Does Blue Cheese Go Bad?

So you’ve bought a wedge of blue cheese to add to a cheese plate you made for a birthday party. You also purchased another wedge just in case it’s needed. And now you find yourself with one that’s nearing the date on its package. So you ask yourself: does blue cheese go bad?

Or maybe you decided to go with crumbled blue cheese because you needed some to make blue cheese dressing. And choosing the crumbled variety seemed much more convenient. The product has quite a long shelf life, but now you’re wondering how long can you store the leftovers. Or to put it another way, when you need to cook another dish that features the blue cheese dressing, so you don’t have to discard the rest.

If you’d like to learn a thing or two about storage, shelf life, or going bad of blue cheese, this article is for you. In it, we talk about both blue cheese wedges and the crumbled variety, so we’ve got you covered either way.

A wedge of blue cheese.
Image used under Creative Commons from cookbookman17

How To Store Blue Cheese

Let’s start with wedges of blue cheese. Like other cheeses, such as brie or cream cheese, you should store blue cheese in the fridge. The best temperature for blue cheese is the temperature similar to in which it matured. That means it’s somewhere between 46°F – 55°F (or 8°C – 13°C). The temperature in a typical fridge is usually a bit lower, so putting the cheese in the crisper drawer helps.

Now let’s talk about how to store blue cheese exactly. Generally, you want to wrap the cheese, so it doesn’t dry out, but at the same time, it should be able to breathe. The mold on the cheese is a living thing and needs some air to live. Without it, the cultures can suffocate, and the blue cheese will spoil early.

If you’ve bought the cheese pre-packed, you can continue using the wrap it came in after opening the package. If you’re getting a fresh cut from the wheel, or you need to repackage blue cheese, use cheese paper, waxed paper, or aluminum foil. And don’t wrap it too tightly, so it can breathe.

Warning

Keep blue cheese away from other cheeses if possible, so the spores of mold from your blue cheese won’t contaminate them.

When it comes to crumbled blue cheese, proper storage of it is plain and simple. Just keep it in the fridge, and once you opened the package, make sure to seal it tightly before putting back into storage. That’s it.

How Long Does Blue Cheese Last

Once again, let’s start with wedges of blue cheese. Generally, soft-ripened cheeses last around 1 to 2 months. If you’ve bought it fresh from the wheel and follow proper storage practices, you can assume it should be great for at least such period.

A wedge of blue cheese
(credit: Jez Timms)

A wrapped wedge you buy in your local grocery usually comes with a sell-by date, which is a pretty good starting point. Of course, the cheese should still be pretty good for a week or maybe two after that date, but don’t expect miracles. Also, opening the package and cutting off some doesn’t change much in terms of how long it keeps.

When it comes to crumbled blue cheese, it usually has a much longer shelf life, even up to half a year. Generally, as long as the package remains unopened, it should retain freshness until the date on the label, and maybe up to 2 to 3 weeks more. But once you open up the container, you should finish it within about a week for best results, a few days more if you’re okay with not-so-great blue cheese.

 Fridge
Blue cheese wedge (unopened or opened)2 months or sell-by + 1 week
Blue cheese crumbled (unopened)Sell-by + 2 – 3 weeks
Blue cheese crumbled (opened)1 week

Please note the periods above are estimates only.

How To Tell If Blue Cheese Has Gone Bad

Blue cheese is milk cheese which has had a mold penicillium culture added to it. The final cheese product is veined or spotted throughout with blue mold. The “flesh” of the cheese is white or creamy, and that’s the first place you should look at when you want to check if it’s okay to eat. If this area has turned pink, green, brown, or much more yellow than it used to, it’s time to discard the cheese. Same thing if it smells like ammonia or something similar.

If it looks and smells okay, feel free to give it a taste, and decide based on that if it’s good enough to eat.

Info

Blue cheese is salty from the get-go, but it becomes even more biting with age. In other words, it’s expected to become more salty over time.