Can fresh mozzarella cheese be frozen? We know that some types of mozzarella can, because we see frozen mozzarella cheese sticks in the grocery store. But what about the creamy, soft fresh mozzarella that comes in a white, milky liquid?
I have good news. The answer is YES. Fresh mozzarella cheese can be frozen.
After doing my research, I found that there are companies in Italy that produce fresh mozzarella, freeze it and ship it to the United States. After learning more about it, I decided to give it a try and it actually worked.
There’s a chance that you have already eaten frozen fresh mozzarella and didn’t even know.
Mozzarella cheese is something that everyone loves. It’s the type of cheese that goes with just about everything. When you buy fresh mozzarella cheese balls you’ll notice that they don’t have a very long shelf life.
If you have some leftover mozzarella that you don’t think you’ll be able to eat before the use-by date it’s a good idea to freeze it.
I’m going to show you how to freeze fresh mozzarella.
What is Fresh Mozzarella Cheese?
There are different types of mozzarella cheese. The ones we are most familiar with are fresh mozzarella and low-moisture mozzarella.
Fresh mozzarella is an Italian cheese that comes from the Southern part of Italy. You see it eaten in a Caprese salad with tomatoes, olive oil and fresh basil or used as a pizza topping in Naples. It has a very mild flavor.
This soft mozzarella is best when it’s eaten within a day of production. When I was in Italy recently, I tried it within a couple of hours after being made and it was really delicious. It was soft, creamy, and full of flavor. It was really something special.
A great way to eat fresh mozzarella is in a sandwich with thin sliced prosciutto and fig jam.
Fresh mozzarella cheese is a soft cheese made from cow milk and sometimes Buffalo milk. In the grocery store you’ll see mozzarella balls stored in liquid so that it retains its moisture. The liquid is usually water, whey or a brine.
This high moisture content is what gives it a short shelf like compared to many other cheeses.
A fresh cheese, like fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese, should be eaten very soon after production and is best served at room temperature.
Because it has a high water content, freezing fresh mozzarella can ruin its texture. When the water freezes, the cheese becomes less creamy and soft. Therefore, if you do freeze fresh mozzarella you have to follow a certain procedure, that I will show you below.
On the other hand, there is a different type of mozzarella cheese on the market that contains less water. You will see this in the supermarket packaged as a low-moisture mozzarella. Its lower moisture content makes a really good cheese for melting.
The fact that it is so good for melting makes it one of the most popular cheeses on the market.
Low-moisture mozzarella is sold by the whole block, in a shredded form and sometimes already formed into mozzarella sticks. It has less water in it than fresh mozzarella cheese, therefore it is better for frying and melting.
I have a great recipe for making homemade mozzarella sticks where I take a block of mozzarella cheese, cut it to size, bread it and fry it up. You can find mozzarella cheese blocks at the supermarket.
You’ll also see a lot of pizza shops buy low-moisture mozzarella blocks and turn them into shredded cheese for their pizza. Shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese is what you’ll find on most pizza in the United States, unless you order a Margherita.
How to Freeze Fresh Mozzarella
If you are going to freeze fresh mozzarella, you need to do it the right way and be careful not to ruin it. Because it has so much water in it, it’s easy for ice crystals to form causing freezer burn.
Here is how I recommend freezing fresh mozzarella cheese. I have tried a few methods of freezing fresh mozzarella and I believe this is the best way.
First, remove the fresh mozzarella from its original packaging. Then, take your fresh mozzarella balls and slice them into individual portions. Remove the excess moisture with a paper towel.
Wrap the individual cheese slices in plastic wrap or cling film as tightly as possible.
Get a baking sheet and lay the wrapped mozzarella slices down in a single layer. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer and allow it to freeze for at least eight hours.
Remove the frozen mozzarella slices from the tray and put them in a plastic bag. I like using a resealable freezer bag because it helps keep out the air and stays fresher. An airtight container keeps frozen food fresher. Store the bag in the freezer.
I like having the smaller portions of fresh mozzarella in my freezer. If you do it this way, you only have to pull out the amount of fresh mozzarella needed for each recipe. The individual portioning prevents waste and allows you to have fresh mozzarella whenever you need it.
How to Use Frozen Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
There are a lot of ways to use your frozen mozzarella. For the best results, stick to recipes that require you to cook the frozen fresh mozzarella. I’ve listed some in the FAQs below. When it melts, you won’t be able to tell that it’s ever been frozen.
I wouldn’t recommend using the frozen cheese for salads or sandwiches if you have a fresher alternative. The freezing process causes the mozzarella to lose its original creamy texture. The frozen mozzarella when eaten uncooked may be dry or grainy. The texture of the cheese is the most important part when using fresh mozzarella.
When you are ready to use the frozen mozzarella, take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Like any dairy product, food safety is important so make sure it is kept at temperatures that are safe.
Leave it wrapped during the thawing process to retain as much moisture as possible.
When the mozzarella feels soft and similar to its original texture, you are ready to use it.
Freezing Fresh Mozzarella FAQs
What are some recipes I can use with fresh mozzarella that’s been frozen?
You can use previously frozen mozzarella for just about any recipe that requires cooking. Baked pasta dishes are always a good choice. Some examples would be pasta al forno, lasagna, gnocchi Sorrentina, and baked ziti.
You can also cut the mozzarella into cubes or small pieces and put it on a pizza.
What type of fresh mozzarella should I buy for freezing?
I would only recommend freezing fresh mozzarella if you have to. If you can use it without freezing, you’ll get the best results. If you want to have some in the freezer in case of an emergency, use a medium quality fresh mozzarella. There is no need to pay a lot of money for a beautiful fresh mozzarella that will be frozen and eventually baked.
Can fresh mozzarella be used with low-moisture mozzarella in the same recipe?
Yes. They can be combined. They actually work well together. Sometimes I like making a pizza with a mixture of fresh mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella and grated Romano cheese or parmesan cheese. The mozzarella is creamy and melts well, while the hard cheese give it a lot of flavor.
If I like mozzarella cheese, what else can I try?
If you like mozzarella cheese and want to venture out, you can look for mozzarella di Bufala which is made from the milk of buffalo. Or, you can get fior di latte which is mozzarella made with cow milk. You can also check out scamorza which is similar to a low-moisture mozzarella. Burrata is a cheese made with mozzarella and cream. Stracciatella is a stringy and creamy cheese made from the milk of buffalos.