Q. My parents have this crazy Friday night tradition where we all hang out and watch movies with a giant plate of nachos. It sounds a bit strange, but it’s actually a lot of fun. Anyway, every week it’s someone else’s job to make the nachos. I like to make sure there’s a ton of extra cheese sauce because it’s my favourite part of nachos, but I sometimes make way too much. My mom gets upset when we end up throwing away food, but I can never get the amount we’ll need just right. Instead of throwing away the extra cheese, I want to know if I can freeze it for the next time I will need it. Can you freeze nacho cheese?
A. It sounds like you have a great tradition going with your family. Enjoy it! As for your question, yes, you can freeze nacho cheese. However, it will take a bit of work to get it to look the same after it’s been frozen and thawed. Certain dairy products having a tendency to separate once frozen. This also holds true nacho cheese. What happens during freezing is that the fat separates from the rest of the product, causing a slight change in colour and changing the consistency. Not to worry though, the separation is temporary and the consistency can be easily restored. The colour should return to normal upon thawing.
To freeze nacho cheese, it’s best to start with a fresh batch. Don’t freeze sauce that has had tortilla chips dipped into it first. Allow the nacho cheese to cool completely before freezing. I recommend freezing the nacho cheese in small freezer safe containers with lids rather than freezer bags in order to make it easier to get all the sauce out after freezing in small quantities. Half cup sized containers are ideal, unless you are freezing larger quantities.
To help minimize separation, give the nacho cheese a good stir before freezing to help fully incorporate all the ingredients. Spoon the cheese into the small containers, then secure the lids. Label and date the containers, and then place them in the coldest part of the freezer. To thaw, remove the container from the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours. Once thawed, using a spoon or a mini-whisk, stir the sauce vigorously to bring back the original consistency. Heat the sauce in the microwave before using. Use thawed nacho cheese within 2-3 days for best results. Never refreeze previously nacho cheese.