parmesan cheese go bad

Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad? How to Spot and Avoid Spoilage

In a nutshell: Yes, Parmesan cheese can go bad over time, but its hard texture and low moisture content contribute to its relatively long shelf life. Signs of spoilage include changes in smell, taste, the presence of mold, or discoloration. Storing parmesan in one piece, in the fridge, wrapped in foil, and using proper hygiene practices are

You are preparing an Italian evening for your friends, and you have old Parmesan cheese in the fridge, and you don’t know if it is valid or not? Here’s how to tell if this gourmet cheese has expired.

Italians can hardly imagine life without parmesan cheese. This high-value hard cheese is almost a signature mark of Italy and a proper bouquet of flavor. If you are a fan, then you know for sure that this delicacy is not a cheap pleasure at all. It usually costs quite a lot of money, and it is often sold in larger packages, so you really don’t want a single crumb to be wasted.

The good thing is that parmesan can last a significantly long time. Not forever, how some may think. If it expires, it will become rancid, and you will not enjoy it at all. The good thing is that you can preserve the quality for a long time with proper storage. Here are the most important tips for handling parmesan.

How Long Does Parmesan Cheese Last?

By the date on the packaging, you will already see that parmesan lasts significantly longer than some softer cheeses. When we talk about cheeses, it is always the rule that the harder they are, the longer they last. They simply have less moisture and are therefore more resistant to spoilage. Yet even parmesan can’t last forever.

Unopened parmesan cheese

The parmesan will be well and hermetically safe from external dangers until you open it. Thus, its spoilage should be impossible. Of course, provided the storage conditions are appropriate. In that case, the parmesan should be good for a month, perhaps even two, after the expiration date written on the label.

Opened parmesan cheese

Once opened, parmesan cheese can be exposed to spoilage, so pay attention to possible signs. If a small portion of the cheese happens to get moldy, feel free to cut off the affected area and consume the rest. On the other hand, if you have freshly grated cheese, it will probably last about a week in the fridge.

Grated parmesan cheese will not endure as long as a solid one, and you won’t be able to cut off the infected area if it turns yellow or moldy. So the vital guidance is to grate only as much as you need.

Can Parmesan Cheese Go Bad?

Unfortunately, parmesan cheese can and will spoil over time, just like any other dairy product. Fortunately, this period is significantly longer compared to other products, so you can enjoy the cheese long enough. Here’s how you’ll most easily recognize that it’s time to say goodbye to parmesan.

Sign 1: Smell or taste are not the same

Parmesan is intended to enhance any dish you put it on. If it has become rancid or stinks of stale odor, you are free to throw it in the trash. Spoiled cheese will hardly contribute to the improvement of your meal.

Sign 2: Mold is present  

As already mentioned, you can remove minor mold with a knife and continue to consume the rest of the cheese. So, just cut off the affected area. Parmesan is such a hard cheese that mold spores won’t easily penetrate the rest. However, if you see that the whole cheese is completely covered in mold, we are afraid that it is too late to save it. In that case, throw everything away.

Sign 3: Discoloration happened

It may not have to be mold, but discoloration will be a clear sign that the cheese has come to an end. Again, smaller areas can be removed, but there is no salvation if the whole cheese is streaked with darker yellow spots.

What Is The Best Way To Store Parmesan Cheese?

The way you store the cheese will have an amazing impact on the durability, quality, and taste. It is quite important that you follow the instructions and ensure pleasure for your palate. Here are the most important steps.

Tip 1: Keep the cheese in one piece

Always keep the parmesan in one piece and cut or grate only the amount you need. When it is compact, it will last much longer than when you grate it.

Tip 2: Keep it in the fridge

Parmesan must always be at a cool, comfortable temperature to prevent spoilage. Don’t leave it on the kitchen counter for too long, and when serving it, always take the amount you need. Return the rest to the refrigerator. You can freeze parmesan cheese for longer keeping, but it might affect its flavor a bit. It’s better to do so with a solid block than freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Tip 3: Wrap it in foil

Wrap parmesan to reduce air supply but also to prevent moisture loss. Also, given the very intense smell of parmesan, you will probably save the rest of the contents in the fridge as well.


How can you tell if the Parmesan cheese is bad?

You can tell if Parmesan cheese is bad by checking for an off smell, changes in texture, and the presence of mold or discoloration. If the Parmesan cheese has a sour or rancid odor, appears slimy or discolored, or has visible mold growth, it’s likely spoiled and should be discarded.

What happens if you eat expired Parmesan cheese?

If you eat expired Parmesan cheese, especially if it’s significantly past its expiration date, has an off smell, or shows signs of spoilage such as mold growth, you might experience an unpleasant taste and texture. There’s also a slight risk of potential digestive discomfort or foodborne illness. It’s advisable to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming expired or spoiled cheese.

What are the white spots on my Parmesan cheese?

This is completely normal, and you should not worry. You are free to consume cheese without fear because it is not a sign of spoilage.

Does grated Parmesan cheese spoil?

Yes, grated Parmesan will spoil much sooner than a hard parmesan cheese. Even if you have shredded Parmesan cheese in smaller pieces, it will go off sooner, so try to take only the amount you need and store the rest in an airtight container.

Does Parmesan cheese go bad in the fridge?

Yes, Parmesan cheese can go bad in the fridge over time. While it has a relatively long shelf life, it’s important to check for any signs of spoilage such as an off smell, mold growth, or changes in texture before consuming. Properly storing it in an airtight container can help prolong its freshness.


Parmesan cheese is truly a delicacy and not a cheap treat. That’s why it’s important to try to keep the quality so you can enjoy it until you run out of it.

But you don’t have to worry that your parmesan will go bad in the short term. It is a very durable cheese and will last long enough. Just do your best to provide it with basic favorable conditions, and it will serve you great.

If you have truly too much of it, freezing parmesan cheese is an okay option for more extended storage. Always opt to freeze the whole block rather than shredded cheese.

See more: How long does cream cheese last?

*image by frederiquewacquier/depositphotos

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