Storing any dairy product can be a tricky task. Some food items containing milk last longer than others, but most must be stored in a specific fashion to preserve them properly. Keeping track of it all can seem frustrating, but it’s necessary to avoid wasting money buying new products sooner than you have to.
Store-bought cheese sauce can last in your fridge for up to 4 weeks, while homemade cheese sauce only stays fresh for 3-4 days. Both varieties of cheese sauce need to be stored properly to achieve their maximum life span. The store-bought cheese sauce is made to last in its container while on the shelves at the store. The added preservatives in store-bought cheese sauce help maintain freshness even after opening.
The homemade cheese sauce has fresh ingredients, which means it will not last as long as a store-bought cheese sauce. However, you can take steps to preserve your homemade liquid gold for longer than a few days.
So, how long does cheese sauce last in the fridge?
Below, you will learn more about storing your cheese sauce properly, how long you can leave it out of your fridge, tell if it has gone bad, and more.
What Are the Best Ways to Store Cheese Sauce?
When storing your cheese sauce for future use, it is imperative to use a closed container. This seals in the good stuff and keeps out the bad. As mentioned above, homemade cheese sauce has an average lifespan of 4-5 days. However, you can lengthen this lifespan to a week by removing as much air from the container as possible.
Use either an airtight container or a food storage bag to store your sauce. When using a storage bag, remove all of the air inside before putting it in the refrigerator. In doing so, you remove any harmful bacteria’s means of multiplying. Bacteria thrive due to oxidation, so you take away any chance of oxidation by taking out the air.
How Long Does Vacuum-Sealed Cheese Sauce Last in the Fridge?
You can take the previous method further and vacuum seal your cheese sauce for an even longer lifespan. Vacuum-sealing is a sure way to remove all the air from the container and prevent any bacteria from thriving.
By vacuum-sealing your cheese sauce, you expand the fridge life from one week to four! While a vacuum sealer can be pricey, you can use it to further the lifespan of many other foods in your kitchen.
Can You Put Hot Cheese Sauce in the Fridge?
Please do not put hot or warm cheese sauce in the fridge!
Before storing cheese sauce, you must let it cool down to room temperature. If you try to cover and keep cheese sauce in the refrigerator before it has cooled down, condensation will form inside the container. This extra moisture means bad news for you as it can ruin the consistency and flavor of the cheese sauce, as well as provide an additional breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
Always let your cheese sauce cool down uncovered before storing it in the fridge. Otherwise, your cheese sauce may not even last a day.
How Long Can Cheese Sauce Be Left Out?
While you want to let your cheese sauce cool down before storing, you do not want to leave it out for too long. It would be best if you did not let your cheese sauce stay at room temperature for over two hours.
Any longer than this, bacteria will begin to grow due to the warm environment. Not only will this cheese sauce make you sick, but the texture will not be the same. It’ll be more like paste rather than sauce!
Can You Freeze Cheese Sauce?
If you are planning a large event and want to use cheese sauce but don’t have time to prepare it the day of, you can make and freeze it ahead of time. Frozen cheese sauce can be stored for up to six months when done correctly.
Use an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag when storing your cheese sauce, and add the date when you store it so that you don’t leave it frozen for too long. When you’re ready to use your cheese sauce, defrost it in the fridge first, and then use a saucepan over medium heat until it has reached the desired temperature. As you’re heating the sauce, continue to stir to avoid any separation.
How Can I Tell if Cheese Sauce Has Gone Bad?
There are a few different tell-tale signs that it is time to get rid of your cheese sauce. As mentioned previously, if the texture of your sauce has turned into a paste substance, it should not be consumed.
Other obvious signs your cheese sauce is expired are foul odors and mold. Sometimes your cheese sauce can separate when stored in the fridge, but that does not mean it has spoiled. Before reheating the sauce, be sure to mix it first. If there is still an unfavorable smell or something doesn’t taste right, it’s time to throw it away.
Why Does My Cheese Sauce Go Gray/Change Color?
When making or heating cheese sauce, the type of pan used can change the color of the sauce. Aluminum pans can have an adverse reaction on cheese sauce when used to heat it, turning the color gray. It can also have an overall effect on the quality of the sauce. To avoid this, try using stainless steel saucepans instead.
Recipes to Try That Use Cheese Sauce
Below are some fun recipes that you can make using cheese sauce! You can use homemade or store-bought, whichever you prefer.
- Homemade cheese sauce: Starting off the list is a homemade cheese sauce you can whip up at home rather than purchasing premade cheese sauce at the grocery store. The recipe is pretty simple; all you need is butter, flour, milk, and sharp cheddar cheese.
- Beefy enchilada nachos: You can use the homemade cheese sauce to liven up this nacho recipe. It’s an excellent dish for a large crowd!
- Cheddar bacon jalapeno baked cheese in a bread bowl: This website provides four recipes that use cheese sauce, but the baked cheese in a bread bowl seems most interesting. If you’re not interested in spicy food, try the broccoli bacon cheese sauce listed before the bread bowl!
- Mac and cheese: This classic recipe rounds out the list. Spice up your routine and ditch the box of mac and cheese! Use your homemade cheese sauce to give you a dish that will be a smash hit with your family.
How can I reheat my cheese sauce?
As with most leftovers, it is recommended to only reheat food once. Continuing to reheat dairy products can lower the quality and flavor. If you have more leftovers than you need for one lunch, reheat it in small quantities to avoid reheating multiple times.
How do I rescue split cheese sauce?
If your cheese sauce has separated and stirring is not helping, add a splash of the base ingredient and mix well. This should bring back the creamy texture.
How long can cheese sauce stay unrefrigerated?
Cheese can stay at room temperature for up to two hours before it needs to be refrigerated again. Any longer can cause mold or bacteria to grow, making it inedible.
Because it contains dairy, storing your cheese sauce requires some special considerations. Never leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours, store in an airtight container, and monitor for any signs of spoilage, such as a foul smell or mold.
Now that you know the answer to, “How long does cheese sauce last in the fridge?” you can safely experiment with this ooey-gooey treat.