can you freeze ricotta cheese?- So you have some ricotta left over, or you bought a larger container than you required, and you want to save it. Is it possible to freeze ricotta cheese?
Maybe you’re wondering if you can create a ricotta-based pasta filling ahead of time and freeze it until you’re ready to use it. The good news is that ricotta cheese freezes well, especially when compared to other dairy products. However, it separates and dries out little after freezing, much like cream cheese. As a result, defrosted ricotta performs significantly better in some situations than others. Do you want to know how to freeze, thaw, and use ricotta cheese and ricotta-based mixtures?
can you freeze ricotta cheese?
Yes, ricotta cheese can be frozen, and it does so pretty successfully. Although some liquid will split on the surface, the overall texture will not alter significantly.
Frozen and thawed ricotta works well in cooked and baked meals, and it’s fine for most other applications, including eating by the spoon.
That’s the main point. Let’s go through this in greater depth.
What The Producers Have To Say
Ricotta is one of those dairy products where even the makers disagree on whether or not to freeze it.
While most cheesemakers do not recommend freezing any of their goods, a handful claim that their ricotta can be frozen.
The important thing to remember here is that freezing can change the texture of ricotta. That is correct.
When you thaw ricotta, some liquid may separate and the texture will change somewhat.
This is how defrosted ricotta cheese looks:
There is some separated liquid visible, as you can see, but not much. When you freeze heavy cream, you end up with less liquid.
That liquid can be reintroduced into the cheese or strained. I normally choose the latter, but it’s entirely up to you.
What Exactly Is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta cheese is a byproduct of the making of other cheeses such as mozzarella and provolone. To be more exact, throughout the cheese-making process, cow milk is divided into two parts: solid and liquid.
The solid component, known as curd, will be squeezed to make hard cheese. The liquid one is whey, which is primarily water with a little of curd. To get a fluffy and white texture, the whey will be recooked and drained. That’s ricotta cheese.
While many people claim that ricotta has the flavor and texture of feta cheese, I don’t believe this is true. While feta cheese has a similar texture to feta, it has a somewhat different flavor. Ricotta cheese has a creamy, sweet taste that complements a variety of foods.
Ricotta, for example, may be spread over sandwiches and paired with mushrooms to make a full side dish that pairs nicely with corn chowder and other rich, creamy soups. Anyone who has eaten ricotta would agree that it is an excellent addition to any kitchen.
Ricotta cheese is popular in lasagna, salads, spaghetti sauces, and cheesecakes. It can be eaten alone or in combination with other cold and hot dishes.
Why Will You Enjoy This?
If you have leftover ricotta or purchased extra since it was on sale, you may be wondering if you can freeze it. The simple answer is yes, but there is some more information you should be aware of.
Ricotta is an Italian fresh cheese made from full or skim cow’s milk. Ricotta means “baked twice” since it is formed from the whey left over after producing cheese. With a smooth texture and high moisture content, the flavor is delicate and nearly sweet.
When freezing this cheese, it is essential to understand its properties as well as what occurs in the freezer. When ricotta cheese is frozen, the moisture in it condenses into ice crystals. As a result, the frozen ricotta cheese will taste the same but be slightly dry and crumbly.
But don’t let this deter you from preserving ricotta cheese. This versatile cheese is just too excellent to squander. Thawed ricotta works well in dishes like Italian Pie, Ricotta Cavatelli, and Eggplant Involtini. However, it is not the ideal option for dishes where it is the star, such as my Sweet Ricotta or Cannoli Cake.
How to Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
If the bottle is unopened (and not expired), you may freeze it in the plastic container that most store-bought ricotta comes in. However, most of us will be dealing with leftover ricotta, which complicates things slightly. Here’s a step-by-step guide on freezing leftover ricotta:
- Stir the ricotta with a spoon to ensure that the cheese freezes evenly.
- Remove the cheese from the container and pat it dry with a layer of paper towels.
- Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap, either whole or individually in an ice cube tray (the latter is easier for thawing).
- Transfer the cheese to a freezer-safe bag or an airtight container from here. If you’re using a bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it.
