So you have a big block of opened parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano Reggiano.
Or maybe you have a large bag of parmesan.
You’re worried you won’t finish it before the recommended use-by date. So now you’re wondering:
Can you freeze parmesan cheese?
The short answer is yes!
Below, we’ll cover exactly how to freeze Parmigiano Reggiano, as well as everything you need to know to understand if it’s the right option for you and storage periods.
Here’s the lowdown: Parmesan lasts 12-18 months in the freezer but only about six weeks once opened in the refrigerator, so freezing is a good option! However, you’re probably going to want to grate your parmesan before you freeze it for easy use.
Should I Freeze My Parmesan?
Let’s get this straight – you can definitely freeze parmesan. It’s a hard cheese without much water, so you won’t notice much in the way of texture change, like with ricotta cheese.
One texture change you may notice: the cheese may lose its distinctive crumbliness. That’s why we recommend grating your Parmigiano Reggiano before freezing – it’s just easier that way.
Other than that, frozen and thawed parmesan acts exactly the same as regular parmesan.
How To Freeze Your Parmesan Cheese
Decided to freeze your parmesan? Great!
Here are the step-by-step instructions:
- If your parmesan comes pre-grated, great (pardon the pun)! Otherwise, grate your parmesan to avoid annoying texture problems after you’ve frozen it.
- Flash freeze to stop your grated parmesan from clumping together. The aim here is easy portioning! Simply spread your parmesan across a baking sheet lined with baking paper, then wrap the whole thing in cling film. Pop that in the freezer for 2 hours.
- Now, take that baking tray out of the freezer. Transfer the grated parmesan to a freezer bag or a freezer-proof airtight container. Put that back in the freezer.
That’s it! Apart from the grating – which you’d probably have to do later anyway – the process is easy.
Now: flash freezing isn’t strictly necessary, but it will help to make your parmesan easier to use. That said, if you know you’ll use it all in one go, go ahead and skip flash freezing.
How Long Parmesan Cheese Lasts In The Freezer
Here’s the best part about freezing parmesan. Parmigiano Reggiano lasts in the freezer for 12-18 months.
Once thawed, aim to use your parmesan within 3-4 days.
Do I Need To Thaw Frozen Parmesan Cheese?
Although parmesan stores for a super long time (over a year – scroll up if you missed that), you don’t need to spend any time thawing it.
Add your frozen grated parmesan straight into, or on top of, your dish. Portioning will be easy if you’ve followed the flash-freezing step.
Just make sure you use clean utensils, not your hands, and practice good food hygiene.
Other Storage Methods For Parmesan
Not 100% sure you want to freeze your Parmigiano Reggiano? Here are the other storage methods to consider.
In the refrigerator, unopened parmesan will last up to 8 months and usually 1-2 months past the sell-by or best-by date. Therefore, if you haven’t opened your cheese yet, consider leaving it in the refrigerator to save on freezer space!
Once your parmesan is open, make sure you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will stop moisture, bacteria, and air from getting to your cheese.
If you store your open parmesan appropriately in the refrigerator, you can expect it to last up to 6 weeks.
One thing to note. If you notice little specks of mold, it’s okay to just cut at least an inch around the affected area and eat the rest. Parmesan is a hard choice without much water, so mold won’t spread far.
That said, if there’s significant mold, you’re better off chucking the whole block.
The Round-Up On Freezing Parmesan
Parmesan is known as the King of Cheeses, so don’t let it go to waste! It’s made from cow’s milk and aged for at least a year, but it can keep for 1.5 years more in your freezer!
Here’s the breakdown of parmesan:
- If your parmesan is unopened, it should last about eight months in the freezer anyway.
- Frozen parmesan lasts 12-18 months.
- You should flash-freeze your parmesan to ensure the grated pieces don’t clump together.
- When cooking or sprinkling on dishes, use frozen parmesan in exactly the same way you’d use non-frozen parmesan.