You’re left with half a cheesecake or a couple of leftover slices, and you want to store them for more than a few days. Can you freeze cheesecake?
Fortunately for you, cheesecake is one of the few cakes that freeze well, at least in most cases. Sponge cake is another one.
But before you place yours in the freezer, you probably want to know more details, like:
- how to freeze a cheesecake
- do some cheesecakes freeze better than others
- whether homemade cheesecake freezes as good as store-bought ones
That’s where this article comes in. After reading it, you should know everything you need to decide if freezing your cheesecake is a good idea and how to go about it.
Let’s dive right in.
Can You Freeze Cheesecake?
You can freeze cheesecake, and most of them freeze well. That’s not to say that all cheesecakes freeze perfectly, and you should just go ahead and chuck yours in the freezer.
There may be some minor differences in quality between a fresh cheesecake and one that you just thawed, but it all depends on the recipe.
If you’re buying or making the same cheesecake over and over, freeze a few slices to get a feel for how well it freezes. This way, you know what to expect if you ever need to freeze larger quantities.
For instance, let’s take the cheesecake I froze to make the photos for this article.
After defrosting it, the crust feels a bit soggy. I didn’t pick up on this right away, but my wife did. The difference is subtle, but it’s there.
To me, this isn’t a big deal. But if you want to serve that frozen and thawed cheesecake at a birthday party, better test how well it freezes first.
If you’re buying the cheesecake in a bakery, don’t hesitate to ask the clerk how well it freezes. Every recipe is slightly different, so asking them gives you the most accurate answer.
Last but not least, you probably shouldn’t freeze a cheesecake that’s already topped, especially if the topping isn’t likely to survive the process in decent quality. Let’s talk about that.
Avoid freezing cheesecakes with any toppings because most of them don’t freeze particularly well. Instead, add the topping right before serving the cake.
A sour cream topping is one of the more popular cheesecake toppings. But, unfortunately, freezing a cheesecake with sour cream topping isn’t a good idea.
That’s because sour cream separates heavily after thawing, and the same will likely happen to your topping. Adding some sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract won’t magically hold the sour cream together in the freezer.
Another popular option is a fruit topping. And again, freezing a cheesecake with a fruit topping isn’t a good idea.
Think about any frozen fruit that you buy in the supermarket. If you leave it to thaw completely, it’s mushy and watery. And that’s how it’ll look on your cheesecake after defrosting.
Instead, you can decorate the cake with fresh fruit after thawing. Or even go with frozen fruit, but let it defrost first, remove the extra moisture, and only then top the cheesecake with it.
Homemade cheesecakes freeze just as good as store-bought ones.
The recipes used in bakeries aren’t much different from those that we use at home. Bakers just bake lots of cakes and are (hopefully) more experienced at what they do.
If you’re following a new cheesecake recipe, look for specifics on freezing the cake. Often, you can find some information on whether this particular one freezes well and how to go about that.
A great example here is this cheesecake recipe, where the author has a whole section on freezing it.
If there’s no info regarding freezing, it’s always worth reaching out to the author for their take on this matter.
How To Freeze Cheesecake
Here’s the easiest way to freeze cheesecake:
- Portion the cake. If you have an entire cheesecake to freeze, it’s best to divide it into several days-worth-of-cheesecake portions. This way, you defrost one bit at a time and eat all of it the same day. If you find it more convenient, you can also freeze the cheesecake sliced.
- Wrap the portions. The longer you think your cheesecake will sit in the freezer, the better wrapped it should be. For long-term storage (like 1+ months), wrapping the cake with plastic wrap and aluminum foil is probably the best approach. But if you know you’re going to finish the cake within a few weeks, you can take it easy and place the portions into separate freezer bags. That’s what I usually do (see my photos). Label everything with the name and date if you like.
- Freeze the cheesecake. Once all the portions or slices are well wrapped, it’s time to place them in the freezer. If your cheesecake is one of those firm and dense ones (like mine), it’s going to be fine no matter where you place it. But if the filling is on the softer side, watch closely where you put it or place it in an airtight container so that it doesn’t get squished by other foods.
That’s it. The whole process takes up to 5 minutes, depending on how long it takes you to slice and wrap the portions.
Cheesecake freezes pretty much solid, and it’s very difficult (or even impossible) to slice it while frozen. If you need individual slices, you need to cut up the cake before freezing.
Freezer Bags vs. Food Wrap & Aluminum Foil
Many sites and bakers recommend wrapping the cheesecake with food wrap (or something similar) and then with a final layer of aluminum foil.
It’s undeniably a great setup that protects the cake from cold temperatures well. But it’s not the one that I usually go with.
The combination of plastic wrap and aluminum foil produces a lot of waste. You can maybe reuse the foil, but the wrap definitely ends up in the trash can.
Plus, it takes at least a couple of minutes and some patience to wrap the cake properly.
On the other hand, you have freezer bags. Putting the cheesecake in a bag takes a couple of seconds, and you can reuse that bag until it’s worn out.
Sure, it doesn’t protect the cheesecake as well as the mentioned combo, but it gets you 90 percent of the results while minimizing the time needed and the waste produced. I don’t know about you, but I count that as a win.
All in all, if your cheesecake will sit in the freezer for more than a month, wrapping it with food wrap and aluminum foil is worth it. But if it’s going to sit there for only a couple of weeks, going with freezer bags should be okay.
