Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad? (Freezing & Preservation Tips)


As a huge fan of cotija cheese, you would undoubtedly like to know if they eventually go bad. This is because the shelf life of cotija cheese is not very certain. And it would be wrong to make assumptions about how long-lasting they are.

For the record cotija cheese, is a very distinctive kind of cheese, it is quite unique and should not be compared to other cheese. What this means is that your cotija cheese can not exactly be stored and preserved like others.

Traditionally made from aged cow milk, cotija cheese’s tangy and salty flavor is one of the many reasons why people love it and wonder if it goes bad.

Yes, cotija cheese does go bad. The primary ingredient is cow milk and this makes it highly perishable. To keep cotija cheese for as much time as you would love to you’d have to preserve it properly.

Cotija cheese is usually used as a topping for meals to enhance and boost the taste of the dish. The salty, and tangy taste of this cheese will make you will it doesn’t get bad or rancid at all. Well, some things aren’t meant to last forever, especially when it involves food.

Want to go on a jolly ride with us to find out more about cotija cheese and how long it can last? Well then stick around.

Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?

Cotija cheese needs to be kept at a favorable temperature at all times, or else it goes bad. And the shelf life of cotija cheese like many other kinds of cheese is not long but it can be extended in the freezer.

Yes, cotija cheese can be frozen and its expected shelf life in the freezer is about 6-8 months, which is really great especially when you have more than enough cotija cheese. However, there are guidelines to follow when freezing it.

It is advised that you freeze cotija cheese in small bits to avoid thawing a large bulk of cheese and then refreezing it. This is because refreezing cotija cheese can do a number on the texture and taste of the cheese.  

Also note that freezing cotija cheese can harden it, so it is best to use this preservation method when you are sure you won’t be having the cotija cheese anytime soon.

Does Cotija cheese go bad?
Image: Leslie Seaton / Wikimedia Commons.

Must Know Cotija Cheese Facts

There are many amazing facts about cotija cheese. This unique tasting cheese originated from Cotija de la Paz a major town in Michoacan, Mexico. Cotija cheese is very popular in Mexican restaurants and is used as a meal enhancer for any dish it touches.

Basically, there are mainly two types of cotija cheese which involve; the younger and fresher cotija cheese and the aged cotija cheese. The younger kind takes about 3-4 months to age and is relatively similar to feta. It is white in color and has a firm and powdery texture.

However, the aged cotija cheese is harder and firm than the younger kind and it has a takes a more salty and sharper taste just like the parmesan and romano cheese.

Moreso, the younger kind of cotija cheese is mostly common than the aged version. And generally, cotija cheese does not melt like every other type of cheese. It softens up from heat quite alright but it won’t dissolve into a creamy base.

It is also quite similar to cottage cheese, and ricotta. There is a wide range of Mexican dishes you can enjoy cotija cheese with and including tacos, quesadillas, and nachos.

Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad?

Unfortunately, cotija cheese does go bad after a long while. Cotija cheese like every other food is very perishable and can get spoilt if proper care is not taken. On that note, your favorite cheese should be kept at a favorable temperature to help them last longer.

The temperature at which cotija cheese is stored determines how long it is going to last. However, in a colder temperature, your cotija cheese has a better chance of lasting longer.

Aged cotija cheese has a longer shelf life as it can last for months, whereas the younger version will only last for 4-6 weeks in the fridge and would have a shorter shelf life if not stored properly.

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last?

Below is a table illustration of how long cotija cheese can last in different temperature conditions;

TemperatureShelf Life
Room Temperature2-3 hours
Fridge4-6 weeks
Freezer3-6 months

How To Properly Store Cotija Cheese

You can’t just keep your cotija cheese by the counter and expect it not to get bad. There are ways to store cotija cheese to prevent it from getting rancid. The following techniques are preservatory tips;

1. Store It In The Fridge

As earlier stated, cotija cheese can last for up to a month or two if refrigerated. Sealed cotija cheese will last for as long as the stated expiry date. However, 6 weeks is the maximum shelf life of opened cotija cheese.

Always ensure to take opened cotija cheese out of the initial packaging and enfold the cheese in parchment paper. Then go ahead to put it in a zip-lock plastic bag or an air-tight container and store them in the cheese drawer of your fridge.

2. Freeze Cotija Cheese

Freezing cotija cheese may not be the best option but it sure can keep it preserved for a very long time. However, to properly keep cotija cheese in the freezer you must first have to cut it into smaller preferable slices or grate it.

And as usual wrap the cheese in wax or parchment paper and then seal it in a freezer-safe bag. You can leave it frozen for as long as 6 months.

On the other hand, some people have attested that when cotija cheese is frozen it can last for a year but this depends on what type of cotija cheese.

Final Thoughts

For a sweet and flavorful cheese like cotija cheese, it is not so much of a puzzle that you want it to be long-lasting. Cotija cheese will actually last longer if stored and sealed properly but it will eventually go bad, rancid, or mold after it is past its stipulated shelf life.

For the most part, ensuring that cotija cheese is stored in a favorable condition should be a priority if you want it to remain consumable for as long as want.

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