American cheese is a type of processed cheese with so many uses. It’s a kitchen staple that’s best enjoyed in a sandwich but you can also use the cheese for cooking or as a quick snack.
But what if you bought American cheese by bulk, can you freeze American cheese?
Although freezing is not a recommended storage option for American cheese, it can be used to extend the shelf life of the product. American cheese is generally made from semi-soft, processed cheese. Since American cheese has low water content, flavor or texture changes are kept at a minimum. Still, there is a good chance that the cheese could turn brittle, tasteless, or crumbly when frozen.
Is Freezing a Good Idea?
As you know, freezing any type of dairy product is tricky because there’s a good chance that the texture and flavor will be altered after the product has been defrosted. The cheese could turn crumbly, dry, or tasteless if it’s not prepped properly prior to freezing.
Freezer burns are also a concern when freezing any type of cheese. If the product has been packed poorly, ice crystals will start forming on the surface and within the cheese, causing freezer burns. Freezer burns will alter the texture of the cheese.
Since American cheese is heavily processed, it should keep for weeks in the fridge with no problems at all. The preservatives will extend the shelf life of the cheese, which means freezing isn’t necessary. That being said, you can freeze American cheese if left with no choice. Do note, however, that the frozen cheese should be strictly used in cooking. If you’re not planning to use the cheese for cooking, do not freeze it.
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How to Freeze American Cheese?
American cheese is often sold in individually packed slices, pre-sliced block to slabs. You can prep the cheese in different ways for optimal flavor:
Freezing American Cheese Slices
Freezing American cheese is easy because the product itself is packed in a freezer-safe packaging. In addition, the slices of cheese are packed individually so prepping the product for freezing is down to a minimum.
If you bought American cheese in bulk, leave the cheese that you’d like to freeze unopened for optimal freshness. Just place the packs of sliced American cheese in a freezer safe bag then squeeze as much air as you can before sealing. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
If say, you are worried that the plastic wrapping will stick to the cheese slices after thawing, you could remove the packaging first prior to freezing. Just unwrap the cheese slices one by one and then layer them with a piece of waxed paper in between each slice. Place the cheese slices in a double layer of freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. Squeeze out the excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
Freezing Pre-Sliced American Cheese Blocks
Unopened packs of pre-sliced American cheese blocks are easy to freeze. Just place the product in a freezer-safe container, write the storage date then stick in the freezer. For leftover blocks of cheese, wrap the leftover cheese in aluminum foil then place the cheese in a double bag. Squeeze out the excess air, seal then write the storage date.
Freezing American Cheese Slabs
Unless you have a walk-in freezer, we recommend dividing the block of American cheese into manageable portions prior to freezing. This way, thawing the cheese won’t be as inconvenient.
Using a sharp knife, cut the cheese into smaller pieces (no larger than a ½ pound each), the size will depend on the capacity of your freezer. Wrap the pieces of cheese in cling wrap then placer them in a freezer safe double bag. Squeeze out the excess air, seal then write the storage date.
Freezing Grated American Cheese
Yes, you can grate blocks of cheese prior to freezing. This is a great option if you’d like to divide a large slab or block of cheese into manageable portions. We do, however, recommend consuming the grated cheese as soon as possible. Leaving the grated cheese in the freezer for months on end could cause the product to turn brittle due to the freezing temps.
Start by cutting the cheese block in two. Using a grater, grate the cheese by hand. Prepare a couple of freezer-safe resealable plastic bag and spoon the grated cheese into the bag. Squeeze the excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
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Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions
Frozen American cheese will keep for 3 months and beyond in the freezer. However, we do not recommend waiting this long before consuming your supply. Use the cheese as soon as possible for optimal flavor. To reiterate, frozen and thawed American cheese should be strictly used for cooking. You can use the cheese for making soups, casseroles, and sauces.
To thaw the frozen American cheese, simply transfer the container to the fridge. Leave the cheese to thaw overnight. Once the cheese has been thawed completely, you can cut it into the desired portions and add to the dish directly, no reheating needed.
Can you freeze American cheese? It’s great to know that you can freeze American cheese with ease and avoid waste! Just keep these storage tips in mind to retain the taste and quality of the cheese!