Shelf Life of
Cottage Cheese

How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last?

Cottage Cheese Shelf Life
How long does cottage cheese last? The shelf life of cottage cheese is influenced by a variety of factors, such as the type of cottage cheese, the processing method and packaging date, its exposure to heat, how the cottage cheese is stored and it’s Best Before Date. Cottage cheese is a soft, fresh, uncured cheese that is highly perishable. Different styles of cottage cheese are made from milks with different fat levels and in small curd or large curd preparations.  It also comes in a variety of flavors and is often mixed with vegetables and/or fruits. Cottage cheese is also popular among dieters and some health food devotees such as bodybuilders, runners and weightlifters for its high protein content while being relatively low in fat.  

So, how long does cottage cheese last?
When properly stored at or below 40° F, containers of cottage cheese last for the times listed below past the date stamped on their container.

Shelf Life of Cottage Cheese

(Unopened) Refrigerator Freezer
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
Cottage Cheese lasts for 7-10 Days 3 Months
Ricotta Cheese lasts for 7-10 Days 3 Months
(Opened) Refrigerator Freezer
Cottage Cheese lasts for 5-7 Days 2-3 Months
Ricotta Cheese lasts for 5-7 Days 2-3 Months

But remember, cheeses, like a lot of other dairy products, usually have a sell by date which is simply the last date the product should be sold, not consumed. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it on your favorite fruits and vegetables even after its sell by date (or best before date) has lapsed according to the above table if stored properly.

How to tell if cottage cheese is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent food borne illness. Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if your cottage cheese has gone bad.  

When cottage cheese is starting to go bad you will notice pockets of water as a result of separation. While fresh cottage cheese has a clean flavor and smell and a consistent texture, spoiled cottage cheese will smell damp, develop a yellowish color and begin to taste sour.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled cottage cheese, so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your cheeses prior to their expiration.

 How to store cottage cheese to extend its shelf life?

Proper food storage is the key to extending the shelf life of cottage cheese.

Prior to purchase, you should leave it in the grocery refrigerator until you are ready to check out. Once at home, you can help all types of cheese stay fresh longer by storing them in your refrigerator at 40°F or lower immediately after use. Most cottage cheese containers come with a lid which keeps out moisture and other contaminants. You should never keep it out at room temperature for more than an two hours and you should not contaminate it with utensils that have touched other products.

For a long-term option, you could freeze cottage cheese BUT it is NOT recommended as thawing will produce a separated and less flavorful product.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

Interesting fact about the shelf life of cottage cheese:

  • Most cottage cheese packages protect the product from light and moisture. In addition, recent advancements in packaging, such as the injection of antibacterial CO2, help extend the shelf life even further by inhibiting bacteria growth.

  • How long is cottage cheese good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long does cottage cheese last? That depends. How long do pineapples last? In general, cottage cheese lasts only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient with which it is mixed. To find out how long those other ingredients are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below!

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    What are our shelf life resources?

    Our how long does cottage cheese last content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scour the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of cottage cheese.

    *An important note about the expiration date of cottage cheese …

    Although the cottage cheese shelf life information provided by Eat By Date is generally reliable, it is not intended to substitute for the advice of your qualified health care provider.  Please eat responsibly!