Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad? Find Out!

If you enjoy Mexican cuisine as much as I do, you may have encountered “queso cotija” or artisanal Mexican cotija cheese either eating out or making a meal at home.

Maybe you purchased some cotija cheese from the supermarket and didn’t consume it all, so you stored the leftovers in the refrigerator. You see the cheese in the refrigerator down the road and wonder if it’s still okay to eat. You should read this article, if so.

When properly wrapped or sealed in a container, fresh cotija cheese, which is cheese that has not been aged, will keep for approximately one month in the refrigerator. However, cotija cheese can keep for up to three months in the refrigerator if it is aged for a year. Cotija that has been crumbled, grated, or shredded will keep for 2-4 weeks in the refrigerator.

Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad?

Cotija cheese is a Mexican aged cheese made from cow’s milk. One question people tend to ask is if it does go bad.

Yes, mold can grow on cheese over time or due to incorrect storage. It is more likely that the cotija will rot and soon turn moldy if it is left out at room temperature for an extended period of time. Even in the refrigerator, cheese will eventually begin to mold after a few months.

The cotija cheese is rotten if it has any odd colors on it that aren’t white, like pink or green, or if it smells foul. To decide this, use your senses and best judgment. To avoid food contamination, the cotija cheese should be discarded right away.

How is Cotija Cheese Made?

In this section, I’ll be discussing how to make Cotija cheese.

Cotija is a dairy product made from cow’s milk that goes through the standard processes of acidification (by lactic acid bacteria) and rennet coagulation to form a curd.

The curd is divided, squeezed dry, and put into a mold. The formed wheel is then immersed in saline for a number of days, giving it the cotija-famous saltiness. The brined cheese must be aged as the last stage.

Cotija that is still fresh can age for as little as two or three weeks (although 100 days is more normal), but old cotija needs at least a year to ripen. Be cautious that some cotija is still produced with raw milk; if this worries you when buying fresh cotija, carefully read the label.

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How Long is Cotija Cheese Aged?

The next stage is to mature the cheese after brining it. To drain the cheese, the molds are put under pressure for 8 to 12 days. So, how long would it take Cotija cheese to age?

The typical ripening period for fresh cotija is three months. At this stage, the texture, color, and flavor are all evocative of feta.

After this time, the cheese can age for another year while maturing or ripening, which is when it is ready to be marketed as a hard, aged cheese.

Hispanic cheeses like cotija can achieve the right flavor and texture through the maturing process.

What Are the Different Kinds of Cotija Cheese?

Cotija cheese is a hard, crumbly cheese made from cow’s milk. There are two different kinds of Cotija cheese. 

The types of Cotija cheese are fresh and aged. Both the fresh and aged (Anejo) cotija will be encountered on your culinary tour of Mexico.

Many people compare the fresh form to ricotta since it is gentle and velvety. You might compare aged cotija to parmesan. It tastes stronger and is considerably tougher.

How Long Can Cotija Cheese Sit Out?

Cheese should be kept covered to avoid exposure to airborne mold spores in order to keep it as fresh as possible at room temperature. But, how long can Cotija cheese sit out?

Cheese shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for an extended period of time, much like any fresh foods and dairy products.

The risk of harmful bacteria growing and contaminating the cheese increases the longer it is left out. The U.S. Safety and Inspection Service advises against leaving perishables out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours.

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last Unopened?

Most people wonder how long they can keep their Cotija cheese after the packaging has been opened.

Cotija cheese can last until it starts to smell or starts to mold if it has been opened yet. Cheese can stay fresh for a very long time as long as it is kept in the refrigerator since it has already been fermented.

The cheese’s “best-by” or “expiration” date is merely a guide as to how long it will keep, not an absolute.

How Long is Cotija Cheese Good for After Expiration?

When cotija cheese is moldy, discolored, or odorous, it can still be consumed. But, how long is it good for after it’s past the expiration date?

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When properly stored in the refrigerator, cheese can continue to be used long after the date on the packaging indicates that it has technically expired. For at least 4 to 8 weeks, Cotija cheese is recognized to be delicious when stored in the refrigerator. 

The shelf life of grated, shredded, or crumbled cheese in the refrigerator is between two and four weeks. As far as I’m concerned, a lot of cheeses—especially hard cheeses, which keep better than fresh forms of cheese longer—are still edible after their expiration dates.

