Can I eat expired cheese slices?

Cheese slices, those handy individually wrapped slices of processed cheese, are a kitchen staple in many households. They’re an easy addition to sandwiches, burgers, snacks, and more. But what if you discover a forgotten pack of cheese slices in the back of the fridge past their printed expiration date? Is it still safe to eat them?

What is the shelf life of unopened cheese slices?

The shelf life of unopened packaged cheese slices depends on the type of cheese. According to the USDA FoodKeeper app guidelines:

  • Unopened processed cheese slices last 2 to 4 weeks beyond the “best by” date on the package.
  • Unopened natural cheese slices last 1 to 2 months beyond the “best by” date.

So an unopened pack of Kraft Singles may stay fresh for up to 4 weeks after the date stamped on the package. Meanwhile, an unopened pack of Sargento natural cheddar cheese slices may stay good for 1 to 2 months past its date.

Of course, these are just general guidelines. Always inspect your cheese slices and look for signs of spoilage before eating.

What is the shelf life of opened cheese slices?

Once opened, the shelf life of cheese slices shortens due to exposure to air, light, bacteria, and other contaminants. Here are some general storage timelines:

  • Opened processed cheese slices last 3 to 5 days in the fridge.
  • Opened natural cheese slices last 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge.

So an opened pack of Kraft Singles should be eaten within 3 to 5 days of opening. And an opened pack of Sargento natural cheddar slices should be eaten within 1 to 2 weeks.

For maximum freshness, rewrap opened cheese slices tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Minimize air exposure as much as possible.

How can you tell if cheese slices are bad?

Cheese slices that have gone bad will show signs of spoilage. Look for these common indicators:

  • Mold growth – This could appear as fuzzy green or white spots.
  • Sliminess – The cheese feels sticky or tacky to the touch.
  • Unusual textures – The cheese slice is extra hard, dry, or crumbly.
  • Sour smell – An ammonia-like or sour odor is noticeable.
  • Off tastes – The cheese slice tastes unpleasantly bitter, tangy, or metallic.
  • Discoloration – The cheese slice has unnatural colors like blue, black, or pink spots.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s safest to discard the cheese slices rather than risk eating spoiled cheese. Don’t rely on your sense of smell or taste alone to determine safety.

Is it safe to eat moldy cheese slices?

No, it’s not recommended to eat cheese slices with mold growth. The mold you see on the surface can send threads and roots deep into the cheese that are invisible to the eye but still contaminated. Trimming away the visible mold is not enough to make the cheese safe for eating.

With hard cheeses like cheddar, it’s sometimes possible to cut away at least 1 inch around and below the moldy area. But this isn’t feasible with thin, soft, processed cheese slices. Discard the entire pack if you spot any mold.

Is it safe to eat expired processed cheese slices?

Processed cheese slices may be safe to eat past their printed expiration date, as long as they are not moldy or showing other signs of spoilage. Trust your senses. Give the cheese slices a sniff test – they should not smell sour or unpleasant. Also check the texture and appearance.

As a general rule of thumb, unopened processed cheese slices can last 2 to 4 weeks past the expiration date. Opened packs can last 3 to 5 days past the date.

But remember, even if they look and smell normal, expired processed cheese slices may have lower quality. The taste, texture, and nutrition can start deteriorating. So for the best quality, try to eat them before they expire.

Is it safe to eat expired natural cheese slices?

With unopened packs, natural cheese slices may still taste fresh 1 to 2 months past their printed expiration date, according to food safety guidelines. Once opened, they can last 1 to 2 weeks past the date.

Check for signs of spoilage like mold, sliminess, bitterness, or funny colors. If the natural cheese slices pass the sight and smell tests, they should be safe to eat. But as with processed cheese, their quality slowly declines over time. For peak flavor and texture, try to eat them before the expiration date.

How long do cheese slices last in the fridge?

Here is a summary of how long different types of cheese slices last refrigerated:

Cheese Type Unopened Fridge Life Opened Fridge Life
Processed cheese slices 2 to 4 weeks past printed date 3 to 5 days
Natural cheese slices 1 to 2 months past printed date 1 to 2 weeks

Proper storage helps maximize fridge life. Keep cheese slices sealed in their original packaging until ready to use. After opening, rewrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Avoid temperature fluctuations – the fridge should stay at 40°F or below.

Can you freeze cheese slices?

