Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?

Yes, you CAN freeze ricotta but it requires effort. In this post, learn various ways to freeze ricotta and what I do instead of freezing!

Ricotta cheese is a great dairy product that can be used in many dishes. Its versatility makes it a staple in many kitchens. However, not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy fresh ricotta all of the time. That’s where freezing comes in! This post will cover how to freeze ricotta cheese as well as recommended uses for previously frozen ricotta.

What Is Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta cheese is a type of fresh, soft Italian cheese. It’s usually made with the whey that remains after making mozzarella from partially skimmed milk or whole sheep’s or cow’s milk. This gives it its creamy texture and mild flavor! Ricotta makes an excellent filler for ravioli or lasagna because it melts so well! And it is oh so delicious in homemade cookies and stirred into pasta sauces!

Can Ricotta Cheese Be Frozen For Later Use?

Yes, ricotta can be frozen for later use. But its uses will be limited. Due to its high moisture content, ricotta cheese will become drier and more crumbly once thawed. So plan to use defrosted ricotta in cooked dishes only.

There are two ways to freeze your ricotta cheese for later use – in large quantities or small.

The first option is by freezing ricotta cheese in individual portions. For example, you could freeze it in one or two-ounce portions. This option is best if you plan on using your ricotta cheese in cooked dishes and know what amount you will need for your recipes. You could freeze it in ice cube trays or by dollops on a baking sheet. We’ll provide instructions for both.

The second option is to freeze ricotta cheese in larger quantities. Think 8-ounce or 16-ounce containers like you buy at the store. This option is best if you plan on using your ricotta cheese in recipes calling for larger amounts of ricotta. When freezing in larger quantities, you could choose to freeze it wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight, freezer-safe container. We’ll teach you how to do both.

Let’s walk through the steps you need for each freezing method.

How To Freeze Ricotta Cheese

When freezing ricotta cheese, the very first thing you must do is remove some of the liquid from the cheese before you freeze it.

Removing some of the water will help the quality of your ricotta once it’s defrosted.

How To Remove Water From Ricotta Cheese

Tools & Equipment Needed

  • cheesecloth or paper towels
  • spatula or spoon

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Remove the ricotta from its container.
  2. Wrap it in cheesecloth or between paper towels.
  3. Gently squeeze out the excess water.

Your ricotta is now ready to freeze using one of the following methods.

Method One: Freezing Ricotta in Containers

The key to this method is to freeze your ricotta cheese in a storage container that is a little larger than what is needed so that there is enough room (1″ or 2″) for the cheese to expand as it freezes.

With this method, you could also choose to wrap the ricotta in plastic wrap instead of using a container.

Tools and Equipment Needed

  • paper towels or cheesecloth
  • airtight, freezer-safe container
  • spatula or spoon
  • freezer Labels
  • black sharpie

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Drain your ricotta as outlined previously.
  3. Using your spatula, transfer the ricotta to a freezer-safe, airtight container. Be sure you leave at least an inch or two of the container unfilled to allow for expansion.
  4. Seal the container and label the container using freezer labels and a black sharpie. Be sure to include the date frozen.
  5. Place your ricotta in the freezer.

Method Two: Freezing Ricotta In Plastic Wrap

Tools and Equipment Needed

  • paper towels or cheesecloth
  • plastic wrap
  • freezer-safe plastic bag or airtight container
  • spatula or spoon
  • freezer labels
  • black sharpie

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Drain your ricotta as outlined above.
  3. Wrap ricotta tightly in plastic wrap to prevent air from getting to it.
  4. Place wrapped ricotta in an airtight container or in a freezer-safe bag and remove as much as possible. Seal completely.
  5. Using your sharpie, label your freezer labels with the contents and date frozen.

Method Three: Freezing Ricotta In Ice Cube Trays

This method requires more effort upfront but can save you tons of time and frustration down the road.

The key to freezing ricotta in individual portions is to know what portion size you need or you can just choose to freeze ricotta cheese in cubes.

