Can You Freeze Nacho Cheese? (And How You Can Do It Right)

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Did someone say nachos? Nachos are a favorite snack and appetizer. They are perfect for parties, dinner dates, watch parties and games, or even when you’re alone and hungry at 3 in the morning.

But ultimately, nachos are just a way to deliver things like guac and salsa into your mouth. And for me, they are simply a vehicle for lots and lots of cheese. The trouble is large containers of nacho cheese are difficult to use up in one go, but can you freeze nacho cheese?

The good news is that you can absolutely freeze nacho cheese. The downside? There might be a slight change inconsistency. But when frozen and thawed right, you won’t notice any difference in the texture of flavor nacho cheese.

What is Nacho Cheese?

What is Nacho Cheese

Before we get started on this cheese-related saga, let’s get one thing clear. Liquid nacho cheese isn’t a separate kind of cheese.

Instead, it is a sauce made from cheese. In fact, there isn’t a proper definition for nacho cheese. It is most often sold in cans or jars, but you can easily make it from scratch as well.

That being said, nacho cheese sauce is simply delightful, with a lusciously rich creamy texture, perfect for dipping chips, or as a topping for nachos. The canned version is also readily available in most grocery stores.

Where to buy nacho cheese sauce? You will be able to find it online like GFS nacho cheese, as well as stores like Costco, Target, and Walmart.

On top of that, a big can of nacho cheese can last forever, which makes dealing with leftovers rather tricky.

How long does cheese sauce last in the fridge when stored correctly? Store-bought nacho cheese has preservatives that keep it fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Is nacho cheese pasteurized? In a way, yes, as it is made from pasteurized cheeses like cheddar or American cheese.

However, the homemade nacho cheese sauce can only hold up for 3-4 days when refrigerated. How long is cheese dip good for outside the fridge? I honestly don’t think you can safely eat nacho cheese dip left on the counter for over a day.

So can you freeze nacho cheese sauce? Storing cheese in the freezer is a good option to extend the life of your nacho cheese.

Freezing Your Nacho Cheese

can you freeze nacho cheese

When freezing nacho cheese, you first have to make sure of two things. Firstly, don’t freeze cheese sauce with broken bits of nacho chips, or pieces of salsa and guacamole. This can alter the quality of your cheese dip.

You should also avoid freezing hot or warm nacho cheese sauce. Instead, make sure it is at room temperature before freezing.

Whether you want to freeze store-bought or homemade nacho cheese sauce, the best way to do it is to spoon the cheese into individual freezer bags, preferably smaller ones. This will make it easier to thaw the exact amount you need.

Just fill the bags completely and then seal, pushing out any air to avoid freezer burn. Then, pack the bags of cheese into another container or larger freezer bag for an added layer of protection.

Nacho cheese can keep in the freezer for nearly 6 months when kept at a steady 0-degree temperature. Storing them in individual serving bags is also a good idea, as you won’t have to thaw a big bag, and then refreeze after use. This also keeps the consistency and taste the same.

To thaw the frozen cheese sauce, place the freezer bag in the fridge and allow it to defrost overnight. During the thawing process, the milk fats can clump together, turning the cheese sauce into a watery and congealed mess.

To fix this, use a whisk to incorporate the separated ingredients together. To reheat, pour the sauce into a microwave-safe bowl and blitz until warm and melty. You can also simmer the nacho cheese over low heat on the stovetop before serving.

Making Nacho Cheese Sauce at Home

If you don’t like the weird ingredients in canned nacho cheese, you can easily make some from scratch. Knowing how to make your own nacho cheese can even save you a trip to the supermarket!

There are lots of easy nacho cheese sauce recipes online, and if you don’t want to look, I’ve included one here as well.

This homemade nacho sauce will be ready in under 15 minutes and works best when served in a hot pot or fondue dish. It also reheats very well. And it’s way better than the best store-bought nacho cheese!

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of AP flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup full-fat whole milk
  • 8 ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Start by making a roux. Over medium heat, melt your butter in a saucepan and add the flour.
  2. Whisk the flour into the butter until it forms a blond paste. It should bubble around the edges, and the raw smell of flour should be replaced with a slightly nutty aroma.
  3. Add the salt and the cayenne/chili powder.
  4. Whisk in the milk right after seasoning the roux. When the milk is fully incorporated, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil, whisking the whole time.
  5. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer until it thickens a little. Don’t stop whisking, as this can lead to the milk scorching.
  6. Once thickened, take the pot off the stove and add in your shredded cheddar. Gently stir in the cheese and let it melt and further thicken the sauce.
  7. When you are pleased with the texture, add a dash of hot sauce if you want a spicier nacho cheese. When the cheese is completely melted, and the sauce is smooth, it is ready to serve. Your DIY nacho cheese is done!

However, canned or jarred nacho cheese has its uses as well. Besides using it as a dipping sauce for chips or breadsticks, recipes using canned nacho cheese sauce include enchiladas, cheesy taco casserole, Tex-Mex pizza, an alfredo sauce thickener, and even queso.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to questions people have about freezing nacho cheese.

01. Can I Freeze Nacho Cheese in Its Tin?

Freezing things in cans isn’t safe, so you should remove the cheese and put them in airtight plastic containers or freezer bags before freezing.

02. Does Nacho Cheese Freeze Properly?

Nacho cheese doesn’t freeze as well as firm and semi-firm cheeses, but you can freeze it pretty well, especially when stored correctly.

03. Can I Leave Nacho Cheese Out for a Day?

It is best not to leave nacho cheese out for more than a few hours.

04. Can I Use Nacho Cheese in Grilled Cheese Sandwiches?

Using nacho cheese in your sandwich can make it soggy, but you can dunk your grilled cheese into a bowl of nacho cheese for a next-level cheesy experience.

To Pack Up

Buying bulk nacho cheese can be a lifesaver, especially when you are planning a big party or event. Now that you can answer the question can freeze nacho cheese, you will know just how to freeze and store it in advance.

Thawing it will be easy as a dream whether you are throwing a party or indulging in a mid-morning nacho cheese craving!

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