How Long Does Cotija Cheese Last Once Opened and Kept in the Fridge?

It might be challenging to preserve cheese at the right temperature because all cheese dislikes being too cold. So, how long can Cotija cheese last in the fridge when opened?

When kept in the fridge after being opened, cotija cheese can be enjoyed for four to eight weeks.

In place of the plastic packaging it was originally packaged in, it should be wrapped in parchment or waxed paper and kept in a plastic container or resealable plastic bag. The cheese is definitely too dried out to eat if it turns rock-hard.

Since the fruit drawers tend to be a little warmer than the fridge’s main shelves, they are the ideal spot to store cheese.

Alternatively, a more contemporary refrigerator might have a tiny drawer that is specifically labeled “cheese” that you can utilize to keep your cheese fresh.

How Long Does Grated Cotija Cheese Last?

Cotija cheese can come in different forms: whole or grated. People usually ask how long grated Cotija cheese can last as it should be different from the whole cheese.

Also true for cotija that has been grated. It should be safe for at least 2-4 weeks if you store it in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator and only keep a check on it after a few weeks have passed.

Is Cotija Cheese Supposed to Stink?

Cotija cheese is excellent as a flavor-enhancing topping for salads, beans, pasta, and antojitos. It can be easily crumbled or shredded. Since it’s an aged cheese, is it meant to stink?

Yes. The flavor is much milder, but it’s not necessarily unpleasant. It doesn’t have any stains or an especially unpleasant odor. It is an aged cheese with a strong flavor and aroma and is salty.

Best Cotija Cheese

  1. Tropical Cotija Cheese
Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad? Find Out!

Cotija is named after the little Mexican community where it first appeared. Tropical Cotija is a crumbly, salty, dry, aged, sharp cheese. This delicious cheese grates beautifully. It is frequently used to give foods like refried beans, salads, chili, tostadas, enchiladas, tacos, and corn on the cob a vivid flavor and texture. It is packaged in a 10 oz., firm, triangle-shaped wedge.

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Cotija cheese is a hard, dry-matured cheese that is formed from raw cow’s milk that has been fed salt, rennet, and naturally-occurring grasses. It has a gritty, salty flavor, a refined scent, and a thick, golden rind.

Grated or crumbled Cotija Cheese is used to give foods like tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, refried beans, uchepos (traditional corn tamales from the state of Michoacán), and corn on the cob a distinctive, more potent, and salty flavor. Some stews also utilize it as seasoning. It can even be poured over spaghetti that contains additional Latin flavors. Utilize it in both classic and novel recipes!


  • It is crumbly, salty, dry, sharp, and aged.
  • It tastes good.
  • excellent for grating


  • Expensive.
Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad? Find Out!
  1. Paisa Queso Cotija Molido
Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad? Find Out!

The Paisa Mexican Grated Cotija White Cheese is the ideal option if you’re looking for a cheese flavor that truly represents Mexico. You can use this ethically sourced grated cheese in your regular cooking to maintain your origins! This fantastic ingredient is used in many different meals, including tacos and burritos, among others. Introduce this delectable and beneficial food to your diet to spruce up your daily fare. Try different cooking methods and cuisines with it!

The flavor of the dish is enhanced and the texture is perfect thanks to the hard, crumbly texture of Cotija white Mexina cheese, which is made from fresh ingredients. Show off your ingenuity by using it as a main element or as a garnish. This wonderful ingredient’s nutritional content is increased by the fact that it is made from cow’s milk. It promotes healthy weight gain and is excellent for children and adults alike. It is a nutritional powerhouse that nourishes your body and helps with upkeep and repair.


  • simple to use
  • It has a genuine flavor.
  • very nutrient-dense.


  • Expensive.
Does Cotija Cheese Go Bad? Find Out!


Mexican artisanal cheese Cotija, which is excellent and well-liked, enhances the flavor and texture of numerous foods.

In the cheese section of the majority of supermarkets, it is available as a wedge or already grated.

After opening, make sure to tightly wrap the cheese and place it in the refrigerator’s produce drawer to keep it cool but not frozen.

Before using anything, especially if it has passed its expiration date, be sure to check for any signs of mold, such as discoloration or an odd smell.

However, cotija should remain fresh for at least a month and as long as 8 weeks if stored properly.

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