Velveeta is a brand of processed cheese manufactured by the Kraft Heinz company. Renowned for the smooth texture that gives it its name, Velveeta cheese is synonymous with comfort foods such as casseroles and mac and cheese. The question is, is Velveeta cheese safe to freeze?
You can freeze open packages of Velveeta cheese to prolong its shelf-life up to 6 months. However, Kraft Heinz recommends against this, as freezing Velveeta cheese can negatively affect its texture and taste. If you’re going to put your Velveeta cheese in the freezer, be sure to pack it correctly.
In this article, I’ll talk about the reasons you might want to freeze Velveeta cheese. I will also explain how to freeze your Velveeta cheese correctly so that it doesn’t spoil, how long it can last in the freezer, and how to know if your Velveeta cheese has gone bad.
Under What Circumstances Should You Freeze Velveeta Cheese?
As a processed cheese product, Velveeta cheese includes added preservatives that extend its shelf-life beyond fresh cheeses like brie or mozzarella. Despite this, like all dairy products, Velveeta cheese will eventually go bad. Once you have opened your package, you will need to take extra care to ensure it does not deteriorate.
You will want to freeze any Velveeta cheese that you do not intend on consuming within eight weeks of opening. You will also want to put any cheese dip or other dish containing Velveeta cheese in freezer storage if you do not intend on consuming it within three or four days.
In all other circumstances, Kraft Heinz recommends that you do not freeze Velveeta cheese. Freezing Velveeta can cause it to become crystalline, ruining its signature texture. It can also break down the ingredients in the cheese, making it watery and lessening its flavor.
So, if you have an open package of Velveeta cheese that you don’t plan on consuming within a few weeks of opening, that makes it a good candidate for freezing.
How To Freeze & Thaw Velveeta Cheese Correctly
When you need to extend the life of your Velveeta cheese, freezing is your best option. Freezing inhibits the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeast, and mold, in stored Velveeta cheese.
Here is how you can freeze your Velveeta cheese correctly:
- Pack the Velveeta cheese appropriately before freezing it
- Keep track of the expiry date of your Velveeta cheese
- Thaw Velveeta cheese correctly for best results
Pack the Velveeta Cheese Appropriately Before Freezing It
Do not freeze Velveeta cheese in its original packaging as it is not made of freezer-safe materials. Instead, take the Velveeta cheese out of its packaging and wrap it in cling film, taking care to ensure no air pockets remain. Finally, place the cling-film-wrapped Velveeta cheese inside an airtight freezer-safe box or plastic bag.
If you are shopping for freezer-safe plastic bags, consider using these Ziploc Freezer Bags from Amazon.com. They are made of BPA-free plastic and are specifically designed to protect food from freezer burn.
Keep Track of the Expiry Date of Your Velveeta Cheese
It can be hard to keep track of the expiration dates of all the foods in your freezer. So, be sure to label your frozen Velveeta cheese and mark its best-by date so that you remember to consume it before it goes bad.
Remember, Velveeta cheese should be safe for up to six months when frozen. However, if incorporated into a dip or other dish, its shelf-life will be shorter.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, foods such as casseroles, soups, and entrees should remain safe when frozen for up to two to four months. So, it is safe to assume that frozen Velveeta cheese products will hold up well for at least two to three months.
How To Thaw Velveeta Cheese Correctly
Thawing frozen Velveeta cheese is easy but it’s a very important step when it comes to maintaining the texture and taste of the cheese.
You should thaw the frozen Velveeta cheese overnight in the refrigerator when you wish to use it. This way, the cheese thaws slowly, retaining its consistency. For this reason, you’ll never want to thaw Velveeta cheese on the kitchen counter or in the microwave.
Also, once thawed, you should not refreeze Velveeta cheese.
How Long Does Velveeta Cheese Last Outside a Freezer?
Before deciding whether to freeze your Velveeta cheese, it might help to consider its shelf-life outside a freezer. This information will help you decide whether to put your Velveeta cheese in cold storage or not.
How long Velveeta cheese will last outside of a freezer depends on whether you have opened its packaging or incorporated it into a dish. Unopened Velveeta will last longer than opened Velveeta. Velveeta alone will last longer than Velveeta used as an ingredient in other dishes.
The following subsections will tell you how long you can expect your Velveeta cheese to last outside a freezer in each of these cases.
Unopened Package of Velveeta Cheese
Subject to its manufacturer-recommended expiration date, an unopened package of Velveeta cheese should keep well for up to six months. Velveeta cheese is not required to be refrigerated till it is opened. However, it is essential that you store your unopened Velveeta cheese in a cool and dark place.
Opened & Refrigerated Velveeta Cheese Packages
Once opened, Velveeta cheese should be refrigerated. Stored appropriately, it can last for up to eight weeks from the day you open it. The key to proper storage of Velveeta cheese is to pack it into airtight boxes or plastic bags. Exposure to air can make the cheese hard or cause bacteria to take hold.
Velveeta Cheese Dip or Other Dishes
Incorporating Velveeta cheese into a dip, casserole, or other recipes significantly lowers its shelf-life. Water from meats and vegetables can quickly cause the cheese to break down and lose its consistency.
As a rule of thumb, try to consume any Velveeta cheese dish within three to four days. Beyond this timeframe, it is safer to freeze or discard. Chances are, the cheese will have deteriorated to a point where it loses its taste.
Signs That Velveeta Cheese Has Gone Bad
Despite all the care you take, there is a possibility that frozen Velveeta can go bad. It is essential to evaluate Velveeta cheese once you thaw it to ensure it has not spoiled. Consuming foods that show signs of mold or bacteria can cause severe illnesses such as food poisoning.
Here are some signs suggesting your Velveeta cheese may have gone bad:
- The Velveeta cheese smells bad. When you thaw your Velveeta cheese, pay attention to the way it smells. If it gives off a foul odor, it has probably gone bad. In this case, you should discard it at once.
- Mold has grown on the Velveeta cheese. Velveeta cheese can be exposed to mold spores when in cold storage. Given time, the mold can grow significantly and form a visible layer on top of the cheese. The characteristic blue-green discoloration and furry patches that indicate mold growth is a sure sign that your Velveeta cheese has gone bad. Note: With a soft cheese like Velveeta, you can’t just cut off the mold and still consume it. The mold on the surface has likely burrowed into the cheese.
- The color of the Velveeta cheese has changed. Apart from mold, other chemical changes can adversely affect the quality and appearance of Velveeta cheese. Healthy Velveeta cheese should have a smooth yellow color. If your Velveeta cheese looks pale or unevenly colored, it has probably gone bad.
- The Velveeta cheese has lost its texture. Velveeta cheese should be soft and have an even consistency. If your Velveeta cheese has hardened, it might not taste as good but is most likely still edible. However, if you find that it has a watery consistency when thawed, it has probably gone bad.
- Velveeta cheese tastes bad. Finally, your Velveeta Cheese should retain its characteristic taste once thawed. A noticeable change in its taste indicates that your Velveeta Cheese has gotten spoiled.
Velveeta Cheese is best not frozen. If you have to freeze your Velveeta Cheese, however, take care to pack it carefully, track its expiry, and scrutinize it on thawing for signs of spoilage.
Well-packed, Velveeta Cheese can last for up to six months in cold freezer storage.