- Put the date on the container. Keep frozen for up to two months.
How to Thaw and Use Ricotta Cheese?
The best (and safest) method to defrost frozen ricotta cheese is to place it in the refrigerator for several hours, roughly five to six. If you leave it in the fridge for more than eight hours, the texture may degrade even worse. Also, never defrost frozen ricotta at room temperature, since this might expose the cheese to bacterial infection.
When you’re ready to use the cheese, give it a good swirl with a spoon to get the nicest consistency possible. Ricotta that has been previously frozen will keep in the fridge for up to three days. Don’t bother refreezing since it will destroy the texture.
This is why you should freeze the ricotta in individual doses – silicone ice cube pans are ideal for this. In any prepared meal, use previously frozen ricotta cheese. For more ideas, see our whole collection of ricotta cheese recipes.
Tips And Tricks:
To begin, pay close attention to the ricotta cheese’s expiration date. It is preferable to freeze fresh cheese rather than wait until it is about to expire.
Freeze ricotta cheese in its original container if it is unopened and tightly packed. If you don’t intend to utilize the entire amount when thawed, split it into pieces before freezing. Drain any leftover liquid and wrap tightly in plastic before placing in a high duty zip lock bag or airtight container.
For optimal results, don’t freeze for more than two months and follow my thawing instructions. Keep in mind that thawed ricotta has a different texture and should only be used in cooked dishes.
Uses for Frozen Ricotta Cheese:
Only use defrosted ricotta in meals that will be heated. The fats will melt in this manner, providing the appearance of more moisture, and the textural changes will be less obvious.
- Pound Cakes & Cakes
- Calzones and pizza
- Pasta Stuffing
Frozen Ricotta Should Not Be Used With…
- Filling for Cannoli
- Dessert: ice cream
How Long Can You Freeze Ricotta?
Try to utilize the frozen ricotta within 2 to 3 months of freezing it. The sooner you do it, the higher the quality will be.
Of course, the 3-month milestone means nothing, and the ricotta won’t be any worse if it remains in the freezer for another week or month. It’s more of a warning that freezing it for months at a time isn’t a smart idea.
I’ve discovered that the longer food remains in my freezer, the less likely it is that I’ll thaw and utilize it. As a result, the freezer is continually overflowing.
I’m still thinking about the food I recently froze, and that’s when I’m most likely to utilize it. However, if it remains for more than 3 to 4 weeks, it is frequently forgotten. Another reason I recommend utilizing frozen items as soon as feasible.
Freezing Dishes That Include Ricotta
Instead of storing ricotta cheese by itself, most of the time you may use it in a recipe and then freeze that meal.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather grab a frozen lasagna chunk from my freezer than defrost a jar of ricotta and then prepare the lasagna.
If your frozen goods stay in the freezer for an indefinite period of time because you never feel like defrosting and making something, freezing ready-to-eat foods may be the solution for you.
Among the meals that freeze nicely are:
Ricotta lasagna (here’s an article on freezing lasagna)
cheesecakes with ricotta
savory pancakes (most of them freeze well, but you can also freeze pancake batter)
soups and stews (remember to check the instructions to learn if that particular one freezes well)
Thawing Dishes With Ricotta Cheese
To thaw the frozen meals, place them in the refrigerator, similar to how you would defrost frozen ricotta cheese. If you see that the defrosted dishes have lost most of their water content, add more water to them and reheat them in an oven or microwave.
When reheating items in the oven, wrap them with aluminum foil before placing them in the oven. When using the microwave, wrap the plates in microwave-safe wrap before placing them in the microwave.
Can you freeze ricotta cheese mixture?
Yes! If you make a ravioli filling with ricotta cheese and additional components such as Parmesan cheese, eggs, and herbs, you may freeze it. Excess liquid may need to be drained away after thawing, but it will be OK otherwise. If the liquid is for a ravioli filling, I will drain it; otherwise, the pasta may become too soggy.
Can you freeze smooth ricotta cheese that comes in a plastic tub?
Yes! The tub, however, is not freeze proof, so place it in a strong duty zip lock bag before freezing.