Adding cheese to your food makes it creamy & stretchy with a milky and salty taste.
Different cheeses offer different flavors, so choosing the right one for your recipe is best.
Mozzarella cheese is one of the healthiest cheese options that give your recipe a tangy taste.
No wonder it’s one of the world’s most loved and enjoyable cheeses.
However, you might wonder if using unopened mozzarella cheese after its expiration date is safe.
How you store mozzarella cheese will determine how long its shelf life will be. Under the right conditions, unopened mozzarella cheese can last up to three weeks, even as far as four to six months after its best-before date. So it’s safe to use your cheese within this period.
This article will explain how to properly store your unopened mozzarella and know when your cheese has gone wrong.
Can You Use Expired Mozzarella Cheese Left Unopened and Past Expiration?
You can use unopened mozzarella cheese that has passed the expiration date as long as you like the taste of the cheese.
But once the cheese tastes sour, even if the smell and the physical appearance are good, it’s best to trash the cheese.
Mozzarella cheese is a soft cheese from cow’s milk and doesn’t have a long shelf life like hard cheese.
You can use mozzarella cheese to make foods such as pizza and pasta dishes creamy and fluffy.
You can also use mozzarella to make string cheese, a popular snack among adults and children. However, a horrible mozzarella can be harmful to your health.
So you need to rely on your taste bud, sense of smell, and eyes to know if you can use expired mozzarella cheese.
Here are some ways to determine a spoiled mozzarella cheese:
#1. Mold Formation or Discoloration on the Surface
One way to determine if your cheese is terrible is to inspect for signs of mold. Mold occurs when bacteria break down your cheese.
So when mold is present in your mozzarella, there will be a visible blue or green color against the off-white color of the cheese.
If you notice this, it’s best to trash the cheese since it’s not safe for you to consume.
#2. Hardening or Dryness of the Cheese Edges
The edges can show dryness or hardening when you store your mozzarella inappropriately.
This sign occurs when the moisture that helps your cheese retain its softness and delicious taste begins to disappear from the cheese’s edges.
Therefore, if your mozzarella shows signs of hardness without mold growth, you can cut the spoilt edge with a knife and use the rest of the cheese.
#3. Rotten Smell
Another way to determine if your mozzarella is spoilt is through the smell.
Although your cheese might not show any signs of mold or dryness, it may begin to spoil.
Therefore, if you have stored your cheese for a long time or it has passed its expiration date, it’s best to smell the cheese.
Once the smell is like sour milk, then it’s no longer safe to eat.
#4. Sour Taste
Check for a taste test if your mozzarella passes the sight and smell test. Use a knife to cut a small piece and taste it.
If your cheese taste is sharp, sour, or has another taste you are unfamiliar with, then it’s time to toss it away.
How Long Is an Unopened Mozzarella Cheese Good for After Expiration?
Unopened mozzarella cheese can last up to three weeks after its expiration date when refrigerated or 70 days after the production date, depending on the refrigerator’s temperature.
Mozzarella cheese is of two categories:
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Regular or low-moisture mozzarella cheese.
#1. Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh mozzarella is always stored in water. However, they usually have a shorter shelf life.
This category of mozzarella can contain 60% or more water, contributing to the softness and easiness of tearing apart.
The best way to enjoy fresh mozzarella is by eating it plain, either in Caprese or Panzanella salads.
You can also use fresh mozzarella cheese on any pizza made with a high-heat oven or as part of an antipasti spread.
Fresh mozzarella is available in various sizes and shapes, such as:
- The ovaline-shaped mozzarella looks like the shape of an egg. This shape of mozzarella is suitable for cutting or slicing into smaller bits.
- The bocconcini-shaped mozzarella is also known as bite-sized cheese.
It’s about the size of tomato & suitable for antipasti platters or dishes. You want to feel the wholeness of pure mozzarella cheese.
- The Pearline-shaped mozzarella (tiny pearls) is a tiny-sized cheese perfect for salads or mixed into pasta.
- Another shape of mozzarella is the braid shape. This shape comes in various sizes and is easier and fun to tear off.
#2. Low Moisture Mozzarella
You cannot store a low-moisture mozzarella in water like fresh cheese since it is drier and has a denser texture with a saltier flavor than fresh mozzarella.
You can use low-moisture mozzarella cheese for dishes that need a durable and evenly distributed melting activity.
These cheeses have a longer shelf life than fresh ones. The low-moisture mozzarella can be either part-skim or whole milk cheese.
The whole milk mozzarella has higher fat than the part-skim, making it richer.
The part-skim is brown, while the whole milk has a silky texture when melted.
#3. How to Store Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
- Leave it in its original container. But if you open the mozzarella, keep it moist in an airtight container. You can replace the liquid (whey) with water if it gets low.
- Remove your mozzarella from the vacuum package and put it in a bowl with cold water. Doing so will serve as the whey and prevent the cheese from getting dry.
- Store your fresh mozzarella on the middle shelf of your fridge for about two to three days. Ensure you eat the cheese as soon as possible to enjoy the taste and freshness.
Before serving your mozzarella, it’s best to take it out one hour before so that it can warm up before use; doing so will give you the best taste.
How Long Is Unopened Mozzarella Cheese Good for in the Fridge?
It would help if you always stored unopened or opened mozzarella cheese in the refrigerator. Doing so will help it retain its shelf life.
Once the package date on the front remains intact, you can rely on the freshness of the cheese.
However, you can store fresh mozzarella in the fridge for about five days while keeping a loaf of mozzarella for about 21 days.
Also, you can store smoked mozzarella for about 28 days in the refrigerator.
The table below shows the shelf life of mozzarella to help you enjoy it before it goes bad.
|Category of Mozzarella Cheese||Shelf Life in a Fridge||Shelf Life in the Freezer|
|Unopened mozzarella||Seven days after the expiration date.||Five to six months.|
|Opened mozzarella||Three to eight days after the expiration date.||Two to three months.|
How Long Is Shredded Mozzarella Cheese Good for After Expiration?
It’s best to open the cheese when you are ready to use it since this will increase the shelf life of shredded mozzarella.
Unopened shredded cheese will last for about a week after the expiration date.
Keep the shredded mozzarella in a heavy-duty freezer at 0°F, and it will maintain its best quality for eight months.
The best way to store shredded mozzarella cheese are as follows:
- Once you open your shredded mozzarella, seal the rest in the packaging bag. But if it didn’t come in a resealable bag, put it in an airtight container.
- Store your shredded mozzarella at the bottom of your fridge. Doing so will conserve your cheese’s moisture, thereby reducing dryness.
- Eating shredded mozzarella within 21 to 28 days after you open it to enjoy its freshness is best.
In conclusion, you can consume an unopened mozzarella cheese that has passed its expiration date when:
- You refrigerate it correctly and at the right temperature.
- Your cheese passes the smell, eyes, and taste tests.
Unopened mozzarella can last three weeks or 70 days after its expiration date.
Always ensure you refrigerate the mozzarella cheese you are not using immediately.