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We all love Tillamook Cheese and we’ll do just about anything to make it last forever, but does this mean you should freeze the cheese you don’t plan on using right away? This is a question I get a lot from our consumers, and the answer is different depending on your needs.

First and foremost, Tillamook Cheddar Cheese does not need to be frozen in order to prolong the life of the cheese. Cheddar cheese is naturally aged, so if you keep it in the original package in the coldest part of your fridge it should stay fresh long past the expiration date if it hasn’t yet been opened. In fact, the cheese will just continue to take on a sharper cheddar flavor the longer you let it sit.

Because Tillamook Cheddar Cheese stays fresh for so long in the fridge, we don’t recommend freezing your cheese. Cheese that has been frozen often takes on a more crumbly texture and can lose some of its flavor when thawed. However, if you’re set on freezing your cheese, here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind before you throw that Baby Loaf in the freezer.

1. Freezing cheddar significantly slows mold growth, but it also stops the cheese from aging. If you freeze your cheese it will not take on a sharper taste no matter how long you keep it buried under the frozen peas and ice cubes!

2. It works best to freeze cheese in one pound portions or smaller, so divide up your 2 pound loaf before freezing.

3. Pieces of cheese should be wrapped in moisture-proof material like plastic wrap or resealable freezer bags. That way, you can maintain optimum flavor and texture.

4. When you are ready to thaw your cheese, place the cheese in the refrigerator with the wrapper on to prevent loss of moisture, and then eat it as soon as possible.

5. Frozen cheese shreds very easily, but it can be difficult to slice. If you need sliced cheese, it’s best to slice it before you put it in the freezer.

If you’re trying to decide if you should freeze your cheese, keep in mind what you need from the cheese in the end. Do you want to shred it or are you trying to prevent the cheese from aging? Then freezing could be the right answer! If you simply want to keep your cheddar for a long period of time, consider keeping it unopened in the fridge instead.

39 comments

Keith

I love your 2-yr Vintage White Cheddar best of all. What's the minimum fridge storage time for additional aging to make a difference?

July 31st, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Christina in Cleveland

I miss the GREAT Tillamook cheese!! Loved the tour.
BEST. CHEESE. EVER.
Thank you for the tips!

November 13th, 2014 at 3:44 am

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Christina,
Thanks for your comment! I'm so happy you were able to join us for a tour, and am glad you're such a Tillamook fan! Enthusiastic fans like you are what make our jobs so fun!

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

November 17th, 2014 at 11:13 am

Julia

I kept my Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar in my fridge well after its 2012 expiration date. I bought two one pound blocks at the cheese factory and just opened them 11/25/14. It seemed to have a dry white film on it but otherwise OK. Made some awesome cheese wafers.

Did not ever seem to have time to make my special wafers and did not want to use that particular cheese for anything else. (Actually, they are cheese straws but not everyone seems to know what that is.) Now I have about 1/2 pound of shredded cheese left over and am considering freezing it tightly wrapped in several layers of plastic. I do not want to risk having this very special cheese mold before I can use it.

November 26th, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Julia,
That sounds like some pretty sharp cheddar you've got! The white film you've spotted sounds to me like calcium lactate, which is perfectly safe to eat. Here's a little more information on calcium lactate in case it's helpful. As for those cheese straws, that sounds like a delicious use for your cheddar! Sounds like you've got a recipe you like already, but I thought you might like to see the one we shared on our blog a while back! Here's a link: www.tillamook.com/community/blog/cheese-straws/
Thanks for taking the time to write to us here on the Tillamook blog!

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

December 4th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Susie

Can I ship Tillamook cheese without refridgeration?

December 13th, 2014 at 9:59 am

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Susie,
Thanks for reaching out to us with your question! Tillamook Cheese is a perishable product that requires constant refrigeration. Although our little loafs would love to travel the world and experience exotic places, we don’t recommend that you ship our cheese very far. If you do decide to ship it, we recommend that you include a gel ice pack and send it using no longer than USPS 2nd day mail.
I hope this helps!

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

December 15th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Paul

Does the your monterey pepper jack 2 lb block also continue to age appropriately past the expiration date, or does that cheese age differently than the cheddar. Or do I need to freeze or use before the exp date? Thanks.

March 7th, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Jocelyn

I just bought a 20 cup bag of shredded cheddar from Costco. I measured out 2 cups each into separate freezer bags and put them in the freezer, because after I opened the bag I noticed it said to use within 3-5 days. It will probably take me about 3 or 4 months to go thru it all. I hope it will be ok?

March 9th, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Paul,
Thanks for reaching out to us with your question, I'm glad you decided to check with us! Since Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack are a "stirred curd cheeses," they actually don't age the same way that our cheddars do. I recommend eating those cheeses before their expiration date.
I hope this helps! Please reach out if you have other questions.

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

March 10th, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Jocelyn,
Thanks for your question. While we don’t recommend it, according to the USDA Cheese Guide, cheese may be frozen for as long as 6 months. So the good news is, your cheese should be ok! It may be more crumbly and could lose some of its flavor the longer you wait, but if you're using it in recipes, you should still be able to enjoy it after 3-4 months. I hope this helps.

