A cheese ball is such an easy and fun appetizer. But you are not always in the mood for making it for the gatherings at your place. Can you make a cheese ball ahead?
Can you freeze a cheese ball? You can freeze leftover cheese from a cheese ball, unless it has sat at room temperature for too long. Wrap it tightly with food wrap and aluminum foil to help it keep well in the freezer. You can also make a cheese ball without the crunchy coating and freeze that for up to 4 weeks.
Continue reading for step-by-step instructions for freezing and defrosting a cheese ball. There are also important things you should know about cheese balls before you decide to add them to your list of make-ahead appetizers.
Do Cheese Balls Freeze Well?
A cheese ball is made by mixing cream cheese with semi-soft cheese varieties.
The cheeses are whipped together until a smooth consistency is achieved. You add the herbs and seasonings, roll it into a ball, coat with nuts, and the easiest yet one of the most impactful appetizers is ready.
The question is, can you freeze cheese ball if you have leftover cheese mixture you can roll another ball out of? Yes, you can.
But we all know that freezing dairy products always comes with texture changes. Depending on what kind of cheese you have used for the cheese ball, you may experience small texture changes once you defrost it.
The defrosted cheese may slightly dry out or become softer. However, if frozen and stored properly, freezing a cheese ball will certainly be a success.
What to Know Before Freezing a Cheese Ball
Freezing a cheese ball is easy. But there are a few mistakes that can set you up for failure or affect the quality of the defrosted cheese.
Here is what you should know before freezing a cheese ball.
Don’t Freeze a Cheese Ball if it Doesn’t Hold Its Shape
You may think that freezing a cheese ball that has turned out slightly runnier than needed may save the situation. Well, it will do the opposite.
Freezing will help the cheese ball hold its shape even if the consistency of the cheese mixture has turned out softer and runnier. But once the cheese ball thaws, it will become even softer and lose its shape.
Skip the Topping
If you are making a cheese ball in advance, don’t add the topping.
You may want to save time and coat the cheese ball with nuts, jam, or any other coating you prefer.
But doing this will make the cheese ball look far less presentable once it’s defrosted. Additionally, any crunchy toppings will lose their crunch, and jams or jellies will slide right off once you thaw the cheese ball.
Trust us, it’s better to wait. A cheese ball without the topping will hold up a lot better in the freezer than the one with a topping will.
Keep It Simple
When making a cheese ball ahead of time, avoid adding too many ingredients into the cheese mixture, such as dried fruits and olives. The simpler you keep it the better the cheese will freeze and defrost.
After all, then you have fewer ingredients with fewer properties to worry about. Similar ingredients will already have similar freezing properties.
You Don’t Always Freeze a Cheese Ball
Don’t freeze a cheese ball that has been sitting at room temperature for over 2 hours. It is not safe to leave a cheese ball at room temperature for that long. It may already be contaminated by the time you find some food wrap to freeze it.
How to Freeze a Cheese Ball
Here is how to freeze a cheese ball if you are making a few of them ahead of time:
- Use fresh ingredients to make the cheese balls to be sure your treats will last longer.
- Once you have shaped the balls, wrap them tightly with a layer food wrap.
- Wrap the cheese balls with aluminum foil for an added layer of protection against freezer burn.
- Put the cheese ball somewhere in the freezer where it won’t get damaged. If you are freezing multiple cheese balls, collect them in a single freezer bag.
- Label with the date.
If you have eaten half of a cheese ball and want to store the leftovers in the freezer, store it the same way as you would make-ahead cheese balls.
In this case, too, it is important to wrap the cheese ball well with food wrap and foil. You can also out the leftover cheese ball in an airtight container as preserving its shape is less of a concern.
As the leftover cheese ball is already coated with nuts, dried fruits, or some other topping, we do recommend just eating it as soon as possible.
Otherwise, the coating will lose its properties and the defrosted cheese ball won’t have the contrast of textures we look for in a cheese ball.
Can You Freeze Store-Bought Cheese Balls?
You can freeze store-bought cheese ball. An unopened cheese ball container can be frozen in its original packaging if it is not damaged.
If you have already opened it, freeze store-bought cheese ball the same way you would freeze homemade cheese ball.
If you know you will be freezing the cheese balls, store them in the freezer as soon as you bring them home. Don’t bother to keep them in the fridge.
How Long Do Cheese Balls Last in the Freezer?
A homemade cheeseball stored in the fridge has a shelf life of 14 days. If you know that you won’t be eating it within this period of time, do freeze the cheese ball. Doing this will extend its shelf life to up to 4 weeks.
Commercially manufactured cheese balls do have a longer shelf life.
If the store-bought cheese ball is still in its original packaging and has been kept in proper conditions, it will last a few more months past the ‘Best by’ date printed on the packaging.
Thus, in comparison to homemade cheese ball, an unopened store-bought cheese ball will keep longer in the freezer.
But keep in mind that the longer the cheese ball sits in the freezer the more changes its texture and flavor will undergo.
An important thing you should know about the shelf life of cheese ball is that the 4-week period is simply an estimation. It all depends on the ingredients used to make the cheese ball as well as on their freshness.
A plain cheese ball made with herbs and spices can be frozen for a few weeks after it has been in the fridge for a week.
A cheese ball with smoked salmon in it, on the other hand, shouldn’t be transferred from the fridge into the freezer after it has been there for over a week. This is because smoked salmon has a shelf life of only 7 days in the fridge.
How to Defrost a Cheese Ball
To defrost a cheese ball, do the following:
- Take the cheese ball out of the freezer and remove the foil wrapping.
- Keep the layer of plastic wrap on the cheese ball to prevent it from drying out while it thaws in the fridge.
- Put the cheese ball on a plate to avoid liquid leaking into the fridge.
- Let the cheese ball thaw in the fridge for around 24 hours. If a cheese ball is on the bigger side, it may take up to 48 hours to defrost.
- Use a toothpick to see if the cheese ball is fully defrosted. If the toothpick gets to the center with ease, then the cheese ball is almost ready to be served.
Never thaw a cheese ball at room temperature or in the microwave. You can’t guarantee it will be safe to eat.
It is important to let the cheese mixture recover its original texture. Only in this case, you will be able to tell if your cheese ball freezing experience was successful or not.
Once the cheese ball is fully defrosted, let it sit in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.
Roll the defrosted cheese ball into the crunchy topping right before serving it. Doing this will make the cheese ball look as fresh as if it has just been made.
Serve the cheese ball with crackers, baby carrots, celery sticks, pretzels, etc. – anything you would normally want to eat with soft cheeses.
Signs a Cheese Ball Has Gone Bad
It is always a good idea to inspect the cheese ball before eating it yourself or serving it to your guests.
There are a few signs of spoilage to look out for.
1. Firstly, mold: If there is mold on the cheese ball, discard the whole thing. Don’t try to cut the moldy part out. As cheese ball is made with soft cheeses, the mold can easily spread and contaminate it entirely.
2. Secondly, an off-putting smell: While fresh cheese ball certainly smells much better, the defrosted one shouldn’t smell bad either. If you notice an unpleasant odor, discard the cheese ball.
3. Lastly, changes in flavor: Even if the cheese ball looks good and smells okay but it tastes bad, you should certainly toss it out.