How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last? Freezing Rules and Tips

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last

How long does Cotija cheese last? It is an unripened, crumbly, Mexican cow’s milk cheese. As a food, it can last for 1 to 2 months in room temperature if it is properly wrapped and stored. When kept in a refrigerator, cotija cheese can last longer, up to 1 year.

In this article, you can learn about the storage method and average shelf life of cotija cheese.

What Is Cotija Cheese?

Cotija cheese is a Mexican cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It is aged for a short period of time and then has a thin rind that is removed before serving the cheese. The name comes from the Spanish word cotijo, which means “little basket.”

What Is Cotija Cheese?

Cotija cheese has a dry texture and a salty taste. It has a pale color with small holes throughout it. This cheese can be used in recipes to add flavor and texture to dishes.

The best way to describe Cotija is as an aged version of Parmesan cheese. It can be used as an ingredient in many dishes, as well as eaten on its own. One of the most popular ways to eat Cotija is on top of tacos or other Mexican dishes.

How is Cotija Cheese Made?

Cotija cheese is a Mexican cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It is commonly used in Latin American dishes, and it can be used as an alternative to Parmesan cheese.

Cotija cheese is a hard, dry, crumbly cheese with a buttery flavor. It is traditionally made with raw milk but can also be made using pasteurized milk. The name “cotija” comes from the Spanish word for “shaker”, referring to the way this cheese was traditionally packaged before shipping. This type of packaging allowed the cheese to be easily transported, even on long journeys.

The process of producing cotija cheese usually involves adding rennet to milk at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). The rennet causes the milk proteins to coagulate into curds and whey. Once this has happened, the curds are cut into small pieces and then allowed to sit for about 10 minutes in order for them to become firm enough for further processing.

The curds are then placed into a cheesecloth or muslin and pressed firmly with a wooden board until they form one solid mass. This mass is then broken into smaller pieces using wooden molds or paddles until they resemble grains of rice or corn kernels in appearance.

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last?

Cotija cheese has a long shelf life and does not require any special storage. However, it is best to store it in an airtight container to prevent the cheese from drying out. Keep the container in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last?

To maintain the moisture in the cheese, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic before storing in an airtight container. This method also prevents the growth of mold on the surface of your cheese.

You can store Cotija cheese at room temperature for up to three months after opening its package. If you store it in the refrigerator, it will last for up to six months if kept unopened and up to 12 months if opened but unused.

How long does Cotija cheese last? The shelf life of Cotija cheese depends on many factors, such as the best by date, the preparation method, and how the food is stored. The following chart shows the estimated shelf life of Cotija cheese per pound:

  • Fresh Cotija cheese: 1 week
  • Refrigerated Cotija cheese: 2 weeks
  • Frozen Cotija cheese (in airtight container): 3 months

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last in the Fridge?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact shelf life of cotija cheese. While it may last for a year or longer, the taste changes after three months when the cheese is left unrefrigerated. One of the main issues with cotija cheese is that it contains large amounts of moisture, which tends to cause the cheese to mold easily.

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last in the Fridge?

This can cause a number of dangerous health risks and can greatly alter the taste and texture of the cheese. If you’re buying cotija cheese from a grocery store, it should always be stored in your fridge so that it maintains its freshness and doesn’t mold. If you’re buying from a specialty market, you can probably trust that they have a refrigeration system that will keep your cheese safe for at least three months.

If you have some cotija cheese at home, there are also a few tell-tale signs for determining whether your cotija needs to be thrown out or not. It’s important to look closely at your cotija because mold tends to grow in its cracks and crevices. Mold will look like white or black spots on the outside of your cheese—it may also feel sticky if you touch it. If your cotija has begun to get soft or looks oily in any way, it needs to be discarded.

Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?

The short answer is: yes, you can freeze Cotija cheese. But there are some important caveats about how to do it properly. Cotija is a type of Mexican cheese that is usually made from cow’s milk—it’s also sometimes called Queso Añejo or Queso Ranchero. The word “Cotija” means “little rind” in Spanish and the cheese itself has a distinct rind, which is why it is referred to as “Cotija Cheese.” Cotija is a hard cheese that can make a tasty addition to many salads and baked dishes—but you may be wondering if you can freeze it.

A frozen block of Cotija will not taste good when defrosted—in fact, the flavor will be quite unpleasant. That’s because freezing makes for some very drastic changes in the composition of the cheese itself, including the fact that it becomes much drier than usual. So no matter what you do, freezing will ruin this particular variety of cheese for eating straight out of the package or for use in recipes. However, if you want to preserve your Cotija for later use (for example, if you have an extra block that you don’t need right away), freezing is an option—but only if you do it properly!

How to Defrost Cotija Cheese?

The best way to defrost cotija cheese is to leave it out on the counter for at least 24 hours. The reason this works so well is that it takes longer for foods to thaw at room temperature than in the microwave or refrigerator, so giving your cotija cheese plenty of time will ensure that it doesn’t get too warm and cause the texture to change into one resembling cottage cheese.

Your cotija cheese should be soft and easy to cut or crumble after the 24 hour period has elapsed; if you try to cut into it sooner, you will probably find that it has not properly defrosted yet and you run the risk of having chunks of frozen cheese. If you aren’t in a rush, just wait until 24 hours have passed before opening your package of cotija cheese and using or cooking with it.

Cotija Cheese Storage Tips

Cotija cheese is a Mexican-style hard cheese that has a crumbled or grated texture. It is mild and salty, with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Originally made in the La Laguna region of Mexico, it is now mass-produced throughout most of Latin America and Spain. Cotija is usually eaten as a condiment on top of soups and salads, but can also be used in cooking.

Cotija Cheese Storage Tips

Cotija’s freshness will last longer when stored properly. Here are some tips for storing your cotija:

  • Place your cotija in an airtight container, such as Tupperware, to extend its shelf life. This will prevent the cheese from absorbing other odors in the fridge.
  • If you don’t have an airtight container, wrap the cheese in plastic wrap before putting it away to keep out moisture and other smells.
  • The best place to store cotija is next to other dairy products–milk, butter, sour cream–in your refrigerator’s door or in the coldest part of the fridge (usually on one of the bottom shelves).
  • Keep your cotija at about 40 percent humidity or lower for best quality. Avoid storing near fruits like apples or bananas which give off ethylene gas which speeds up the ripening process.
  • Use fresh cotija cheese as soon as possible. It will hold its flavor and texture until consumed, but will rapidly deteriorate if kept at room temperature for an extended period of time.
  • If you can’t find cotija cheese or if it seems to have changed color or smell off, it’s probably no longer safe to eat and you should throw it away.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long can cotija cheese sit out?

If you plan to serve queso cotija at a party, it’s best to bring it out right before serving. However, if you need to store it for a few hours, place it in the refrigerator. The cheese will keep for about a week in the fridge.

2. What is the difference between queso cotija vs queso fresco?

The main difference between these two cheeses is in their texture and flavor. Cotija is firmer and more crumbly than queso fresco, which has a softer consistency. Both are made from cow’s milk, but cotija has a sharper taste than queso fresco because of its higher salt content (about 20 percent).

3. Does refrigerated cheese go bad?

Cotija cheese can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one month, but it will begin to lose its flavor after a few days. If you’re unsure about the freshness of your cheese, take a whiff. If it smells funny or sour, throw it away and buy a new block.

4. How do you know when Cotija cheese is bad?

The best way to tell if your Cotija cheese has gone bad is by smelling and tasting it. If the texture is slimy or off-putting, then the cheese has spoiled and should be thrown out immediately. A mildewy odor and mold on top of the block are also signs that the product has gone bad.


If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you have a Cotija cheese in your fridge. And, it’s likely (or even quite inevitable) that you are wondering how long does Cotija cheese last? Maybe you’d like to make sure it stays good for as long as possible, or possibly you want to know if there is a particular way in which to store the cheese. Whatever your reason may be, we’ll help you find the answer.

Joe Ciardullo

Joe Ciardullo

In the year 2012, Joe Ciardullo opened C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson, New York, and has had great success over the past many years by combining all these passions into a trendy modern diner. Is a passionate foodie, especially cheese, beer, and wine.

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