Freezing Cheesecake Slices – Alternative Approach
Say you want to freeze your cheesecake sliced, but you don’t have a dozen freezer bags and don’t want to wrap each slice with food wrap.
There’s a simple way to go around that, and you might know it from freezing fruits, veggies, or, e.g., whipped cream. I’m talking about pre-freezing the slices and then packing them together.
Here’s how you can freeze cheesecake slices:
- Slice the cheesecake. Go with as many slices as you like.
- Pre-freeze the slices. Grab a cookie sheet, and line it with a silicone mat (my favorite) or parchment paper. Place the pieces onto it in a single layer in a way they don’t touch one another. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 4 hours so that the slices freeze solid.
- Transfer the slices into a freezer bag and back in the freezer. Now that they are frozen, they won’t stick together, and you can freeze them all in a single bag. Remember to hurry once the cookie sheet is out of the freezer. You don’t want the slices to thaw too much and freeze together.
That’s how to go about freezing cheesecake slices if you don’t want to use a ton of foil and don’t have a stash of freezer bags on hand.
Slicing the cheesecake and freezing it all in a single bag (like you do with bread, for example) may or may not work. Depending on the cheesecake filling, the slices might (but don’t have to) freeze together in a way you can’t easily separate them. The approach above is a simple solution to the issue.
How Long Can You Freeze Cheesecake?
Try to eat the cheesecake within about three months of freezing. Of course, the sooner you defrost and consume it, the better quality you should expect.
The three-month period is only a rough estimate, not a line in the sand. If your cheesecake is well wrapped, it should still be quite tasty after 4 or even 5 months. But it’ll probably taste better if you eat it sooner,
The way I go about freezing most food products, including ready-to-eat desserts like cheesecake, is to try to eat them within about a month.
After I freeze anything, it takes me about a month to completely forget about it being in the freezer. And unless it’s in front or I stumble upon it when searching for something else, I’m not going to remember that it’s there. And that’s how you end up with food that sits in the freezer for years.
To avoid that fate, I try to use the frozen food within a few weeks. Sometimes I even mark the date on the calendar. If you’re looking for inspiration, “cheesecake day” sounds nice.
How To Defrost Frozen Cheesecake
The best method to defrost cheesecake is to place it in the fridge the night before you need it. The whole process takes anywhere between 4 to even 12 hours, depending on how tall and dense the cheesecake is.
To ensure thawing goes smoothly, make sure the cheesecake is only lightly wrapped. For example, if you wrapped it in food wrap and aluminum foil, take the foil off. If it was wrapped and in a container, take it out of the container.
Leaving a single layer of protection is important because it will prevent the cheesecake from drying out, picking up smells, or being contaminated by any microbes that might be living in your fridge.
One more thing – there might be some frost on the surface of the cheesecake after freezing. And it turns into water after thawing. It’s not a big deal, though – you can grab a paper towel and get rid of it in a couple of seconds.
If you don’t have those 4 to 12 hours, you can:
- Defrost it on the counter at room temperature. Remember to keep the cake wrapped and to eat it immediately after defrosting. Also, remember that this still takes at least 2 to 4 hours, so it’s by no means a quick fix.
- Defrost it in the microwave. Set your microwave on low (30 – 50 percent) or defrost, and go for it. Start with longer intervals (like 1-minute long), and gradually shorten them to 20-second ones as your cheesecake defrosts. If you feel like the cheesecake warms up too quickly, place a glass of water in the microwave or lower the power.
Defrosting cheesecake in the refrigerator, besides safety, offers the best quality. Use other options only as a last resort.
Once you have the cheesecake defrosted, eat it within 2 to 3 days.
Can You Refreeze Cheesecake?
You can safely refreeze cheesecake if you defrosted it in the fridge. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true if you took shortcuts and thawed yours on the counter or in the microwave.
Refreezing being unsafe is one of the most common misconceptions about freezing foods in general.
That said, it doesn’t mean that you can refreeze cheesecake countless times without any negative consequences. That’s not how this works.
When you freeze cheesecake, its quality degrades a bit. And if you defrost it and then freeze it again, the quality suffers too. As you might imagine, each time the cycle repeats, flavor loss occurs.
Long story short, it’s okay to refreeze cheesecake, but you should probably avoid it for the sake of your cake’s flavor. If you don’t know how much you’re going to need at a time, freeze the cheesecake sliced instead.
Can You Freeze Cheesecake Batter?
Freezing unbaked cheesecake batter probably isn’t the best idea.
The batter, in most cases, will be slightly watery and separated after defrosting, kind of like cream cheese is. And you’re going to need to deal with that before you can bake the cake.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t do this. You can, but remember that you’ll have to deal with the texture change.
Instead, it’s much better to prep and bake that cheesecake, and then freeze it. The overall quality will be better, plus you’ll avoid the texture problems whatsoever.
But, say, you’re all out of graham crackers for the crust. Or don’t have the time to bake the cake. That’s okay.
You can refrigerate the batter for maybe 2 to 3 days, and that should give you enough time to buy the ingredients you’re missing. Or find the time to bake the cheesecake.
Long story short, freeze unbaked cheesecake batter only if you can’t bake it within the next 2 to 3 days. And expect that you’ll have to remove some moisture and do a bunch of stirring before that batter is useable.