Bought too many packages of string cheese and worried that some will go bad? Can you freeze string cheese?
Or perhaps you need the cheese sticks to last an extra week or two, and the first thing you thought about was freezing.
Fortunately for you, freezing mozzarella cheese sticks (most often labeled as string cheese) works pretty well.
Want to see how frozen and defrost mozzarella sticks look like, or how to go about freezing them?
That’s what this article is all about. Read on.
Mozzarella sticks, cheese sticks, and string cheese are the same product in the US. I use these terms interchangeably in this article.
Can You Freeze String Cheese?
You can freeze string cheese, and in almost all cases, it freezes perfectly fine. If you bought individually packed string cheese, all you need to do is to chuck the sticks in the freezer, and you’re good to go.
I said “in almost all cases,” because there are many cheese stick makers out there, and while all use similar production processes, there might be some subtle differences in how they freeze.
When it comes to freezing cheeses, only hard cheeses like parmesan or processed ones like American cheese freeze better than string cheese. And there’s one thing all of them have in common: low water content.
Grab a stick and freeze it for a couple of days to learn if your favorite sticks freeze well. Chances are they do.
Differences Between Fresh and Thawed Cheese Sticks
Usually, there are no differences between fresh and frozen and thawed mozzarella sticks. They look the same, taste the same, and the texture is pretty much unchanged.
But in rare cases, your cheese sticks might become less bendy, and more brittle and crumbly after thawing. If that bothers you, and you still want to make freezing string cheese a success, I suggest you test a different brand.
One thing worth noting is that frozen and thawed sticks might be a bit more difficult to peel than fresh ones. If you’re into stripping your cheese sticks, that might bother you a bit.
Freezing string cheese doesn’t affect its nutritional value. The nutrients stay intact.
If you were hesitant about freezing cheese sticks because you were afraid your child won’t get all the nutrients you want them to, no need to worry anymore.
Cheddar Cheese Sticks
Some producers offer cheese sticks made from cheddar. Cheddar, just like low-moisture mozzarella that string cheese is usually made of, freezes quite well.
That means your cheddar cheese sticks should freeze just as well as your mozzarella cheese sticks do.
How To Freeze Cheese Sticks
Freezing string cheese is as easy as wrapping every single stick and tossing all of them in the freezer. And since most brands sell the sticks individually wrapped, this couldn’t be any simpler.
To keep things organized, you can place all the sticks in a freezer bag so that they stay together. And add a label with a name and date if you find that helpful.
If your mozzarella sticks aren’t single-wrapped, you need to take care of that on your own. There are at least two ways to go about that.
The first one is to wrap every stick using plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or a freezer bag. A wrapping that’s moisture-proof and airtight is the best option.
The second, a less resource-intensive one, is freezing multiple sticks in a single freezer bag. You place the cheese sticks one by one, and roll the bag after each one so that the sticks don’t touch one another.
Here’s what that looks like after wrapping:
And after unwrapping:
If you’re using freezer bags, remember to squeeze out the extra air before sealing them.
If you’re planning to keep your string cheese in the freezer for like 6+ months, consider double wrapping the product to avoid freezer burn. To do that, you can use aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or another freezer bag.
If you just need a couple of extra weeks to use all the sticks, there’s no reason to double wrap them. Such a short freezing period shouldn’t affect the quality of the cheese that much.
How Long Can You Freeze String Cheese?
For best results, use the string cheese within two months of freezing. But if the cheese sits in the freezer for another couple of months, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
The suggested freezing periods vary heavily between creameries. However, in most cases, the recommendations are between two months and half a year.
Like with all other frozen food products, the sooner you consume frozen string cheese, the better the quality. And if you want to freeze the sticks for a prolonged period, make sure they are well wrapped so that you avoid freezer burn.
Defrosting Mozzarella Sticks
Thaw your mozzarella sticks slowly in the fridge. This way, the cheese doesn’t lose much moisture, and its quality is better as a result.
Cheese sticks usually aren’t too wide, so all that you need is probably an hour or two to defrost a single one. To speed things up even further, submerge the stick in lukewarm water.
If you need the stick in the morning to put it in your kid’s (or your own, I don’t judge) lunch box, place it in the refrigerator the night before. That ensures it’s going to be defrosted in the morning.
Say you’re in a hurry and can’t wait that hour or two. If that’s the case, you can go with two other options:
- On the counter. Submerge the stick (wrapped airtight, of course) in lukewarm water. It should be thawed within 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size.
- In the microwave. Put your microwave on the lowest (or defrost) setting, and microwave the cheese in short (like 30 to 45 seconds) increments. Check if the cheese is defrosted after each burst. If the quality is off or the cheese defrosts too fast, try placing a glass of water in the microwave.
Refreezing Cheese Sticks
You can refreeze string cheese you’ve thawed in the refrigerator. That’s why the fridge is the optimal thawing choice for pretty much any food product that you refrigerate.
That’s not to say that refreezing doesn’t come at a cost. It does.
While it stays safe to eat, any food that you freeze, defrost, and freeze again loses quality in the process.
That’s why refreezing isn’t something that anyone can recommend. You do it because the alternative is your food going bad.
Fortunately, if you followed my advice, you have your mozzarella sticks frozen individually, and you can easily defrost as many as you need. Because of that, refreezing isn’t something you have to worry about.