Mexican cuisines are often incomplete without a generous helping of cotija cheese. Cotija cheese is a hard cow milk-based cheese with a distinctively salty flavor. It is commonly used in tostadas, salads, and soups. Maybe people living outside this South American country might not have tasted it. But, it is a prominent ingredient in various Mexican cuisine in restaurants globally.
Since cotija cheese is made from cow’s milk, it is tasty and has a robust flavor. But, you cannot consume it much in one sitting because of the excessive salt content. So, you could have sufficient leftovers if you open a packet of cotija cheese. Therefore, there can be questions asked about its preservation. Generally, people ask, “Can you freeze cotija cheese?”
Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?
Yes, it is possible to freeze cotija cheese, but it depends on its quality. So, we recommend you check its quality before freezing. Secondly, exposure to air and moisture can spoil the cheese quickly. Therefore, wrapping it well is crucial.
How To Freeze Cotija Cheese?
Since cotija cheese is hard, the ice crystal formation during freezing does not impact its texture or flavor.
You can freeze cotija cheese in multiple ways.
Freezing An Entire Block Of Cotija Cheese
You can freeze an entire cotija cheese block if required. The prime requirement is to wrap the cheese from all sides to prevent exposure to air and moisture. It is advisable to have a cling film layer before wrapping it in aluminum or tin foil.
Place the wrapped cheese in freezer bags. Expel residual air from the bag before sealing it airtight. We advise labeling the bag to let you monitor the freezing and defrosting process. Then, push the bag into the freezer and let the cheese freeze.
Freezing Cotija Cheese Slices
Freezing an entire cotija cheese block is easy, but there can be problems when defrosting it. You cannot slice frozen cotija cheese easily. Therefore, we recommend cutting the cotija cheese into consumable portions before freezing them.
- Slice the cotija cheese block, preferably into 1-2 inch pieces. Pieces thinner than an inch can disintegrate.
- Please use greaseproof paper for wrapping the cheese. Then, follow it up with clingfilm for additional protection.
- Place the wrapped cheese in a freezer-safe ziplock bag or airtight container.
- Please ensure complete air removal from the bags before sealing them airtight. A vacuum sealer is an excellent option because it perfectly squeezes out all the excess air.
- We suggest labeling the bag before placing it deep inside the freezer.
How Long Can You Keep Cotija Cheese Frozen In The Freezer?
Theoretically, cotija cheese can remain fresh indefinitely if frozen perfectly. However, we do not recommend freezing cotija cheese for more than six to nine months.
How Long Can You Refrigerate Cotija Cheese?
Refrigerating cotija cheese is also a good option for preserving cotija cheese if you wish to use it frequently. It can last for one to two weeks in the refrigerator. So, if your requirement is for an extended period, freezing cotija cheese is the right option.
How Do You Defrost Frozen Cotija Cheese?
Remember that it is never advisable to thaw cotija cheese at room temperature because it will lose its moisture and dry out fast. So, ideally, the best way to defrost cotija cheese is to remove the frozen cheese from the freezer area and transfer them to the fridge overnight.
Depending on the block size, this process takes six to eight hours to defrost cotija cheese. If you have time issues, you can try this alternative defrosting mode. Submerge the wrapped cheese in a bowl containing warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. It expedites the defrosting process. To complete the thawing process, you can transfer the partially defrosted blocks/slices to the fridge.
We advise not to keep the defrosted cotija cheese for extended periods in the refrigerator.
Can You Refreeze Cotija Cheese?
We advise not to refreeze cotija cheese because the rapid changes in the temperature can adversely affect the cheese texture and make it unpalatable.
Can You Freeze Grated Cotija Cheese?
You can freeze grated cotija cheese, but it is essential to wrap them in new parchment paper after you use it every time. We also advise sealing the freezer bag tight after removing the grated cotija cheese for defrosting.
Can You Freeze Shredded Cotija Cheese?
Shredded cotija cheese is similar to grated cotija cheese. Hence, you can freeze shredded cotija cheese, similar to how you freeze grated cotija cheese. The primary requirement is to prevent exposure to air and moisture.
Can You Freeze Homemade Cotija Cheese?
You can freeze homemade cotija cheese in the way described here. However, homemade cheese does not have preservatives. So, you have to be additionally careful when freezing them.
Can You Freeze Store-Bought Cotija Cheese?
It is possible to freeze store-bought cotija cheese the same way you freeze homemade cotija cheese.
Can You Freeze The Soft Mexican Cojota Cheese?
The soft Mexican Cojota cheese is a cotija cheese variant. This cheese is available in yellow and white varieties. You can freeze the soft Mexican Cojota cheese and improve its lifespan.
Can You Freeze The Aged Versions Of Cotija Cheese?
The aged versions of cotija cheese have a more pungent taste. You can freeze the aged versions of cotija cheese the way described here.
Can You Freeze The Spanish Version Of The Mexican Cotija Cheese?
It is possible to freeze the Spanish cotija cheese. However, we recommend wrapping the individual slices in parchment paper and vacuum sealing the freezer bags before freezing. This cheese can remain frozen for two to six months.
Can You Freeze Queso Fresco?
Queso Fresco is similar to cotija cheese. Compared to Queso Fresco, cotija has a milder flavor. However, you can freeze queso fresco, similar to freezing cotija cheese.
Cotija cheese is an excellent Mexican cuisine item that is not well known. Cotija cheese has a lower shelf life, making it imperative to freeze. Besides, the cheese is salty. So, you cannot consume them in large quantities. Therefore, leftovers are common. Hence, freezing cotija cheese is viable.
Can you freeze cotija cheese to extend its lifespan? Yes, you can, provided you wrap the cheese properly and prevent exposure to air and moisture.