There are many types of cheese and, if you are a cheese lover like me, each and every cheese brings something special in terms of appearance, flavor, and texture. But, honestly speaking, one popular Italian product is the most amazing cheese of all.
Its name is Mozzarella. Although it is not so suitable for consumption on its own, it can enrich so many various types of dishes and that is just amazing.
I personally prefer it as a pizza topping, but it can be incorporated into many other dishes like pasta dishes, sauces, meatballs, salads, and many more.
Since it is so versatile and amazingly delicious, it is important to know how to handle it properly in order to preserve it and keep it fresh for longer periods of time, just like any other dairy product.
People tend to ask a lot of questions about the storage of Mozzarella cheese and one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Can you freeze mozzarella cheese?”.
And my direct answer is, “Yes, you can certainly freeze mozzarella in order to extend its shelf life, but you need to know a lot of other facts in order to do that properly.”
So, if you want to learn more about freezing mozzarella cheese, I suggest you stay tuned and read this interesting article.
Can You Freeze Mozzarella Cheese?
For a long period of time, people have been using freezers to store their food and extend its shelf life. But they always had a few questions. The same is with mozzarella cheese as many people ask “Can you freeze mozzarella cheese?”.
And the answer is positive for sure. But, there is not just one type of mozzarella and there is not just one way to freeze it.
Aside from that, there are some consequences of freezing cheese of this type, so you need to know what you want to do with it afterwards if you want to freeze it and know how to freeze it properly.
Let’s just say that there are three basic types of mozzarella and four basic ways to freeze them properly. Those include fresh mozzarella balls, mozzarella sticks, blocks of mozzarella, and shredded mozzarella cheese.
So, stay tuned to find out everything you need to know about freezing these types of mozzarella cheese.
Can You Freeze Fresh Mozzarella Cheese?
The most popular type of mozzarella that everyone is using these days is fresh mozzarella which usually comes in the form of cheese balls. But the main question is “Can I freeze fresh mozzarella?”. You certainly can, but you need to be aware of some important facts.
Fresh mozzarella comes in brine in which it is submerged in order to last longer. Because of that, it is quite wet, i.e. it has a high moisture content.
So, you can easily conclude that it is not that suitable for freezing in that state. The solution to the problem is to remove that moisture and then freeze it.
However, even when you do that, the texture changes after the freezing and defrosting process. Fortunately, it can still be used in dishes in which you are melting cheese, such as a pizza topping or some other kind of warm dish.
So, if you are not planning to consume your mozzarella on its own, but to melt it for some kind of dish, you can freely freeze that ball of mozzarella and below I will show you exactly how to do that properly.
Freezing Fresh Mozzarella Guideline
Although you can freeze the whole mozzarella, I always prefer to portion it first in order to use it more easily after the freezing process. I do the same thing when freezing Velveeta cheese or feta cheese. So, below are the steps you need to follow in order to freeze sliced mozzarella.
STEP 1: First, since fresh mozzarella balls are high in moisture content, it is essential to remove any excess liquid from them so that ice crystals don’t appear. In order to do this, it is best to use some paper towels.
STEP 2: Your second task is to slice the mozzarella cheese into the exact portions that you will be needing for your mozzarella cheese recipe.
STEP 3: Put those slices of mozzarella on a cookie sheet and freeze them for a couple of hours.
STEP 4: After that time frame, transfer your mozzarella slices to a freezer bag and make sure that you suck out all the excess air. If you plan to leave your mozzarella in the freezer for a longer period of time, you can wrap them in plastic wrap before you put them in a freezer bag.
STEP 5: Finally, you can label the bag with the exact date of storage and put it in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Mozzarella Blocks?
It is a different story with freezing mozzarella blocks compared to freezing fresh mozzarella balls.
I am emphasizing this because mozzarella blocks contain less water than fresh mozzarella balls almost like semi-hard cheese, so they are more suitable for the freezing process.
