Ricotta cheese is one of the most famous cheeses used in many sweet and savory dishes. This Italian cheese is the secret ingredient to make a scrumptious cheesecake and delectable pasta dishes.
Some recipes may only need a small amount of the cheese. The leftover cheese has been sitting in the fridge for a few days now, while you have no plan to use it anytime soon.
This situation begs the question: can you freeze ricotta to extend its shelf life?
We’ve all been there, dealing with leftovers of this and that. In this article, we talk about freezing ricotta and whether it is worth trying. So, let’s read on.
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese Successfully?
As with other foods, freezing ricotta will extend its shelf life. However, freezing ricotta cheese may drastically change its texture.
Due to its high moisture content, ricotta cheese becomes crumbly when frozen. It tends to separate and turns watery after thawing.
Previously frozen ricotta is more suitable to use for cooking instead of topping your toast or salad. When thawed ricotta is incorporated with other ingredients and cooked, the texture change will no longer be a concern.
Now, you know what to expect from freezing ricotta cheese. If you’re curious, try freezing a small amount and see if you’re happy with the result.
How To Freeze Ricotta Cheese
Freezing ricotta is easy and straightforward. Anyone can do it. The process is quite similar to freezing cottage cheese.
If you want to give it a try, this quick step-to-step guide is for you to follow!
- 1. Stir ricotta and drain the excess water.
- 2. Divide ricotta into the appropriate amount for a recipe. Freezing in a smaller amount is easier for thawing. Skip this step if you plan to use the whole amount at once.
- 3. Pack ricotta into a freezer-safe container or bag. If using a bag, squeeze as much air as possible from the bag.
- 4. Seal the container tightly.
- 5. Mark the container with a freezing date.
- 6. Transfer the package into the freezer.
A gentle reminder, your freezer’s temperature should be maintained at 0 °F (−18 °C) or lower to keep frozen foods safe.
How Do You Thaw and Use Frozen Ricotta Cheese?
When it comes to defrosting foods, the safest option is always refrigerator thawing. Simply transfer the frozen cheese to the fridge and let it thaw slowly.
Never thaw frozen ricotta on the kitchen counter or at room temperature to avoid bacterial contamination.
Use thawed ricotta immediately and keep it refrigerated. The cheese is best to use within 2 to 3 days after thawing.
As mentioned earlier, frozen ricotta has limited use compared to the fresh one due to the altered texture. Although thawed ricotta is less suitable for uncooked recipes, it works perfectly well for baking and cooking.
To give you inspiration, here are some famous dishes to use up your frozen ricotta:
- Selection of pasta, such as spinach and ricotta lasagna, baked ziti, cheese ravioli, cannelloni
- Ricotta cheesecake
- Pancake and waffles
- Ricotta cheese cookies
- Ricotta pie
How Long Can You Refrigerate and Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese is best to use within one week after opening the package. Make sure to seal the container tightly after each use.
If you can’t use up the product within a week, try freezing the cheese. Ricotta cheese preserves its peak quality for up to 1 month in the freezer.
Frozen ricotta won’t necessarily go bad if kept longer. However, the flavor might start to change. Keep in mind, there are many ricotta cheese substitutes you can use if it goes bad.
Yes, if you have leftover ricotta mixture for lasagna, you can pack and freeze it. In fact, the egg helps to bind the mix altogether. Try to use it within 1 to 2 months after freezing.
Yes, this pasta filling is excellent to freeze. Portion the filling into an appropriate amount, pack into an airtight freezer-safe bag, and seal tightly. When it’s time to cook, thaw it in the refrigerator, give it a quick stir, and it’s ready to stuff cannelloni, lasagna, or ravioli.
Absolutely, yes. If you bake it at home, let the cheesecake cool down quickly, slice it up, and wrap it in aluminum foil. Pack the wrapped slices in a freezer bag, seal tightly, and freeze up to 1 month.
Ricotta cheese is safe to consume during pregnancy, provided that it is made of pasteurized milk. Otherwise, it should be avoided due to the risk of Listeria contamination. Ricotta cheese sold in the grocery store in the US is typically made from pasteurized milk unless otherwise stated (check the packaging). (*)
Ricotta is a soft cheese that only stays fresh for a week in the fridge. Freezing ricotta prolongs its shelf life up to one month, with expected crumbly texture.
To freeze ricotta, simply divide the cheese into an appropriate amount for a recipe, pack into a freezer bag, seal tightly, and freeze.
Due to the altered texture, frozen ricotta works perfectly for cooking or baking instead of eating it plain. Although it is not ideal, freezing ricotta is still an excellent move to salvage leftovers and prevent food waste.
See more: Can you freeze cottage cheese?
*image by JuliaMikhaylova/depositphotos