Did you just stumble upon an excellent deal for mozzarella in bulk and are deliberating how to store it for longer? Or you are wondering whether you can freeze mozzarella cheese.
This article will cover these and more questions and answers about freezing mozzarella cheese. We have included step-by-step guides for freezing fresh mozzarella, mozzarella blocks, cheese stick, grated and shredded mozzarella, and more. Read on for some useful tips for thawing the mozzarella and the best ways to use it after it has been defrosted.
In general, freezing any type of cheese will lead to a change of texture. This means that the mozzarella you have stored in the freezer will be more suitable for use for cooking and melting rather than snacking on it directly.
Still, if you do it properly, you can successfully freeze the mozzarella and thus prevent the wastage of food and money, and have some cheese handy in the freezer whenever you need it.
Here is our guide on how to freeze mozzarella cheese.
Freezing Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh mozzarella is submerged in brine and thus has high water content. This means that it will very likely develop ice crystals when frozen. And as a result, its texture will change quite drastically.
But if you have too much leftover fresh mozzarella, you can still freeze it and then use it as a topping or for melting.
Once you thaw it, the fresh mozzarella will be quite watery. This is why you should defrost it completely before adding it to a dish.
Defrosted fresh mozzarella will still be yummy when used for making mac and cheese or when melted on toast.
Here is How to Freeze Fresh Mozzarella
Depending on what you are planning on using the frozen fresh mozzarella for, you can freeze it as a whole ball or slice it up and then freeze it. If you are using the entire ball for cooking, then you can freeze it whole. When you slice it and freeze the slices separately, you can take them out and use only as many as you need from the freezer.
To freeze the fresh mozzarella, do the following:
Take the cheese out of the brine. Strain it and let as much water ooze from it as possible.
Portion the fresh mozzarella in the form you will be using it. Either freeze it as a whole ball or slice it into pieces.
If you slice the cheese, place the slices on a paper towel to help remove as much moisture as possible.
Place the mozzarella ball or the slices in freezer bags. If you are freezing the pieces in a single bag, make sure to arrange them in a single layer. This will make taking out only one or a few slices at a time out easier.
If you are freezing it in slices, lay the freezer bag flat in the freezer. Keep it that way until the slices have become hard enough to stay in place. This will allow for easier separation of the separate pieces when it comes time for thawing them.
Label the bag with the name of the product and the date for better freezer organization.
Freezing Mozzarella Cheese Blocks
A mozzarella block has a much lower water content than fresh mozzarella. In fact, mozzarella in blocks has a texture and appearance which is more similar to a semi-hard cheese rather than a soft one.
The lower moisture of the mozzarella cheese blocks makes them much easier and better for freezing than the fresh cheese. It also means that once you thaw it, the mozzarella won’t have such a drastic change in texture, and you can use it as you like rather than just melted or for cooking.
Here is How to Freeze Mozzarella Cheese Blocks
For the best results, when freezing a mozzarella cheese block, we recommend that you either slice it in pieces or shred it.
The form you choose depends on how you plan on using the cheese after time.
If you plan to use it to make cheese sticks, then it is better to cut it and freeze it in sticks or portions.
In case you will be using the mozzarella as a topping for a casserole, pizza, or other meal, then it makes sense to shred it and then freeze it like that.
If you don’t have specific plans for the usage of the cheese, then it is easier to shred it and freeze it shredded. After all, shredded mozzarella can be used as a topping for pizza, pasta, and a number of other delicious dishes and snacks.
Here is How to Freeze the Mozzarella in Portions or Sticks
Here are the several easy steps to freezing your mozzarella block in portions or sticks:
Slice or portion the mozzarella block in accordance with your preferences and the recipes you will be using it for. If you are making homemade cheese sticks, cut the cheese into sticks or in several larger blocks that you can easily slice after it has thawed.
Wrap each of the portions tightly with aluminum or freezer wrap. By wrapping the pieces, you will prevent them from drying out.
Place the sticks in an airtight container or a freezer bag once the portions are wrapped. Try removing as much air as possible before sealing the bag. If you choose not to wrap the pieces separately, then make sure that the portions are placed away from each other in the bag or box. This will make it easier to take out only as many portions as you need at a time.
One alternative method is to freeze the separate portions layered on a baking sheet first and then transfer them into the container of your choice.
Label the bag or container with the date to keep an eye on the shelf life of the mozzarella.
Useful tip: use this same freezing method for freezing string cheese.
Here is How to Freeze Grated or Shredded Mozzarella
If you will be using the mozzarella as a topping, it is better and easier to shred it or grate it first.
It will be drier than normal when defrosted but will still be ok when melted and used as a topping.
Here are the steps for freezing shredded or grated mozzarella:
Grate the mozzarella. The easiest way to grate this soft Italian cheese is to place the block in the freezer for about 10-30 minutes. This will make it firm and easier to grate. Shred the cheese into the grating size you prefer.
Flash-freeze the shredded mozzarella on a baking sheet. First of all, use a silicone mat or aluminum foil to line the baking sheet. Spread the shredded cheese on top of the mat or foil and place the baking sheet in the freezer until it is frozen solid.
Once the shredded mozzarella is frozen solid, use a spatula to break it down into manageable chunks.
Transfer the chunks of shredded mozzarella into freezer bags or airtight containers.
Label each container or bag with the date and name of the product.
Place it in the freezer.
Related: Best Mozzarella Cheese Shredders
What is The Best Way to Thaw Mozzarella?
Now that you have some frozen mozzarella, you are probably asking yourself how to thaw it when it is time to use the cheese?
There are several ways to use the frozen mozzarella and several methods for thawing it, including:
Letting it thaw in the refrigerator. Place the frozen mozzarella in its bag or container or wrapping in the refrigerator, and let it defrost for a few hours. Shredded cheese will thaw faster than larger pieces of mozzarella. For the best result, leave the frozen mozzarella in the refrigerator overnight.
Leaving it on the counter. This is a recommended method for defrosting mozzarella, but only if it is shredded or thinly sliced. If it can thaw in less than an hour, then you can leave the frozen mozzarella out at room temperature. Make sure to use it immediately after that to stay safe.
Don’t thaw it and use it frozen. This can be done if you are planning on melting the frozen mozzarella. You can spread the frozen mozzarella directly on the bread, pizza, casserole, or other meal and let the oven or toaster melt it.
Never use a microwave to defrost the mozzarella.
Useful tip: if your frozen mozzarella ends up too wet after thawing it, you can use a paper towel to pat it dry prior to adding it to your meal or snack.
The Best Ways To Use Frozen Mozzarella
Since mozzarella, which is packaged and stored properly, can last in the freezer for up to 9 months, you will have a lot of time to use it up.
The question is – what are the best ways to use the frozen mozzarella?
First and foremost, always try to freeze the mozzarella in the form and portions you plan to use. This will help prevent the wastage of food in the future because it is not advisable to thaw it and then freeze any leftover cheese again.
After the mozzarella has defrosted, you can proceed to use it as intended.
As a topping
Mozzarella used as a topping can make just about any dish taste better. You can use the thawed mozzarella on top of a pizza, on a casserole, or simply on bread. Let the oven or toaster do its magic.
Mozzarella can add a special texture and taste when melted and mixed into a creamy soup or used for making scrambled eggs. Use the thawed mozzarella as you would if it were fresh.
The good news is that you can use the frozen mozzarella for just about any recipe which calls for melted Italian cheese.
Make homemade cheese sticks. Take the frozen sticks out of the freezer and let them thaw overnight in the fridge. Then prepare your cheese sticks as you usually would.