Home | Food Safety | How To Tell If Cheese Is Bad

How To Tell If Cheese Is Bad

Cheese, with its vast range of flavors, textures, and types, is a beloved staple in many diets. However, knowing when this delicious ingredient has passed its prime can sometimes be tricky.

Our guide on “How to Tell If Cheese Is Bad” aims to help you navigate this issue, keeping your dishes tasty and safe. We’ll delve into the signs of spoilage across a variety of cheeses, so you can enjoy your favorite dairy delight with confidence.

A variety of cheese on a cutting board with fresh grapes and honey.

How to tell if cheese is bad


To tell if cheese is bad, check for a change in color, texture, or odor. If the cheese has turned brown, gray, or green, has a slimy texture, or has a strong, foul odor, it is spoiled and should be discarded.

Change in color

Fresh cheese is typically white, yellow, or orange. If the cheese has turned brown, gray, or green, it is spoiled. This is because bacteria have started to grow on the cheese and produce pigments that change the color.

Change in texture

Fresh cheese is firm and crumbly. If the cheese is soft, mushy, or slimy, it is spoiled. This is because bacteria have started to break down the proteins in the cheese, making it softer and more watery.

Change in odor

Fresh cheese has a mild, cheesy odor. If the cheese has a strong, foul odor, it is spoiled. This is because bacteria have started to produce waste products, which have a strong, unpleasant odor.

Presence of mold

Mold is a fungus that can grow on cheese. If you see mold on the cheese, it is spoiled and should be discarded. Mold can produce toxins that can make you sick.

If you are unsure whether or not cheese is safe to eat, it is always best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

  • If you have a lot of cheese that you are not sure how to store, you can freeze it. Cheese can be frozen for up to three months. When you are ready to use the cheese, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • If you are planning on using cheese in a recipe, you can grate it ahead of time and freeze it in an airtight container.┬áThis will save you time when you are ready to cook.

How to tell if Mozzarella is bad

Fresh mozzarella is typically soft, white, and moist. If it starts to look yellow or darker, feels slimy, or develops a sour or off smell, it’s likely gone bad.

How to tell if Goat Cheese is bad

Fresh goat cheese has a mild, tangy smell and creamy texture. If it starts to develop mold that isn’t characteristic of the particular cheese (e.g., blue or green spots), smells off, or feels slimy, it’s likely spoiled.

How to tell if Brie Cheese is bad

Brie has a white mold rind which is edible and has a creamy interior. If it has pink or black mold, has a strong ammonia smell, or has a hard or dry texture, it is probably spoiled.

How to tell if Cottage Cheese is bad

Fresh cottage cheese is creamy with a mild smell. Signs of spoilage include discoloration, an off smell, or a slimy texture.

How to tell if Cream Cheese is bad

Cream cheese should be white or off-white and creamy. If it develops any mold, has an off smell, or has a yellow or green color, it’s time to discard cream cheese.

How to tell if Feta Cheese is bad

Feta is naturally a crumbly and grainy cheese. If it develops a sour smell, has visible mold that is not white, or becomes slimy, it’s likely your feta has spoiled.

How to tell if Parmesan is bad

Fresh Parmesan cheese is hard and has a granular texture with a light, nutty smell. If your parmesan cheese has spoiled it might have mold (other than a bit of white mold), smell off, or become discolored.

How to tell if Cheddar cheese is bad

Fresh cheddar cheese is pale yellow or orange with a firm and slightly crumbly texture. If cheddar has turned brown, gray, or green, has a strong, foul smell, or becomes soft, mushy, or slimy, it’s time to discard the cheese. Additionally, the presence of mold on cheddar cheese is a clear sign of spoilage.

How to tell if Blue Cheese is bad

Blue cheese is characterized by the presence of blue or blue-green mold which is part of its manufacturing process. However, if blue cheese is bad it will start growing other colors of mold like pink or black, or have a strong, off-putting smell.

How to tell if Shredded Cheese is bad

Shredded cheese should be dry and flow freely. Signs to look for when shredded cheese has gone bad might be that it starts to clump, develops mold, smells sour, or changes color, then you know it’s time to discard it.

What happens if you eat cheese that is bad?

If you eat cheese that is bad, you may experience food poisoning. Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food.

The symptoms of food poisoning can vary, but they often include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In severe cases, food poisoning can lead to hospitalization or even death.

To avoid food poisoning, it is important to cook cheese to the proper temperature and to store it properly.

The USDA recommends cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

What to do with bad cheese

If you find that cheese is bad, it is important to discard it immediately. Do not try to save it by cooking it or eating it. Spoiled cheese can make you sick, so it is important to err on the side of caution and throw it away.

Frequently asked questions about how to tell if cheese is bad

Yes, consuming spoiled cheese can potentially lead to foodborne illnesses, causing symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases, more serious conditions.

Yes, most cheeses need to be refrigerated to prevent spoilage. Some hard cheeses can last a short time unrefrigerated, but it’s generally safer to keep cheese chilled.

The shelf life of cheese varies greatly depending on its type. Hard cheeses like cheddar or parmesan can last weeks to months, while soft cheeses like brie or cream cheese usually last one to two weeks once opened.


By following these simple tips, you can help to keep your cheese fresh and safe to eat. So next time you are enjoying a delicious cheese, be sure to check for signs of spoilage before you eat it.

Online Cooking for Beginners Course

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *