How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last

This complex cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and complements traditional rennet.

Like Parmesan, you can use cotija as a dipping or topping for salads and other food items. Its flavor is salty and slightly bitter, but it’s still perfect.

Although it’s commonly called a crumbly cheese, cotija is a semi-hard. It can be easily crumbled and eaten with a bit of sour cream.

What Is Cotija Cheese?

The traditional cotija cheese from Mexico is made from cow’s milk and has a hard rind. It has a salty and slightly crumbly texture. It’s considered a finishing ingredient in Mexican cooking due to the addition of various flavor elements.

Like its cousin Parmesan, Denomination de Origen (DO) protects cotija cheese. It means that you can use it in a wide range of recipes. Mexican cooks often add cotija to various types of food, such as nachos, beans, Fajitas (How Much Per Person) and Migas.

How Long Is Cotija Cheese Good for If Left Out
How Long Is Cotija Cheese Good for If Left Out

How Long Is Cotija Cheese Good for After Opening?

Depending on the cotija cheese itself, it can last from one month to three months. If you store fresh one in the fridge, you can only expect a one-month duration. It is usual for fresh cheeses like cotija to last long after opening.

However, you can anticipate it to last for three months when you have a fantastic aged cotija in your pantry. The cheese itself underwent meticulous processes to last longer than usual.

How Long Does Cheese Last in the Fridge?

Cheese, in general, has a wide variety of shelf life because different kinds of cheeses vary from each other. Semi-hard or hard cheeses such as Feta, Cheddar, and Mozzarella can remain enjoyable for up to eight weeks if stored properly. 

However, if you want to consume all of the cheese in one go, re-wrap it in parchment paper or wax paper and keep it in a plastic container.

How To Pronounce Cotija Cheese

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last in the Fridge Once Open?

Generally, you can safely eat semi-hard cheese such as gouda and gruyere for three weeks. However, hard cheese can be stored in a refrigerator for six weeks after opening or even slicing them.

Unlike other dairy products, cheese is not as perishable as milk. Its fat and protein undergo acidification, salt, and fermentation. It’s usually unpalatable before it becomes dangerous.

Hard cheeses such as Stilton, Gruyere, and Camembert are safe to eat even if a green or blue mold is growing on them. However, if you see red or black mold, it’s a no-go.

Getting to know your cheese before you eat it is the best way to ensure that it’s still good when you get home. Having a good understanding of smell and taste will help determine if it’s still good.

Before storing your cheese, wrap it in parchment paper to prevent it from getting damaged. Cheese bags can also help prevent the cheese from getting dry. However, plastic wrap can still turn plasticky.

Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese?

Unlike other types of cheese, cotija cheese can be frozen and will not affect its texture or flavor. This cheese is similar to different kinds of cheese, such as mozzarella.

Cotija Cheese will last for a year in the freezer.

You can freeze individual pieces of cotija cheese, which are great for adding to salads. However, they should be cut into thick slices to prevent falling apart.

To protect the cheese, wrap each slice in greaseproof paper. Then, layer the cheese with a layer of clingfilm. Freeze the cotija cheese in a bag to keep it from getting too cold.

After labeling the bag, carefully place the cheese in the freezer. If you have a vacuum sealer, this method will allow you to remove the air from the package.

Using a vacuum sealer, remove the air bubbles from the cheese before placing it in the freezer. It will last for longer than other cheeses.

How is Cotija Cheese Made?

The process of making cotija begins with whole cow’s milk, then acidifying and the milk is then inoculated with lactic acid bacteria. Afterward, the curds are separated from the whey using a centrifuge. Finally, the curd is cut into cubes and pressed.

The final step is to age the cheese, sometimes up to two years.

Different Kinds of Crumbled Cotija Cheese?
Different Kinds of Crumbled Cotija Cheese?

Different Kinds of Cotija Cheese?

There are many different types of this cheese. The most common type is soft Mexican Cojota cheese which comes in both white and yellow varieties.

You can also have aged versions of Cotija Cheese which is stronger in taste.

Other types include a Spanish cheese, which has a milder flavor than the Mexican version; 

How to Crumble Cotija Cheese

The best way to crumble cotija is to place it in a bowl and then use a fork to break it into small pieces.

Alternatively, you can put it in a plastic bag, close the bag, and press with your handles to gently crumble the cheese.

Cotija Cheese Pairings

What sort of food can you eat with Cotija Cheese. The easy answer is Tacos, however, there are many other foods that mix well.

Keep in mind that this type of cheese is quite salty in taste.

Top 11 Foods That Pair With Cotija Cheese in 2024

  1. Scrambled Eggs
  2. Grits
  3. Potato Rosti
  4. Corn
  5. Tortilla Chips
  6. Baked Beans
  7. Pork Chops
  8. Steak Fajitas
  9. Chicken Wings
  10. Spinach Salad
  11. Salsa 

Tex Mex (including Tex Mex Paste) goes well with Cotija cheese

Is Cotija Cheese Smelly

Yes, cotija has a strong smell, which comes from its aging and high salt content. 

What Cheese Is Closest to Cotija

The best substitute for Cotija is Romano (BEST Substitutes for Romano Cheese). Note that Feta has a similar texture and a different flavor profile, although it doesn’t melt quite as well. If you’re looking for something that melts better than Cotija, try queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese) or ricotta salata (salted ricotta).

Why Does My Cotija Cheese Get Moldy so Fast

The main cause of this problem is moisture. Moisture causes bacteria to grow quickly. If you’re storing your cheese in a humid environment, then you’ll want to keep it in the refrigerator. If not, then you’ll want a dry place like a cupboard where air circulation will prevent mold growth.

Cotija Cheese Vs Queso Fresco

While both kinds of cheese are similar in texture, they’re different in taste. Cotija has a milder flavor than queso fresco, which is often used as a table cheese.