Can Blue Cheese Go Bad?

Sandwich with blue cheese and bacon

Blue cheese has a very distinctive taste, but there’s one question about it that many people are thinking about: “can it go bad”? Since there’s mold on the surface of the cheese already, so it’s technically “bad” already, can it actually go bad in a way it’s not safe to eat? Actually, it can. The mold of the surface is created by edible mold (Penicillium) culture, so it’s safe to eat. But if other bacteria will be able to develop in the cheese, it will go bad and the only thing you would be able to do is to discard it. After establishing those facts, let’s talk about storing blue cheese, its shelf life and how one can tell if it’s spoiled or not. Sounds interesting? Read on.

Storing blue cheese

Storing this distinctive dairy product is a bit more tricky than other dairy products. Since on the surface of this cheese there are living organisms that need air, you should just wrap it in plastic wrap and put into the fridge. If you’ll do that, the taste of the cheese will deteriorate quite quickly. The thing to do is to wrap the blue cheese in parchment or wax paper first, and then loosely wrap in plastic wrap. This way the cheese won’t pick up any of those fridge odors while still being able to get some air. Of course blue cheese should be stored in the fridge.

Sandwich with blue cheese and bacon
(credit: jeffreyw)

If you need to store this cheese for a longer period of time, cut it into smaller portions (half a pound or smaller), wrap tightly in freezer wrap or put into a freezer bag and freeze it.

Shelf life of blue cheese

If you will keep blue cheese on the kitchen counter, it will last only a few days. If you’ll store it properly, i.e. keep it wrapped in the fridge, it can be stored there for about 3 to 4 weeks. If you will decide to freeze blue cheese, it can technically be frozen forever, but for best quality, it shouldn’t be frozen for longer than about half a year. One important thing about freezing blue cheese – it becomes crumbly and loses some of its taste after thawing, so it will be best if you’ll use thawed blue cheese only in cooked dishes (like casseroles, stews, etc.).

How to tell if blue cheese is bad

This is probably the most important question. First of all, if there’s mold that wasn’t there when you’ve opened the package, chances are the product is spoiled and should be discarded. Another thing is the color of the creamy part of the cheese – if it’s changed (it’s pinkish, greenish or maybe brownish), the cheese is bad. The smell of the cheese is a good indicator of spoilage too. If it’s not natural blue cheese smell, but rather is somewhat similar to ammonia’s smell, it’s bad.

As you should know by now, blue cheese can go bad if stored improperly or for a too long period of time. If you’ll follow the guidelines above, it will be good for at least 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge.