Freezing appears to be your only choice if you want your leftover ricotta to last more than a couple of days. Can you freeze ricotta cheese?
Or maybe you have a container approaching its expiration date, and you know you won't be able to use it soon. Wouldn't freezing it be useful?
If you looked on the Internet, you'd find that some people think freezing ricotta is OK, while others say it spoils the texture and flavor. As is usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Are you keen to learn how to freeze, thaw, and use ricotta cheese and ricotta-based mixtures?
Let’s jump right in.
Yes, you can freeze ricotta cheese, but you should be aware that there will be obvious separation when you thaw it. The texture change isn't too noticeable, and such ricotta may still be used in most recipes.
Cooking or baking dishes, such as pancakes and pasta fillings, are the best choices for frozen and thawed ricotta.
Ricotta has a high moisture content, so when it freezes, the water in it turns to ice, changing the texture. The cheese will become increasingly dry and crumbly in texture as the ice separates the curds and whey.
Only use previously frozen ricotta in cooked recipes to make the texture difference in your foods less noticeable. It's recommended not to use previously frozen ricotta cheese if your recipe is uncooked or specifically asks for fresh ricotta cheese.
You may freeze it in the same plastic container that store-bought ricotta comes in if the container is unopened (and hasn't expired). However, most of us will be dealing with leftover ricotta, which will change things somewhat. Here's a step-by-step guide on freezing leftover ricotta:
- To ensure that the ricotta freezes evenly, stir it with a spoon.
- Drain the cheese by removing it from the container and pressing it down with a layer of paper towels.
- Using an ice cube tray, wrap the cheese in plastic wrap, either whole or in separate pieces (the latter is easier for thawing).
- Transfer the cheese to a freezer-safe bag or an airtight container from here. If you're using a bag, be sure to squeeze out as much air as you can before closing it.
- Write the date on the container. Place for up to two months in the freezer.
The best (and safest) method to thaw ricotta cheese is to place it in the refrigerator for five to six hours. If you keep it in the fridge for more than eight hours, the texture will deteriorate much more. Ricotta should never be thawed at room temperature since this may lead to bacterial infection.
When you're ready to use the cheese, give it a good stir with a spoon to get the best consistency possible. Ricotta that has been previously frozen may be kept in the fridge for up to three days. Don't bother refreezing since it will damage the texture. This is why freezing the ricotta in individual portions is a good idea - silicone ice cube trays work well for this. Ricotta cheese that has been frozen can be used in any cooked dish.