The only thing that you should be worrying about is the fact that mozzarella blocks can become dry after the freezing process, but they are still suitable for many dishes. So, that is not a big deal.
Aside from that, mozzarella blocks tend to crumble after thawing, so it is reasonable to slice them into portions before you put them in the freezer. Below, I will show you what exactly you should do in order to freeze mozzarella cheese properly.
How To Freeze Mozzarella Blocks?
So, here is a step-by-step guide to freezing mozzarella cheese blocks the right way.
STEP 1: Your first task is to portion the mozzarella block into slices. Whether it will be thin slices or thicker ones, it depends on your preferences and needs. The main point about cutting mozzarella blocks into slices is to avoid refreezing and handling them more easily because you certainly won’t use the whole block immediately.
STEP 2: If you choose to portion your mozzarella into chunks, it is best to wrap each and every one of them first. It is best to use plastic wrap in order to avoid freezer burn that will ruin their flavor and texture. The same applies to freezing ricotta cheese.
STEP 3: Put those wrapped chunks of mozzarella cheese in a freezer bag and use a cookie sheet to lay them in a single layer so that they don’t touch each other. Suck out all the excess air from the bag.
STEP 4: Label the bag with the exact date of storage and put it in the freezer.
One more note. If you use a cookie sheet to place those slices correctly, you can remove them once they are frozen because it’s no longer needed.
Can You Freeze Mozzarella Shredded Cheese?
Yes, it is definitely possible to freeze shredded mozzarella cheese. In most cases, people tend to use store-bought shredded mozzarella cheese. This type of mozzarella cheese is loaded with preservatives and therefore it has a quite long shelf life.
On the other hand, you can also buy a block of mozzarella cheese and grate it on your own, and freeze it after that. Below, I will show how to go through the entire process.
So, it is best to continue reading.
Best Way To Freeze Shredded Mozzarella
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to properly grate your mozzarella cheese block and then freeze that shredded mozzarella.
STEP 1: You first need to put the block of mozzarella into the freezer for a couple of minutes, i.e. for about 10-30 minutes. By doing this, you will achieve firmer mozzarella that will be easier for grating.
STEP 2: Grate the cheese by using the grating slot and choose the one that meets your preferences and needs.
STEP 3: After you grated the mozzarella cheese, pre-freeze it on a baking sheet. In order to do that the right way, you must line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and transfer the shredded cheese onto it, and put it in the freezer until it freezes solid.
STEP 4: After it’s frozen solid, you can pull it out of the freezer and break the large clump into a bunch of small chunks by using a spatula.
STEP 5: Put those chunks into a freezer bag and suck out all the excess air from it.
STEP 6: Label the bag with the exact storage date and put it in the freezer.
And Finally, Freezing Mozzarella Sticks
Aside from all these previously mentioned types of mozzarella cheese, you can also freeze mozzarella cheese sticks. In order to do that the right way, it is essential to follow the steps below.
STEP 1: First, it is best to slice your mozzarella cheese block into the sticks right away. Although you can freeze the whole block and slice it after freezing, it is always preferable to make those sticks before the freezing process.
STEP 2: Wrap each and every mozzarella stick using aluminum foil or some kind of freezer wrap. By doing this, your mozzarella will not dry out.
STEP 3: After they are properly wrapped, you can freely put them in a freezer bag without worrying that they will stick to each other. Make sure that you suck out all the excess air from the bag. It is not a bad idea to pre-freeze them first, but that is optional.
STEP 4: Label the bag with the storage date and put it in the freezer.
How To Defrost Mozzarella?
After it has been frozen properly, it is essential that frozen mozzarella cheese is defrosted the right way as well. There are three main ways to defrost your mozzarella cheese.
• In The Fridge: The best way to thaw mozzarella cheese is to transfer it from the freezer directly to the fridge and let it stay there overnight. Although it can defrost for a couple of hours in some cases (especially shredded mozzarella cheese), it is safest to let it defrost overnight.
• In Cold Water: If you don’t have much time, you can also defrost mozzarella cheese in a bowl of cold water. You just have to transfer the freezer bag from the freezer to the bowl of water and let it defrost for about one hour or a little longer. It is essential to use it immediately after that.
• On The Counter: Although I wouldn’t recommend you to thaw your cheese at room temperature because of safety reasons, it is still possible to do that if you are dealing with thin slices. In that case, don’t let them stay at room temperature for more than 1 hour because of possible harmful bacteria growth. Also, use it immediately after thawing.
• In the microwave: Mozzarella is one of those cheeses that melt best in the microwave due to low acidity and reduced moisture. Heat your cheese for up to 1 minute. If it’s not melted, then continue heating it for another 30 seconds. For more info, read how to melt cheese in the microwave.
• Avoid Defrosting: If your plan was to use melted mozzarella in some kind of hot dish, there is really no need for defrosting because frozen mozzarella melts perfectly fine. So, you can just transfer it from the freezer to the dish.
NOTE: You shouldn’t consume mozzarella cheese if it was left for longer than 2 hours outside the fridge after thawing, as stated by the USDA.
What Are The Best Ways To Use Defrosted Mozzarella?
Using mozzarella as an ingredient in many types of dishes is one of the best culinary decisions that you can make. You can use defrosted mozzarella in almost any dish that requires mozzarella that hasn’t been frozen. The only exception is fresh mozzarella that you have to use melted.
• Pizza Topping: As I already said, my favorite way to use mozzarella cheese is as a pizza topping and I would suggest you try it as well. You won’t be disappointed for sure.
• Casserole Topping: It is another topping, but this time on a casserole. I would recommend you try a meatball casserole with melted mozzarella cheese on it because it is just yummy.
• Creamy Soup: Mozzarella, as well as some other types of cheese like blue cheese, for example, makes a great addition to any soup if you like it creamy.
• Paninis And Sandwiches: Although I like to use some other types of cheese on my sandwiches, like cottage cheese or gouda, some people enjoy sandwiches with mozzarella and I really can’t blame them.
• Salad: Salad is another great place to use mozzarella in. Although it can be used in many different types of salads, I really like it in chicken salad. It is full of protein, very refreshing, and delicious as well.
• Mozzarella On Its Own: If you are not dealing with fresh mozzarella balls, you can freely eat it on its own after defrosting. I like to sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and seasonings, pour olive oil over it, and enjoy it with a few slices of fresh tomatoes.
How Long Will Mozzarella Cheese Last In The Freezer?
According to the USDA, dairy products can be frozen for up to 3 months. The same applies to mozzarella cheese. However, this depends on whether you’re freezing fresh, shredded, or mozzarella blocks.
Since fresh mozzarella has the highest moisture content, it will stay fresh in the freezer for the shortest period of time, i.e. for about 3 months.
Shredded mozzarella will retain its quality in the freezer for about 3-4 months.
And, finally, mozzarella blocks, if stored properly, can stay in the freezer for up to 6 months because of a lower moisture content.
Can You Freeze Fresh Mozzarella Balls?
The answer to the question “Can fresh mozzarella be frozen?” is “Yes”. You just have to follow the steps explained in this article. However, you have to know that fresh mozzarella balls are full of liquid, so their texture tends to deteriorate after freezing and defrosting.
So, it is best to freeze fresh mozzarella if you want to use it for melting in your dish.
Freezing Mozzarella Cheese The Right Way
And that’s it. Now you know that the answer to the question “Can you freeze mozzarella cheese?” is definitely positive. However, you should really be careful with the type of mozzarella because not every type freezes the same way.
To sum it up, mozzarella blocks freeze quite well because they don’t have a high moisture content. Shredded mozzarella and mozzarella sticks also freeze well if you do it correctly.
It is a different story with fresh mozzarella balls because they have high moisture content. You can also freeze them if you follow the steps explained in this article, but you can only use defrosted fresh mozzarella balls for melting because of their deteriorated texture.