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

March 10th, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Winters

Hi! I just opened a huge block of cheese, cut off half for the fridge and put the other half in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer. I just read your article. I already opened the cheese so if I won't get to the last half for a couple months, should I freeze it after opening the package? If you think two months is no problem and I should not freeze it, considering I already put it in the freezer overnight... Should I take it out today or should I just leave it frozen now since it already is. Please help. Thanks!

May 7th, 2015 at 9:29 am

Callie

Tillamook Team

Hi Winters,

Thanks for asking! If the cheese is cheddar, I would take it out of the freezer and move to the fridge, since two months in the fridge should be fine as long as it is wrapped tightly and not exposed to any air. If the cheese is anything other than cheddar, it's probably best to leave it in the freezer if it will expire before you think you'll eat it. Hope this helps!

All the best,

Callie, of the Tillamook team

May 13th, 2015 at 8:48 am

will

I have some cubed cheese leftover from last weekend, May 30th, canI just store it in a refrigerator that measures at 34 degress till the 4th 0f July in vacum sealed bags, or do I need to freeze it?

June 1st, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Will,
Depending on the type of cheese you have, it should be ok to save until then. I suggest keeping an eye out for any mold sightings, just in case, before serving again. The cheese should be fine as long as the baggie is air tight and it stays cold. You can also freeze the cheese, but that will change the texture. Here's a link to more information on how freezing will affect your cheese.

Hope this helps!
All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

June 8th, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Marlene Spadt

After I moved back to Montana from Portland I drove to Newport for vacation and back through Tillamook for the tour and to get cheese to bring home. I finally found stores that carried Tillamook and that is the only brand I use. I do miss the curds though can't get them so when I go to the beach I stock up on curds, they freeze beautifully. Thank you for the great product!

Marlene Spadt

August 14th, 2015 at 9:32 am

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Marlene,
Thanks for writing to us here on the Tillamook Blog. Welcome back to Oregon! I'm happy to hear you've been enjoying some trips to the coast and stocking up on cheese curds.
Hope we'll see you again soon.

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

August 17th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

bill

I ate some of your cheese once. It was good.

August 31st, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Bill,
Happy to hear you've had a chance to try our cheese! Hope you'll have a chance to enjoy some of it again :)

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

September 3rd, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Randy

I toured your facility the 2nd week of Sept in the travel trailer, kept a regular and a medium sharp cheddar in original packaging in the fridge until I got home 2 weeks later. Opened both one pound loafs around Sept 22nd. Its a month later, working on both loafs, and, being Dutch and loving Gouda cheese, I have to say, with 4 or 5 weeks of aging, just break open the regular packaging, it would be a terrible shame to not serve broken up slices of this cheese with a good, dry Chardonnay wine, out of, oh, say the Santa Barbara area.

Simply amazing, the flavor of this just keeps getting better, and better. I store in the lower portion of the normal refrigeration area, in a zip lock back, always suck as much air out of it as possible before sliding the sealer shut. Just watch out for mold, and slice and eat regularly.

I will be back for another tour and another grand purchase, when in the area... your product is unmatched in flavor and quality.

October 25th, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Patricia Campbell

I have a COLBY JACK cheese that has just expired and want to know how it would freeze as cant eat it all right away. (It's a 2 lb block)

October 28th, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Randy,
Thanks for reaching out to us here with your comment. I'm so delighted to hear how much you enjoyed your Tillamook Cheddar. Your road trip sounds lovely, what a way to travel the coast.
Cheers to a a delicious adventure, and hopefully many more to come.

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

November 4th, 2015 at 9:36 am

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Patricia,
Thank you for reaching out to us here on the blog. While our aged cheddars can be consumed after the best by date if unopened, we do not encourage consumption of a stirred-curd cheese like Colby Jack after the best by date has passed. You can use your best judgment, but we would not recommend eating this Colby Jack past the best by date even if it is now frozen.

I hope this information helps.

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

November 4th, 2015 at 9:46 am

Lynda

have two different cheese' (sharp and pepper jack) opened. Vacuum sealed both. Will this still crumble after being froze?

November 13th, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Amalya

Tillamook Team

Hi Lynda,
It's hard to say exactly what the texture will be, but they will likely be more crumbly after freezing. If you're worried about texture and planning to serve your cheese on its own (vs. cooking with them in a recipe), you may want to avoid freezing.

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

November 23rd, 2015 at 9:58 am

Faye

Hello! We live in the Salem area, in the middle of a move to Lincoln City. Recently, we've found that Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp cheese (our absolute favorite cheese EVER ~ makes KILLER Mac & Cheese!!) has not been available in our local grocery stores. We usually invest in the extra-large blocks (I think they're 2 lbs?) and cannot find it anywhere.

We don't usually get into the Tillamook area, though driving over there may be our only choice ~ not that it's a bad drive! :) But is the cheese even available at the factory?

