Before you even consider if you can freeze Ricotta cheese, there are some considerations to keep in mind. While we all know Ricotta cheese is a delicious treat, whether as a side dish, appetizer, snack, or even as a main dish, we need to make sure it is well taken care of prior to making the decision of freezing it.
What Exactly is Ricotta Cheese?
This type of cheese is a very watery, creamy dairy product made up of liquid and fine curds. Usually, this type of cheese is a result of leftover whey from other cheeses, but you can also find homemade ricotta from simple ingredients such as milk and lemon juice.
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
The answer is yes. You can freeze this type of cheese, but the way of doing so, is extremely important. It is definitely a necessity in some cases, especially, if you know the cheese will spoil and you don’t want to lose it.
However, you have to remember that despite being able to freeze Ricotta, its flavor will probably not be the same. Some of the things that could happen when freezing Ricotta cheese include losing its moisture, as ice will form on it, which results in a different texture when thawing it. Also, it’s harder to cut your frozen cheese.
You can also—as it happens with most things frozen—have freezer burn, which occurs when moisture leaves the cheese and evaporates in the cold air, to then re-freeze on the surface of the cheese. This is probably the biggest concern, since the taste will likely be unbearable.
Best Ways to Freeze Ricotta
Keep the same container the cheese came in, if and only if the cheese has never been opened. Otherwise, place the cheese in a freezer bag—Ziploc bag—and press as much air out as you can, then seal it tight. You can also use airtight containers, and if you don’t have anything else, try it out with aluminum foil. Or you can try some of these environmentally friendly freezer containers.
Here’s a secret, the best way to freeze a cheese is once it has been included in a previous dish. So, if you have the time and want to make something with your cheese beforehand, try putting it in a cooked or pre-made meal, and then freeze it.
If you have large quantities of cheese, make sure you divide it in portions and different bags or containers. I recommend bags no bigger than 8 to 10 ounces. Try these “perfect portions” bags for better freezing.
Also, make sure you label the bag with the freezing date—more than 45 days in the freezer will most surely spoil your cheese. The less time you freeze it, the minimum chance of freezing burn and ruined texture.
Tip: You can also drain the cheese before freezing it. Try taking the extra liquid out by pressing on it with a paper towel and a plate.
How to Use Ricotta Cheese After It Has Been Frozen
Since your Ricotta cheese is now less creamy and has lost some of its original fat, I recommend you use the cheese in recipes that don’t necessarily require it fresh. Some perfect examples include lasagna, creamy pasta or casseroles.
Once you have removed the Ricotta cheese from the freezer, you must use all of it almost immediately. Never refreeze it. Whether it’s wintertime and you want to make a delicious casserole, a baked pastry, or your family is coming over and you want to make lasagna, use your frozen cheese all at once.
If you don’t have a recipe at hand, try one of these 55 Ricotta cheese recipes, but make sure that the thawed cheese is not the main attraction of the recipe, as happens with cheesecake, as its texture isn’t ideal. Try instead, to use your frozen Ricotta as a compliment.
Thawing Ricotta Cheese
First, you have to make sure you have space in your refrigerator for your cheese. Never thaw anything in over 40°F for more than two hours, as bacteria will rapidly begin multiplying. Despite the whole process taking a bit longer, it is safest for you and your cheese, to thaw in your fridge.
Keep in mind the texture might be weird, but it is a good way of saving your unused cheese. Once you take out the cheese from its freezing container, use a fork to mix the curds and the liquid that became separated because of the cold. This trick will make the cheese creamy again.
Eat it immediately after thawing, if possible, or at a maximum of 48 hours, after that, your cheese needs to be discarded.
Then… Should I Freeze my Ricotta Cheese?
I won’t say no, but I do recommend consuming the cheese fresh. Everything is different once it has been frozen and thawed. Use the freezer as a last option and keep the freezing time at the minimum whenever possible.
Are you freezing your Ricotta now? Let me know how it went and what you did with it after on the comments below! Enjoy!