While many people love mozzarella cheese, there is a point where too much cheese is simply too much.
Maybe you bought lots for a recipe, and realized you didn’t need to bury the dish in cheese like it suggested. Maybe it was on offer in your local supermarket, but you’re worried about using the whole thing before it goes off.
While it will last a little while in the fridge, sometimes that’s not long enough to realistically get through all of that cheese without having it for nearly every meal. But can you freeze it?
Can You Freeze Mozzarella Cheese?
Yes. It largely depends on the type of mozzarella cheese (see also Can You Freeze Alfredo Sauce?) you have as to how well it freezes. It’s worth knowing that some freeze much better than others, but which ones?
Can You Freeze Store-Bought Shredded Mozzarella?
Ready-shredded mozzarella contains preservatives, which help extend the shelf life of the cheese. This is very helpful, as it means you’ll rarely need to freeze it before you get through the bag.
Having said that, there is no reason why you can’t freeze shredded mozzarella.
Can You Freeze Blocks Of Mozzarella?
While blocks of mozzarella do last for a while before they start to deteriorate, you can freeze them.
It is worth knowing that thawed blocks of mozzarella do crumble much more easily than it does when it is fresh.
It may make it difficult to slice it after it has thawed, so it’s a good idea to slice before you freeze it, if you need to.
Can You Freeze Fresh Balls Of Mozzarella?
Opinions on freezing fresh mozzarella balls are extremely divided. Some people promise that it will be absolutely fine when thawed, and others will tell you that it’s a crime against cheese.
The reason why freezing fresh balls of mozzarella divides people’s opinions is that the process of freezing this form of cheese radically changes the texture. It also takes out some flavor.
Instead of the smooth, soft cheese you get fresh, thawed mozzarella balls will be dry, and it will crumble as soon as you look at it.
That doesn’t mean to say that it’s useless after you’ve thawed it. It just means that it limits the possibilities you should consider using it for.
Only use thawed balls of mozzarella for dishes where you’ll melt the cheese, otherwise it will be very disappointing.
How Do You Freeze Different Types Of Mozzarella Cheese?
How you should freeze mozzarella cheese (see also How To Freeze String Cheese) depends on the form you bought it in. Each is easy to freeze, and won’t take very long to prepare.
It is worth thinking about how you’ll use the cheese when it is thawed, as you’ll be able to portion it appropriately, saving future-you some precious time and effort.
How Do You Freeze Blocks of Mozzarella?
The first thing you should do when preparing your block of mozzarella for the freezer is to either cut it into slices, or portion it.
It’s unlikely that you’ll use the whole block straight away when you come to defrost it, and refreezing it can result in a large loss of quality or taste.
Cut it into smaller blocks, or if you’re planning to melt it, cut it into slices.
If you make the cheese into smaller chunks, you can lay them flat inside a freezer bag and place them into the freezer.
If you sliced the cheese, you can also use a bag, but pile them into portion-sized chunks, so you only have to take out as much cheese as you need.
If you’d prefer to freeze the block as it is, go for it!
Label the bag, just to make sure you’ll remember when you froze it, and the type of cheese.
How Do You Freeze Shredded Mozzarella?
Shredded mozzarella takes much less time to prepare for the freezer. You may want to portion it out if you think you won’t use it all once you’ve defrosted it.
Put the cheese into a freezer bag, label it, and freeze it!
How Do You Freeze Fresh Mozzarella Balls?
Don’t forget, freezing fresh balls of mozzarella significantly alters the texture and flavor of the cheese, so only used thawed balls of mozzarella for cooking.
If you’re unsure whether you’d like the taste of thawed mozzarella balls, only freeze a small amount.
This way you’ll only use up a small amount of cheese, which is no crying shame if you use it melted and decide it isn’t for you.
In order to prepare the mozzarella balls for freezing, you’ll need to make sure there’s no excess moisture within the cheese balls (see also Can You Freeze Cheese Balls).
You can do this with paper towels, just make sure that you don’t leave any paper towel on the cheese!
The amount of ice crystals you can reduce in the frozen cheese, the better quality it will retain when you thaw it.
You should portion the mozzarella balls if you need to, and how you then cover them for the freezer depends on how long you’re going to freeze them for.
If you don’t defrost the cheese within a month, it’s worth wrapping the individual pieces in plastic wrap. While less environmentally friendly, it will help stop some freezer burn, which is fiercer over longer periods.
How Long Can Mozzarella Cheese Sit In The Freezer Before It Loses Quality?
There’s not a lot of evidence as to how long mozzarella will last in the freezer before it starts to lose its quality, and people’s opinions differ according to their tastes.
It also depends on each form of mozzarella cheese.
Fresh mozzarella – as you might imagine – has a shorter shelf life, and because the texture alters so considerably, you should keep it frozen for the shortest amount of time.
It should keep most of its quality for about 3 months before you need to thaw it.
For frozen shredded mozzarella, it can last for up to 4 months in the freezer without the quality suffering.
When it comes to bricks of mozzarella, this is the longest of all. Because of the lower moisture content, they should last 6 months in the freezer.
This can be longer, depending on your freezer and how you prepared it, and how fresh it was when you froze it.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Mozzarella?
There are several ways of defrosting frozen mozzarella, and it depends on how much time you have, and what type you have frozen.
The easiest way is to defrost it overnight in the fridge. It also means that you can refreeze any leftovers, but there may be a further loss in quality or taste.
You can also defrost frozen mozzarella in cold water, so long as you put the whole (sealed) bag in.
It may take an hour or a couple to thaw completely, depending on how large the cheese is. You’ll also need to use it as soon as it has defrosted.
You can, of course, use it frozen. Just pop it straight into your still-cooking dish, making sure to add a few minutes to the cooking time.
Otherwise, you may end up with still-frozen or tepid chunks of cheese.
Ways to Use Thawed Mozzarella
Thawed mozzarella can be used as you would normally. This begs the question: why wouldn’t you freeze it if you have too much to begin with?
There is one exception, which is thawed mozzarella balls, and they need to be melted rather than used as-is once defrosted.
You could try using it without melting it, but the texture and taste will be vastly different, most likely resulting in an unpleasant experience, and it could ruin your whole dish
Having said that, any thawed mozzarella tastes best when melted. This in itself is full of endless possibilities, including:
- Lasagna and other cheese-topped, baked dishes
- Stews and soup
- Omelettes, scrambled eggs (see also Can You Freeze Scrambled Eggs?), frittatas, and anything else that could do with a generous helping of cheese
Cheese that has been previously frozen is nearly as good as fresh cheese, provided you freeze it properly to begin with. It can also be used the same as normal, allowing for nearly endless possibilities while also preventing food waste.
It also saves you a lot of money, as you can simply buy the cheese when it is on offer and then divide and freeze as necessary.
Although, it may be worth using exclusively fresh balls of mozzarella for dishes that don’t require cooking, in order to preserve the integrity of the dish.