How Long Does Deli Cheese Last?


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Cheese is delicious. It can add a tangy flavor and creamy texture to many recipes. Cheese can be purchased at your local grocery store as well as the deli. If you are buying some deli cheese, you may be wondering, how long does cheese that you purchase from the deli last?

Deli cheese will typically last for about 3 to 4 weeks when stored properly in your refrigerator although this can vary depending on the type of cheese. If you freeze the deli cheese, then it can last for about 6 to 8 months when stored in the freezer. 

How Long Does Deli Cheese Last?

Did you recently purchase some deli cheese from the grocery store? If so, you should store it properly in your refrigerator or freezer. Deli cheese should only stay at room temperature for up  to 2 hours before it will begin to go bad. After a couple of hours, bacteria will begin to grow continmating the food. 

Our refrigerators are a useful and convenient way to store food until we want to use it. On the lower end, the deli cheese will last for about 2 to 3 weeks but if the package is unopened it can last 3-4 weeks. If you open the package (and don’t reseal it properly) this time shortens to about 5 to 7 days. 

How Long Does Cheddar Cheese Last?

Now, this amount of time can vary based on what types of cheese it is. Cheddar cheese will last a little longer and American cheese will last about this long. 

To keep any kind of cheese better for longer, be sure to store it properly and don’t open it until you plan on using it. Deli cheese comes with a “sell-by” date. You don’t have to use it up before this date, just store it correctly and it will remain good for a few weeks in the fridge and a few months in the freezer.

To see the most popular kinds of specialty cheese just click here. 

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How Do You Store Cheese Long-Term?

Cheese (whether from the deli or from the grocery section of the store) should be stored in the fridge when you arrive home after your grocery shopping. Here, the cheese will stay good for a few weeks. 

But, if you aren’t going to eat it right away, how do you store cheese long-term?

You can store cheese long-term by freezing it. Freezing can be a great way to store cheese that you don’t intend to use right away but that you might have gotten a good deal on at the store. While cold temperatures of the fridge keep it fresh for a little longer, freezing almost stops oxidation which causes the cheese to not go bad for months. 

This means that by storing food in the freezer you can keep it good for a lot longer than if you would store it in the fridge. If you are wanting to freeze your deli cheese (or any cheese), you can! In the freezer, deli cheese will last for around 6 to 8 months if it is an unopened package. 

To maximize how long cheese stays good in the freezer, wrap the cheese in heavy duty aluminum foil, plastic freezer wrap, or put it in heavy duty freezer bags. An opened package will only last for about 1 to 2 months in the freezer. 

For best results when freezing cheese (deli or otherwise), freeze it before the amount of time for refrigeration is up. The longer food is kept, the more it will lose quality. Even in the freezer, food can lose quality. 

Frozen cheese will eventually become crumbly and lose flavor. So, if your cheese still tastes good and has a good texture when you want to eat it later on, you will only want to freeze it for a few months. You should try to keep the cheese at a constant temperature if you are freezing it as well. 

After defrosting, cheese can be kept for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge before using it. The best way to thaw frozen cheese is in the fridge. Another thing to keep in mind is that since frozen cheese won’t taste as good or have the same texture as fresh cheese, it is best used in cooked dishes like sauced, soups, and casseroles. 

So, if you want to store cheese long-term, store it in the freezer.

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How Can You Tell If Deli Cheese Is Bad?

The perishability of cheese has a lot to do with its moisture content. Soft cheese spoils faster than hard or aged cheeses. When a cheese has gone bad, you will be able to tell, but it’s important to know what to look for. 

So, how can you tell if deli cheese is bad?

If your sliced deli cheese is bad, it will have a strange appearance, smell, or taste. Mold is a sure sign that cheese has gone bad but other signs of bad cheese are a spoiled or sour smell or taste.

Opening a package of cheese you planned to use on a sandwich, you saw mold covering it. That means it’s time to toss it. 

If you don’t see any mold but leaning closer you get a whiff of a sour smell you will not want to chance eating it, as it probably tastes bad, too.  If you have been storing the cheese for a while, then it may have gone bad. Mold growing on soft cheeses is a sure sign that you should throw the entire package or container away. 

Since hard cheese lasts longer than soft cheese, sometimes a moldy part won’t have affected the rest of it and it can be safe to cut off the moldy part and eat the rest. 

The spores of the mold most likely haven’t spread through the hard cheese. But, if you notice mold on soft cheese, it should definitely not be eaten.

If the cheese has an off smell like sour milk, then it has gone bad. Fresh cheese should not smell. If you happen to eat the cheese and it has an off taste like sour milk, then it is bad and should be discarded. 

Sometimes bad cheese won’t even have a taste at all and will cause your mouth to tingle and burn. If this happens, you know that the cheese is no longer safe to eat. 

To help cheese last longer, store it properly. If you don’t want to end up wasting the cheese by then throwing it away, be sure to eat it before it goes bad. 

Spoiled cheese should always be discarded. You could get very sick from eating spoiled cheese, so if you notice any mold, and off smell or taste, these are signs that the cheese is spoiled.

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Final Thoughts

Deli cheese lasts for 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge (opened=5 to 7 days) and 6 to 8 months in the freezer (opened=1 to 2 months). Depending on how it is stored, the kind of cheese, and if the package is opened or not, deli cheese can last longer or shorter than this time frame but it is a good average to keep in mind. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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