Discover the Shelf Life of Ricotta Cheese: A Complete Guide

Ricotta cheese can last up to two weeks, if stored properly. Ricotta cheese is a soft and creamy dairy product that many people enjoy in lasagna, stuffed shells, or on a slice of toast.

However, like any dairy product, ricotta cheese has a shelf life. It is important to know how long ricotta cheese lasts, as consuming spoiled cheese can cause foodborne illness. Fortunately, storing ricotta cheese properly can extend its shelf life for up to two weeks.

Keeping the cheese container tightly sealed and refrigerated is important. It is recommended to use ricotta cheese within a few days of opening, and to always inspect it before consuming. In this article, we will explore how to tell if ricotta cheese is spoiled, and how to properly store it for maximum shelf life.

Discover the Shelf Life of Ricotta Cheese: A Complete Guide


What Is Ricotta Cheese And Why Is Shelf Life Important?

Ricotta cheese is a staple in many households, frequently used in different recipes or as a snack. With its slightly sweet, creamy, and grainy texture, this versatile cheese is popular among many. However, it is essential to understand the shelf life of ricotta cheese to ensure its safety and quality, which is why we will be discussing the definition of ricotta cheese, its uses, and why shelf life is important.

Definition Of Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is a type of cheese made from the whey left behind after making other types of cheese. It is not technically cheese since it does not go through the aging process, but it is considered a cheese product due to its similar texture and flavor.

Ricotta cheese is white in color, has a soft and crumbly texture, and a slightly sweet flavor that is suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.

Uses Of Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese has various culinary applications due to its texture and flavor profile. Some uses of ricotta cheese are:

  • Incorporating ricotta cheese into italian dishes like lasagna, ravioli, and other pasta dishes.
  • Using it as a topping for bread, bagels, and crackers.
  • Adding it to desserts such as cheesecake, cannoli, and pastry fillings.
  • Mixing it with herbs and spices to create a spreadable dip.

Importance Of Shelf Life In Ricotta Cheese

While ricotta cheese is delicious, it has a short shelf life. The following are reasons why shelf life is crucial to maintain the quality of this cheese:

  • Taste: As ricotta cheese ages, its taste can become sour or bitter, which can affect the taste of the food in which it is included.
  • Texture: Aging ricotta cheese too much can make it dry, crumbly, or grainy, instead of its light and fluffy texture.
  • Safety: Ricotta cheese can harbor harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning if consumed beyond its expiration date. Consuming expired ricotta cheese can lead to health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

Understanding the shelf life of ricotta cheese is crucial for maintaining its quality in any recipe. You should always check the expiration date to ensure that ricotta cheese is fresh and safe to use.

Factors Affecting Ricotta Cheese Shelf Life

Ricotta cheese is a delicious italian cheese that can be used in numerous recipes. However, like other perishable products, ricotta cheese also has a lifespan after which it becomes unsafe to consume. Here are a few factors that may affect the shelf life of ricotta cheese.

Ingredients Used

The freshness of the ingredients used to make ricotta cheese can have a significant impact on its shelf life. Ricotta cheese made using fresh milk and other high-quality ingredients tends to last longer than those made using low-quality ingredients. Moreover, the presence of additives can also affect the shelf life of ricotta cheese.

  • Fresh and high-quality milk used to make ricotta cheese tends to have a longer shelf life than milk that’s near its expiration date.
  • The addition of preservatives such as citric acid, vinegar, or lemon juice can help extend the shelf life of ricotta cheese.
  • Ricotta cheese made using whole milk instead of skimmed milk has a shorter shelf life due to the higher fat content.

Storage Temperature

The storage temperature is another crucial factor that affects the shelf life of ricotta cheese. If stored at the wrong temperature, ricotta cheese can quickly spoil and become unsafe to consume.

  • Ricotta cheese should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°f or below to keep it fresh.
  • If ricotta cheese is left out at room temperature for more than two hours or above 90°f, it should be promptly discarded.

Storage Environment

The storage environment also plays a crucial role in extending the shelf life of ricotta cheese. Unfavorable storage conditions can expose ricotta cheese to bacteria, mold, and fungi that can spoil the cheese.

  • Ricotta cheese should be stored in a clean and dry environment to prevent bacteria and other contaminants from growing.
  • When storing ricotta cheese, ensure that it’s sealed in an airtight container to minimize exposure to air and other contaminants.


The packaging of ricotta cheese can also affect its shelf life. Proper packaging can help protect the cheese from light, moisture, and other contaminants that can reduce its lifespan.

