Can cheese go bad?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can cheese go bad?”  and other queries related to this topic.

Can cheese go bad? 

Yes, cheese goes bad. However, the time each type of cheese needs to go bad depends on its type and the water content within the cheese. The softer the cheese, the higher its water content, and the higher the risk of becoming moldy and spoiled earlier. 

So, once mold has developed within your soft cheese, consider throwing it away and do not think of removing the bad and spoiled side and keeping the other part. However, hard and aged cheese needs a longer time to get moldy and bad due to its low moisture and water content.

If you noticed any sign of spoilage on your hard cheese it is fine and safe to remove it and use the remaining part. Due to their low moisture and water content, bacteria, spores, and toxins can not spread easily within the product. 

So, hard cheese lasts three to four-time longer than soft cheese, and usually, they do not need refrigeration. However, refrigerating hard cheese can make it last longer than one month, and sometimes if stored properly it can last for six months.

Moreover, one of the major causes of having bad cheese is leaving it outside the refrigerator for more than two hours. This is mostly seen in soft cheese and not in aged and hard ones. Generally, the shelf life of cheese in the fridge ranges from a few days to several weeks. 

How to tell if the cheese has gone bad?

Generally, a “best-by” date or “best-before” date is stamped on the cheese packaging. So, it is advisable to consume your cheese within the range specified. However, if the cheese has not developed any sign of spoilage it can still be consumed if it has passed its expiry date.

Next, if the expiry date is fine, check for the cheese appearance. Some cheese types already have mold and mold development is essential during their fermentation, such as blue cheese and Roquefort. However, when getting moldy, the blue within these cheeses will turn green.

Moreover, some cheese does not already have mold and is not required during the processing. So, if you notice any blue and foreign body on your cheese do not buy it or even do not consume it, because it is a sign of spoilage and bacterial growth.

One of the other signs of cheese spoilage is the smell. Some types of cheese do not have a strong smell, so once you open the package and you notice a strong bad smell consider throwing it away. Hence, some types already have a strong smell, so be attentive during purchasing.

Finally, spoiled cheese has a different texture compared to fresh cheese. When cheese becomes spoiled fat will go out and the cheese components will be separated. Furthermore, if none of the previously mentioned signs is clear, you can taste a small piece of your cheese.

The taste of the cheese depends on its type, hence if you noticed that the taste is different and has changed from the first time you opened and consumed it, consider discarding it. 

How to store cheese effectively?

To effectively store your cheese, keep it in the refrigerator. Low temperatures decrease the rate of mold and bacteria development. Moreover, keep your opened cheese in a well-sealed container, because air and light will deteriorate its quality.

Also, you can wrap your opened cheese in wax parchment paper, to keep it fresh for longer, and avoid wrapping it in plastic paper because it will make it drier and harder. Additionally, store your cheese in the middle or the top shelf of your fridge. 

Furthermore, you can freeze some types of cheese. Hence, their texture, smell, and taste will change with time, especially since cheese might catch odor from other stored products. In the freezer, the majority of the cheese can last for six months.

How much does hard cheese last?

Hard cheese such as parmesan and Pecorino can last for a long time compared to other types of cheese. Usually, they can last for about four to six months in the refrigerator once the packaging has been opened, and unopened cheese can last for an extra one to two months.

To ensure their long shelf life, store and wrap them well. Wrapping your cheese with parchment or wax paper can ensure that the quality of your cheese will last for a long time and its texture, smell, and taste will not change easily.

How much does semi-hard cheese last?

Hard cheese like Emmental, Cheddar, Roquefort, and gruyere can last for a few months. But generally, they last for two to three weeks in the refrigerator. Once the packaging has been opened make sure to keep your cheese stored properly to increase its shelf life.

To do so, wrap the remaining cheese with a parchment or wax paper and keep it in a well-sealed and air-tight bag or container. 


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “can cheese go bad?” and other queries related to this topic.