We were just curious as to what has happened to the supply. Thanks in advance :)

Great article on freezing vs. not also.

January 12th, 2016 at 9:48 am

Callie

Tillamook Team

Hi Faye,

Thank you for your email and for taking the time to write. Unfortunately, we have temporarily sold out of our Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar. Don’t worry – we’re currently working on aging more! While we can’t rush the natural aging process our cheddar undergoes, we can recommend our 18-month aged Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese to get you through the interim period. Thanks again for your comment!

All the best,

Callie, of the Tillamook team

January 22nd, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Joe

Just bought 2 2lb blocks of sharp cheddar and divided each block into 8 equal pieces and cold smoked the lot for 5 hrs.
Everyone who has tried it so far says the same thing. "That cheese was awesome, how can I get more?
Sounds like I won't have to worry about freezing it.

February 10th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

cheryl

Can a cheddar cheese loaf last 18 hours in a suitcase during winter air travel?

February 10th, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Jackie

Tillamook Team

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your comment on the blog! What a tasty idea! Glad to hear it was a big hit with your friends.

All the best,

Jackie, of the Tillamook team

March 3rd, 2016 at 11:32 am

Jackie

Tillamook Team

Hi Cheryl!

Thanks for reaching out to us on our blog. Good question! If traveling by plane, keep your cheese refrigerated or iced until your departure for the airport. Wrap the cheese in a bag and place it in your suitcase. Ice is not required – most likely your cheese will stay cool in the baggage compartment of the aircraft and will be fine for one day. We don’t recommend carrying the cheese on with you, as it could be confiscated.

Save travels -

Jackie, of the Tillamook team

March 4th, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Suzanne

Your article about freezing cheese was very helpful to me. Thank you for publishing it.
I would like to know the store nearest to me to purchase
Tillamook brand cheese. My zip code is 14477 and I typically drive a 30 mile radius to shop.

March 16th, 2016 at 5:58 am

Jackie

Tillamook Team

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for reaching out! I’m so glad that you found this blog post helpful. It looks like at this time we don’t have distribution in Kent, NY. I’m really sorry about that! We'd recommend talking to store managers to see if there's any chance they might be able to order some, as the retailer ultimately chooses which products they'd like to stock. We'll also share your note with the Sales team here. Thanks again.

All the best,

Jackie, of the Tillamook Team

March 17th, 2016 at 5:19 pm

James Clingerman

Tillamook Monterey Jack is the best cheese on the planet.
My wife loves the extra sharp cheddar. I used to keep an extra 2lb loaf of the Monterey Jack and the extra sharp in reserve. To my shagrin I can no longer get the Monterey Jack at SAMs. We still keep the extra sharp cheddar but have no place I know locally to get the Monterey Jack. Perhaps Tillamook could provide the Monterey Jack to SAMs again. I very much miss it. I ordered 6 2lb loaves at a premium price. It's going to take a month to get here but I plan to surprise my wife when it does.

April 7th, 2016 at 5:59 pm

David J Johnsen

There was a new store in gig harbor, main and vine, with an incredible buy on tillamook medium and white cheddar. How long before these become sharp cheddar.

April 9th, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Jackie

Tillamook Team

Hi David, thanks for reaching out to us on our blog! I'm so glad that the new store in Gig Harbor is carrying some of our cheeses! Especially great when you can find them on deal. I don't have an exact answer as to when the store will be bringing in Sharp Cheddar but you can always talk to the store managers and request it! They might even be able to make a special purchase for you. Please feel free to use our product request template, which you can fill in, print out, and hand directly to a store manager! You can find that by clicking here.

Hope it's stocked up soon! All the best,

Jackie, of the Tillamook Team

April 12th, 2016 at 11:53 am

Jackie

Tillamook Team

Hi James, thanks for reaching out to us on our blog! It's great to hear how much your wife loves the Extra Sharp Cheddar (personally my favorite too!). I am sorry that your local Sams isn't carrying it right now and that I don't have the exact reason why they aren't. I'm sure your order will be a very pleasant surprise to your wife! I think one of the best surprises is cheese but I might be a bit biased :)

As far as seeing it again at Sams, I can't promise anything but you can always talk to the store managers and request it! Please feel free to use our product request template, which you can fill in, print out, and hand directly to a store manager! You can find that by clicking here.

Hope it's stocked up soon! All the best,

Jackie, of the Tillamook Team

April 12th, 2016 at 11:56 am

Chasemiranda

Freezing cheese and trying to slice does not help at all it way more difficult do to the fact that it freezes your hand making it hard to hold. Also the cheese is difficult to shred and hard to lush down a cheese grater

May 15th, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Sierra

Tillamook Team

Hi Miranda,
Thanks for your comment! We agree that you should slice the cheese before you freeze it, as we said in #5 of our post. Otherwise it is too crumbly! As for shredding, we recommend letting the frozen cheese sit on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour so that it is partially thawed before you try to shred it. Hopefully that will make it a little easier for you!
All the best,
Sierra, of the Tillamook team

May 18th, 2016 at 4:11 pm
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