Can you freeze ricotta cheese with egg in it? And can you freeze ricotta cheese mixture for lasagna? We’ll answer these questions as well as the best methods for freezing ricotta cheese and the effects of freezing it.
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese is a whey cheese that’s made from the byproducts of making other cheeses. When cheese is made, ingredients such as fats, sugars, and proteins clump up to form curds. The curds are what makes the ricotta cheese.
Why You Need to Freeze Ricotta Cheese
There are various reasons why you might need to freeze ricotta cheese. But typically the reason is that there is a greater quantity than can be consumed before it goes bad.
Because of the short shelf life of fresh ricotta cheese, we recommend eating it at once or as soon as possible before it goes bad.
How is Ricotta Cheese Made
Ricotta cheese is made by bringing cream, milk, and salt to a boil and then introducing an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice which causes the mixture to curdle.
The curds that separate are what becomes the ricotta cheese, and the rest is what gets strained away.
Types of Ricotta
Following are some of the more popular kinds of ricotta cheese.
Fresh ricotta. Modern day ricotta is typically made from whole milk such as cow’s milk. In some parts of the world, whole milk ricotta is considered original ricotta.
Salted ricotta. Salted ricotta is also known as ricotta salata. It’s what is generally allowed to be aged for up to several months. This process allows it to be dried out so that it can be grated.
Smoked ricotta. Smoked ricotta lends a bacon like flavor to the dish. It works well grated or shredded over hot dishes.
Basket ricotta. Basket ricotta is a molded ricotta cheese that’s generally made from whole milk. It is creamy, sweet, and has a sliceable firm texture.
Proper Storage for Ricotta Cheese
Here are some storage helpful hints and tips for ricotta cheese.
Refrigerator. Ricotta cheese can stored, unopened in the refrigerator until up to a week past the best if used by date.
Opened ricotta cheese will last about 3-4 days if stored in a 40F degree or less refrigerator. If you open it and shows signs of having gone bad, then do not eat it. Throw it away instead.
Freezer. Follow our step-by-step instructions below for how to freeze ricotta cheese. It can last in the freezer if wrapped and stored properly for up to 3 months.
Room Temperature. Ricotta cheese can be stored at room temperature that is between 40F degrees and 90F degrees for no more than 2 hours. If the room temperature is higher than 90F degrees, your ricotta cheese will only last up to 1 hour. After that it needs to be thrown away.
How to Freeze Ricotta Cheese
Here are our straightforward step-by-step instructions for how to freeze ricotta cheese in a large amount or a small amount.
In a Large Amount
To freeze ricotta cheese in a large amount, for best results freeze it unopened and in its original packaging. Here are the steps.
1. Stir. Stir your ricotta cheese. This step only applies if your ricotta cheese is already opened. If it’s sealed, leave it sealed because it will help it to maintain its freshness.
2. Drain water. If your large container of ricotta cheese has been opened, you’ll want to drain any liquid or water like substance off from it after it’s been stirred.
3. Cover with plastic wrap. With a container that’s been opened, before replacing the container’s lid, cover it with plastic wrap to help give a good seal, then place the lid back on.
4. Freeze. Once the container has been properly packaged, date, label it, and place it in the refrigerator.
In a Small Amount
To freeze ricotta cheese in a small amount, for best results use ice cube trays or zipped freezer bags. Here are the steps.
1. Stir. Stir your ricotta cheese so that it’s evenly distributed, and any liquid become incorporated as much as possible.
2. Drain water. If there is excess water or liquid after stirring it, carefully drain it from the container.
3. Add to ice cube tray. For small portions, place the desired amount into ice cube trays, or as an alternate solution put the desired portion into a zipped freezer bag.
4. Cover with plastic wrap. If using an ice cube tray, cover the tray with plastic wrap to keep other flavors or aromas in the freezer from seeping in.
5. Transfer to freezer safe container. Once the ice cubes are frozen, transfer them to a zipped freezer bag and seal them to keep them from becoming freezer burnt.
6. Freeze. Freeze at 0F degrees or below for up to 3 months.
Freezing Ricotta Cheese in Other Dishes
Freezing ricotta cheese in other dishes besides freezing it plain is a good way to go when you have the option.
That way, when you take the dish out of the freezer and get ready to bake it, the cheese in essence jut melds into the dish and the variation in the flavor and texture is hardly noticeable.
How to Thaw Ricotta Cheese
There are two main ways to safely thaw ricotta cheese.
Refrigerator. The best way to thaw ricotta cheese is in the refrigerator overnight. Simply transfer the frozen portions from the freezer to the refrigerator in its freezer packaging.
Cold Water. If you’re short on time and need to thaw your ricotta cheese more rapidly than in the refrigerator overnight, you can use the cold water method.
To do this you’ll want to fill a bowl with cold water and place your sealed bag of frozen ricotta cheese into the bowl. Change the cold water to keep it cold every 30 minutes to keep your food safe.
Room Temperature. We don’t ever recommend thawing ricotta cheese at room temperature. This is for food safety reasons.
Uses for Frozen Ricotta Cheese
If you find you don’t favor the flavor or texture of the after effects of frozen ricotta cheese, using them in baked goods or baked dishes is a good way to hide the alterations that come about after it’s been frozen. Here are some ideas:
If you choose to freeze your ricotta cheese in ice cube trays, you can transfer the desired quantity directly to dishes that will be baked such as pasta, lasagna, and casseroles. This will potentially save you time in having to thaw your cubes first.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ricotta
Following are frequently asked questions relating to can you freeze ricotta cheese. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.
How long does fresh ricotta last?
You’ll want to use fresh ricotta cheese within 1 week of opening it for the best results. Make sure the ricotta cheese hasn’t expired and that it doesn’t show any signs of going bad.
Why don’t some dairy products freeze well?
Sometimes dairy products don’t freeze well because the fat separates, ice crystals form, and the mixture becomes watery. For the best results in freezing dairy products, use the highest fat content possible.
Can you freeze ricotta cheese mixture?
Yes, it’s fine to freeze ricotta cheese mixture. Just store it properly in a freezer that has a temperature of 0F degrees or less and make sure that it is sealed appropriately.
Can you freeze ricotta cheese with egg in it?
Yes, freezing ricotta cheese with egg in it for dishes such as a lasagna or manicotti works just fine. Egg is an ingredient that acts as a binding agent for the casserole and freezes well.
How long can you freeze ricotta cheese?
Ricotta cheese can be frozen in a freezer that’s set to 0F degrees or less for up to 2 months.
Can I freeze meals that have ricotta in them?
Yes, meals that have ricotta cheese in them such as pasta dishes and casseroles generally freeze well.
How to thaw frozen ricotta?
To thaw frozen ricotta cheese, transfer it to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can place it in a bowl of cold water and change the water to make sure it stays cold every 30 minutes.
What is the freezer ideal temperature to freeze ricotta cheese?
The ideal temperature to freeze ricotta cheese is 0F degrees or less.
Is it possible to freeze ricotta cheese again after defrosting it?
No, for food safety reasons ricotta cheese should not be frozen again after defrosting it.
How long does ricotta cheese last in the freezer?
Ricotta cheese can last in the freezer for up to 6 months with proper storage and handling.
There are several possible substitutes for ricotta cheese depending on its use and purpose.
Some of the ricotta substitutes include: