String cheese, whether used as a stuffing for meats and breads, eaten as a snack or paired with wine, is always a good addition to the fridge.
String cheese isn’t used as often as other varieties of cheese, so you might wonder how long it lasts.
Does string cheese go bad? String cheese goes bad, especially if not stored properly. In the fridge, string cheese typically lasts for a few months, while in the freezer it lasts for a couple of years. Leaving string cheese out of the fridge can cause it to spoil quickly.
Our article explains how string cheese can be stored to last as long as possible and how to determine if it is still edible. Also, find out if you can become ill from eating expired string cheese.
Can String Cheese Go Bad?
In the case that you make some fried cheese sticks for appetizer and have a half-full container of string cheese left over, you may wonder whether the string cheese goes bad or how long it can be stored.
No matter how you store string cheese, it will go bad eventually, or even faster if it is not stored properly. String cheese must be stored carefully in the fridge or freezer, just like most cheeses and dairy products in general.
Open your string cheese only when you need to consume it. This will maximize the shelf-life. Cheese is best stored in its original packaging.
How Long Does String Cheese Last?
String cheese has a long shelf life when unopened. There is usually a shelf-life of a few months for unopened string cheese, though it may vary from brand to brand.
Most cheese can be used up to a week after the printed best-by or use-by date. Manufacturers are only estimating the length of time the cheese will maintain its best qualities.
The cheese might be good for another week or two if it has been stored properly and there are no signs of spoilage.
String cheese can be kept in the freezer for six to eight months. Past this point, cheese is often safe to eat. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the longer the cheese is kept in the freezer, the more flavor and texture it will suffer.
String cheese should not be kept at room temperature for longer than four hours, as we mentioned above. A cheese should be allowed to sit for a maximum of four hours if you want to prevent bacterial growth.
You may need to leave the cheese out of the fridge for a few hours if you’re taking it to lunch or a picnic with friends.
Unless the cheese has been exposed to direct sunlight, it may still be safe to consume. In contrast to other cheese varieties, string cheese is often preservative-free.
When eating string cheese that has been left out all day, inspect it closely. You should discard cheese you don’t eat instead of putting it in the fridge to use later. In any case, it would be safer to discard it if it has been longer than four hours.
How to Store String Cheese
Whether the cheese is opened or not, string cheese should be kept in the refrigerator. If you want to store string cheese properly, you should follow these three rules.
- String cheese should always be kept in the refrigerator. String cheese can be found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.
As soon as you bring it home, you should put it in the fridge. String cheese should not be kept at room temperature for longer than four hours, as we have mentioned.
- If you don’t plan on storing the cheese in the package, store it in a tightly-sealed container or bag. Refrigerated cheese absorbs refrigerator odors. Keeping it airtight is a good idea.
To store string cheese, place it in a plastic bag and press out as much air as possible. Cheese will dry out if air is left in the bag.
Unless the packaging is damaged, unopened string cheese should be stored as is. You should remove the cheese packaging if you damage it accidentally, and store it in an airtight container or bag.
- Keep cheese away from other products. Cheese plate leftovers may tempt you to collect and store them all together in one container. When cheese is stored with foods that contain a lot of water, such as tomatoes, its flavor will be altered. For this reason, always store cheese separately.
Put a piece of aluminum foil or food wrap over unfinished sticks of string cheese.
Does String Cheese Go Bad in the Fridge?
Although string cheese is best stored in the fridge, all dairy products have a limited shelf-life whether or not they are stored there.
As long as string cheese is stored properly in the fridge, it will last for a few days beyond the expiration date. Due to the semi-soft nature of string cheese, it quickly goes bad.
Can You Store String Cheese in the Freezer?
Despite the short shelf life of opened string cheese, it can be frozen to extend the cheese’s shelf life.
The cheese’s texture and taste will remain unchanged if you take all the necessary steps before storing it in the freezer. This will extend the cheese’s shelf life by several months.
String cheese’s texture may change when frozen. The low water content of string cheese allows it to freeze quite well, although when you defrost it, it can become slightly rubbery.
String cheese may even become slightly crumbly depending on the brand and the particular variety.
We recommend that you only use frozen string cheese (and defrosted) in cooking. It isn’t recommended to eat it as a snack or appetizer. You won’t be able to tell the difference between fresh and frozen string cheese if you cook with it in hot dishes.
How to Freeze String Cheese
Follow these steps to freeze string cheese:
- Seal the freezer bag with the sticks. You can also use plastic containers. The longer string cheese keeps, the less air there needs to be in the container or bag. So, it’s better to use a freezer bag.
- You can freeze several bags of string cheese if you have many sticks you won’t use at once. You can defrost them more easily and quicker this way.
- Make sure the bag is as airless as possible.
- The bag should be sealed well. As the cheese is left open, it absorbs odors and is likely to burn in the freezer.
- Put the bag in the freezer and label it with the date.
As a precaution, wrap a package of string cheese in food wrap or put it in a zip-top bag as an additional layer of protection before freezing.
When using frozen string cheese, place it in the refrigerator. This should be done a day in advance. Thawing the cheese at room temperature leads to more noticeable texture changes than at room temperature.
A few hours may also pass before the cheese is completely thawed. A long period of room temperature string cheese is not recommended.
How Can You Tell If String Cheese Is Bad?
There are a few signs to help you detect bad string cheese:
- Off-putting smell: Discard string cheese if it no longer smells the way it did when it was first opened.
- Mold: Molds are the ultimate red flag. String cheese with blue or grey specks should be discarded.
- Texture changes: Changes in string cheese’s texture are another sign of spoilage. No longer good string cheese becomes slippery.
- Altered taste: Does your cheese not have any changes in texture, taste, or smell? If not, taste it anyway. It is still safe to eat your cheese if there is no change in flavor.
Thus, even if a package of string cheese does not exhibit any signs of spoilage, discard it even if it has been stored for a much longer period than recommended.
Can Eating Expired Cheese Make You Sick?
The answer is yes if all signs of spoilage are missing and it doesn’t make you sick. In this article, we mentioned that string cheese can be used within 1-2 weeks after its expiration date if it is unopened and hasn’t been opened.
The consumption of bad string cheese may cause stomach upset and fever if consumed in large quantities.
In the case of bad string cheese, the change in flavor, smell, and appearance is quite apparent. Once you taste the cheese, you will probably stop eating it.