  • Ricotta cheese should be packaged in airtight containers to prevent moisture and air exposure, which can cause the cheese to spoil.
  • Cheese that’s packaged in plastic wrap tends to have a shorter lifespan than those packaged in an airtight container.

Additional Additives

The addition of additives such as salt or sugar to ricotta cheese can help prolong its shelf life. These additives work by reducing the number of bacteria present in the cheese.

  • The addition of salt to ricotta cheese can help extend its lifespan by inhibiting the growth of bacteria that cause spoilage.
  • The addition of sugar to ricotta cheese can help feed the ‘good bacteria’ that thrive in the cheese, which helps to delay spoilage.

Various factors can affect the shelf life of ricotta cheese, including the freshness and quality of the ingredients, temperature, environment, packaging, and additives. It’s essential to follow proper storage techniques and check for spoilage signs before consuming ricotta cheese to avoid any adverse effects on health.

By following these guidelines, one can extend the shelf life of ricotta cheese and enjoy it for a more extended period.

How To Store Ricotta Cheese Properly

When it comes to storing ricotta cheese, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Whether you plan on using it shortly or keeping it on hand for more extended periods, there are both short-term and long-term storage options that will keep your cheese fresh and delicious.

Optimal Storage Conditions

For optimal storage conditions, the following factors should be considered:

  • Temperature: Ricotta should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature of 35-40°f (1-4°c).
  • Humidity: The cheese should be stored in the refrigerator at a humidity level of approximately 80%.
  • Packaging: Store your ricotta cheese in an airtight container. A sealable plastic container or a resealable plastic bag would work best. Transfer your ricotta cheese to a sealable container if it came in a container that doesn’t seal properly or that isn’t airtight.

Short-Term Storage Options

If you plan on using your ricotta cheese shortly, storing it in the refrigerator should be enough. Here are some short-term storage options:

  • Place the ricotta cheese in an airtight container, seal it, and store it in the refrigerator.
  • You can also use the original container if it’s airtight and sealable.
  • If you have a smaller quantity of ricotta cheese leftover to store, you can wrap it securely in plastic wrap.

Long-Term Storage Options

If you want to store your ricotta cheese for more extended periods, you need to take extra precautions. The longer the cheese stays in the refrigerator, the higher the chances of spoilage. Here are some long-term storage options:

  • Freeze the ricotta cheese.
  • Store your ricotta cheese in the freezer in an airtight container or in a resealable freezer bag.
  • Label the container or freezer bag with the date you froze the cheese, and be sure to use it within three months.

Freezing Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese can be frozen up to three months, but you should keep in mind that the texture might change slightly. Here is how to freeze it:

  • Get an airtight container or resealable freezer bag.
  • Pack the ricotta cheese into the container or bag.
  • Label the container or bag with the date you froze it.

Defrosting Ricotta Cheese

Defrosting ricotta cheese can take a while, especially if it has been frozen for an extended period. Here are some steps to defrost ricotta cheese:

  • Take the ricotta cheese out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  • The cheese can also be thawed in the microwave by setting it on a defrost setting for 30 second increments, stirring between defrosting intervals, until it has fully defrosted.

Properly storing ricotta cheese can ensure that it remains fresh and healthy for consumption. Follow the tips above to enjoy your ricotta cheese longer, and ensure that the texture and flavour remain the same.

Signs That Ricotta Cheese Has Spoiled

Ricotta cheese is a delicious addition to both sweet and savory dishes. From lasagnas and stuffed shells to cannolis and cakes, there are countless ways to enjoy this creamy cheese. But how long does ricotta cheese last? If you are wondering whether your leftover ricotta cheese is still edible, then keep reading to learn about the signs of spoiled ricotta cheese.

Visual Indications

Visual signs of spoiled ricotta cheese are easy to spot, and they include:

  • Discoloration: If the ricotta cheese turns yellowish or has unusual colored spots, it may indicate spoilage.
  • Separation: If there is any liquid or watery substance separating from the cheese, it may be a sign that the cheese has gone bad.
  • Texture: If the cheese appears slimy or grainy, it is likely that it has spoiled.

Smell Test

The smell test is another way to determine whether your ricotta cheese has gone bad or not. Spoiled cheese is characterized by the following:

  • Sour smell: If the cheese gives off a sour or off odor, it may be spoiling.
  • Mildew smell: If the cheese smells like mildew, it is likely that it has spoiled.

If you notice any of these smells, then it is best to throw away the cheese.

