This Is Why You Need To Stop Storing Cheese In The Freezer

While sticking an extra block of cheddar or tub of grated Parmesan in the freezer may seem like a handy storage solution, be warned: Your cheese will never be the same. Sure, freezing cheese is perfectly safe (via The Spruce Eats) and, technically, your thawed cheese will be totally edible. However, the flavor and texture of your cheese will take a turn for the worse.

Once you stick that ball of hand-stretched mozzarella in the freezer, you can kiss that melty mouthfeel goodbye. That's because freezing cheese – which contains water – results in the formation of ice crystals. The water expands upon freezing, then contracts during thawing. The freeze-thaw dance destroys the cheese's molecular structure – oftentimes drying out cheese. 

If you must freeze the cheese, plan on using your thawed out stash for cooking rather than snacking with your favorite cracker. Take a pro tip from the National Dairy Council and allow your cheese to thaw for a day or two in the fridge. That way, it will reabsorb some of the lost moisture. Then use your cheese – in mac n' cheese or mini quiches, for example – as fast as you can.

Cheese dries out in the freezer

Just how much more poorly your cheese will fare in the freezer depends on the moisture content of the cheese in question. Those that contain a lot of water – water makes up about half of cream cheese, for instance – are especially damaged by freezing. The curds and water, which remained harmoniously emulsified while in your fridge, will be forced apart in the freezer. Once silky and smooth, cream cheese is rendered grainy and "ricotta-like" is and no longer schmear-worthy once frozen (via Cook's Illustrated).

Harder cheese tends to hold up a little better – especially those that are industrially processed. A big ol' hunk of uniformly smooth store-brand cheddar is less likely to completely crumble under pressure than a wedge of artisanal Emmentaler with lots of air holes. Like all types of Swiss cheese with their characteristic holes, these may suffer even more damage from the alternating freeze-thaw process. Well-aged specimens, like Pecorino Romano and Parmesan, are pretty sturdy but may develop a burnt or metallic taste from the freezer (via The Spruce Eats). The bottom line: Keep your cheese in the fridge for optimal taste and texture.