Does Cottage Cheese Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 3rd, 2022

Those of us who enjoy cheese appreciate its variety, flavor, and creaminess. We can eat a variety of cheeses, with cottage cheese being one of the tastiest.

Cottage cheese is a versatile cheese that may be used in various ways. It is a fantastic complement to any kitchen, whether used on a sandwich, salad, or baking. The only thing you need be concerned about is if cottage cheese spoils.

Close-up of homemade cottage cheese with strawberry, blueberries and blackberry, horizontal stock photo

What is Cottage Cheese

First, let’s take a quick look at cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese is a fresh white in the shape of several little curds with a mild, savory flavor and a soft, creamy, soupy texture. It is created from slightly soured milk and is made by draining the cheese to separate the curds from the whey.

The curds are then rinsed and salted by the makers. They also use the cream as a sauce for these curd grains to give them a distinct flavor from others. This dairy product is not matured as a result of it.

Cottage cheese, as previously said, is high in protein and low in calories. As a result, dieters and athletes greatly value and routinely employ this type. The unique aspect of this cheese is that it may be used with various dishes, including fruits, cereals, salads, yogurt, and as a mayonnaise alternative for spaghetti.

What is the Process of Making Cottage Cheese?

All dairy products go through the same development procedure. Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese that does not have a rind and does not need to be aged to acquire the taste.

The process of creating cottage cheese begins with the addition of acid to pasteurized milk. The acid causes the milk solids to separate from the whey, forming a curd.

Once produced, the curd is sliced into pieces to let excess whey drain. Before being cleaned and seasoned with salt and preservatives, the curds are heated and pressed.

Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that is comparable to sour cream and ricotta. However, this cheese-making process is responsible for our favorite cheeses, such as brie, cheddar, and mozzarella.

These meals aren’t great for people with lactose sensitivity, but it’s a skill many of us should be grateful for.

Cottage Cheese Nutritional Facts

Low-calorie diets frequently include sour cottage cheese as a mainstay in their meal rotation. Squarespace even published about a cottage cheese diet in which individuals eat just cottage cheese and fruit for three days, which we would not encourage.

The smooth, creamy texture is delectable, and several health advantages exist. A cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 163 calories, more than 28 grams protein, and less than three grams of fat.

Phosphorus, riboflavin, calcium, folate, and vitamin B12 are all present in the cheese. Because it is high in protein and low in calories, it aids in weight loss and muscle growth.

Other advantages of consuming cottage cheese include the prevention of insulin resistance, the promotion of bone strength, and the enhancement of antioxidant protection in our blood.

We understand. Cottage cheese is beneficial to our health. But first, let’s get to the important stuff. What is the shelf life of cottage cheese? Continue reading to learn how to keep cottage cheese fresh and how to spot indications of decomposition.

Does Cottage Cheese Go Bad?

Cottage cheese spoils and becomes quite unpleasant to eat after it has gone rotten. Because cottage cheese is a dairy product, it has a limited shelf life because dairy products are very susceptible to bacterial contamination.

It is advisable not to ingest any cottage cheese that displays evidence of contamination.

Although the container that your cottage cheese arrives in has a best-by date, a few circumstances might impact the freshness of your cottage cheese.

Some factors are under your control, such as how you keep your cottage cheese, while others are beyond your control, such as how long your cottage cheese was on the store shelf.

Knowing how long cottage cheese normally lasts and how to identify ruined cottage cheese can help you avoid frustrating circumstances when you are eager to use your cottage cheese.

How does Long Will Cottage Cheese keep?

C cottage cheese quality, like other food products, begins to deteriorate the moment you open the container. If your cottage cheese is unopened, it may survive for a long time and even past the best by the date indicated on the container if stored properly.

However, when you open your cottage cheese, your window for consuming it while it is still fresh is substantially shorter. Unopened cottage cheese can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days past the best by date on the container, and it can be frozen for up to three months.

Unfortunately, your cupboard is not the best location to store cottage cheese since it spoils rapidly. Cottage cheese may be stored in the fridge for seven to ten days and frozen for up to eight weeks.

Unopened, stored in the fridge10 days past best by date
Opened, stored in the fridge7 days
Unopened, stored in the freezer3 months
Opened, stored in the freezer8 weeks

How Long Will Cottage Cheese Keep Outside?

Cottage cheese should never be kept outside of a refrigerator or freezer. If the cheese is allowed to warm up at room temperature, it will curdle and become worthless. This can happen in as little as two hours.

Even a little length of time when grocery shopping might have an impact on the shelf life of cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. If you leave the cheese in your basket for too long, the temperature will rise, and the cheese will curdle.

