Too much mozzarella on hand and no way to use it before it spoils? Considering freezing it but not sure how that’s supposed to work? Can you freeze mozzarella cheese?
If any of these questions brought you here, you’ve come to the right place.
Below I talk about freezing both fresh mozzarella and mozzarella blocks. That means whether you’re left with half a large ball of mozzarella, a third of a block, or some shredded mozzarella, I’ve got you covered.
Without further ado, let’s talk about freezing this popular type of cheese.
Can you freeze fresh mozzarella?
Fresh mozzarella is commonly used in salads and other side dishes. It’s quite damp because it’s been dipped in brine, which helps it keep longer.
And even if you remove some of that moisture before freezing, it still turns out to be watery and soft after thawing. In other words, the texture changes, and not in a good way.
Luckily, frozen fresh mozzarella still works quite well when melted and used as a topping. I, for one, like toasts with melted mozzarella, so I tend to use the frozen leftovers.
If you have the odd dish in your repertoire that calls for melted fresh mozzarella, you can definitely use these frozen leftovers instead.
Thawed fresh mozzarella turns out to be watery. If excess moisture could ruin your dish, thaw and dry the cheese before melting it. Otherwise, you can skip thawing and use the cheese straight from the freezer.
Now that you know how freezing fresh mozzarella works, it’s time to talk about how to do it. Don’t worry – it only takes a few minutes and some equipment, which you are sure to have with you.
How do you freeze fresh mozzarella?
While you can freeze the whole mozzarella ball, I prefer to freeze the sliced cheese. That way I can grab a slice or two when needed without having to thaw the whole thing. This works great on toasts like this one.
If another size or shape works better for your recipe, go with it. The idea here is to be able to get exactly as much as you need out of the freezer in a matter of seconds .
Here is the step by step:
- Remove excess water. Discard the brine and give the ball (or balls) a minute to ooze more liquid.
- Portion the mozzarella in a way that makes sense for the recipe you have in mind. Again, I like to slice the ball, but feel free to use whatever size or shape makes sense for you.
- Remove excess moisture. There will be more moisture after the cheese is cut, believe me. I use a paper towel to get rid of it so all the brine doesn’t freeze with the slices.
- Place portions in a freezer bag. You could pre-freeze the sliced pieces on a tray, but I tend to skip this step and put the slices in a bag right away. Make sure they are in a single layer so they don’t freeze together. That way you can take out a piece or two if needed.
- Freeze the bag flat. If you throw the freezer bag in the freezer, make sure it stays flat until the pieces freeze solid. Once frozen, you can rearrange things however you like.
That’s it. The fresh mozzarella is safely in the freezer waiting for you to use it. See some ideas later in this article.
Now let’s talk about these mozzarella cheese blocks.
Can you freeze mozzarella cheese blocks?
The mozzarella block contains much less water than its fresh counterpart. It looks and feels almost like hard cheese. It also means that freezing it doesn’t have as many disadvantages as freezing fresh mozzarella.
The only thing to worry about is that the cheese will become dry after freezing . And in many cases, that’s not such a big deal anyway.
This means you can freely freeze your leftover mozzarella blocks and use them pretty much however you want.
Still, let’s talk about how we can freeze these blocks.
How do you freeze mozzarella blocks?
There are two ways to freeze mozzarella blocks that I’m aware of. You can shred the cheese or freeze it in portions.
Before you choose one method over the other, consider how you plan to use this southern Italian cheese .
Let’s say you want to make homemade mozzarella sticks. If that’s the case, you’ll choose to freeze the block in portions.
However, if you need some cheese to melt on a pizza or casserole, freezing the shredded cheese is probably the best solution.
If you have no idea how to use this cheese, I suggest you shred the cheese and use it as a topping. I mean, everything’s better with a little extra mozzarella on top, right?
Freezing mozzarella sticks or portions
Before you start, remember that if you don’t wrap the cheese tightly, it will dry out .
If you’re going to melt it anyway, that shouldn’t be that much of a problem. But if you want to use it as is, make sure it’s packed well. Nobody likes dry mozzarella.
Let’s get down to business:
- Portion the cheese. Use whatever goes best with the recipe of your choice. With mozzarella sticks, you can already cut the block into sticks, or into a few fat slices that you can divide into sticks after defrosting.
- Pack the portions. If you don’t care about the cheese drying, you can skip this step. Otherwise, use a freezer or aluminum foil (like I did in the article on freezing fresh yeast ) to tightly cover each serving.
- Place portions in a freezer bag or container. If the cheese pieces aren’t wrapped, make sure they don’t touch each other so they don’t freeze together. Alternatively, you can pre-freeze them on a baking sheet and then place them in a container of your choice.
- Place the bag or container in the freezer.
And that was it. The cheese can stay in the freezer until you need it.
Freezing shredded or grated mozzarella
Grating the block of mozzarella before freezing is what I usually take with me. The frozen cheese will turn out dry (compared to before freezing), but that’s fine for using as a topping.
This is how I like to go about it:
- Grate the cheese. Start by placing the block in the freezer for 10-30 minutes to set it up and make it a little easier to shred. Choose the friction slot size based on what works best for your needs.
- Freeze on a baking sheet. Line the baking sheet or baking sheet with aluminum foil or (as I do) with a silicone mat. That way the cheese doesn’t stick to the surface. Transfer the shredded cheese to the foil or mat and place in the freezer until frozen solid.
- Break up the frozen cheese with a spatula. The cheese then freezes together into one large lump. To have it readily available when needed, I break it up into a bunch of small pieces with a spatula. This only takes about half a minute, so you might as well do it right away.
- Transfer the cheese to a freezer bag or container. Take what you like best. If using a bag, squeeze out the air before sealing. Label the bag if you like.
- Place back in the freezer. The cheese is now ready for long-term storage.
How do you defrost mozzarella?
Now that you have some frozen mozzarella in your freezer, you might be wondering how to thaw it. There are a couple of options:
- In the refrigerator. Put the mozzarella in the fridge for a few hours. The time it takes cheese to thaw depends on how you frozen it – shredded cheese thaws quickly, large portions not as much. Leaving the pack in the fridge overnight is the easiest way to achieve this.
- On the counter. For safety reasons, only use for thin slices and shredded mozzarella that will defrost in less than an hour. Use immediately.
- Skip defrosting. If you need to melt the cheese, you can often skip defrosting it. Let the heat of the toaster or oven take care of that before melting the dairy product.
If you have frozen fresh mozzarella on hand and don’t want extra moisture while cooking, pat dry with a paper towel after thawing.
Read Also: Can you freeze orange juice?
How is frozen and thawed mozzarella used?
Here are a few options for how to use the frozen mozzarella:
- topping This method works for both blocks and fresh mozzarella. You can melt the cheese on a pizza, a casserole, or even on a plain old slice of bread. It’s by far my favorite choice.
- Melt. Cream soups, scrambled eggs and the like can all benefit from an additional addition of cheese. And mozzarella is great for this purpose.
- Any recipe that calls for melted mozzarella. As I mentioned earlier, if you need to melt the Italian cheese, you can use frozen cheese as well. That means dishes like mozzarella sticks are definitely on the menu.