Too much cottage cheese in the fridge? No matter if you’ve bought too much, or completely forgot about a couple of containers, you don’t want it to go to waste. Your first question is: “how to freeze cottage cheese?” and right after that “can you even do it?”.
The good news is that you can freeze cottage cheese, and the whole process is super simple. The bad news is that freezing and thawing changes this dairy product, and for some uses, these changes are detrimental. Let’s dive into details.
Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese?
For starters, you should know that producers generally don’t recommend freezing cottage cheese, and the reasons they give are perfectly valid. Here’s what Daisy Brand says about freezing their cottage cheese (DB):
Please avoid freezing your sour cream and cottage cheese, as it can adversely affect the creamy texture and all-natural flavor of the product.
If you didn’t quite believe that, here’s how frozen and (mostly, I was in a hurry) thawed cottage cheese looks like:
Doesn’t look all that appealing, does it? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t use that cottage cheese as a snack dip or a bread spread, and rightly so.
However, there are dozens of cooked dishes that call for cottage cheese. And in them the changes in texture and slight taste alteration don’t matter that much, if at all. I, for one, use thawed cottage cheese in pancakes, and it works beautifully. The batter before blending looks pretty much as usual:
And after cooking the pancakes turn out just fine when it comes to taste.
In case you were wondering, I use the recipe from Hurry The Food Up (HTFU) but there are hundreds of others to choose from, so I’m sure you can find one that appeals to you.
The bottom line is, frozen and thawed cottage cheese works well only in cooked or baked recipes. If you freeze it, choose one of such and you should be alright.
Now it’s time to talk about the actual freezing.
How To Freeze Cottage Cheese
One of the best things about freezing this dairy product is that it only takes a couple of minutes of active time.
The whole process is simple and very similar to freezing ricotta cheese. No need for fancy time-consuming prep. Let’s get to it.
Before you start, plan on how you’re going to use the thawed cheese, so you can portion it for freezing accordingly. This way, you avoid the leftovers issue.
- Portion the cheese into freezer containers or bags. Of course, it’s much easier to portion the product if you know how you’re going to use it. If you don’t have an idea yet, go with smaller portions rather than bigger ones. It’s easier to find a recipe that needs half a cup of cottage cheese than one that requires two cups. When it comes to bags versus containers, it’s up to you. Bags tend to take less space, but containers are easier to clean up afterward. Your choice.
- Add labels with name and date if needed. That’s useful if you have a giant freezer and freeze stuff all the time. I usually skip this step as mine is only a couple of small drawers.
- Chuck everything into the freezer.
Done. You can leave that cottage cheese in the freezer for at least three months, and possibly more without noticeable lose of taste after thawing.
How To Defrost Cottage Cheese
Okay, you’ve got some frozen cottage cheese that looks like this:
There are a couple of options to defrost it:
- Overnight in the fridge. The most popular and the safest way of thawing. The only downside is that it takes quite some time and requires planning.
- In cold water. To speed things up, you can put the container or bag with the frozen product into cold or lukewarm water. This way, you should be able to thaw it within a couple of hours, depending on the size of the portion and the packaging (bags defrost faster).
- Add it frozen while cooking. If you’re preparing a soup or a stew, you might get away with adding the frozen clump of cottage cheese directly to the pot and let it defrost there.
Uses of Thawed Cottage Cheese
As I already mentioned, defrosted cottage cheese works well only in cooked dishes. Fortunately, there are quite a lot of options out there, including:
- Cheesecake and similar cakes
- Creamy soups
- Casseroles and pastas (mac and cheese, anyone?)
When looking for recipes, google phrases like “cottage cheese cheesecake”, “cottage cheese soup”, and so on. You’re bound to find a bunch of interesting results to choose from.