How to Tell If Cheddar Cheese Has Gone Bad?

Cheddar cheese is the most divine ingredient used in many recipes that adds life to your food and can be eaten raw. Most of you buy large batches of cheddar cheese without knowing its shelf life and that it can go bad even in the fridge.

How to tell if cheddar cheese has gone bad?

The most notable signs that your cheddar cheese is stale are its texture, smell, appearance, and flavor. When the cheese is kept in the fridge for a long time, it will darken in color, its texture will be hard, develop a strong, pungent smell, be absurdly sticky, and mold will start growing in it.

All these signs show that your cheese has gone bad, and you should discard it right away. It is always suggested to check the shelf life of cheddar cheese before buying and its expiration date before using it to prevent any issues.

If you have kept your cheddar cheese in your fridge for a long time and do not know whether you should use it or not, then continue reading.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to tell if cheddar cheese has gone bad, and all of the relevant information on the subject.

How to Tell If Cheddar Cheese Has Gone Bad

How Do I Know If My Cheddar Cheese Has Gone Bad?

As cheddar cheese is a dairy product, its chances of going bad are high, and the symptoms are obvious. The visual appearance, odor, and taste of the cheddar cheese are all indications that it is stale. 

The following symptoms are clear indications that your cheddar cheese has gone stale, so carefully observe your cheese with these symptoms and discard it immediately in case of any of these signs.

Your Cheese’s Appearance:

If your cheese has gone bad, inspect it visually first to see any sign of mold. If you find a portion of cheese growing mold, then you do not need to discard it; just cut that portion and use it.

But if the whole block of cheese has a thick layer of white mold on it, it should be discarded. Also, a dark color appearance on your cheese is another symptom of going bad.

Cheese’s Odor: 

Usually, cheese has a different odor that seems off even if it is new, but if you think your cheese is stale, give it a whiff of the smell is extremely bad and intense, then it indicates that your cheese has gone bad. 

Cheese Flavor:

Another indication of stale cheese is its flavor. If you doubt your cheese, then taste a piece of your cheese. Also, if the taste sounds sour and unusual, your cheese has been ruined. If all the symptoms mentioned above appear at once, you should discard your cheddar cheese.

For more information about cheese, make sure to check our guide on how to defrost cheese.

Does Cheddar Cheese Really Expire?

Every product has a shelf-life, after which it may become stale or expired. Similarly, cheddar cheese also expires over time due to aging and other factors since it is a dairy product.

Once you open your cheese, the spores from the surroundings contaminate the cheese, so as time passes, the mold starts growing in your cheese, and it becomes stale when its expiration date comes.

Read Also: How Long Is Pasta Sauce Good After Opening?

What Happens If You Eat Bad Cheddar Cheese?

The health effect of cheese depends on how much worse it has gone and how dangerous mold is growing on it. 

Best case: If you eat bad cheddar cheese that has not expired for a long time, you will experience food poisoning, including stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, and mild symptoms.

Moderate case: Allergic reactions such as foodborne illnesses may occur. There can also be respiratory disorders.

Worst case: Dangerous molds can produce mycotoxins which are cancer-causing agents, cause acute food poisoning, can be put on dialysis, and can also die. 

How Long Is Cheddar Cheese Good for in the Fridge?

There are different cheese brands, and each has an extra shelf-life due to preservatives. In general, if your cheese is opened and stored properly, it would last for about four to five weeks or more, depending upon storage and quality in your fridges. The shelf-life of cheese usually shrinks once it’s opened due to exposure to air and contamination from surroundings.

How Long Can Unopened Cheddar Cheese Last in the Fridge? 

An unopened block of cheese can last longer in its original packaging, so try not opening the cheese until you want to use it, as opening the packaging would ultimately reduce its shelf-life.

But if a block of unopened cheddar cheese is kept in the fridge without any exposure to the air, it would last for about 5-6 months easily without any mold growth or stale. This time might vary in the case of other brands as it is just a general period.

Read Also: How Long Can Sliced Deli Cheese Be In Refrigerator

What Does Cheddar Cheese Mold Look Like?

The mold growing on cheddar cheese varies in color and appearance, as different types of mold grow on your cheese. The mold that usually grows on cheddar cheese is a thick white layer that is generally calcium due to aging.

It’s natural, so you can cut that part with white mold and use the remaining. Another type of mold is green, ashy, and blue mold that has a fizzy texture.

Why Does Cheddar Cheese Mold in the Refrigerator?

Since mold is a type of fungi, the spores of fungi from your hand or surroundings can stick to your cheese. Hot temperatures and humid conditions are ideal for mold to grow better, so when you keep that spore-contaminated cheese in your fridge, there is a moisture layer created on your cheese.

This moisture, along with the spores, causes the growth of the mold layer on your cheese. You will observe green, white or blue mold growing in your cheese even in the fridge with time.

Care Tips to Keep Cheddar Cheese Longer

If you are a cheese lover and buy large batches of cheese, you do not know how to store them to extend their usage and shelf-life properly. Follow the following tips to keep your cheese last longer than usual.

  • Never use plastic to wrap your cheese as the fats and oil cause the cheese to take on the plastic flavor, thus ruining its natural flavor. 
  • Avoid wrapping cheese tightly as the ammonia’s odor is released, so if there is no room to breathe for cheese, the pungent odor will remain inside. Also, don’t wrap too loosely, as it will cause the cheese to dry due to air exposure.
  • Use cheese bags, cheese paper, wax, or parchment paper to store your cheese as they allow it to breathe and prevent air exposure.
  • Place your cheese in refrigerators or freezers to keep it fresh for a long time and extend its shelf-life.
  • Store your cheese in the vegetable drawer where the temperature is moderate, not too cold, and not too high, thus ideal for cheese.


Cheddar cheese expiration is indicated through its appearance, flavor, and smell. Air exposure and bacterial attack can cause mold growth in cheese, leading to its expiration. Proper storage of cheese is necessary to extend its shelf-life.


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