Does Ricotta Cheese Go Bad? How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last?

Ricotta cheese can be used in many different recipes from sweet to savory, from breakfast dishes to delicious lunches and dinners. If you love using ricotta cheese, you may be wondering whether or not it goes bad.

Quick Answer

As with most dairy products, ricotta cheese does go bad in a fairly short period. Unopened ricotta cheese can last for up to a couple of days past the best by date printed on the container. Once it has been opened, it should be used in about a week. The faster it is used, the better quality it will have and less chance there is of it spoiling.


Ricotta cheese is a versatile dairy product that can be used in dishes ranging from cheesecake to lasagna. Keeping it fresh will ensure you get the best quality from it.

Does Ricotta Cheese Go Bad? How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last?

There are some steadfast dos and don’ts when t comes to storing ricotta cheese for optimal freshness. Read on to learn the best ways to store ricotta cheese.

How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last Outside?

It is no secret that dairy products do not fare well at room temperature. Prolonged exposure to temperatures above 40°F can cause bacteria to grow.

Unopened and opened ricotta cheese should not be left out longer than two hours. If it is close to two hours or you are unsure, throwing it out would be the safest bet.

If your ricotta cheese has been cooked into a recipe, the same rule applies. If it has been left at room temperature for more than two hours, get rid of it.

How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last In The Fridge?

Ricotta cheese should be refrigerated and lasts much longer when stored that way.  Keeping it cold helps prevent bacteria from growing.

Ricotta cheese containers have a best by date stamped on the container. If the container has been unopened, it should be good for a couple of days past that date.

If the container of ricotta cheese has been opened, it would be best to use it within a week. Once oxygen is introduced, the freshness of the product begins to slowly decline.

How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last In The Freezer?

If you bought more ricotta cheese than you can use or simply didn’t get it used in time, storing it in the freezer is one of your best options.

Both opened and unopened ricotta cheese will stay good in the freezer for about three months if properly stored. We will have more on proper storage later.

Three months is the duration in which ricotta cheese will maintain its best quality. If it has been constantly frozen at 0°F it will be safe to consume indefinitely.

As you have learned, ricotta cheese, whether opened, unopened or cooked should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. The refrigerator and freezer are your best options for storage.

How To Tell If Ricotta Cheese Has Gone Bad/How To Know Ricotta Cheese Is Fresh?

If you are familiar with ricotta cheese, you know it has certain characteristics that help you know it is fresh.

Scent: Unlike many kinds of cheese, ricotta has practically no odor. It smells mostly of milk.

Taste: Fresh ricotta cheese should be subtly sweet.

Texture: Ricotta cheese should be smooth, slightly grainy, and creamy.

Color: Ricotta cheese should be snowy white.

Determining whether your ricotta cheese is fresh or not is pretty simple. Here are some sure signs your ricotta has turned.

Scent: Ricotta cheese that has gone rotten will smell sour. While this symptom alone may not make it unsafe to eat, it will not be pleasant and may ruin your recipe.

Taste: Take a small taste of the ricotta cheese. If it tastes sour, throw it out.

Appearance: While some separation is normal, it should not be clumpy. Additionally, if you notice any mold or black spots in the cheese, throw it out. The mold cannot be safely removed from the ricotta cheese and the rest remain safe to eat. Since ricotta cheese is soft, the mold has likely infiltrated the whole container.

Color: Once ricotta has turned bad, it can change from snowy white to a lite brown or yellow. If it has changed colors, do not eat it.

How To Store Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta cheese needs to be kept cold and this can be accomplished by keeping it in the refrigerator or the freezer at all times.

Keep it sealed: If you aren’t going to be using the ricotta cheese right away, do not open it! Keep it sealed in its original container so it can stay fresh longer.

Keep it airtight: If you have had to open it and didn’t use all of it, make sure it is sealed in an airtight container. This can be accomplished by keeping the original lid on tight or transferring it to another plastic or glass container.

Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese? How?

Ricotta cheese can be stored in the freezer to keep it fresh longer. Keep in mind that once it has been frozen, the consistency can change since it has such a high moisture content and would be best used in recipes that require cooking. Read on for tips on how to freeze your ricotta cheese.

In the original container: If the container is unopened, you can freeze it in the container it comes in.

If you want to freeze leftover ricotta cheese for future use, follow these tips.

Stir it: Stir the ricotta cheese to help it freeze evenly.

Drain it: Press the ricotta cheese with a layer of paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Wrap it: Wrap the ricotta cheese in plastic wrap. You can do it all together or you can press the cheese into a silicone ice cube tray for individual portions.

Remove the air: Place the wrapped ricotta cheese or ice tray into an airtight container or a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible.

Date it: Make sure you mark the container or freezer bag with the date it was frozen.

How To Thaw Ricotta Cheese?

You can thaw out your frozen ricotta cheese by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. Do not thaw your ricotta cheese at room temperature.

A second option for thawing out your ricotta cheese is to put it in a bowl of cold water inside the refrigerator. This will help it thaw out quicker and more efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ricotta Cheese

My ricotta cheese has water on top, is it safe to eat? Ricotta cheese has a very high moisture content. If it has been sitting in the fridge, the product can settle causing the ingredients to separate and this appears as water or a gel-like substance on top of the cheese. It is perfectly safe to eat. Just stir it to recombine it and use it as you normally would.

I ate moldy ricotta cheese, will I get sick? If you see any mold on your ricotta cheese, it is best to throw it out as it can easily spread to the whole container. The mold itself will not make you sick. It is the bacteria that can grow in the mold such as Listeria, E. Coli, Salmonella, and Brucella. All of those bacteria can cause food poisoning. If you develop symptoms of food poisoning such as vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea, seek medical attention.


Ricotta cheese can be used in many different dishes. To maintain its quality, it needs to be refrigerated. Remember that it should not be eaten if it has sat at room temperature for over two hours.

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