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How Long Can Mozzarella Sit Out?

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Mozzarella is one of the most popular types of cheese around, whether in block form or in the traditional fresh form. Like other types of cheese, mozzarella is perishable, and you would need to keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh.

However, you might have forgotten to pack your mozzarella away, and accidentally left it out on the counter. How long can mozzarella sit out?

Mozzarella should not be left to sit out for longer than two hours. After sitting at room temperature for two hours, the risk of bacteria growth increases, and the mozzarella could go bad, and be unsafe to eat.

Make sure you get to use all of your mozzarella before it spoils, by storing it properly. Read on to find out how long mozzarella can sit out for, and how best to store it.

Is It Okay to Leave Mozzarella Out?

It is fine to leave mozzarella out if you are serving it in a salad or sliced on a snack board, but it should not be left out for longer than two hours.

Ideally, the mozzarella should be left out, dished up, and placed straight back into the fridge. The longer the mozzarella is left out, the higher the risk of bacteria growth.

mozzarella sit out

The food danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and in this temperature range, bacteria can grow rapidly. For mozzarella, and most other fresh foods, being left out for longer than two hours at this temperature is considered dangerous.

Being a dairy product, mozzarella does not last all that long as it is, and leaving it out at room temperature for more than two hours will only accelerate how quickly it spoils.

Can I Eat Mozzarella Left Out Overnight?

If you have left mozzarella out overnight, it would be safest to throw it away, instead of eating it. It might look fine, but there is a very good chance that bacteria has grown overnight, and it could make you ill if you eat the cheese.

As much of a waste as it might seem to throw mozzarella away which has been left overnight, it is better than falling ill from eating it. It really isn’t worth the risk.

How Long Does Mozzarella Last in the Fridge?

Mozzarella is a fresh cheese, and this means that it does not last as long as some other hard cheese types.

Mozzarella balls, sold in liquid, have a short shelf life, and can only be kept in the fridge for up to four days. They should be kept in the liquid and in a sealed, airtight container, to ensure the cheese is kept fresh, and that it doesn’t dry out.

You can also find blocks of mozzarella, which are more processed, and these can be kept in the fridge for slightly longer. Kept tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, or in an airtight container, blocks of mozzarella can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

It is best to check the best-by or expiry date on the mozzarella packaging and use this as a guide as to when the mozzarella should be eaten.

How to Tell if Mozzarella Is Bad

You do need to be able to tell if mozzarella has gone bad or not, as you do not want to find yourself ill from eating spoiled mozzarella.

It is a cheese that will spoil quicker than others, so you should know the signs to look for. Here are the telltale signs that mozzarella has gone bad:

Off Smell

Any cheese that has gone bad, even mild-smelling mozzarella, will have a bad odor. The smell will be quite strong and sour, much like you would expect spoiled dairy to smell.

Any off odor from the mozzarella is a sure sign that it has gone bad, and you should rather play it safe and throw the mozzarella away.

Change in Color

Mozzarella is a light-colored cheese, with the fresh variety being a white color. There shouldn’t be any variation of color in the mozzarella, and if you notice darker spots, lighter spots, or spots of gray, black, or white, then you should throw the cheese away.

Many people think it is okay to cut away mold from cheese, but this really isn’t safe, as you cannot see where the mold has spread, and you cannot be sure that you have cut it all away.

Any discoloration should be an indication that the cheese is not good to eat anymore.

Change in Texture

If the cheese has a slimy texture on the outside, or if it is dry and crumbly, then it is likely past the point of being safe to eat, and you should rather just throw it away. There will probably be other signs that it has spoiled at this point, such as a bad odor.

How Long Does Unopened Mozzarella Last?

Fresh mozzarella is sold in a brine, which helps keep the cheese moist, and helps preserve it. The cheese will last longer if it is kept unopened, and it will last for around a week.

mozzarella in containers

Once opened, the cheese will need to be consumed within three to four days for its best quality, and it will need to be kept in the refrigerator to prevent it from spoiling too soon.

When it comes to processed mozzarella cheese, which is sold in a block or as sticks, these can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks unopened, but you should keep a check on the best-by date.

How Long Can Mozzarella Sit Out?

Mozzarella is a perishable food item, and therefore it should not be left out at room temperature for longer than two hours. Once it has passed the two-hour mark at room temperature, the risk of spoiling and bacteria growth increases.

If you have left mozzarella out overnight, it is definitely safer to throw it away, rather than risk falling ill from eating it.

Kept properly stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, mozzarella can keep for up to four days, and sometimes up to a week.

Make sure you know the signs to look for that mozzarella has spoiled, so you can tell whether your cheese is safe to eat or not!

Related Questions

Does Sealed Mozzarella Need to Be Refrigerated?

It is definitely better to refrigerate sealed mozzarella, just to ensure that you keep it fresh for longer, and so that the cheese does not expire. The cold temperature of the fridge slows down bacteria growth and helps to preserve the cheese.

Can I Keep Mozzarella Once Opened?

Mozzarella can be kept in the fridge once opened, but it is best to store it in the liquid brine. 

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