Cotija is a cheese that is very salty and hard cow’s milk cheese. Cotija cheese is used for sprinkling salads, soups, and tostadas.
The texture of the Cotija cheese is dry, firm, and the color is white. It’s very famous in Mexican.
Cotija cheese is perfect for grating, and it is made of cow’s milk which flavor is powerful.
If I talk about the substitute for Cotija cheese, then Feta, Parmesan, and Romano are similar to the Cotija cheese.
If you are wondering that can you freeze Cotija cheese? Then this article is for you. You will know all the facts about Cotija in this article.
Origin: The Cotija cheese is native to Mexico.
Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese
Yes, you can freeze Cotija cheese, but it also depends on the cheese quality. Before freezing, you need to make sure Cotija cheese quality that it’s not lost.
The cheese like Parmesan, cheddar, Cojta, Pecorino, and many others grated cheese freeze well.
If you have freeze Cotija cheese properly, so they will not lose its flavor and taste. It also depends if you have low moisture cheese to lose its taste and texture after freezing.
Due to ice crystal formation, delicate cheese such as mozzarella does not OK after thawing. The ice crystal formation ruins the texture of the high-moisture cheeses.
Cotija cheese freezes well, but before freezing, make sure that they are not spoiled.
How To Freeze Cotija Cheese
Different types of cheese freeze well for 3-6 months. This is how you can freeze Cotija, shredded, sliced cheese. Here is freezing method of Porto’s cheese.
- You can vacuum seal Cotija cheese. The vacuum-sealed is a method that squeezes out the air from the package. You can place cheese, food manually, or automatically in the plastic package. You can easily remove the air from inside sealed the package.
- Add cheese slices between the parchment paper and wrap them properly. Once it is ready and has placed all cheese in the parchment paper, put them in the airtight packaging.
- If you have a block of cheese, then wrap it in the plastic and sealed it tightly.
- You can also use a safe freezer bag for freezing cheese.
- Before placing the package into the freezer, ensure to label it so you will know the frozen date.
Follow the above instructions for freezing Cotija cheese.
How Long Is Cotija Cheese Good For
If you want to consume Cotija cheese later, you may want to know how long you can keep Cotija cheese? I am going to explain everything in detail about how long does cotija cheese last unopened and opened.
- Cotija Cheese Last After Opening: It depends if after opening you sealed it properly in the plastic so Cotija cheese will last for 1-2 weeks after opening. If you have soft cheese like camembert or any breakfast cheese to last for 1-2 weeks, and semi-hard cheese will last for 5-8 weeks. Make sure to store them properly after opening.
- Cotija Cheese Left Overnight: If you left Cotija cheese all night, it would be okay because Cotija is a fermented product with good control on microbial growth.
- Cotija Cheese At Room Temperature: According to research, the cheese will last two hours at room temperature.
If you don’t want to consume Cotija cheese soon, freeze it; otherwise, if you plan to consume it within 1-2 weeks, keep it in the fridge.
How To Tell If Cotija Cheese Is Bad
There are few signs you need to check out before consuming Cotija cheese.
- Shape: Cotija cheese becomes dry, hard, and gritty, which means it may be bad, but still, if you want to consume, it will be safe to eat, but the texture and taste will not good as the fresh one.
- Mold: If you have found any signs of mold in the Cotija cheese, don’t consume it through them away. You can also cut the moldy part of the cheese and consume the remaining part.
- Smell: If you feel any lousy taste of the milk, through them away.
- Taste: This is the last step of checking Cotija cheese. If all the above conditions pass, then you can also recognize it from the taste. If you feel any spoiled taste, don’t consume it.
Check for the above signs to recognize the bad Cotija cheese.
How Do You Defrost?
Cheese shouldn’t ever be defrosted at room temperature since it will quickly lose moisture and start to dry out.
Cotija cheese should be removed from the freezer in whatever form it is (for example, slices or blocks) and kept in the refrigerator for at least eight hours to fully defrost.
If you’re in a hurry, you may alternatively soak the wrapped cheese blocks in a dish of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
After the partially defrosted blocks of cheese have finished defrosting in the refrigerator, you can use them in your recipes.
Cotija cheese should be used as soon as it is defrosted because otherwise, it will dry up significantly and become unpleasant to use.
Watch this video for tips on how to defrost food fast and effectively:
How to Thaw Frozen Cotija Cheese?
Remove the cheese from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator. Place it in a container or on a plate to catch any moisture that may accumulate as it thaws.