When using this method, you might look over your recipes and figure out how much you’d need for any given dish. Then, freeze dollops of it on a cookie sheet. Or, maybe you could go the ice cube tray route.

You could freeze your ricotta in ice cube trays and remove the number of cubes needed at any given time. Most standard-sized ice cube trays hold about 2 ounces.

Tools and Equipment Needed

  • cheesecloth or paper towels
  • ice cube trays
  • freezer-safe plastic bag or an airtight container (freezer-safe)
  • small spatula
  • spoon
  • freezer labels
  • black sharpie

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Drain excess water from your ricotta as described previously
  3. Using your spoon and spatula, carefully fill each ice cube tray with ricotta, leaving a small amount of empty space at the top.
  4. Place your trays onto a shelf in the freezer.
  5. Once frozen, remove your ricotta cheese and place the frozen cubes into the plastic bag or container.
  6. Label the bag or container with the contents and date frozen.

Method Four: Freezing Ricotta On A Baking Sheet

Tools and Equipment Needed

  • cheesecloth or paper towels
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • small cookie scoop or spoon
  • freezer-safe plastic bag or airtight container
  • freezer labels
  • black sharpie

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Drain your ricotta as outlined previously.
  3. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place dollops of ricotta onto the parchment paper using a cookie scoop.
  5. Place baking sheet into your freezer.
  6. Once frozen, remove the dollops and place them into a freezer-safe plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal.
  7. Using your black sharpie, label with contents and date frozen. Return to the freezer.

How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last In The Freezer?

Freezing your ricotta will extend its life, and with proper storage can make it last for up to six months but I recommend using it within 1 or 2 months max.

How To Does It Take To Thaw Frozen Ricotta Cheese?

The best way to thaw ricotta cheese is in the refrigerator for a few hours. Ricotta will become watery as it thaws so be sure to stir it before you consume it.

You should never that ricotta on the counter as that promotes bacteria growth.

Always err on the side of caution and thaw your ricotta in the fridge.

How Long Does Defrosted Ricotta Cheese Last?

Thawed ricotta has a pretty short shelf-life so it’s best to consume it within two days, three max.

Can I Refreeze Thawed Ricotta Cheese?

Refreezing thawed ricotta is not recommended.

How Do You Use Frozen Ricotta Cheese?

Previously frozen ricotta cheese can be used in any recipe or casserole where it is cooked.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can You Freeze An Unopened Container of Ricotta Cheese?

Technically yes, but I don’t. Freezing ricotta in its original plastic container poses several potential problems.

One, the plastic containers are not freezer-safe. They could crack when frozen. Also, you don’t know if the manufactures of the product allowed enough space in the top of the container for expansion. This too could cause the container to crack. Lastly, the quality of the ricotta is better when you can drain off some of the water before freezing.

So, while you can freeze ricotta in an unopened plastic container, I wouldn’t.

Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese For Lasagna?

The answer is yes! You can freeze ricotta cheese for lasagna. However, I personally find it easier to freeze whole lasagnas instead of the ricotta.

Here’s what I do:

When I am making lasagna, I make two. It doesn’t take much longer to put two together. Then, I freeze one whole lasagna in a freezer-safe container for dinner another night

Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese With Egg In It?

Absolutely! Yes, you can freeze the ricotta cheese mixture with egg in it.

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Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen

While you can freeze ricotta cheese, I don’t believe it is cost-effective unless you have a LOT of it. I have frozen ricotta cheese before, but to be honest, it took too much time and effort.

Unless you have a TON of ricotta, I would recommend using up your leftover ricotta rather than freezing it. It’s a great addition to many dishes.

Ways You Can Quickly Use Up Leftover Ricotta Cheese:

  • make lasagna
  • stir it into your pasta sauce
  • drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, and serve it with your favorite crackers
  • make some cookies or a cheesecake (if you have enough ricotta)
  • add it to your grits
  • serve it on crackers with peaches and cucumbers
  • add it pretty much anywhere you want a little creaminess from dairy

What’s your favorite way to use ricotta?

Until next time…

Kim

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