Is Cheese Safe To Eat Past The Expiration Date (2023)

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Is Cheese Safe To Eat Past The Expiration Date?

It is completely safe to eat cheese past its expiration date – if refrigerated or frozen properly, it can last past its expiration date. Furthermore, if there is mold growing on some part of it, you can just cut out that part and consume the rest without worrying about it having any adverse effects on you.

If the shelf life printed on the box of cheese has passed, use the following tests to see whether or not your cheese is still useable, or should be sent packing. Cheese past the expiration date is generally fine to eat as long as the mold has been removed and the cheese is still smells good. Even if a small amount of mold has grown, eating expired cheese is still probably safe if you remove mold and the cheese still smells good.

A small amount of mold may be able to be cut away, but if there is a large amount on the surface, or mold has gone into the cheese, then you are safer discarding it. It is also possible to tell the difference between fresh cheese and aged cheese by looking at the mold. The development of mold on the cheeses surface is normal, and it should not be discarded. As is the case with ultra-hard cheeses, you can certainly trim off molds and still enjoy a cheese, provided that they are not fully covered– Freier means that molds are totally natural. In fact, even if cheese has developed mold, that does not necessarily mean that you are going to get sick, because the human gut has been designed to handle a lot of naturally occurring mold.

It is entirely possible that how cheese is made and aged may convince you it is a product which does not degrade once past the shelf life. To figure out if cheese is safe to eat once it has passed its expiration date, it is important to evaluate the method by which these are determined. Semi-hard or semi-soft cheeses may be consumed up to two to four weeks after they pass their expiration date.

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Brie, cream cheese, ricotta, and other soft cheeses will last just days after you have opened the Brie. Semi-hard cheeses, such as Cheddar and Swiss, may last for two months after the suggested expiration date, while harder cheeses, such as Parmesan, last for four. While eating soft cheeses such as Camembert after the best-by date is asking for trouble, hard cheeses like Cheddar and Parmesan can be eaten after the best-by date.

Type of CheeseShelf Life (refrigerated 32-34°F)
Brie, cream cheese2 weeks
Cheddar and Swiss cheese2 months
Parmesan cheese4 months
Cottage cheese1-2 weeks

Hard cheeses, if they are not opened, are more often than not perfectly fine a month or two after their date on the label. Hard Cheeses When stored correctly in a refrigerator, one unopened package may be good for between two to four months. Once opened, hard cheeses keep their best qualities for one to two months, provided they are stored correctly. Once opened, hard cheeses such as Cheddar and Swiss cheeses will keep fresh for three or four weeks in the refrigerator, whereas softer varieties such as cottage cheese, Brie, and Bel Paese last for around one or two weeks.

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Hard cheeses can and will get some mold over time (especially if they are not wrapped and stored correctly), and the above colors are what you want to look for. Cheeses that will always have mold, whether it is just before or just after their expiration datesPackage-related Cheeses that always have mold are bloomy-rind cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert. Keep in mind, strong-flavored cheeses always smell strongly, and their flavors will increase the longer they are aged/ripened and living in your refrigerator. If you are planning on using brie in a recipe, be sure your establishment is buying fresh, so that you do not end up with the awkwardness of opening up that bag like new, preserving the mild cheese, only to discover it is developed mold.

You can still eat the food after this date, but determine whether or not it is spoilt by smell or taste. Use your best judgment and your gut feeling when making a decision about whether or not to save or throw out a cheese past the date listed. Cheeses are generally not given a use-by date, except for certain fresh cheeses like Ricotta and Bocconcinni, which then, technically, should not be consumed after this date. Often, expiration dates are guidelines, rather than strict rules, and generally refer to the quality, not the actual safety, of a product.

Best Before dates are far less strict, as they are outlining the quality of the food and not safety. Some types of shelf life dates – whether denoted as Used By, Sold By, or Best By – are meant only to be guidelines and not really indicative of the foods safety. Depending on the brand, a dates on a cheese package may indicate a use-by date to ensure best taste, or a shelf-life date, but it should not necessarily prevent you from eating that cheese. Remember, cheese, as well as many other dairy products, typically has either a “sell-by” date or a “best-by” date, which is just the latest date that a producer will guarantee a products quality, not its safety.

Yes — Unopened cheddar cheese typically remains safe for about 6 months, even after the shelf life date or best by date on the package has expired. Even cream cheese that has been sitting on a shelf for two or three weeks past the best-by date is usually fine. In general, solid, semi-solid, or processed cheeses last only as long as they are mixed with a fast-expiring, solid component.

You can help your cheese stay fresh longer by keeping it refrigerated at 40F or lower right after every use. For longer-term options, except for Parmesan blocks, again, you can freeze your hard cheeses for several months, while still preserving their flavor, as long as you use freezer-safe containers with no oxygen. If shredded cheese is close to it is best-by date, and you do not plan on using it anytime soon, just throw it into the freezer. Pre-shredded or grated parmesan, though (and no, not the kind from a can) can last far longer without risk, since aged cheese is so dry to begin with.

How long does cheese last in the fridge?

Cheese can be kept in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days after it has opened. Cottage cheese, like other types of cheese, can be frozen to extend its shelf life and assistitfor a longer period. You can store unopened cottage cheese in the freezer for 3-6 months.

How can you tell if cheese is spoiled?

Look for telltale signs like a particularly slimy surface, black, cracked, and dry patches in hard cheeses, or yellow spots on blue cheeses (one must keep in mind that accidental mold doesn’t necessarily indicate the wheel is ruined). Bloated packaging is another sign that the cheese is still in its original packaging.

