You have some leftover parmesan, and you’re worried that the cheese will go bad before you can use it. Can you freeze parmesan cheese?
Long story short, it all depends on what exactly you have on hand.
If it’s a wedge of parm that you just opened, it should easily last for months in the fridge. In this case, freezing is probably not necessary, but you can do it if you want.
But if it’s shredded or grated parmesan, either store-bought or not, the leftovers won’t take long until they lose quality. In such a case, freezing is definitely something to consider.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of freezing this popular Italian cheese.
Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese?
Okay, so you decided you want to freeze your leftover parmesan. But before you do so, you probably want to know how that works out. Fair enough.
For starters, you should know that freezing Parmigiano Reggiano whole (in the form of a piece or wedge) isn’t recommended ([PR, RIU]).
The main issue here is that the cheese will lose its crumbliness ([PR]). That will make it difficult to grate, which is a bummer if you want to melt grated parm on top of anything.
Fortunately, not all is lost. In most cases, you want to grate the parm anyway, and freezing grated Parmigiano Reggiano works quite alright ([RIU]). Plus, if you process it now, you’re going to have it ready whenever needed.
Of course, if you buy it pre-shredded, the processing is already done for you, and all you need is to freeze it.
If you’re okay with the texture change, feel free to freeze a wedge of parm. If not, stick with freezing it grated.
How To Freeze Parmesan?
As you already know, freezing grated or shredded parmesan is the preferred way. And that’s how I freeze mine.
The whole process is simple and requires only a couple of minutes of active time. Here’s how to freeze your parm:
- Grate it (if it’s not already).
- Pre-freeze. Grab a cookie sheet and line it with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or a silicone mat (my favorite). Transfer the grated cheese onto it and spread evenly. Put the tray into the freezer for a couple of hours until it freezes.
- Transfer frozen cheese into a container or freezer bag. Get the cookie sheet from the freezer, and check if the grated cheese sticks together. If it does (kind of like my mozzarella), grab a spatula and cut it up into small pieces (mine didn’t). Then pour everything into a freezer container or bag. Add a label is you like.
- Freeze. Put everything into the freezer, and you’re done.
You can skip pre-freezing if you’ve bought your parmesan grated. Grated parm usually has cellulose added so it doesn’t stick; hence pre-freezing isn’t necessary.
Your parmesan is ready to sit in the freezer for at least a couple of months.
When it comes to thawing, it’s not really needed. You can grab a pinch (or six) of parmesan whenever you need some, add it directly to the dish you’re cooking, and put the rest back into the freezer. It’s super convenient, and you don’t have to worry about it growing mold or anything.
If you want to add some shaved parm to a salad, let it sit for 10 minutes before serving it. This way, the cheese has some time to defrost.
How To Use Frozen Grated Parmesan?
Long story short, you can use frozen grated parmesan the same way you’d use regular grated parm.
Looking for some ideas? Here’s a couple:
- Melt over pasta (here’s a quick garlic parmesan spaghetti) or top a pasta salad
- Add to a soup (here’s a pasta parmesan soup recipe)
- Make a stew (maybe this garlic parmesan chicken stew?)
For me, I used the parm I froze to top the puff pastry with egg and cherry tomatoes. You can see the photos all around this article. As you might expect, the cheese worked perfectly fine.