will render the cheese tasteless or dry.
American cheese has a fairly low water content, and because it’s made of a mixture of semi-soft cheese, it freezes much better than very soft or fresh types of cheese (see also How To Freeze Feta), and you’ll see less flavor or texture changes.
You’ll also notice that if the cheese is frozen incorrectly, it will suffer from freezer burn, which dramatically alters the texture and flavor of the cheese.
Because American cheese has a long shelf life and will last for several weeks in the fridge, you don’t really need to freeze it, unless it’s a last resort.
It’s also worth noting that American cheese that you’ve frozen should only be used in dishes that you’ll cook.
If you don’t plan on using American cheese in cooked dishes, simply refrain from freezing it, as trying to use the results will be disappointing.
How Do You Freeze American Cheese?
There are several ways of preparing American cheese for the freezer, and it just depends on your personal preference as to which one you prefer.
How To Freeze American Cheese Slices
Freezing American Cheese Slices In Its Original Packaging
Freezing American cheese slices (see also How To Freeze Cheese Slices) is the easiest way to freeze American cheese. You can even freeze it as is, so long as it remains unopened, as the packaging is freezer-safe.
Because the slices of cheese are usually wrapped individually, this also makes it easier to freeze them. They’re also portioned, so no need to struggle with how much you need to defrost.
The quickest way to freeze American cheese slices is to put the packet of cheese into a freezer bag, making sure to get rid of any excess air, seal, and freeze.
There is a chance that the cheese slices could stick to the plastic once it thaws, so it is a good idea to replace the packaging before you freeze it if it’s quite flimsy.
Freezing American Cheese Slices In Freezer Bags
If you’ve opened the packet of American cheese slices, and you know you won’t use the rest for a while, you can freeze the rest in freezer bags.
It’s worth unwrapping each slice, and putting some greaseproof or waxed paper between each one to stop them from sticking. Transfer the slices into a freezer bag, seal, and label.
For an extra layer of protection, consider putting the freezer bag inside another, and freeze.
How To Freeze Pre-Sliced American Cheese Blocks
If you haven’t opened the pre-sliced American cheese blocks, you can put the whole thing into an airtight container, seal it, and freeze it.
If you have leftover pre-sliced blocks, it’s worth wrapping them in foil, and then double-bagging the freezer bag to be safe. Make sure to squeeze the bags before you seal them, label, and freeze.
How Do You Freeze American Cheese Slabs?
The best way to freeze slabs of American cheese is to portion it first.
This will save you a lot of room when it comes to freezer space, and it’ll also save you a lot of time when it comes to defrosting and using the cheese.
Portioning the cheese also takes out any guesswork of how much you’ll need, and it will also mean that you won’t have to use a huge amount of defrosted cheese in a relatively short space of time.
Use a knife to carefully portion the cheese into smaller chunks, however big you think you’ll need. Cover the cheese in cling film, and then into a freezer bag.
To protect the cheese from freezer burn, put the bag into another freezer bag. Seal, label, and freeze.
How To Freeze Grated American Cheese
If you want to freeze American cheese (see also Freezing Mac And Cheese), but you don’t like the idea of smaller pieces, you can freeze it grated.
Grated American cheese is prone to becoming brittle or dry if left for too long in the freezer, so keep this in mind.
Grate the cheese (see also Freezing Shredded Cheese) into a freezer bag or several, label, seal, and put the cheese into the freezer.
How To Thaw And Reheat American Cheese
While frozen American cheese can last for a long time, you’ll want to use it sooner rather than later, as the quality will start to degrade, and the cheese can become brittle or dry.
The best way to thaw American cheese is to put it straight into the fridge, and leave it overnight.
Add as much of the thawed cheese to any cooking dishes as you want, where it should melt nicely.
While American cheese lasts for a significantly longer time than other types of cheese, it can be frozen if you’re going away for a long period of time, saving on food waste and money.