Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese? All You Need To Know
Ricotta cheese is similar to cottage cheese except that it contains more calcium. Ricotta cheese is a soft and unsalted cheese made from the whey of cow or goat’s milk. Whey is the remaining liquid after milk has been separated and strained.
Ricotta cheese is a favorite ingredient for such pasta recipes as Lasagna and Ravioli. Ricotta Cheese is easily available in most supermarkets. Homemade Ricotta cheese is also easy to prepare. Other than being used for pasta recipes, Ricotta cheese can also be used as a cracker spread, pizza topping or pancake base. This cheese can also be eaten with honey and fruits.
What happens though if you got overly excited and bought or made too many Ricotta cheese? With the many uses of Ricotta cheese, it is indeed very tempting to have a pound or two handy. The question however is, can you freeze Ricotta cheese? Yes, you can!
Ricotta cheese is not that expensive. However, leaving it to spoil is such a waste of money. It is not highly recommended that you freeze Ricotta cheese but if you really need to, do it the right way.
You can freeze Ricotta cheese for up to six months. Ricotta is a soft type of cheese and improper freezing of this cheese could damage it. There will be no change in flavor when you thaw frozen Ricotta cheese but there will be significant change in its texture. It can, however, still be used for recipes that require some cooking.
Method 1: In Its Original Container
Ricotta cheese is often sold in plastic containers. If you still have not opened it, you can freeze the cheese in its original container. Fresh Ricotta cheese will last longer than one that is nearing its expiration date even when frozen.
Method 2: In a Freezer Bag
It is not advisable to freeze an opened Ricotta cheese in its original container only. You need to use a freezer bag.
What You Will Need
- Freezer bag.
- Plastic wrap.
- Paper towels.
Freezing Ricotta cheese in its opened original container:
- Step 1: Stir the cheese with a spoon so it will evenly freeze.
- Step 2: Place cheese in its original container in a freezer bag.
- Step 3: Press the freezer bag hard to release all air.
- Step 4: Tightly seal the freezer bag.
Freezing Ricotta cheese directly into the freezer bag:
- Step 1: Separate cheese into small portions so you can only thaw what you need.
- Step 2: Stir the cheese with a spoon so it will evenly freeze.
- Step 3: Spread each portion on a stack of paper towel and press it down to drain the cheese.
- Step 4: Place each portion in plastic wrap.
- Step 5: Release all the air in the plastic wrap.
- Step 6: Place cheese in plastic wrap into a freezer bag.
- Step 7: Press the freezer bag hard to release all air.
- Step 8: Tightly seal the freezer bag.
Method 3: In an Airtight Plastic Container
If you do not want to freeze your Ricotta cheese in its original container, an airtight plastic container for freezers is a perfect alternative.
What You Will Need
- Airtight Plastic Container for freezers.
- Plastic wrap.
- Paper towel.
- Step 1: Divide the cheese into small portions.
- Step 2: Spread each portion on a stack of paper towel and press it down to drain the cheese.
- Step 3: Place each portion in plastic wrap.
- Step 4: Press to release air.
- Step 5: Place cheese in plastic wrap in the airtight plastic container.
- Do not fill the airtight plastic container all the way to its rim. Ricotta cheese expands when frozen.
Method 4: Freeze Cooked Dish with Ricotta Cheese
Another alternative in freezing Ricotta cheese is to already cook the dish you intend to use the cheese with. Recipes with Ricotta cheese that do well frozen include: Cannelloni, Gnocchi, Lasagna, Manicotti, Ravioli, Tortellini, Ricotta calzones, Ricotta pie and other pasta recipes filled with Ricotta cheese.
What You Will Need
- Plastic Wrap
- Freezer Bag
- Step 1: Divide cooked dish into portions you intend to serve at a time.
- Step 2: Wrap each portion in plastic wrap.
- Step 3: Place in freezer bag.
Tip in Freezing Ricotta Cheese:
- Ricotta cheese can be frozen for up to 6 months. Set freezer temperature to 0ºF or lower for best results.
How To Thaw Frozen Ricotta Cheese?
Frozen Ricotta Cheese
- Step 1: Thaw frozen Ricotta cheese in the refrigerator. Avoid thawing the cheese at room temperature as it will be exposed to bacteria growth.
- Step 2: If you notice some liquid on the cheese after thawing, stir with spoon or an electric mixer.
Make sure to use thawed Ricotta cheese within 2 days. Avoid refreezing thawed cheese.
Frozen Cooked Food with Ricotta Cheese
- Step 1: Thaw frozen cooked recipes with Ricotta cheese in the refrigerator.
- Step 2: Sprinkle water if sauce has been eaten up by the pasta.
- Step 3: When re-heating in a microwave oven, cover food with plastic wrap
- Step 4: When re-heating in an oven, cover food with aluminum foil.
It is important to note that freezing Ricotta cheese will result in a change of texture. You will notice some water along with the cheese when it gets thawed because freezing this cheese will cause it to lose some of its moisture. The best remedy for this is to stir the cheese with a spoon or an electric mixer. If some water still remains, drain the water out with some paper towels.
My Personal Choice
While the best way to freeze Ricotta cheese is when it has already been added to a cooked recipe, there will really be times when you will need to freeze the cheese itself. All methods of freezing Ricotta cheese achieve the same results.
The method I like best though is freezing the cheese in an airtight plastic container. It looks neater inside the freezer and the cheese has lesser chances of getting freezer burns.
So, can you freeze Ricotta cheese? Again, yes you can! If you have tried freezing Ricotta cheese using any of methods above, you may want to share your experiences in the comments section. If by any chance, the method you use to freeze Ricotta cheese has not been mentioned above, you may like to share your method with us, too.