Cottage cheese is a healthy food that boasts a load of variety.
There are a bunch of different types of cottage cheese, made with different milk and fat levels and in different ways. Plus, there are lots of flavors.
What’s the bad news?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how long your cottage cheese will last.
But the good news?
Whatever variety of cottage cheese you have, you should store it and check whether it’s gone bad in the same way.
More on that later.
TLDR: Once opened, your cottage cheese will last two weeks in the refrigerator, where it should be stored, whether opened or unopened.
Help! Has My Cottage Cheese Gone Bad?
There are a few telltale signs your cottage has gone off:
- Mold: Check the tub, as well as the surface of the cottage cheese. Don’t spoon the mold out and eat the rest, as mold easily permeates through soft cheese.
- Chunks: Obviously, cottage cheese is already pretty chunky. What you’re looking for is changes in the consistency from when you first opened the cheese. The consistency (i.e., chunkiness) of cottage cheese varies from batch to batch. That means checking for chunks won’t help you if you’re assessing a freshly opened tub of cottage cheese.
- Dryness: If your cottage cheese has turned into a dry paste, it’s time for the bin. You might also notice a pool of water on the surface.
- Smell: Weird smell? Don’t risk it!
- Taste: If it looks and smells good, but you’re still suspicious, then give it a taste. Don’t worry – eating a little off cottage cheese is unlikely to be harmful. Any changes in taste and that’s a surefire sign your cottage cheese should go in the bin.
Now. If your cottage cheese has gone a little yellow, that’s nothing to worry about. This color develops in natural cottage cheeses, depending on the time of year and the cows’ diet.
And, as we mentioned before, if you’re bemused by the consistency of some freshly opened cottage cheese that’s within its best-before date, don’t stress. The consistency of cottage cheese varies between batches.
Lastly, don’t worry about a little water separation on the surface of your cheese. As long as what’s underneath isn’t dry and pasty, you’re good to go – just make sure you give it a mix beforehand.
How Do I Store My Cottage Cheese?
First things first.
Pop your cottage cheese straight in the refrigerator once you’ve returned from the grocery store. Avoid the fridge door, which is the warmest part of the fridge prone to the most temperature variation.
Temperature changes encourage separation in your cottage cheese, leading to dryness and unwanted clumpiness.
Once you’ve opened your cottage cheese, remove the foil seal and just replace the plastic lid.
If you’re determined to get your open cottage cheese to last weeks, then transfer it to an airtight container to replace the aluminum foil seal.
Now. Not to sound like that friend, but you should avoid double-dipping and only use clean utensils. This will prevent bacteria from getting in, and growing on, your cottage cheese.
One expert tip?
If you’re annoyed by the constant separation of your cottage cheese, try flattening the surface before you put it back in your fridge.
You can also freeze your cottage cheese straight in the tub, although the texture may change.
How Long Does Cottage Cheese Stay Okay For?
Your best bet is to go by the dates on the tub. That said, unopened cottage cheese will probably be fine for 5-10 days after, provided it was stored properly at the grocery store and in your refrigerator.
Once you’ve opened your cottage cheese, it should be good in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.
But if that’s not long enough, turn to your freezer. Although it may result in some consistency changes, cottage cheese will last for up to 6 months in your freezer.
Cottage cheese lasts for a week or so once open in your fridge.
If you’re unsure, look for mold anywhere in or on the tub. If you find even a speck, chuck your cottage cheese straight in the trash.