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How Long Does Kraft Cheese Last?

How Long Does Kraft Cheese Last?


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Most likely longer than you think

Kraft Singles use sorbic acid as a preservative.

Kraft American Cheese is a refrigerator staple, available in a pinch for those looking to make a grilled cheese sandwich or melt a slice onto some apple pie (hey, don’t knock it till you try it). And while a package of singles usually doesn’t hang around long enough to spoil, it got us wondering: how long do they last for before going rancid?

The ingredients listing for Kraft Singles includes milk, milk proteins, emulsifiers and stabilizers, colorings, and preservatives including sorbic acid, an antimicrobial agent that inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, and the like. Bacterial growth is the main reasons why cheeses go bad, so American cheese will hang around in your fridge for quite some time; the expiration date printed on packages is generally about five to six months after the cheese is produced, but you’ll probably be safe using that just as a guideline; toss the cheese once it starts looking dried-out.

So while it might be burning a hole in your refrigerator, there’s no need to rush through that pack of cheese. All those preservatives make sure that it won’t spoil any time soon.


How Long Can Cheese Last In the Fridge?

In uncertain times, it’s comforting to have a stocked fridge and pantry. The next step, though, is making sure to have a plan to use everything before it goes bad.

The benefit of cheese is that it’s made to be sturdy—the cheesemaking process isolates milk’s fat, protein, and minerals and ferments them for flavor and durability. And, when you drastically reduce the water content of any food, you limit the potential for dangerous spoilage (think beef jerky versus steak). Cheese is nature’s power bar.

While most cheese has an expiration date printed on the packaging, there’s not a specific day when cheese goes from totally edible to totally bad. Cheese is alive and ever-evolving, so it will change as it stays in your fridge, but evaluating your cheese is much more about noticing whether the flavor, aroma, and texture are still desirable.

So, whenever you get your cheese, leave it out at room temperature for an hour or two (the ideal temperature for serving cheese), then dig in. Get to know it. Taste it, smell it, note the texture. As the days pass and you take your cheese out of the fridge, notice the aroma, texture, and flavor. If it’s rock hard, but started out silky smooth, maybe it’s time to toss it. Ditto if it smelled brothy and mushroomy when you bought it and now smells like cleaning products.

And, while you can freeze cheese, most cheese professionals caution against it, as it can compromise the cheese’s texture and flavor. If you’re set on it, save the freezer for cooking cheeses, rinds for stock, and the more industrial cheeses. Your fancy triple cream will suffer if frozen.

Even in these uncertain times, many cheese shops still offer delivery and pickup, so if you can buy less cheese more frequently, that’s always ideal. If not, you have our blessing to stock up.

Here are the recommended time frames for storing your favorite cheeses in your fridge and the best storage methods for each.


Food Storage - How long can you keep.

  • How long does opened grated Parmesan cheese last? The precise answer to that question depends to a large extent on storage conditions - to maximize the shelf life of opened grated Parmesan cheese, keep it in the refrigerator.
  • How long does opened grated Parmesan cheese last in the refrigerator? Grated Parmesan cheese that was sold unrefrigerated will generally stay at best quality for about 10 to 12 months in the refrigerator after it has been opened.
  • To further extend the shelf life of opened grated Parmesan cheese, freeze it: to freeze, place grated Parmesan cheese in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  • Frozen Parmesan cheese may lose some of its texture and flavor the thawed cheese will be best suited to cooked dishes, such as sauces, soups and casseroles.
  • How long does grated Parmesan cheese last in the freezer? Properly stored, grated Parmesan cheese will maintain best quality for about 18 months in the freezer, but will remain safe beyond that time.
  • The freezer time shown is for best quality only - grated Parmesan cheese that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.
  • Is grated Parmesan cheese safe to use after the "expiration" date on the package? Yes, provided it is properly stored, the package is undamaged and there is no sign of spoilage (see below) - commercially packaged grated Parmesan cheese will typically carry a "Best By," "Best if Used By," "Best Before," or "Best When Used By" date but this is not a safety date, it is the manufacturer's estimate of how long the grated Parmesan cheese will remain at peak quality.
  • How can you tell if grated Parmesan cheese is bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the cheese: if cheese develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, it should be discarded if mold appears, discard all of the grated Parmesan cheese.

Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here

Keeping thawed ground beef

Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. © Copyright 2021 StillTasty LLC. All rights reserved.


Semihard to Semisoft Cheeses

It's safe to keep that opened chunk of Gouda and block of Gruyère in the fridge for about two to three weeks, and in the freezer for up to two months. For the best storage, keep unopened cheese in its original package and put any leftovers wrapped loosely in a piece of parchment inside a Ziploc bag so air can circulate without the cheese drying out. Looking for ways to cook with Gruyère? Try our recipe for cheddar and Gruyère grilled cheese sandwiches.


Cauliflower &ldquoMac and Cheese&rdquo

You have two options here, depending on how creamy you like your mac and cheese.

