Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad Or Expire? (Explained)

Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 05:19 pm

The Cotija cheese, amongst wide varieties of cheesecake, finds usefulness in several Mexican cuisines.

However, one major downside of food ingredients is that they normally go bad after a while. 

The Cotija cheese has pre-preservatives that extend its shelf-life; still, does Cotija cheese go bad?

This article provides a detailed guide on the Mexican Cotija cheese and its viability period. 

The Cotija cheese, despite its preservatives, still goes sour under certain conditions. Nonetheless, the Mexican Cotija cheese is usually dry with a well-quantified amount of salt, which serves as a preservative. Therefore, although Cotija cheese tends to go bad, it can still stand the test of time. 

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last Once Open?

Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad

The Mexican Cotija cheese can last more than a week once you open it. Now, Five days serve as the normal safe time of use once you open it without any extra preservation.

It means that with a different preservation method, the Cotija cheese will last even longer.

With all things being equal, the Mexican Cotija cheese can stay fresh for about two weeks.

After a safe life of 2 weeks, you will most definitely begin to notice some elements of decay on the cheese surface. The mold’s appearance on the cheese’s surface signifies spoilage.

However, if the case is only an appearance of molds and spores on the cheese, your cheese is still good for use.

Speculatively speaking, a Cotija cheese can last up to two months after the first use with the proper preservation.

Aside from the salt that serves as preservation for the Cotija cheese, using a refrigerator will further increase the lifespan.

How Long Will My Cheese Last Unopened?

Under the right preservation conditions, the Mexican Cotija cheese will last for about three to six months without suffering.

Unlike other cheese in our present age, the Cotija cheese has enough salt to serve as a self-preservative ingredient.

However, despite its preservatives, the all cheesy cow milk Mexican Cotija cheese still tends to go bad. 

For every cheese we use, some preservation usually keeps the cheese edible.

Generally, while there are tendencies of any cheese going bad, the chances are slim when they are unopened.

So while your cheese is still unopened, you are advised to store it in a cold and dry place.

Usually, the Cotija cheese stays inside an airtight container or leather bag that further keeps the cheese intact.

Therefore, we can say that not only is the leather cover for covering; it also stands double as a means of preservation.

For this reason, the Cotija cheese, as seen in stores, stays fresh for a long period as long as it remains unopened.

Aside from the fact that the Cotija has stayed for a long time in the store, it is usually fresh when you open it.

And to amaze you the more, the Cotija cheese will still be good for up to two weeks after first use.

In totality, I am saying that the Cotija cheese will last even longer when it remains unopened in a cold and dry place. 

How Long Is Cotija Cheese Good For In The Refrigerator?

The Cotija cheese in a refrigerator can stay for as long as three months.

You must note that the Mexican Cotija cheese falls into the dry and hard cheese with self-preservatives.

So, while other types of cheese can stay two weeks inside the refrigerator, the Cotija cheese can last even longer. 

One effective trick is to wrap the cheese in wax paper or fresh parchment before placing it in the refrigerator.

The simple reason is that, aside from a cold condition, the cheese also prefers a dry environment.

With the above condition met, you can be sure to use your cheese for as long as you wish till you exhaust it.

Generally, cold weather conditions serve as a means of preservation, and the refrigerator is what you need.

Under room conditions, the Cotija cheese stays fresh for two weeks without refrigeration; what more of a fridge?

The degree of refrigeration also promotes the edibility of the Cotija cheese as it maintains its freshness. 

In addition, aside from the usual cold and dry conditions, you can decide to freeze the Cotija cheese.

As you would rightly deduce, a frozen Cotija cheese will last even longer than an aged Cotija cheese.

However, freezing the Cotija cheese tempers the texture of the cheese, which sometimes isn’t desirable. 

How Can I Tell When My Cotija Cheese Has Gone Bad?

The very first pointer to a bad Mexican Cotija cheese is the appearance of spores on the surface of the cheese.

Noticing a mold or several molds on the Mexican Cotija cheese is a saying that the cheese has passed its aged state.

However, you can cut off the spores and still use the cheese, especially when it hasn’t spread. 

Like other types of cheese, the Cotija cheese passes through texture change before going bad.

A Cotija cheese that stays above one month is automatically within the mature and aged cheese category.

So, if you notice spores after this period, you can slice them off and use them.

However, within the period, you may also notice a change in the taste of the Mexican Cotija cheese.

A sour taste that isn’t the original taste of the Cotija cheese is a strong enough reason to judge the cheese as bad.

At this point, the red danger warning light is on; the best recommendation is to do away with the cheese.

Finally, the Mexican Cotija cheese has a sweetly overpowering aroma that is deeply and overly enticing.

So, the smell of sour milk or something spoiled is the end point of Mexican Cotija cheese.

In summary, the table below will reveal signs of being cautious before using Mexican Cotija cheese.

Symptoms Recommendation
The appearance of mold.You can cut off the mold spores and use the other part of the cheese.
A change in the aroma.Seemingly in a bad state.
A sour taste.You can still use it if you don’t mind the sour taste. However, at this point, the waste bin is calling.

Does Cotija Cheese Melt?

The Mexican Cotija cheese is a semi-hard, dry, and aged-strong cheese with a crummy texture.

It is usual for the Mexican Cotija cheese to soften under given conditions, but it doesn’t melt.

Seeing the nature of the texture of the Cotija cheese, you’ll agree that the cheese wouldn’t melt off.

Applying heat to the Cotija cheese will only soften its texture, but it doesn’t melt as you’d expect.

Regardless of the heat you apply, the cheese will only soften until it begins to burn rather than melt.

Little wonder the Mexican Cotija cheese is a finishing touch on various cuisines.

Even when it comes to thawing the Mexican Cotija cheese after freezing, you will only observe a softening.

The thawing is not melting as its shape is seemingly intact. As minute as such, quality makes the Cotija cheese stand out among many other cheese types. 

The use of salt as the make-up ingredient of the Cotija cheese helps to keep the cheese intact when in contact with water.

Because of its salty nature, you will observe the Mexican Cotija cheese float on water instead of sinking.

In addition, remember that the primary ingredient of the Mexican cotija cheese is cow milk which isn’t mixable with water. 

Can Expired Cotija Cheese Make You Sick?

Now, the level of harm depends on the type of mold that surfaces on the cheese.

As ironic as it may sound, some will do you nothing while the majority will make you sick as expected.

It is better to be on the safe side and apply all the necessary caution as much as possible.

Generally, it is advisable to stick to the provisions of the USAD on expired food products.

In some cases, an expired Cotija cheese can trigger an allergic reaction which wouldn’t be the case in the first place.

Other times, it will be the case of a respiratory condition depending on the type of mold.

Aside from those above, the bad aroma of expired Cotija cheese will cause stomach upset.

Sometimes, it will instantly take away your appetite for food. As minute as such may sound, it will go a long way in disrupting your entire activity for the day. 


Just as every edible substance gets bad, the Mexican Cotija cheese also tends to go bad.

Nonetheless, amongst wide varieties of cheese out there, the Cotija cheese is a semi-hard cheese with a self-preservative ingredient.

It means the Cotija has a greater chance of safe life than many kinds of cheese in our present dispensation.

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