How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last?

If you’ve just bought ricotta for the first time, you might not be sure how long it keeps. How long does ricotta cheese last?

Or maybe yours is a day or two past its date, and you’re debating whether it’s still okay to eat or not.

Either way, I’ve got you covered.

In this article, I talk about shelf life, storage practices, and signs of spoilage of ricotta. If that’s the info you’re looking for, read on.

Ricotta cheese in hand
Container of ricotta cheese in hand

How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last?

Unopened ricotta cheese usually lasts for a couple of days past its date. Once you open the container, you should finish it in less than a week. The faster you consume it, the better the quality.

That’s the gist of it. Let’s talk details.

The shelf life of ricotta is, similar to cottage cheese, around¬†two weeks. That means buying a dozen containers in advance, unless you have specific plans for them, isn’t that great of an idea.

Each container has a date printed on it. Usually, it’s a “use-by” date, and it’s a good starting point.

Is the ricotta cheese bad if it’s past that date? Not necessarily.

If you keep it refrigerated at all times and put it in the fridge right when you return home from the supermarket, chances are it’ll keep for like 3 to 5 more days. Don’t expect miracles, though.

Warning

If your unopened ricotta is over a week past its date, discard it.

Open ricotta on countertop
Open ricotta on countertop

When it comes to open ricotta, it retains quality for about a week if you store it in an airtight container in the fridge ([SAP]).

Tip

If the container your ricotta cheese comes in isn’t resealable, transfer the leftovers to a plastic or glass food container.

Of course, how long it is until the date on the label also plays a role. If it’s around two weeks until its “use-by” date, it should last that whole week, maybe even longer.

But if it’s already near (or even past) that date, finish it within 2 to 3 days tops.

Warning

If your opened ricotta sits in the fridge for longer than a week, it’s probably safer to get rid of it.

If those periods aren’t long enough for your needs, you can always freeze ricotta.

Fridge
Ricotta cheese (unopened)“Use-by” date + 3 – 5 days
Ricotta cheese (opened)3 – 7 days

Please note the periods above are only estimates.

Ricotta in its container
Ricotta in its orignal, resealable container

How Do You Know That Ricotta Cheese Has Gone Bad?

Now that you know all about storage times, it’s time to talk about signs of spoilage.

Tip

If you’re opening ricotta near or past its date, or resuming one that sits in the fridge for a few days already, give it a check before eating.

The first thing to remember is that the ingredients in ricotta can separate a bit ([CFS]). Many people get concerned when they see some water or gel-like substance on top (see my photo below). Don’t worry, the dairy product is fine. All you need to do is stir it and use as normal ([CFS]).

Ricotta cheese - water on the surface
Some water on the surface of ricotta, nothing to worry about

Now let’s talk about the actual signs of spoilage. Those include:

  • Mold or black spots. If you can spot either, throw out the cheese. It doesn’t happen all that often, but who knows, it might happen to you.
  • Change of color. If your ricotta is turning yellow or orange, it’s time to let it go.
  • Cheese turns sour. If it starts to smell or taste sour, technically, it’s not spoiled, but you won’t like it. And it might ruin your recipe, so it’s best to get rid of it.

Like most other dairy products, if ricotta cheese looks, smells, and tastes okay, it probably is. If there’s something wrong, even if it’s not on the list above, play it on the safe and discard the product.

Ricotta in a plastic container
Ricotta in a plastic container, ready for storage

Sources