How to Defrost Cheese

by Elizabeth Harding

Many think the easiest way to defrost cheese is in the microwave. But, this is not the best way since it can lose a lot of its flavour and texture. The best way is to place your unopened package of cheese on a plate and place it in the fridge for at least 6 hours to achieve the best results.

The above is for a block of cheese that weighs between 200 to 300 grams. Adjust the time depending on the size of it.

But, if you wish to put the cheese as an ingredient into a cooked dish, then microwaving is generally OK. I would recommend this if you need it done fast.

We give you other options below on how if the idea of leaving it in the fridge for 6 hours is too long.

How to Defrost Cheese in the Microwave

We do not recommend this method as the cheese will lose a lot of its texture and consistency. It will tend to take away the whey and milk, meaning you'll have a wet or soggy cheese. But, if you are time-constrained, then this is the method we recommend:

  1. Make sure that the packaging is still intact as we want to keep as much moisture as possible. Thus, the microwave is most effective when the packaging is still airtight.
  2. The cheese should be placed in a microwave-safe bowl and covered with cling wrap. Proceed to microwave at low to medium power for 20 seconds.
  3. After 20 seconds, remove from the microwave. If you are using this method with a medium firmness cheese, it is safe to leave it in for about 20 seconds. Only use further 20 second intervals so you can see if the block has thawed.

Once you're happy with it, allow it to sit for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese has cooled and can be handled.

Please bear in mind that the above method only works for hard cheese. Do not try this with soft cheese such as brie or camembert since it will be a hot and gooey mess on the outside. But solid and frozen inside.

How to Defrost Cheese in the Oven

For most types, a short amount of time in the microwave will do nothing but turn your cheese into plastic! If you are keeping your cheese in a plastic bag, place it in a bowl with some water and turn on the oven for about 5 minutes at 300 degrees. It will remove most of the moisture, but it will still be soft. The process is the same for hard cheese.

With a sharp knife gently slice the cheese into pieces and put it back on the plate in the fridge for an extra two hours.

The advantage of using the oven is that it gives you more control over the texture and consistency of the cheese as you can monitor it closely without much loss of quality.

How to Defrost Cheese in a Bowl of Warm Water

It can take between 20-60 minutes, dependant on the cheese and the size. The key is to make sure that the water is lukewarm and not to place the airtight packaged cheese directly on top of the water. The water needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese but not hot enough to cook it.

So, for optimal results using this method, this is what I suggest. Under the assumption, it's a block of cheese weighing 200 to 300 grams.

  1. Take a clean bowl, fill it with lukewarm water and place your cheese in it. Ensure the plastic packaging is fine and there is no air getting in. Any air getting in would have spoiled the cheese anyway from the time it was in the freezer.
  2. Place your bowl in a cool place on the countertop out of direct sunlight.
  3. Wait at least 40 minutes. You can wait longer depending on the bowl warmth and how cold the room temperature is.
  4. After waiting an extra 20 minutes, take the cheese from the bowl and discard any wax paper that was over the cheese.
  5. With a butter knife, see if you can cut the cheese. If it's still firm, you can try to put the package back in the bowl for another 20-40 minutes. Make sure no water gets into the packaging as you've now cut it open.

We emphasise the best way is to leave it in the fridge for around 6 hours, but we have given some different options here.

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