Does Parmesan Cheese Need to Be Stored in the Refrigerator?

Parmesan cheese is a type of hard Italian cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It has a nutty, salty flavor and is often used in pasta dishes and salads. You can store parmesan cheese at room temperature, but it will last longer if stored in the refrigerator.

In this blog post, we will explore more on the question — does Parmesan cheese need to be refrigerated (and some tips and precautions to enable you to enjoy parmesan cheese’s delicious flavor) and many more related questions.

Does Grated Parmesan Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated?

No, you don’t have to refrigerate grated parmesan cheese, though it stands a chance to last longer when you store it in the fridge — the same goes for hard cheeses like cheddar and Swiss. If you’re using a block of cheese, it’s best to keep it wrapped tightly in wax paper or aluminum foil in the fridge. (The exception is if you’re going to age your cheese.)

parmesan cheese in small ramekin

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that cheese is a living, breathing thing. It’s full of bacteria that help give it flavor, and those same bacteria will continue to work their magic — albeit more slowly — when the cheese is stored at room temperature.

So if you’re going to grate or slice your cheese ahead of time, know that it will continue to change flavor and texture, albeit more slowly.

If you’re not planning on eating your cheese within a week or two, it’s best to freeze it. Grate or slice the cheese first, then store it in a freezer-safe bag or container. And when you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the fridge overnight or grate frozen cheese directly onto your dish.

How Long Can Parmesan Cheese Stay Unrefrigerated?

Your parmesan cheese will stay unrefrigerated for 12 months or even more. The reason is that the hard texture of this cheese does not allow bacteria to grow easily. However, you should keep it in a cool, dark place, away from heat sources.

Once you open the package, consuming the cheese within a few weeks is best. To extend its shelf life, you can vacuum-seal it or keep it submerged in olive oil.

Another thing you may also want to remember is the smell when dealing with unrefrigerated parmesan cheese. If you notice that your cheese smells sour or ammonia-like, it has gone bad, and you should throw it away.

Otherwise, you can enjoy your parmesan cheese without worrying about refrigerating it — just be sure to store it properly, and you’ll be able to enjoy it for months to come.

How long is grated parmesan cheese good for in the fridge?

A package of grated or powdered parmesan will last up to a week in a refrigerator that is cooled to the optimal temperature for this type of cheese which is 37 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing the cheese in an air-tight container will keep it fresh long-term.

Can Parmesan Cheese Be Stored at Room Temperature?

Yes, you can still keep your Parmesan cheese at room temperature, as this type of cheese does not need to be refrigerated. However, Parmesan cheese stored in the fridge will stay longer and taste better. If you are going to keep your Parmesan cheese at room temperature, put it in an airtight container and consume it within two weeks.

Now, storing Parmesan cheese requires some level of care regardless of whether you refrigerate it or not. For example, you should never store Parmesan cheese in aluminum foil, which will cause the cheese to lose its flavor.

Likewise, you should never store Parmesan cheese in a plastic bag, as this will cause the cheese to sweat and become moldy. The best way to store Parmesan cheese is in an airtight container, such as Tupperware, or wrapped in wax paper.

The general rule is that they can be stored at room temperature for hard cheeses like Parmesan. However, for softer cheeses like mozzarella, it’s best to refrigerate them.

How Do You Store Opened Parmesan Cheese?

Opened Parmesan cheese does not need to be refrigerated. Even without refrigeration, it will still be safe to consume (but remember, storing in the fridge will prolong your Parmesan cheese’s shelf life).

The best way to store Parmesan cheese is in a tightly sealed container, such as plastic wrap or an airtight container, to prevent the cheese from drying. You can also store Parmesan cheese in the freezer, but make sure to wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.

If you plan to use Parmesan cheese within a week or two, storing it in the fridge is the best option. But if you are not planning to use it within that timeframe, then storing it in the freezer is a better option.

How Do You Know If Parmesan Cheese Is Bad?

