Have you ever met someone who’s said no to more cheese? (Besides the lactose intolerant, I mean.)
Cheese is one of those things that makes everything better, sweet or savory. Whether it’s your 2 am bowl of instant ramen, or a gourmet burger, adding cheese will turn your meal into magic.
But once in a while, you go overboard. And you end up buying 5 pounds of American Cheese on a mega sale. And you’ll soon realize there is indeed way too much of a good thing because after a while you can’t smother all your meals with cheese.
But can you freeze American cheese? It’s a better option than throwing out your favorite dairy product or giving it away to a friend. So, let’s explore that option!
All About American Cheese
American cheese is a kind of processed cheese, most often sold in slices, instead of blocks or wheels. You can also find bags of grated American cheese, as their main use is in sandwiches. If you’ve ever wondered where to buy shredded American cheese, your local deli is a good place to look.
Because of its processed nature, American cheese is made by combining different cheeses and adding additives for color and preservation, as well as flavor enhancers and emulsifying salts.
Most of the time it is made with a combination of cheddar and Colby, but some manufacturers also use Monterey Jack and any other semi-firm cheese.
American cheese also has a low melting point, so it melts quickly and becomes creamy. It has a mild flavor that complements everything which is why people throw it on everything: sandwiches, toasties, omelets, mac and cheese, quesadillas, and instant ramen.
You might sometimes see white spots on American cheese. These aren’t moldy or a sign that you need to get rid of the cheese. They are calcium lactate crystals, or “cheese crystals”, which are a sign of rich-flavored and aged cheese.
How long does American cheese last? Both opened and unopened American cheese slices last 2-3 weeks beyond their best-before date in the fridge.
To keep your cheese edible for longer, you will need to store it in the freezer.
What You Need to Know about Freezing American Cheese
Like most firm and semi-firm cheeses, American Cheese freezes well with little change in flavor texture. Here’s how you need to do it:
- Wrap or pack your cheese. Most American cheese slices come pre-packed, so you can skip this step.
If your cheese is unwrapped, or you have a block of cheese, wrap the slices in cling film or wax paper. If you have shredded cheese, pack them into airtight freezer bags.
- Then place your wrapped cheese slices in another container. You can pack them into an airtight box, or into a large freezer bag.
This step is important as cheese can absorb other smells from your freezer. Storing them in another bag or box will give them an added layer of protection.
- Label your container or box. Frozen cheese is safe to consume for up to 6 months, so either label it with a best-by date or with the date you’re freezing the cheese.
- Place in the freezer. It is best to put them in a spot that isn’t the coldest in your freezer.
Thawing Your Frozen Cheese
To defrost your frozen cheese, take out the slices you need and put them in the fridge overnight. If you need them to thaw faster, you can leave them on the counter for a few hours, even microwave them for a few seconds.
A defrosting tray also helps speed things up and comes in handy when you’re in a hurry.
American Cheese: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Sandwiches aren’t the only things you can use American cheese in. You can also use them in sliders, cheesesteaks, burgers, and the classic grilled cheese sandwich.
But you can explore by adding slices of cheese to things like casseroles, stews, and soups, as they act as a thickener and add a creamy texture and flavor to these dishes. Baked mac and cheese also pair well with fistfuls of shredded American cheese, as does the fusion version aka Chili Mac.
Chowders, cheesy potato soups, thick broccoli soup, and cheese sauces are all excuses to add copious amounts of American cheese to a dish. You can also use them in quesadillas, tacos, and burritos.
Even Middle-Eastern wraps and kabob sandwiches get a boost with American cheese. Queso is also a great option, and you can serve it alongside different chips and dips during a football game or watch party.
You can also add them to any potato dish: mashed potatoes, fries, tater tots, and even things like latkes and other variants of potato pancakes. Crumble some over a baked potato, or add it to your hash browns-you won’t regret it!
Last but not the least, there are many pasta dishes you can add it to, as well as pasta sauces like alfredo to thicken them.
Got More Questions?
Here you will find answers to questions people have about freezing American cheese.
01. How Long Does Deli American Cheese Last?
American cheese from a deli will last for 2-3 weeks after its best by date when stored correctly in the fridge.
02. Is American Cheese Bad for Me?
While American cheese isn’t the healthiest, it isn’t inherently bad for you, as long as it is consumed in moderation.
03. Why is My American Cheese Grainy after Thawing?
All cheeses go slightly grainy after freezing. This can be reduced by freezing the cheese correctly, thawing it slowly in the fridge overnight, and using the cheese in cooked recipes (or by melting it thoroughly).
04. Can I Freeze Kraft American Cheese Slices?
Yes, and all you need to do is pack them into an airtight container or freezer bag before storing them in the freezer.
If you’ve got a ‘too much cheese’ problem, this article may have solved your dilemma. Once you know the answer to ‘Can you freeze American cheese’, you are basically set for the next 6 months.
All you need to do is freeze your cheese, and indulge in cheesy dishes whenever the mood strikes. Whether it’s a rich casserole or a midnight toastie, you’ll appreciate your stash of freezer cheese in the future!
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