Updated December 28, 2017
Q. I bought a lot of mozzarella cheese to make pizzas for some guests, but now I have cheese left over. I don’t typically eat mozzarella cheese unless it’s in a recipe, so I don’t want to leave it in the fridge to go bad. Can you freeze mozzarella cheese? Is it better to freeze it in a piece or shredded?
A. Mozzarella cheese is a great cheese to freeze, as it keeps its taste and consistency well after being frozen. This is true of mozzarella balls or bricks, but not what’s known as fresh or soft mozzarella. Soft mozzarella should be consumed fresh, as it can become too watery and mushy after being frozen and thawed. However, most people use mozzarella balls or bricks for topping pizzas, so this is probably what you have leftover. If you think you will use the whole piece of mozzarella, it can easily be frozen in a solid piece.
How to freeze Mozzarella?
Remove the mozzarella from its original package and wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. Place the wrapped cheese in a freezer bag and remove the excess air. Seal the freezer bag, then label and date it. To thaw, remove the mozzarella from the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw for several hours or overnight. The mozzarella can then be sliced or shredded and used in recipes.
If you’re planning to use the cheese as a pizza topping in the future, it may be a good idea to shred it before freezing. Shred or grate the mozzarella in a bowl. To prevent it from clumping, add a small amount of cornstarch or flour and toss it into the cheese. This helps to soak up the moisture. Place the shredded cheese on a baking sheet in a single layer and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, to help harden the cheese a little bit. Remove from freezer, and place shredded cheese in a single layer in a freezer bag. Remove the air, and seal. Label and date the bag of cheese.
To thaw, remove the bag of cheese from the freezer. Shredded cheese can be thawed in the refrigerator until soft, or can be placed directly into recipes that will be cooked through. Never thaw shredded cheese on the counter, as harmful bacteria may grow. Thawed cheese should be used within 2-3 days of being defrosted. Never refreeze cheese that has been previously frozen. Shredded cheese should maintain its flavour and consistency after being defrosted.