Taste Test

If you are unsure whether your ricotta cheese is still good, you can also conduct a taste test. While it is not recommended to eat spoiled cheese due to the potential risk of foodborne illness, the taste test can help you confirm that the cheese has gone bad.

  • Bitter taste: If the ricotta cheese tastes bitter, it may have spoiled.
  • Sour taste: If the cheese has a sour or acidic taste, it may be an indication that it has gone bad.

Mold Growth

Mold growth is another surefire way to tell whether the cheese has spoiled. While some cheeses can have mold growth on the surface that is safe to eat, it is not the case with ricotta cheese. If you see any mold growth on the cheese, it is best to discard it immediately.

Pay attention to visual indications, smell, taste, and mold growth to determine whether your ricotta cheese is still safe to eat. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and when in doubt, throw it out.

Safety Precautions When Handling Ricotta Cheese

How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last?

Ricotta cheese is a favorite among many people because of its smooth texture and mild flavor, which makes it ideal for adding to various dishes. Not only is it delicious, but it is also versatile and can be used in sweet or savory recipes.

However, it is essential to handle ricotta cheese responsibly to avoid foodborne illnesses. In this section, we will discuss the safety precautions when handling ricotta cheese, common foodborne illnesses associated with the cheese, safe handling tips, and the importance of proper disposal.

Common Foodborne Illnesses Associated With Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is a perishable food item, which means it can get infected with bacteria if not stored and handled correctly. Some of the common types of bacteria that can lead to foodborne illnesses from ricotta cheese include:

  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • E. coli
  • Salmonella

Safe Handling Tips

To prevent foodborne illnesses, it is essential to handle ricotta cheese with care. Anytime you are working with ricotta cheese, consider the following safe handling tips:

  • Always wash your hands before handling the cheese to avoid introducing harmful bacteria.
  • Be mindful of the temperature of the cheese. Ricotta cheese should be refrigerated at or below 40 degrees fahrenheit. If the cheese is left unrefrigerated for more than two hours, it should be discarded.
  • Use a clean utensil to scoop the cheese out of the container.
  • After using ricotta cheese, be sure to seal it and put it back in the refrigerator.

Importance Of Proper Disposal

If you notice any signs of spoilage in ricotta cheese, such as a sour smell or texture, it is essential to discard it immediately. Eating spoiled ricotta cheese can lead to severe foodborne illnesses. Do not hesitate to throw it away.

Practicing safe handling techniques when working with ricotta cheese can help prevent foodborne illnesses. Common bacteria such as listeria, e. coli or salmonella can cause severe illnesses. You should always follow safe handling tips to ensure that your ricotta cheese is safe to eat.

Proper disposal of spoiled ricotta cheese is also crucial. Remember: when it comes to handling ricotta cheese, safety always comes first!

Frequently Asked Questions Of How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last?

How Long Can You Keep Ricotta Cheese In The Fridge?

Ricotta cheese can last up to two weeks in the fridge when stored properly in an airtight container. It’s important to check the expiration date and use it up before it goes bad.

How Do You Know When Ricotta Cheese Goes Bad?

You can tell that ricotta cheese has gone bad when it develops a sour smell, mold, or a sour taste. It’s important to check for signs of spoilage before using it in any recipe.

Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?

Yes, you can freeze ricotta cheese, but it’s not recommended as the texture may change when thawed. If freezing, use an airtight container and consume it within two months of freezing.

How Do You Store Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta cheese should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated at all times. This helps to keep it fresh for a longer period of time and prevent bacterial growth.

Can You Still Use Ricotta Cheese After The Expiration Date?

It’s not recommended to use ricotta cheese after the expiration date as it’s no longer safe for consumption. Eating expired ricotta cheese can lead to foodborne illness.

Is It Normal For Ricotta Cheese To Have Some Liquid?

Yes, it’s normal for ricotta cheese to have some liquid. Simply drain the liquid by placing the cheese in cheesecloth and letting the excess liquid drain out.


Ricotta cheese is a delicious, versatile option when it comes to cheese, but it does come with a shelf life. When stored properly, ricotta cheese can last for around 7-10 days in the refrigerator. Remember to keep it tightly sealed and in the coldest part of the fridge for optimal freshness and longevity.

If you notice any mold or strange odors emanating from the cheese, discard it immediately to avoid any potential health risks. With so many delicious recipes that can be made using ricotta cheese, it’s essential to have an understanding of how long it can last.

So, whether you’re baking, cooking, or simply enjoying a cheesy snack, you can ensure that your ricotta cheese will taste great for as long as possible if you follow these guidelines. Enjoy!