Everybody loves to munch on cheesy treats occasionally--especially if they can fill you up easily! They are very easy to make, so you might find yourself with a lot to spare sticks after stocking up on them or snacking on them. So, how long can you enjoy your cheese sticks? We have researched answers to find out.
Unopened cheese sticks, such as string cheese, should last until their sell-by date. When refrigerated, string cheeses usually last for about 6 to 8 weeks. Frozen string cheeses can last for up to 8 months--but only if it has been stored properly.
Other types of cheese sticks have different storage rules, and their shelf life also varies. It also depends on whether these cheese sticks have been fried, or if they have been frozen or refrigerated. If you want to learn ways you can extend your cheese stick's shelf life, keep reading to learn more.
How long Do Frozen Cheese Sticks Last?
Frozen string cheeses can last for up to 8 months. However, don't let it sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours when you take them out since that gives bacteria an ample amount of time to spoil your string cheeses. If the string cheese has been sitting in the fridge for 8 months or more, it is best to consume it immediately.
If you put it in your child's lunch box, it will most likely sit for more than 4 hours before their lunch break--by which time it could have already gone bad and upset your child's stomach.
Frozen mozzarella sticks also last 8 months, and they should also be consumed immediately once you thaw them out.
How Long Do Mozarella Sticks Last in the Fridge?
Mozzarella Sticks have a shorter shelf life since it is soft cheese. They can last for about 1-2 weeks when stored properly in the fridge.
Opened mozzarella should be consumed within 5 days, even stored inside the fridge. If you want it to last longer, you can shred then freeze it, making it last for about 3-4 months.
If kept frozen at a constant temperature, string cheeses can remain safe indefinitely. However, that would mean the freezer should remain closed and unexposed to outside light and air--which is impossible--but you're welcome to try!
How to Properly Store String Cheeses
Cheese should always be handled with a strict hand since it can easily go bad. Different cheeses have different storage rules, but here are generally the things you need to do.
Avoid Plastic Wrap
Cheese is a living, breathing thing. Any living that has been wrapped in plastic for too long will eventually suffocate and deteriorate. Cheese that has been wrapped in plastic would encourage bacteria growth since all its sweat and moisture is trapped.
Store in the Fridge
String cheeses should always be kept refrigerated to avoid mold and bacteria growth. There's a reason cheese is always found in the refrigerated section at the grocery store.
The reason why it's important to refrigerate food--especially cheese--is it slows down bacteria growth. All food is bound to deteriorate, but decreasing bacteria activity will help make food stay fresh longer.
Read: "How Long Can Cheese Last In The Freezer?"
Store in a sealed container
Cheese can pick up moisture and odor from the environment around it, so you need to keep it sealed in an airtight container. This can help prevent the growth of mold, making the quality last longer.
Do not mix with other food
Mixing cheese with other food is one of the worst things you can do to cheese! It will easily absorb the moisture from other food, fast-tracking its deterioration.
If for any reason it doesn't go bad easily, the quality will be affected--it will no longer be tasty, having absorbed the flavor and aftertaste of the food it was mixed with.
How to Properly Store Mozarella Sticks
Mozzarella sticks were crafted using a technique called pasta filata, where milk is heated with whey starter, then mixed with rennet to form curds.
These curds are put in water, heated, then thoroughly stirred until it becomes elastic enough to form strings. With its high moisture content, it generally has a short shelf life--which means you need to store it better.
Keep it in the fridge
As always, store-bought mozzarella needs to be kept in the fridge immediately after you return from the grocery store. You can freeze it, but note that the quality will not be the same.
This is because the temperature will change its consistency, making it more crumbly instead of chewy. To prevent this, wrap the chopped mozzarella in aluminum foil and place it in a ziplock or freezer bag.
Read: "How To Freeze Mozzarella Cheese."
Immerse in water or olive oil
Mozzarella in general sometimes comes pre-packed with its own liquid. This is the byproduct of mozzarella which you can refill with cold water--this should prevent the cheese from drying out.
You also have the option to submerge it in olive oil to retain its moisture content. Just make sure to place it in an airtight container.
How To Reheat Mozzarella Sticks
If you've successfully kept your mozzarella sticks from going bad, you'd want to consume them at some point! The trick in reheating mozzarella sticks is to retain as much of their crunchy-gooiness as possible.
Here are ways you can reheat mozzarella sticks.
Reheat in the oven
This method should effectively keep your mozzarella sticks crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. If you're reheating after freezing, make sure you thaw it first so the water doesn't turn into a soggy mess.
The oven circulates heat more evenly, so all you need is to pop it in and place it on a cookie sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 350F or F450 if you took the cheese out of the freezer.
- Place the cheese sticks on a cookie sheet, making sure to keep an adequate gap between them for a more even heating.
- Heat for 10-20 minutes, making sure to slip halfway.
- Take it out and serve.
Place in an Air Fryer
Placing them in an air fryer is a healthier option than deep-frying them in oil. This is also less time-consuming.
- Preheat to 350F-400F.
- Pop the cheese sticks into the tray.
- Set a timer for a minute.
- Pull them out, place them in a bowl, and serve.
Put in the Microwave
Microwaving them is the least ideal option since it would only heat them, not make them crunchy again. The quality could be compromised, so you should only do this if you don't have an oven or air fryer at hand.
- Place in a microwave-safe plate.
- Set the timer for 25-50 seconds, making sure to flip them halfway through the timeframe.
- Check the cheese's consistency by slicing a portion. Reheat for another 15 seconds if the cheese isn't soft.
- Serve and eat!
How to know if Cheese Sticks have Gone Bad
It is always best to go with your instincts when trying to figure out whether your cheese sticks have gone bad. They are notorious for it, especially if they haven't been stored properly.
Usually, the cheese will develop a strong odor. Although cheese has a tangy smell, you'll know it's bad when the sourness is too strong.
You should also look at its consistency--string cheese that has been exposed to room temperature will make it crumbly and unappetizing to eat.
Of course, the most fool-proof way to know your cheese sticks have gone bad is if you see spots of mold on the surface. If you see this, you need to throw them out immediately before they contaminate any more of your food.
Unlike hard cheeses that last longer because of controlled bacteria, soft cheeses such as cheese sticks are tricker to preserve. This is because they are made of regular acids, making them unimmune to many types of food-deteriorating bacteria.
How To Make Home-Made Mozzarella Sticks
Mozzarella Sticks make for a great snack during a simple movie night or a full-blown party. Here is how you can make yours.
- Combine water and egg in a bowl and whisk.
- In a separate bowl, mix bread crumbs and garlic salt.
- In a third bowl, combine flour and cornstarch.
- Place a large saucepan on a stove and heat oil to 365F.
- Coat the mozzarella stick in flour, then dip it into the egg mixture. Coat it again in bread crumbs.
- Slowly lower the coated mozzarella sticks into the hot oil and fry for 30 seconds until they're golden brown.
- Place them on paper towels and let them drain for a minute.
- Serve and enjoy!
Although cheese sticks are often popped into kids' lunchboxes, there's no rule saying you can't enjoy them yourself! Make sure to store them properly so you can enjoy them for longer.