Originating in Italy, mozzarella is famous for its mild, milky taste and soft, creamy texture. Historically, it was made from the milk of water buffalos in Nepal, which was difficult to preserve and transport.
Today, the stringy white cheese we find on our pizza is predominantly made from cow’s milk and is far easier to keep fresh. In this post, I’ll look at how long mozzarella can be stored in the fridge before you need to make a plan to use it.
Does Sealed Mozzarella Go Bad?
Fresh mozzarella that is vacuum-sealed and stored in the fridge can last for four to six weeks from the day it was manufactured. However, you should take note of the expiration date on the packaging. After this date is reached, you can potentially still use your mozzarella in the two to three weeks following, provided it passes the taste and odor tests and shows no visible signs of molding.
What is Mozzarella Exactly?
Mozzarella is a soft, pale cheese used in a variety of dishes the world over, although most commonly in Italian cooking (think pizza and Caprese salad).
It is made from milk curds that are heated in water and stretched like pasta before being formed into soft balls of cheese.
While mozzarella is easy to make at home, we most often buy it from supermarkets, in either its whole or a shredded form.
Because of its high dairy content, and relatively low sodium levels, it doesn’t have the same long shelf life as lots of other cheeses.
Therefore, it needs to be stored in the fridge once made or purchased.
How is Mozzarella Stored?
The trick to keeping mozzarella fresh is to ensure it is stored in liquid until you use it.
If you’re making it at home, you’ll need to keep it in a tub with brine.
Similarly, the mozzarella we buy from the store is also kept in some degree of moisture when sealed.
This preserves its texture and keeps it from drying out.
Does Sealed Mozzarella Go Bad?
Even when sealed, mozzarella doesn’t have a super long shelf life.
While not set in stone, it usually has a four- to six-week freshness window from the date of manufacture if it is correctly stored.
That being said, this varies from brand to brand, and some mozzarella can keep for a few months.
In both cases, you need to check the expiration date printed on the packaging.
Once this expiration date is reached, you can still keep your mozzarella and use it for a few days, up to two weeks (keeping an eye for any sign of spoiling).
In short, sealed mozzarella can go bad, and there are a few warning signs to look out for.
How Do I Know If My Mozzarella Has Gone Off?
Mozzarella is a mild cheese that doesn’t have a powerful odor, so one of the first signs that it’s going off is a noticeable sour smell.
Together with this, its flavor will intensify, erring on the saltier, sharper side.
As time passes, expired mozzarella will also start to develop mold, which is caused by bacteria.
Eventually, it will change color, turning from creamy white to grey.
In severely rotten mozzarella, you’ll also find the moisture embedded within it start to separate from the cheese curds.
Is it Safe to Eat Mozzarella Past Its Expiration Date?
While I wouldn’t necessarily advise it, you can safely eat mozzarella for a few days after it’s expired.
As long as it still tastes and looks like cheese, it shouldn’t cause you any issues.
If it has a foul taste, however, rather discard it for safety’s sake.
Signs that your mozzarella is infected with bacteria include tingling of the lips and mouth, which is unpleasant and dangerous.
Expired cheese can cause food poisoning to varying levels of severity and is usually accompanied by vomiting and gastrointestinal distress.
If you are concerned that you might have picked up food poisoning from spoiled mozzarella, consult your doctor immediately.
How Long Does Opened Mozzarella Last?
Once opened, mozzarella should be eaten within three to five days.
It won’t stay fresh for very long once exposed to moisture and air and will dry out quickly.
How you store your opened mozzarella can lengthen this timeframe slightly.
Keep it submerged in brine in an airtight container (if you still have the brine it came in), or make your own salt water to keep it moist.
Conclusion to Does Sealed Mozzarella Go Bad?
Mozzarella cheese is a worldwide favorite, and fortunately for us, not restricted to the rolling hills of Italy like it used to be. And while it doesn’t have the longest shelf life in the world, a few weeks is not to be sniffed at. Chances are you’ll want to gobble it up long before you reach its expiration date anyway.
Read about what goes well with mozzarella sticks.
Frequently Asked Questions on Does Sealed Mozzarella Go Bad?
How Long Does Shredded Mozzarella Last in the Fridge?
Shredded or whole mozzarella cheese can be stored unopened in the fridge for as long as is recommended by the expiration date on the packaging (usually four to six weeks). After this, it will still be good for a few days or weeks, as long as it still tastes okay. Once opened, shredded mozzarella should be used within five days before it dries out and starts to go off.
Can I Just Cut the Mold Off of My Mozzarella Cheese?
Opinions are divided on whether or not it’s safe to eat around the moldy parts of your cheese. Personally, I believe that once a bacterial infection has set in, it’s better to discard the whole lot. However, there is a chance you’ll be absolutely fine if you cut off the spoilt part of your cheese and consume the rest. But, if it tastes bad, get rid of it.
Can I Freeze Mozzarella Cheese?
Mozzarella cheese freezes well, but there will be a noticeable change in its texture once it’s thawed. At low temperatures, its moisture content can crystalize, which will make it a bit dryer and crumblier when it defrosts.