There are a few signs that should help you determine whether or not your Parmesan cheese has gone bad or not — below are some of those signs:

  1. If the cheese has a hard, crumbly texture, it is most likely bad: When Parmesan cheese goes bad, it dries out and hardens.
  2. If the cheese has a sour or ammonia-like smell: This is another way to tell if your Parmesan cheese has gone bad.
  3. If the cheese has mold on it: if there is mold on your Parmesan cheese, it has gone bad.
  4. If the cheese tastes sour: This is another clear indication that your Parmesan cheese has gone bad.

If you have doubts about whether or not your Parmesan cheese is still good, it is always better to throw it out. Another tip is always to buy Parmesan cheese that has been aged for at least 12 months — this will help to ensure that the cheese will last longer.


What Does Bad Parmesan Cheese Smell Like?

Bad Parmesan cheese smells sour and rancid because of its high acidity, with the texture crumbly, dry, and hard.

Parmesan cheese has a high acidity, which means it can last long without refrigeration. However, if you notice mold growing on your Parmesan cheese, it’s best to throw it away. The texture of bad Parmesan cheese will be crumbly, dry, and hard.

Parmesan cheese can last up to six months in the fridge when stored properly. But if you’re unsure how long your cheese has been stored, it’s always best to smell it before using it.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Parmesan Cheese?

In most cases, nothing will happen if you mistakenly eat bad Parmesan cheese. However, there is a small chance that you could experience some digestive issues like an upset stomach or diarrhea. If you eat bad Parmesan cheese and start to experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to drink plenty of fluids and see your doctor.

If you also suspect that your cheese might have gone bad and you consumed it accidentally, it is best to monitor your symptoms closely. If you start to experience any severe symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Which Cheese Do Not Need Refrigeration?

Many types of cheeses do not require refrigeration, such as:

  1. Parmesan: Hard, dry, and grating cheeses like Parmesan have a low moisture content, which prevents bacteria from growing.
  2. Feta: Feta is a brined cheese, meaning it is stored in salt water. The high sodium content prevents bacteria from growing and gives feta its tangy flavor.
  3. Brie and Camembert: Soft cheeses like brie and camembert are high in moisture, which makes them more susceptible to bacteria. However, these cheeses are often sold with a rind that acts as a barrier to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  4. Goat cheese: It is also high in moisture, but like brie and camembert, it is often sold with a rind that prevents the growth of bacteria.
  5. Cheddar: Cheddar is a semi-hard cheese with low moisture content. However, cheddar is often sold in pre-packaged slices, which makes it more susceptible to bacteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Cheese Spoil If Not Refrigerated?

According to Sarah Hill, a Manager of Cheese Education and Training, some cheeses may start to spoil if it is left at room temperature for more than two hours.” Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, and the rate doubles with each 20°F increase. So, keeping cheese out for even a short period of time can cause it to spoil.”

Is Cheese Safe To Eat If Left Out Overnight?

While some cheese can remain stable even if unrefrigerated, some will start going bad after two hours of sitting out on the counter. This is especially true for softer cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese, and cream cheese. Parmesan, however, can last up to 12 months or more without being refrigerated, as its high acidity level acts as a preservative.

Is Vacuum Sealed Cheese Shelf Stable?

Vacuum-sealed cheese will always last anywhere between four to six months. If unopened, you can store your cheese in the fridge for this time without any issues. Once opened, however, you should only keep the cheese for two to three weeks to enjoy its peak flavor.

So, does this mean that you should refrigerate your parmesan cheese? The answer is no. You should avoid refrigerating your parmesan cheese as it will cause the flavor to diminish. Instead, store your parmesan cheese in a cool and dry place such as the pantry or cupboard.

What is Shelf-Stable Cheese?

Shelf-stable cheese is a type of cheese that does not need to be refrigerated. It is made with special bacteria that prevent it from spoiling. The bacteria are added to the milk during the cheese-making process. You can store most shelf-stable cheese at room temperature for up to six months.


So, does Parmesan cheese need to be refrigerated? No, you don’t have to refrigerate parmesan cheese, but it will last much longer if you do. However, please remember to exercise caution and use your best judgment. If you are unsure about something, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

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