Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad If Left Out

Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad If Left Out? Answered

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Shari Mason

Throughout my gastronomic adventures, I have come across a myriad of delightful components, each possessing its own unique characteristics and subtleties.

Today, let’s delve into Parmesan cheese, that divine creation known for its nutty, sharp flavor. But what happens when you leave this beloved cheese out? 

Does parmesan cheese go bad if left out? Let’s find out.

Will Parmesan Cheese Go Bad When Left Out? 

Slicing a wheel of parmesan cheese

Yes, eventually. With its low moisture content and dense texture, Parmesan cheese [1] is less prone to spoiling when left out at room temperature than softer cheeses. 

While it won’t spoil quickly, prolonged exposure to air can cause it to dry out and potentially affect its taste and texture.

“I always have parmigiano-reggiano, olive oil, and pasta at home. When people get sick, they want chicken soup; I want spaghetti with parmesan cheese, olive oil, and some lemon zest. It makes me feel better every time.”

Isabella Rossellini, Italian-American Actress

The cheese may become harder, and the flavor might become slightly bitter or less pronounced. 

However, it is generally safe to consume if there are no signs of mold growth, an off smell, or a slimy texture. To ensure optimal freshness, storing Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator is recommended.

But do you need to refrigerate vacuum-sealed cheese?

Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese? 

Yes, Parmesan cheese can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Freezing can help preserve the flavor and texture of the cheese, especially if you have a large amount that you won’t be able to consume before it starts to deteriorate. 

It’s important to note that freezing may cause some slight changes in the texture of the cheese, making it slightly crumbly or grainy once thawed. 

To freeze Parmesan cheese, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place it in a freezer-safe container or bag. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight when you’re ready to use it. 


Signs That Parmesan Cheese Might Have Gone Bad

Hand Holding Sliced of Parmesan Cheese
  1. Mold growth: One of the most apparent signs that Parmesan cheese has gone bad is the presence of mold. Mold can appear as dark spots or fuzzy patches on the surface of the cheese. If you see any mold growth, it’s best to discard the cheese, as consuming it can lead to foodborne illnesses.
  2. Off odor: A pungent or unpleasant odor emanating from the Parmesan cheese can indicate spoilage. If the cheese smells sour or rancid or has a strong ammonia-like scent, it is no longer suitable for consumption.
  3. Slimy or sticky texture: When Parmesan cheese goes bad, its texture can change. If the cheese has become slimy, sticky, or has a tacky feel, it’s a sign of spoilage. A healthy Parmesan cheese should have a dry, crumbly texture.
  4. Discoloration: Another indicator of Parmesan cheese going bad is a color change. If you see any unusual discoloration, such as a yellowish or greenish hue, it’s best to avoid consuming the cheese, as it may indicate bacterial growth or decomposition.
  5. Bitter or off-taste: Parmesan cheese that has gone bad may taste unpleasant or bitter. The once-nutty and savory flavor might be diminished or completely altered. If the cheese tastes significantly different than usual, it’s a sign that it has surpassed its prime and should be discarded.

“Like a resilient maestro of flavor, Parmesan cheese withstands the whims of time, offering its nutty symphony even when left out. Yet, beware the delicate dance with air, for its once proud texture may fade.”

Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

Tips On How To Store Parmesan Cheese

  1. Refrigeration is vital: To prolong the freshness of Parmesan cheese, store it in the refrigerator. The cool temperature helps slow down the growth of bacteria and preserves the cheese’s flavor and texture.
  2. Wrap it properly: Wrap Parmesan cheese tightly to protect it from exposure to air, which can cause it to dry out. Use plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or wax paper to create an airtight seal around the cheese. But do you know how long Gruyere cheese will last if unopened?
  3. Use cheese paper or parchment: Alternatively, you can store Parmesan cheese on cheese or parchment paper. These technical papers allow the cheese to breathe and maintain moisture while protecting it from excessive air circulation.
  4. Opt for airtight containers: If you prefer using containers, choose airtight options to prevent air and moisture from reaching the cheese. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids work well for storing Parmesan cheese.
  5. Please avoid strong odors: Parmesan cheese is highly porous and quickly absorbs strong odors. Store it separately from pungent foods like onions [2], garlic, or strong-smelling cheeses to maintain its distinct flavor.
  6. Avoid direct contact with moisture: Moisture can cause Parmesan cheese to spoil quickly. Ensure the cheese is dry before storing it, and avoid placing wet items in the same storage area.
  7. Consider a cheese vault: For avid cheese enthusiasts, investing in a cheese vault or a cheese-specific storage container can help regulate humidity levels and extend the shelf life of Parmesan cheese.


u003cstrongu003eHow long can Parmesan cheese stay unrefrigerated?u003c/strongu003e

Parmesan cheese can stay unrefrigerated for a few hours to a day without significant spoilage. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eStill, storing Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator is recommended for optimal freshness and to prevent any potential food safety concerns.

u003cstrongu003eCan leaving Parmesan cheese out affect its taste and texture?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, leaving Parmesan cheese out can affect its taste and texture. The cheese may dry out, resulting in a harder texture, and the flavor may become slightly bitter or less pronounced.

Key Takeaways

Parmesan cheese, a true culinary treasure, can withstand short periods at room temperature without spoiling quickly. 

While it won’t immediately threaten your health, leaving Parmesan cheese out for too long can affect its taste and texture. 

To savor this delightful cheese at its best, store it in the refrigerator and trust your senses to determine its freshness. 


Shari Mason

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