If you store your cottage cheese near a heat source, it will degrade much faster. Keep the cottage cheese in the fridge and only take out tiny quantities as needed.

How Long Does Cottage Cheese Keep in the Refrigerator?

Cottage cheese can be stored unopened for up to 7-10 days after its expiration date. A well-sealed packaging will assist in keeping moisture away from the cheese and keep it useable. It must still be kept at temperatures below forty degrees Fahrenheit to avoid curdling.

Cottage cheese may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days after it has been opened. Opening your cottage cheese allows moisture and germs to enter your meal, perhaps causing it to deteriorate.

The cottage cheese will not curdle if kept cool at temperatures below 40 degrees. The refrigerator will protect it from rotting and ensure that the cottage cheese lasts 10 days.

How Long Can Cottage Cheese Be Stored in the Freezer?

Cottage cheese may be kept in the freezer for a longer period. Because a freezer’s temperature is below zero degrees Fahrenheit, you may store cottage cheese there for up to three months beyond its best before date.

Cottage cheese may be frozen for up to three months if kept closed and unopened. However, condensation will cause the texture to shift and some tastes to be lost.

Assume that opened cottage cheese will last for another 2-3 months after its expiration date. It is critical to ensure that the container lid is tight, letting only the smallest moisture enter the container.

How to Tell If Your Cottage Cheese Is Bad

Cottage cheese has several advantages, making it a great item to keep on hand. However, because it is cheese, it does not keep for a lengthy period.

Knowing if your cottage cheese has gone bad is useful since it will help you avoid adding it to recipes and ruining its flavor.

Because bacteria infect cottage cheese, various indicators indicate that the cottage cheese has gone bad. Here are four indicators that your cottage cheese has gone bad:

Take a Look at Your Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese should be white, and smooth cottage cheese should seem smooth. If you bought chunky-style cottage cheese, it should not be too chunky because this indicates that it has gone bad.

As a result, your cottage cheese should appear the same as when you bought it. Any changes in appearance indicate that your cottage cheese has passed its prime. You should not eat cottage cheese if it displays organic development or mold.

Cottage cheese can also lose moisture as it ages, so if your cottage cheese appears to be excessively watery, don’t consume it. Finally, if the color of your cottage cheese has changed, it is recommended not to consume it.

Smell Your Cottage Cheese

The scent of cottage cheese is mild and somewhat cheesy. It is preferable not to eat cottage cheese if it has an overpoweringly unpleasant sour odor. A foul odor indicates that your cottage cheese will not taste well.

The Cottage Cheese’s Texture

As previously stated, the texture of your cottage cheese should not alter. Chunky cottage cheese can grow even more chunky with time, suggesting that it is no longer fresh.

Similarly, smooth cottage cheese that has become grainy should not be ingested since it is no longer fresh. It is beyond its purifier. Cottage cheese has dried out or is difficult to remove from the container; it is beyond its prime.

Taste Your Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese has a mild, creamy flavor. If you take a piece of cottage cheese that is extremely sour or unpleasant, you should stop eating it. Similarly, if it tastes gritty when you consume it, it is preferable not to eat it.

Is it possible to become sick from eating substandard cottage cheese?

Pathogens found in raw or inadequately pasteurized dairy products frequently induce diarrhea and vomiting that lasts 1-7 days.

Abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, joint/back pains, and weariness are all possible symptoms. (Click here to sign up for a free membership to Food Safety News.)

Is moldy cottage cheese safe to eat?

Soft cheeses containing molds, such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta, should be discarded. Mold may transmit threads throughout the cheese in certain cheeses, polluting more than you can see.

Furthermore, hazardous bacteria such as listeria, brucella, salmonella, and E. coli can coexist with the mold.

The Dangers of Consuming Old Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a dairy product, and spoiled dairy items may make you unwell. This is due to the possibility of hazardous microorganisms contaminating your cottage cheese and producing toxins.

If you ingest these poisons, you may acquire food poisoning because the hazardous organisms will infect the lining of your digestive tract, causing your body to have an unfavorable response that will make you feel very poorly.

People who have eaten rotten cottage cheese are prone to feeling bloated and experiencing pain, such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

As the symptoms worsened, it was better if you stayed hydrated. You should consume clear beverages such as water, sports drinks, or herbal teas.

While suffering from food sickness, avoid consuming rich drinks such as milk. Also, avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda until your symptoms have resolved. Fortunately, these symptoms will disappear after 48 hours.

However, if you are still in pain after two days, you should consult a doctor.

Cottage Cheese Storage

Storing your cottage cheese correctly can dramatically extend its shelf life. When making cottage cheese, temperature and moisture management are critical factors.

Because cottage cheese is highly sensitive to bacterial contamination, it is not recommended that you store it in your pantry. The warmer temperatures will significantly reduce the shelf life of your cottage cheese.

Allowing moisture to infiltrate the cheese is another factor that leads to the decrease in its shelf life. If you do not use an airtight container to keep your cottage cheese sealed and secure, germs will easily infect your cottage cheese.

Here are two methods for extending the shelf life of cottage cheese:

Keeping Cottage Cheese in the Fridge

Keeping your cottage cheese in the refrigerator is a wonderful method to keep it fresh. The refrigerator’s chilly temperatures will protect your cottage cheese from drying up and will halt the contamination process.

Make sure the cottage cheese container is properly closed. If the container is destroyed, put the cottage cheese in an airtight container and refrigerate it.

Keeping Cottage Cheese in the Freezer

You can freeze cottage cheese if you aren’t going to use it straight away. You can reduce the chance of bacterial infection by freezing your cottage cheese.

When keeping cottage cheese in the freezer, use an airtight container. If you want to buy cottage cheese in bulk, it is best to store it in smaller tubs so that you can remove little portions for thawing and use at a time rather than removing the full quantity.

Can Cottage Cheese Be Freeze?

Cottage cheese may be frozen for up to 6 months. Unfortunately, the texture of cottage cheese, like that of other dairy products, alters after defrosting. It thickens considerably but may still be used in cooked and baked meals.

Can Cottage Cheese Be Freezed well?

If you mix it to smooth out the texture, you’ll get a lot of chunkier cottage cheese (that looks like ricotta cheese). The whey has mostly evaporated, as has the freshness of newly opened cottage cheese.

Cottage Cheese Freezing Instructions

One of the most appealing aspects of freezing this dairy product is that it just requires a few minutes of active time.

The entire procedure is straightforward and fairly comparable to freezing ricotta cheese. There’s no need for elaborate, time-consuming preparation. Let’s get started.

Before you begin, think about how you’ll use the thawed cheese so you can portion it for freezing. In this manner, you may prevent the leftovers problem.

  • Divide the cheese into freezer containers or bags. Of course, if you know how to utilize the product, it’s much easier to portion it. If you don’t know what to make, start with smaller amounts rather than larger ones. It’s simpler to locate a recipe that calls for half a cup of cottage cheese than to find one that calls for two cups. It is entirely up to you whether to use bags or containers. Bags take up less room than containers, but containers are easier to clean up afterward. It’s your call.
  • If necessary, add labels with the name and date. That’s beneficial if you have a large freezer and frequently freeze food. I normally skip this step because my cabinet has a few small drawers.
  • Everything should be placed in the freezer. You can keep that cottage cheese in the freezer for at least three months, maybe longer, without losing flavor after thawing.

Cottage Cheese Defrosting

There are a few alternatives for defrosting it.

In the refrigerator

The safest approach to defrosting frozen cottage cheese is to place the container in the fridge the night before you need it.

Submerge the container in cold or lukewarm water in the morning to ensure it has completely defrosted. This is how the setup looks:

Water carries temperature quicker than air, allowing your cottage cheese to thaw faster than it would without the water.

On the table

If you are short on time and need to defrost your cottage cheese within a couple of hours, you may do it on the counter.

To be clear, I don’t encourage doing so because the cheese rests on the counter for several hours, which is longer than I’m comfortable with. But there are instances when there are no other options.

Not much has changed in terms of how. The dairy product container should still be placed in a basin of lukewarm water. To expedite things, replace the water every 30 minutes to an hour, or anytime it becomes ice cold.

Please remember that defrosting cottage cheese in this manner still takes 2 – 4 hours, depending on the amount. It’s not an option if you need it in 30 minutes.

If you utilize this defrosting method, make sure you put it in a prepared or baked dish.

If possible, defrost cottage cheese in the refrigerator once more.

Put it in the blender

In some cases, you might be able to add frozen cottage cheese without first defrosting it.

Smoothies with cottage cheese are an excellent example – you can exclude (or minimize) the ice cubes and use the frozen dairy product instead. However, be sure your blender is up to the task.


Dairy products are delicious complements to meals, baked goods, and snacks. Cottage cheese is a versatile dairy product that people of all ages may enjoy.

However, it is important to understand how to preserve cottage cheese and identify if it is still fresh. In this manner, you may always enjoy your cottage cheese without worrying about whether it has gone bad.


Editorial Staff

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