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Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?

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By Olivia Sheppard

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Cotija cheese is a very hard cow’s milk-based cheese that has a noticeably salty flavour. It is often used in Mexican cuisine and can be used in salads, on soups and is also commonly used in tostadas. But it can be hard to come by outside of Mexico.

Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?

Yes, you can freeze cotija cheese for up to 9 months. Each piece of cotija cheese must be tightly wrapped to protect it from the elements and air in the freezer.

Does Cotija Cheese Freeze Well? Sometimes

Can You Refreeze Cotija Cheese? No

How to Freeze Cotija Cheese

Similar to most cheese varieties, cotija cheese is a fantastic cheese product to freeze. Unlike softer, more delicate cheeses like mozzarella, ice crystals will not have too much of an impact on the texture or flavour of the cheese.

There are many different ways of freezing cotija cheese, and below is how we would opt for freezing cotija:

  1. Slice Cheese: You can freeze individual slices of cotija cheese, which is great for adding on to salads. Slice the cotija into 1-2 inch thick pieces – small than this and they may fall apart.
  2. Wrap Slices: Wrap each slice of cotija in greaseproof paper followed by a layer of clingfilm to protect it.
  3. Bag Up: Place the wrapped slices of cotija cheese into a freezer bag, sealing the bag up whilst removing as much air from the bag as possible.
  4. Label and Freeze: Label the bag with the date and the variety of cheese then carefully place the bag into the freezer.

If you have access to a vacuum sealer then this is one of the best ways to store it in the freezer. Vacuum-sealing is a method that squeezes out the air from the package.

You can place cheese in the plastic package and then use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air, before placing it into the freezer. It will last for 12 months, if not more, using this method.

3 Tips for Freezing Cotija Cheese

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing cotija to have the best results:

Use Wax Paper
Use wax paper or greaseproof paper in between slices of cotija cheese to ensure that they do not stick to each other when frozen. This will ensure you can take out as many slices as you need without waste.

Wrap Tightly
If you are wrapping individual blocks of cheese, make sure you use multiple layers of cling film and ensure that all the edges of the cheese are protected. This will prevent freezer burn or unwanted ice crystals from forming which could damage the cheese. 

Label Clearly
When frozen, cotija cheese can look like feta, cottage cheese and even clotted cream! Make sure you write clear, legible labels for your cotija so it’s easy to grab it from the freezer.

How Long Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?

Cotija cheese can be kept for between 6 and 9 months in the freezer, though under perfect conditions, it could be kept indefinitely.

You need to keep an eye out for any changes to your cheese whilst it is frozen, which may indicate it has gone bad. If the cheese becomes gritty, mouldy, or has a sour taste, it may have gone bad and should be thrown out.

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last in the Fridge?

Cotija cheese will last for around 1 month in the fridge when sealed. Once opened, it will only last for 1 week or so.

How Do You Defrost Cotija Cheese?

Cheese should never be thawed at room temperature as it will lose moisture and begin to dry out too quickly.

The best way to thaw cotija cheese is to take it out of the freezer, in whatever form that is (e.g. slices, blocks), and place it into the fridge overnight. 

If you are pressed for time, you can also submerge the blocks of wrapped cheese in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes.

You can then place the partially thawed blocks of cheese into the fridge to finish defrosting, which is when you can then use them in your recipes. 

When defrosted, you should use cotija cheese as soon as you can otherwise, it will dry out too much and not be pleasant to use. 

Can You Refreeze Cotija Cheese?

No, it is not recommended that you refreeze cotija cheese or any cheese for that matter. The rapid changes in temperature will affect the texture of the cheese too much for it to be pleasurable to eat. 

Does Cotija Cheese Freeze Well?

Cotija cheese does freeze well, though the freezing process will result in a slightly crumblier texture than usual.

Cotija cheese is a hard Mexican cheese that adds saltiness and nutty flavour to dishes and freezing will not take away these traits, fortunately.

If you’ve still got questions about freezing cotija cheese or cotija in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Grated Cotija Cheese?

Yes, grated cotija cheese can be frozen but it will not freeze as well as individual blocks of cheese which you can then grate later.

Can You Freeze Mexican Cheese?

This depends on the type of cheese. Harder cheeses, like cotija, can be frozen whereas softer cheeses, like queso fresco, will not freeze well.

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