Got a surplus of feta and no plans of using it anytime soon? Can you freeze feta cheese?
Or maybe you just want to make sure if freezing feta in your case makes sense.
If you want to learn a thing or two about freezing feta cheese, you’re in the right place. Read on.
Can You Freeze Feta Cheese?
You can freeze feta cheese blocks, crumbles, or cubes, depending on what makes the most sense for your needs. No matter the form you cheese, frozen feta cheese retains quality for at least three months, probably longer.
Of course, it’s not like feta is unchanged by freezing.
Fresh feta is tastier and has a more pleasant texture than one that’s frozen and thawed. Because of that, using feta fresh is the best solution here.
Furthermore, feta submerged in brine can last for up to a few weeks, so it’s not like you’re in a hurry. In most cases, you still have at least a couple of days to use that leftover feta cheese without freezing it.
That said, feta freezes fairly well, at least compared to other cheeses, such as Brie or cream cheese, that can be used only in cooked or baked dishes after defrosting. Feta, on the other hand, still tastes quite alright after freezing and defrosting.
The two things that are changed by freezing the most are texture and taste. Thawed feta becomes more crumbly and sometimes loses some of its saltiness. While the former is usually a bad thing, the latter depends on your taste. Some people find less-salty feta better.
(Plus, you can always fix feta that’s not salty enough, which I mention in the section on defrosting.)
All in all, as long as the texture change doesn’t ruin the dish you’re preparing, you should be just fine with using frozen and thawed feta. That means it should work well in all cooked meals, but not necessarily in all salads. So make sure to test out your favorite salad recipe with thawed feta before serving it to your guests.
Here’s pasta with spinach and thawed (and then cooked) feta, which turned out really good:
How to Freeze Feta Cheese?
The process of freezing feta is super simple and takes a couple of minutes tops. Since freezing blocks is a bit different than freezing crumbled feta, I decided to prepare separate instructions for each.
How to Freeze Feta Blocks?
- Prep the feta. Feta blocks come with some brine, and we need to strain it before freezing. That means if your package is still unopened, now’s the time. Discard the brine and pat the block with a paper towel. Don’t try to remove all the water, though. Removing most of it is good enough.
- Portion the feta cheese. If the whole block is too much for the dish that feta will go into, divide it into smaller portions. If you’re not sure about the portion size, it’s always better to go with smaller ones, as they are more versatile.
- Package. If you’re freezing feta for the short term (like up to a couple of weeks), just throw it into a freezer bag. If you suspect it might sit in the freezer for longer, wrap it with plastic wrap, and then chuck into a bag. Remove as much air from the bag as you can and seal it tightly. Write the name and date on the label if needed. If you’re worried that the cheese will get squashed before it freezes, put that freezer bag in a freezer container. If you already know that you’re going to use the feta cubed, you might as well cube it before freezing, just like I did.
- Put the freezer bag or bags into the freezer. Once the cheese freezes, it looks like this:
How to Freeze Crumbled Feta?
- Portion the cheese. If the whole container is too much, divide its contents into a couple of portions.
- Packaging. The plastic container that crumbled feta usually comes in is perfect for freezing. If you have a few portions, transfer the others into freezer containers or bags. For long-term storage, consider adding another layer of protection by putting the prepared containers into a freezer bag. As usual, add name and date if needed.
- Stick the prepared packages in the freezer.
When freezing feta crumbles, the most important part is to keep the cheese crumbs from sticking to one another before they freeze. That’s why it’s best to freeze them in a container, that’ll provide some protection against squashing.
Once the cheese has frozen, you can take it out of the container and transfer it to a bag if need be.
How to Defrost Frozen Feta Cheese?
Thaw frozen feta cheese in the fridge. Depending on the size of the block or package, it might take between 3 and 12 (for larger blocks) hours, so plan accordingly.
I usually go with defrosting overnight, so whatever I need is ready in the morning.
If you’re in a hurry, you can speed things up by putting the package in a bowl of cold water. This way, defrosting shouldn’t take longer than a couple of hours.
If the thawed feta lacks saltiness, prepare brine (2 tsp salt per 1 cup water) and submerge the cheese in it for a couple of hours. If, on the other hand, thawed feta is still too salty for your taste, submerge it in water for a few hours.
How to Use Thawed Feta Cheese?
Here are a couple of ways you can use frozen and thawed feta:
- Cooked and baked dishes, like casseroles, stews, pizzas, or frittatas.
- Melting feta over pasta in a skillet. I didn’t know that feta combines that well with pasta until I ate such a dish while visiting friends.
- Sauces. There is a bunch of thick sauces that call for feta, and thawed feta should work perfectly well in those.
- Salads. These can be dicey. Strain the excess water after thawing the dairy product, and start with a small batch as a test.