How Long Does Mozzarella Cheese Last? Does It Go Bad?

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How long does mozzarella cheese last? When will I know if it has gone bad? What about mozzarella cheese sticks? Here, we have answers to all these questions and more on this popular, soft cheese. Mozzarella is one of the most well-liked cheese choices out there, you can put it on pizza and sandwiches, eat it as is, or slip it into casseroles and baked goods and much more, but despite its popularity, its shelf life is not as long as other cheese. One of the reasons is that mozzarella has a high moisture content, unlike hard cheese, which makes it susceptible to spoilage and decay.

Mozzarella cheese should be consumed within 7 days of opening and should be refrigerated within an hour of opening it. This is for especially necessary fresh mozzarella balls. Mozzarella loaf or block, because it is harder, lasts longer. Mozzarella cheese sticks have the longest shelf life of about 6-8 weeks. Irrespective of the kind of cheese you are eating, know that all mozzarella cheese needs to be refrigerated. They will start deteriorating in quality if left out for more than a few hours. Don’t stop with just refrigerating, we will look at the best way to store your favorite cheese.

How Long Will My Mozzarella Last?

Fresh mozzarella can last for about 3 days to a week if it has been opened. An unopened bag of mozzarella lasts for a week past its best-by date. Again, because of its high moisture content, mozzarella can go bad if not stored properly or if left out for too long. Fresh mozzarella is soft and pillowy and can be easily torn apart. Fresh mozzarella comes in bags, pouches, or boxes and is often floating in water or brine.

Cheese loaves are basically hard blocks of cheese and mozzarella loaves are often sliced and used in paninis and sandwiches. Unopened mozzarella cheese blocks can last for about 2-3 months and even a couple of weeks past the best-by date. Once opened, the cheese will last for 2-3 weeks.

Mozzarella cheese sticks or string cheese have a comparably longer shelf life. Cheese sticks last for 6-8 weeks. Even after that, the cheese sticks don’t necessarily spoil, but it does deteriorate in texture and quality.

Type of Mozzarella CheeseOpenedUnopened
Fresh Mozzarella3-7 daysBest-by date + 1-2 weeks
Mozzarella Loaf2-3 weeks2-3 months +
Mozzarella Cheese Stick
6-8 weeks

How To Store Mozzarella Cheese?

Seeing as how quickly this delicious cheese can spoil, there are a few things we can do, to extend its shelf life, namely proper storage. Storing cheese properly is the easiest way to not only make the cheese last longer, but it keeps it from spoiling early or losing flavor, quality, and texture too soon. Mozzarella cheese is as delicious as it is versatile and there are a number of ways to store it.

Here, you can find the best way to store mozzarella cheese so that you can enjoy it longer.

  • The cardinal rule of Mozzarella cheese is to refrigerate it. Whether you live in a warm or cold place and irrespective of whether it has been opened or not, mozzarella cheese has to always be in the fridge.
  • If you are using fresh mozzarella from a bag, pouch, or box it is best to store it in the fridge in the packaging it came in. This is often because mozzarella cheese comes in pouches that can be sealed or zipped. This is essential as it needs to be airtight.
  • Fresh mozzarella also often comes in water or brine, this is the best way to store mozzarella as the liquid keeps it from drying out.
  • If the water has run out, you can make your own brine or add water to keep the mozzarella fresh. Use one spoon of salt per cup of water and place your cheese in it till submerged fully.
  • If the mozzarella you have is in water, then use water, if the pouch came with brine, then use brine. It is not recommended to substitute one for the other. If your mozzarella came submerged in brine but you replaced it with water, then the water will absorb the salt from the mozzarella, effectively changing the taste of your cheese.
  • Also, remember to replace the liquid every two days. You want your cheese to taste fresh.
  • Cheese loaf on the other hand comes tightly wrapped in foil. Once opened, if possible, use the same wrap to rewrap it tightly. The cheese needs to be airtight, or else the cheese gets too hard and discolored. If you are not able to use the same wrap or foil, use any other plastic wrap or even Ziplock to store it. Most people don’t wrap their cheese blocks tightly enough, resulting in cheese hardening or even spoiling.
  • Another option is to grate the cheese and store it in an airtight box. You even have the option of freezing the shredded cheese making it last a lot longer.
  • Cheese sticks come in thin, tightly wrapped packages. If you decide to open it, consume it within a few hours, otherwise, keep it in an airtight container or Ziplock and refrigerate.

How To Tell If Mozzarella Cheese Has Gone Bad?

All good things must come to an end, and so is the case with Mozzarella cheese. While mozzarella cheese does go bad, sometimes improper storage changes its texture and quality, so it might still be consumable, but it might not taste as good.

A few sure-fire ways to tell if your cheese has spoiled are:

  • Dark spots and mold on the cheese. This is the most obvious indicator that your cheese has spoiled. There will be dark green or black spots on the cheese. If that is the case, your cheese is unusable; you cannot cut away just the spoiled bit thinking the rest of it is fine. Consuming bad cheese is going to cause some health issues, from nausea to food poisoning to more persistent gut issues.
  • A bad or sour smell is another symptom of spoiled mozzarella. A sour smell does not definitively mean it has spoiled; it could also mean that it is on its way out. But it does signify that the quality is not as good or as fresh. Consuming this might not make you sick, but it will certainly not give you the satisfaction that fresh mozzarella will.
  • If the cheese has hardened, this is very often the case with block cheese that has not been stored properly, and with fresh cheese that has not been fully submerged in brine, then the cheese is not good. Hardened cheese does not mean spoiled cheese, it just means the consistency and texture have changed and it is recommended that the cheese be thrown out.
  • This is the most commonly found problem with cheese and the biggest reason good cheese gets thrown out when it has not been wrapped properly and when it has been exposed to air.

If you want to enjoy your pizza or paninis longer, take some extra care to store mozzarella, as it will stay fresher, taste better and be satisfying a lot longer.


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