Allow the cheese to thaw slowly in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Do not rush the thawing process by leaving the cheese at room temperature or using a microwave, as this can cause the cheese to become mushy or lose its flavor.
Once the cheese is completely thawed, remove it from the refrigerator and unwrap it from any plastic wrap or foil. Use a paper towel to gently pat any excess moisture from the surface of the cheese.
Use the cotija cheese as desired in your recipe or dish. It may have a slightly different texture or flavor than fresh cotija cheese, but it should still be suitable for most recipes.
How To Use Up Extra/Leftover?
If you have extra or leftover cotija cheese, there are several ways you can use it up:
- Use it as a topping for salads, soups, or chili. It adds a tangy, salty flavor that pairs well with a variety of dishes.
- Make a Mexican-inspired dip or spread by mixing with sour cream, lime juice, and your favorite spices or herbs. This is great for snacking or entertaining.
- Crumble cotija cheese over roasted vegetables or baked potatoes for a flavorful and satisfying side dish.
- Add to your favorite pasta dish, such as a spicy tomato sauce or creamy alfredo sauce. It pairs well with pasta and adds a unique flavor.
- Make a flavorful quesadilla by melting cotija cheese between two tortillas with your favorite fillings, such as sautéed vegetables or grilled chicken.
- Use to make a savory bread or biscuit. Mix it into the dough before baking for a cheesy twist on a classic recipe.
- Freeze extra cotija cheese for later use in soups, stews, or casseroles. It may not be suitable for eating on its own after being frozen and thawed, but it can still add flavor to your dishes.
1. Where can I find Cotija cheese?
You can buy Cotija cheese offline and online. If you live in such an area where well-stocked grocery stores are available at the market, you can buy Cotija cheese there; otherwise, if you are living in rural areas where you can’t find Cotija cheese, you can buy online at Amazon.
2. Can I substitute queso fresco for Cotija cheese?
You can use queso fresco instead of Cotija cheese, but they are a bit creamy than Cotija. The Cotija is usually dry, and queso fresco is not dry like Cotija. All of the Mexican cheese includes Cotija, and queso fresco is also the Mexican cheese.
3. Does Cotija cheese taste like parmesan?
If I compared Parmesan to Cotija, so Cotija has a tangy and salty taste.
4. How do you crumble a block of Cotija cheese?
Do you want to crumble Queso Fresco inside the bag? Then watch this video.
5. How to serve cotija cheese?
There are different ways to serve Cotija cheese. Here are some ways to serve Cotija cheese.
- You can set up a taco bar with homemade red onions and chopped cilantro.
- Top street corn with Cotija.
- If you want to quick, comforting snack, you can top crispy tostadas and Cotija together.
6. Can You Refreeze Cotija Cheese?
It is generally not recommended to refreeze cheese, including Cotija cheese, after it has been thawed. This is because freezing and thawing can change the texture and flavor of the cheese, and repeated cycles of freezing and thawing can further degrade its quality.
7. Can Mexican cheese be frozen?
Yes, Mexican cheese can be frozen, but the texture may change once it’s thawed. Harder cheeses like cotija or queso fresco tend to freeze better and maintain their texture, while softer cheeses like queso blanco or queso de bola may become crumbly or mushy after being frozen and thawed.
It’s best to wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing and use it within 2-3 months for best results. When you’re ready to use the cheese, let it thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before using it in your recipe
8. Does cheese taste different after freezing?
Yes, cheese may taste different after freezing. Freezing and thawing can cause changes in the texture and flavor of cheese. The moisture in the cheese can crystallize and cause the cheese to become crumbly or grainy.
Additionally, some types of cheese may lose their distinctive flavor after being frozen and thawed. Harder cheeses like cheddar or parmesan tend to hold up better after freezing, while softer cheeses like brie or feta may not freeze as well.
It’s best to use frozen cheese in recipes where the texture and flavor changes may not be as noticeable, such as in casseroles, sauces, or baked dishes
That was all about can you freeze Cotija cheese? You can freeze Cotija cheese. I have mentioned the way of freezing Cotija cheese.
Before freezing Cotija cheese, make sure they are not spoiled. If a small portion is rotten, cut them and throw them away.
Don’t consume Cotija cheese after 1-2 weeks after opening. Also, it’s not recommended to keep Cotija cheese at room temperature because they are made of milk spoiled quickly.
Before eating Cotija cheese, ensure they are not bad, Recognize bad Cotija from its smell, mold, shape, and taste.