Option 1 (less creamy) 160 Calories, 9g of protein, 24g of carbs, and 4g of fat

  • 1 bag of frozen, steamable riced cauliflower (or 400g if you make your own)
  • 2 Tbsp cheddar powder (you can add more if you&rsquod like)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steam your riced cauliflower in the microwave and mix the cheddar powder straight in. That&rsquos it! If you&rsquore not worried about calorie content, you could add a Tbsp of butter or coconut oil to make this even creamier.

Option 2 (extra creamy) 200 Calories, 8g of protein, 30g of carbs, and 2g of fat

  • 1 bag of frozen, steamable riced cauliflower (or 400g if you make your own)
  • 2 Tbsp (64g) fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp cheddar powder (you may need 2 Tbsp like above, but I like the mild cream cheese flavor)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You can save this for easy reference later. If you&rsquore on Instagram, come say hey!


How Long Does Cheese Last?

How long does cheese last? More than 400 varieties of cheese are available worldwide, all deriving from milk. Cheeses are categorized in several ways, including hard, soft, unripened, and ripened.

Unripened cheeses are made by coagulating milk proteins--or casein--with acid. These include soft varieties such as cream cheese, cottage cheese, and Neufchatel.

Ripened cheeses are made by coagulating milk proteins with enzymes-- or rennet--and culture acids. The cheeses are then ripened by bacteria or mold. Examples of bacteria-ripened cheese include hard varieties such as Cheddar, Swiss, Colby, Brick and Parmesan. Mold-ripened cheeses include hard and soft varieties and some examples of mold-ripened cheeses include Blue, Roquefort, Camembert, and Brie.

Each category of cheese has different characteristics, thus setting themselves apart as a group or sub-category, and therefore they also have different shelf lives. For instance, mold is OK on your blue cheese, but very dangerous to your health if it appears in your cottage cheese.

So, we have broken cheeses out into different menus. Choose the cheese category most resembling your cheese in question for more specific shelf life information.


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How To Store Mac And Cheese

Let’s start with the cooked homemade (or not) mac and cheese. Once you whip up a big portion of pasta with cheese sauce, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do with the leftovers.

If you plan on eating them within a few days, the fridge is where they should go. Let the food cool down a bit, so it’s not steaming anymore, and transfer it in an airtight container and refrigerate. For the meal to retain the quality for the longest, put it in the far corner of the fridge.

If you need more than a couple of days, freeze the prepared meal.

When it comes to a boxed dry mix of mac and cheese, the pantry is where you should store it. Make sure the area is cool and dry. Like other dry mixes, such as pancake mix, it’s about all it needs. If you want to store the mix for super-long, you can put it into the freezer.

For the sake of completeness, I want to mention that obviously, you should keep frozen mac and cheese in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Maria Eklind

Use-by dates are set as the very minimum time that the product in question will be good for, provided that it is stored properly.

In addition, and as a general rule, because Parmesan is a dry, hard cheese, with very low water content, the use-by date is almost always far shorter than the actual time that the cheese will be good for, again, provided proper storage.

By "parmesan sprinkle cheese", I assume you are referring to the ones that come in a parmesan-wheel shaped box, such as this:

Their shelf life is far longer than their expiry date, and I would not be worried about using it beyond that date. However, for those boxes, most manufacturers tend to use the youngest cheese possible (for Parmesan this means 12 months), meaning it has not had as much time to age (some parmesan is aged for as long as 36 months, and some manufacturers age it for even longer than that), meaning that there isn't much flavor in it.

Personally, I stopped using the boxes a few years back, when I realized that I used far more than I would if I simply used a grater and a piece of parmesan, meaning that it I spend less (if memory serves, I calculated the annual savings to something like 300 Norwegian Kroner/50 US Dollar) on parmesan, getting more, and I think better, flavor from it.

It should be noted that my family uses a LOT of parmesan (depending on how often we have guests, we go through anywhere from 1/4 kg to 1 kg per month), so the savings argument may not hold true for you.


Food Storage - How long can you keep.

  • How long does cooked macaroni and cheese last in the fridge or freezer? The precise answer to that question depends to a large extent on storage conditions - refrigerate macaroni and cheese within two hours of cooking.
  • To maximize the shelf life of cooked macaroni and cheese for safety and quality, refrigerate the macaroni and cheese in shallow airtight containers.
  • Properly stored, cooked macaroni and cheese will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • To further extend the shelf life of cooked macaroni and cheese, freeze it freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  • Cooked macaroni and cheese dishes containing sauce freeze best cooked macaroni noodles frozen without sauce may become overly mushy when thawed.
  • How long does cooked macaroni and cheese last in the freezer? Properly stored, it will maintain best quality for about 1 to 2 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.
  • The freezer time shown is for best quality only - cooked macaroni and cheese that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.
  • How long does cooked macaroni and cheese last after being frozen and thawed? Cooked macaroni and cheese that has been thawed in the fridge can be kept for an additional 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator before cooking macaroni and cheese that was thawed in the microwave or in cold water should be eaten immediately.
  • How long does cooked macaroni and cheese last at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F cooked macaroni and cheese should be discarded if left for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
  • How to tell if cooked macaroni and cheese is bad? If cooked macaroni and cheese develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, or if mold appears, it should be discarded.

Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here

Keeping thawed ground beef

Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. © Copyright 2021 StillTasty LLC. All rights reserved.


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