Do you really have to use cheese within 5 days of opening?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Do you really have to use cheese within 5 days of opening?” methods to store cheese and detect spoilt cheese.

Do you really have to use cheese within 5 days of opening?

No, it is not required to use cheese within five days of opening. If cheese is stored in the refrigerator or freezer appropriately, it can remain for many days. For better flavor and taste, it is better to consume cheese within one week of the “best when purchased by” date.

The shelf-life of the cheese would vary depending based on the type of cheese.

Types of cheeseApproximate shelf-life in the fridgeApproximate shelf-life in the freezer
Cottage cheese and Ricotta cheese5-7 days3-4 weeks
Cream cheese and Neufchatel2 weeksNot recommended to freeze
Cheddar, Gouda, Brick, and Edam cheese (unopened)2-3 months6-8 months
Cheddar, Gouda, Brick, and Edam cheese (opened)2-3 weeks__
Sliced cheese2 weeks__
Parmesan cheese One year__

How to store cheese?

  • Always wrap the cheese tightly in aluminum foil. Avoid wrapping in plastic as cheese can absorb the smell of plastic and develop a foul smell. You can double-wrap the cheese to further preserve it.
  • If you do not have enough paper to wrap the cheese, you can wrap the cheese once and then place it in an airtight container or pack. This would help the cheese last longer. A plastic or glass container would be fine.
  • If the hard cheese becomes moldy, cut off ½ inch beside and below the mold. If the cheese gets fully covered in mold, is better to discard them. Avoid removing mold from soft cheese and instead discard it.
  • If you wish to keep the cheese for a longer duration, you can freeze them. Freezing can alter the flavor and texture of the cheese. Cream cheese if frozen can become crumbly though it can be used for cooking.
  • Leftover slices of cheese need to be refrigerated. For shredded cheese, it is recommended to refrigerate within two days.
  • If the cheese was originally wrapped in a plastic cover, remove it from that cover. If the cheese was originally wrapped in wax or cheese paper, keep them stored as it is.
  • Wrap the cheese in wax paper or parchment paper. Use tape to secure the paper to the cheese.
  • Label the cheese before storing it. This would provide you an idea of when the cheese was stored. Also, write down the type of cheese you purchased in case you have kept multiple kinds of cheese in the fridge.
  • The cheese can be kept in the drawer of the fridge. This is because the drawer has a little bit of humidity and would aid in preserving the moisture content of the cheese.
  • Place cheese away from strongly odored foods like spinach or lemon as this would affect the flavor of the cheese.
  • If you are planning to transfer cheese from one container to another, make sure to transfer the label naming the date and type of cheese too. Also, avoid draining cheese and transfer the liquid of the cheese to the other container too.
  • Keep the cheese in the refrigerator at a temperature between 35 and 45℉. If your cheese is not between these temperatures, you might have to keep it in the freezer or consume it immediately.
  • Avoid touching the brine-containing spoon with dirty utensils or dirty spoons. If the brine gets contaminated, you can replace it. You can drain cheese with a cheesecloth if required.

Brine can be easily prepared at home. For preparing brine, dissolve 1 tbsp of salt in 710 ml of water. Brine containing more salt can last longer though if you put more salt into the brine, it can end up being salty.

How to detect spoilt cheese?

  • Mold is not an absolute indicator of spoilage as many kinds of cheese use mold as a part of the production process. 

For hard cheeses, you can cut off the part of cheese that is moldy though this cannot be done in the case of soft cheese as it is hard to determine whether the mold has spread internally.

  • It is easier to determine whether cheese with a mild smell has gone off. If the cheese emits a strong odor, it is likely to be spoilt. Strongly odored cheese on the other hand should not emit a putrid odor.
  • If the cheese is slimy, it is likely to be spoilt.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Do you really have to use cheese within 5 days of opening?” methods to store cheese and detect spoilt cheese.


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