Is it OK to eat expired cheese if it’s not moldy?

It’s crucial to remember that occasionally, ruined cheese will smell OK but taste horrible, or vice versa. For this reason, the declared expiration date is typically the best indicator of whether or not to discard it. Although cheese is tasty, getting food illness is absolutely not worth it.

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Is Cheese Safe To Eat Past The Expiration Date? ›

Semi-soft and semi-firm cheeses, including Gouda, Cheddar, and Swiss, fall somewhere in the middle. They tend to have a shelf life of several months, and can generally be safely eaten for up to three weeks after the listed expiration date (per Does It Go Bad).

Can we consume expired cheese? ›

As with many food items, appearance and odor will tell you more about if cheese is safe to eat than the number on the package. Generally speaking, cheese lasts beyond its expiration date. Even if cheese (whole, cut, or sliced) grows mold, it can often be salvaged by cutting around the decay.

Can I use cheese that expired a month ago? ›

Throw away soft cheeses after their expiration date passes

Soft cheeses are much more high maintenance than hard cheeses. While you can easily freeze hard cheeses for up to eight months to preserve them, softer ones like mozzarella tend to lose their texture and are better enjoyed while fresh.

How do you know if cheese has gone bad? ›

Spoiled cheese can have a range of visual indicators, including mould growth, discoloration and a slimy or greasy texture. While the smell of off cheese can vary depending on the type of cheese and the stage of spoilage, it's often described as rancid, sour or putrid.

How long does unopened cheese last in the fridge? ›

REFRIGERATOR: Approximate storage times are: (1) Hard cheeses (block): 6 months, unopened packages; 3 to 4 weeks after opening. Shredded hard cheeses: 1 month after opening. (2) Soft cheeses: 1 week; cream cheese, 2 weeks.

Can you eat cheese 2 months after expiration date? ›

Therefore, hard cheeses, like Parmesan and Pecorino, have a shelf life of up to six months. They can remain good for up to two months after the printed expiration date, even after the package is opened, so long as it is stored properly, per Does It Go Bad.

Does cheese expire in fridge? ›

A typical cheese can last in your fridge anywhere from two weeks to six months. The shelf life of cheese will vary depending on a variety of factors including storage practices, moisture content, and preservatives.

Is cheese still good if expired but not moldy? ›

So long as you still like the taste, the cheese is fine. Just be aware that the flavor will intensify on most cheeses over time. If the small bite of cheese makes your tongue, lips or cheek tingle or burn, the cheese is bad (even if it passed the look and smell tests).

Can you eat expired cheese if it hasn't been opened? ›

Most packaged foods like cheese provide a best-by date. Although commonly confused with an expiration date, it instead indicates the date until which a food is of the best quality (4). This means that a food item — with the exception of infant formula — may still be safe to eat once this date passes.

Is unopened cheese past expiration date? ›

Is an unopened chunk of cheddar cheese still safe after the "sell by" date or "best by date" on the package? Yes -the unopened cheddar cheese will typically remain safe to use for about 6 months, even if the "sell-by" or "best by" date on the package expires.

What happens when cheese gets old? ›

As cheese ages, it loses moisture while enzymes and microbes continue developing within the cheese. These friendly bacteria help transform lactose into lactic acid and build other amino acids to give aged cheese its unmistakable taste.

What color is spoiled cheese? ›

To tell if cheese is bad, check for a change in color, texture, or odor. If the cheese has turned brown, gray, or green, has a slimy texture, or has a strong, foul odor, it is spoiled and should be discarded.

Can you cut mold off cheese? ›

Most of the time, if you see some mold, you can just cut it off—about an inch around and below the mold spot, if you want to be really rigorous about it—especially if you're working with a harder cheese.

How long can you keep a bag of cheese in the fridge? ›

Soft cheeses such as cottage cheese, ricotta or Brie can be refrigerated one week but they don't freeze well. Hard cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss and Parmesan can be stored in the refrigerator six months before opening the package and three to four weeks after opening. It can also be frozen six months.

Which cheese lasts the longest? ›

Softer cheeses, like Brie or Camembert, will last for a week or two, maybe even three if you're lucky. Harder cheeses will last much longer, from a few months to basically forever. Lower water content in your cheese means there's less chance for bacteria to grow in and on it.

Does plastic wrapped cheese go bad? ›

Too little and it'll dry out. Too much can make it spoil. “Do not use plastic wrap!” Kubick says. “It traps moisture, which can help mold to form.” Even though most cheese in grocery stores is sold in plastic wrap, that's really “for short term storage,” Hunt says.

Can expired cheese upset your stomach? ›

Dangers of eating moldy cheese

Molds can carry harmful bacteria, including E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, and Brucella, all of which can cause food poisoning ( 5 , 6 ). The symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it may lead to death.

How long can you use after expiration date? ›

For sell-by dates that go past at home, you can continue to store the food for a short amount of time depending on what it is. Some common products are: ground meat and poultry (1 to 2 days past the date), beef (3 to 5 days past the date), eggs (3 to 5 weeks past the date).

Can you use unopened cheese after expiration date? ›

Is an unopened chunk of cheddar cheese still safe after the "sell by" date or "best by date" on the package? Yes -the unopened cheddar cheese will typically remain safe to use for about 6 months, even if the "sell-by" or "best by" date on the package expires.

Is cheese expired if it smells bad? ›

Discoloration: If the cheese has an unusual color, such as yellowish or greenish spots, it may be spoiled. Unpleasant smell: If the cheese smells sour or has a rancid odor, it's likely gone bad.


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