Here’s how long feta cheese lasts, the best tips for storage, and some of our favorite recipes using feta cheese!
Wondering how long feta cheese lasts? Or, the best way to store feta cheese?
We’re sharing smart ways to preserve and use your feta cheese and how long it’s safe to eat.
Whether you have leftovers from a block of feta cheese or feta cheese crumbles, you’ll find all the information you need in this post.
Feta Cheese 101
Feta cheese is a white, soft cheese with a crumbly texture and salty flavor that originates from Greece.
Feta was first made using sheep’s milk. But, these days, cheesemakers use a blend of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk.
U.S. manufacturers make a style of feta using cow’s milk.
It’s a popular ingredient in Greek recipes like Greek salad and pitas. You can also use it for dips and spreads.
It pairs well with meat, seafood, and even fruits like watermelon.
There’s nothing quite like the signature feta cheese taste, but if you’re in a pinch you can use a feta cheese substitute like goat cheese, or queso fresco.
You can even make vegan “feta” using firm, pressed tofu and brine.
How long does feta cheese last?
The shelf life of feta cheese depends on the type (block or crumbled), how it’s packaged, and how it’s stored.
Below, you’ll find details and instructions for each common circumstance.
NOTE: Depending on the brand, your feta may not have an expiration date, but a sell-by date instead. You can often eat cheese past the expiration date, depending on how it’s stored.
At Room Temperature
Any perishable food, left at room temperature, is susceptible to harmful bacteria growth.
And the longer food sits out, the more dangerous it becomes! Thankfully, there are clear guidelines to help keep you safe.
The danger zone for perishable foods is between 40°F and 140°F degrees. Most food, including cheese, can stay safe at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
After that, you’ll need to properly store and refrigerate or freeze your leftover cheese to avoid possible foodborne illnesses.
In the Refrigerator
An unopened package of feta in block form stays good for up to 2-3 months in the refrigerator.
This variety of feta is packed in a brine solution which is a great preservative.
In their original packaging, feta blocks should stay good for two weeks to a month past the date on the label.
Unopened feta cheese crumbles are not packed in brine, so they do not last as long. But, they should last up to a week after the labeled date.
Opened leftover feta, left as is, will last 5-7 days in the refrigerator in both forms.
However, if you store opened feta blocks in their brine, or add feta crumbles to a brine, they should stay good for about a month.
You can also preserve leftover feta blocks in olive oil for about 2 weeks.
Here’s a handy table to make things even easier!
|Feta block in brine (unopened)||Sell-by + 2 – 4 weeks|
|Crumbled feta (unopened)||Sell-by + 1 week|
|Feta leftovers (without brine)||5 – 7 days|
|Feta leftovers (submerged in brine)||4 weeks|
|Feta leftovers (submerged in olive oil)||2 weeks|
In the Freezer
If you want to preserve your feta for a longer time period, you can freeze it for up to 3 months in either form.
After 3 months, the cheese is usually still safe to eat, but the quality will suffer more and more as time goes on.
As with most dairy products freezing will change the texture and taste of your feta. But, the differences are minimal at around 3 months. If you’re not paying attention you may not even notice.
Your feta may be crumblier, a little dry, and less salty. But, it will still work well in your favorite dishes. Defrosted feta works especially well in hot dishes.
How To Store It
In the Refrigerator
For best quality store your leftover feta crumbles in an airtight container. Or, you can use a Ziploc bag with as much air removed as possible.
For feta blocks, you can use an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Or, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Though a sealed container is the best option.
This ensures the cheese won’t dry out or absorb odors or contaminates from other foods in the refrigerator.
If you’d like to preserve leftover feta blocks or crumbles in brine, you can create your own solution. You’ll need a ratio of 2 teaspoons of salt per 2 cups of water, and just enough brine to cover the cheese.
Alternatively, you can cut feta blocks into cubes, add them to a jar, and cover them with olive oil. You can then add in your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme, and dill for a quick marinade.
NOTE: If your brine leaves your feta too salty, you can soak it or submerge it in water for about 30 minutes before using it in your dish.
In the Freezer
You can freeze feta blocks or crumbles in a freezer bag (with air removed) or a plastic container.
Instructions for Crumbles
Add your leftover feta crumbles to a baking sheet. And spread the crumbles so they’re not touching. Pre-freeze the crumbles in a single layer.
Once the crumbles are pre-frozen, add them to a freezer bag or airtight container.
This will prevent the crumbles from sticking together.
Instructions for Blocks
For blocks, drain any brine, if necessary, and pat dry. Cut the blocks into cubes, portioned to the amount needed for a single recipe. Or, you can keep the blocks whole.
Pre-freeze the cubes on a sheet pan as you would feta crumbles. Then add the cubes or blocks to a freezer bag or airtight container.
NOTE: Once opened, use your thawed feta cheese within 24 hours!
How To Know When It’s Gone Bad
Bad feta cheese can make you sick. So, you should always check it for signs of spoilage before you use it in a recipe.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Signs of mold – (If you see mold, don’t scrape it off like you would other cheese. Just throw it away. Mold spores can spread through feta more easily.)
- Sour odor
- Color changes
- Gritty, grainy, dry, or slimy texture
If you notice any symptoms of food poisoning after eating your cheese, seek medical care as soon as possible.
Food poisoning symptoms:
- Watery or bloody diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
Your cheese has gone bad if you notice:
– Signs of mold (don’t just scrape it off!)
– Sour odor
– Color changes
– Gritty, grainy, dry, or slimy texture
Up to 2 hours at room temperature.
Mold on cheese may be blue, dark green, brown, or black. If you notice mold on feta, don’t attempt to scrape it off as you would other cheese.
Mold spores spread through this type of cheese more easily. So, you should throw the entire container away.
Feta can last for up to 3 months without noticeable changes to quality and taste. It may be slightly more crumbly and a little less salty.
But, it will still work well for any dish, and especially well for hot dishes.
Certain types of cheese aren’t safe for pregnant women.
However, most soft and hard cheeses that are made with pasteurized milk are okay to eat during pregnancy.
So, if you’re pregnant, and have a craving for feta cheese, just check the packaging to be sure!
If it says “pasteurized”, you’re good to go!
Recipes with Feta Cheese
Whipped Feta Dip with Roasted Tomatoes and Honey
Cilantro Chickpea Salad With Avocado And Feta
Winter Green Salad with Pomegranate, Pears, and Pecans
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