Most cheese slices freeze fairly well for up to 4 months, which helps extend their shelf life. Here are some freezing tips:

  • Freeze cheese slices in their sealed, original packaging. Double wrapping in foil or a freezer bag provides extra protection.
  • For opened packages, wrap cheese slices tightly in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or foil before freezing.
  • Avoid freezing previously thawed cheese slices; the texture may become crumbly.
  • Let cheese slices thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

The exception is fat-free and low-fat cheese slices, which don’t hold up as well in the freezer. They can become extra hard and rubbery when thawed. So it’s better to avoid freezing reduced-fat cheese options if possible.

Can you eat Kraft Singles past the expiration date?

Unopened Kraft Singles can last 2 to 4 weeks past the “best when used by” date printed on the package. Once opened, they typically stay fresh for 3 to 5 more days in the fridge.

Give the Kraft Singles a close look and smell check before eating them expired. Watch for unusual textures, colors, bitter flavors, or mold growth. Discard them if they seem spoiled. But if the expired, refrigerated Kraft Singles still look and smell normal, they should be safe to eat – though flavor and texture may start deteriorating.

How long do different types of cheese slices last?

Shelf life varies for different kinds of cheese slices. Here’s an overview:

American Cheese Slices

Shelf Life:

  • Unopened: 2 to 4 weeks past printed date
  • Opened: 3 to 5 days

Examples: Kraft Singles, Sargento

Cheddar Cheese Slices

Shelf Life:

  • Unopened: 1 to 2 months past printed date
  • Opened: 1 to 2 weeks

Examples: Sargento, Tillamook

Swiss Cheese Slices

Shelf Life:

  • Unopened: 1 to 2 months past printed date
  • Opened: 1 to 2 weeks

Examples: Sargento, Boar’s Head

Provolone Cheese Slices

Shelf Life:

  • Unopened: 1 to 2 months past printed date
  • Opened: 1 to 2 weeks

Examples: Sargento, Kraft

Mozzarella Cheese Slices

Shelf Life:

  • Unopened: 1 to 2 weeks past printed date
  • Opened: 3 to 5 days

Examples: Sargento, Galbani

Can you eat expired string cheese?

With string cheese like mozzarella, the shelf life guidelines are similar to regular cheese slices. Unopened string cheese can last 1 to 2 weeks past the printed “best by” date in the fridge. Opened sticks may last up to 5 more days refrigerated.

Double check the string cheese for mold, sliminess, or other signs of spoilage before eating expired. If the texture feels overly hard or dry, it’s best to discard it. But if refrigerated string cheese smells and looks normal, it should still be safe to eat after the expiration date – just may not taste as fresh.

What happens if you eat expired cheese slices?

If cheese slices have just barely passed their expiration date but show no visible signs of spoilage, eating them is unlikely to cause food poisoning or illness. However, take care to inspect and smell the cheese first.

Eating cheese slices that have mold, smell bad, or are clearly spoiled can potentially lead to foodborne illness. Consuming high levels of bacteria from spoiled cheese can cause symptoms like:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Headache, fever

In healthy adults, symptoms are typically short-lived. But infants, pregnant women, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe infection from eating spoiled cheese products.

When in doubt, remember it’s better to be safe than sorry. Toss out cheese slices that are well past their prime. The taste and quality are likely compromised anyway, even if they may not make you visibly ill.

Tips for storing cheese slices

Here are some tips for maximizing the shelf life of cheese slices after opening:

  • Rewrap cheese slices tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper. Limit air exposure.
  • Store unused portions in a resealable plastic bag with the air pressed out.
  • Keep cheese refrigerated at 40°F or below, not in the door where the temperature fluctuates.
  • Wipe away condensation and moisture inside the fridge to prevent mold.
  • Use cheese slices within the recommended timeframe after opening.
  • If mold appears, discard the entire package – don’t just scrape off the moldy areas.

Proper storage helps cheese slices retain quality and freshness for as long as possible after opening.


Eating expired cheese slices is likely safe if they appear and smell normal, just may not taste very fresh. For the best flavor and texture, aim to eat cheese slices by their printed expiration dates, or within 2 to 4 weeks at most past the date on unopened packages.

Once opened, be sure to store cheese slices properly in the fridge. Rewrap them tightly, keep cold, and minimize air exposure. Discard slices if you see any mold growth or signs of spoilage. With proper storage and handling, cheese slices can retain their delicious flavor and convenience even after their best by date has passed.

1 thought on “Can I eat expired cheese slices?”

  1. Cheddar mild cheese cubes were in fridge, and i ate by mistake but then saw expiry date already 2 months passed. Taste was not bad, white powder layer found on it. The cheese was in fridge all these 2 months.

    slight bad taste in mouth, no pain in stomach after 3 hors of eating.


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