Cheese Shelf Life: How Long Does Cheese Last?

What is the average shelf life of cheese? How long does cheese last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store cheese to increase its shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below:

Shelf Life of Cheese

Parmesan2-3 Months6-9 Months
Asiago2-3 Months6-9 Months
Romano2-3 Months6-9 Months
Cheddar1-2 Months6-9 Months
Swiss1-2 Months
Brie 4-5 DaysN/A
Mozzarella 7-9 Days4-6 Months
Feta1 WeekN/A
Monterrey Jack7-9 Days4-6 Months
Muenster 7-9 Days-N/A
Havarti 7-9 Days4-6 Months
Gorgonzola 7-9 DaysN/A

Cheese is made from the milk of cows and other animals, such as sheep, camel, and goats. It is a highly perishable dairy product. People started processing milk into cheese about 4,000 years ago. There are 400 kinds of cheeses available around the world, including ripened, hard, soft, fresh, semi-soft, firm, and unripened cheese. Each category of cheese has different features. The shelf life of fresh cheese is a few days to 2 weeks, the shelf life of soft cheese is 1 week, the shelf life of semi-soft cheese is 2 to 3 weeks, the shelf life of firm cheese is 5 weeks, and the shelf life of hard cheese is 10 months. Soft cheeses have a shorter lifespan, but the exact length depends on the type of cheese.

Purchasing Cheese

Before buying cheese, always taste the cheese first. Cheese that is properly wrapped always stays fresh. Every type of cheese has a different taste, because different cheeses are made in different regions. Before purchasing, check where the cheese is made, and always check the expiration date. If the cheese is moist, don’t buy it. Some cheeses have mold if they are not properly wrapped. If you see any mold on your fresh cheese, then throw it away. You should always try to buy high-quality cheese.

Storing Cheese

Storing cheese properly will increase its shelf life. Once you have opened the cheese, you should store it properly. If the cheese is properly wrapped, it stays fresh for months. First, properly wrap cheese with plastic, and put it in the lower cupboard of your refrigerator away from the other foods. Also, always check the best-by date. Freezing cheese can change its texture and character, so thawed cheese is very effective for cooking. Always freeze it in an airtight freezer bag. Leftover cheese should be rewrapped properly in an airtight plastic bag and refrigerated.  

Handling Cheese

If your cheese is frozen, you must thaw it before using. If you melt cheese, it will retain its original taste. If you are preparing cheese, then always cover it with plastic wrap. It loses its flavor easily when it is exposed to air, so be careful to wrap it in an airtight bag. Always keep it away from other foods, because it absorbs other flavors easily. If you wash cottage cheese, then it will become free of extra fat.

Cooking with Cheese

You can use cheese while preparing many different foods. A few options include a grilled appetizer with soft cheese, different pasta recipes made using cheese, and you can also garnish cheese on different dishes. You can add cheese to mashed potatoes or bake mozzarella and cheddar cheese as an addition to parmesan pasta, as well. Additionally, you can use cream cheese to make scrambled eggs, and macaroni and cheese is another dish that has cheese as its main ingredient.