Q. I bought a package of American cheese to make some grilled cheese sandwiches, and now I have more than half a package left over. I don’t really like to eat American cheese any other way, and I certainly don’t make grilled cheese sandwiches on a regular basis. I have a while before the cheese slices expire, but I still don’t want them just sitting in my fridge, slowly expiring. Is there any way to preserve American cheese slices? Can you freeze American cheese?
A. Excellent questions! The truth is, many people buy American cheese for exactly the same purpose, and end up facing a similar dilemma. What to do with all that extra cheese? The truth is, sliced American cheese has a longer shelf life than many cheeses and resists mold growth because it is a processed cheese product. As a result, it doesn’t break down as easily as other more natural cheeses do. Having the slices individually wrapped also helps keep the cheese fresher for longer.
How to Freeze American Cheese?
Still, not everyone can eat all that cheese by the best before date, and most American cheese manufacturers do not recommend freezing their products. The concern is that the texture of the cheese product will change upon thawing, becoming crumbly and “mealy” in texture. Not the most appetizing thought. Still, freezing American cheese is possible, and many people have been able to freeze cheese slices with great success. Since you’re probably going to eat the cheese melted in a recipe anyway, a little change in texture shouldn’t be a big deal once the cheese is melted.
American cheese slices come individually wrapped already, making your job of freezing the cheese really, really easy. Simply remove the wrapped slices from the package and place them in a freezer bag. Remove the excess air from the bag, then seal and label it. When ready to use the cheese, simply remove the desired number of slices from the bag. The cheese slices can then be thawed in the refrigerator, or added directly to a recipe after removing the protective plastic wrap.
If you are concerned that the wrap will stick to the cheese and not open properly, you can unwrap the cheese slices before freezing, and then layer them with a piece of parchment paper in between each slice. Then, wrap the pile of cheese slices in a double layer of plastic wrap before sliding the pile into a freezer bag. Remove the excess air, then seal and label the bag.