How do you know if goat cheese went bad?

Quick answers

Here are some quick ways to tell if your goat cheese went bad:

  • Check the expiry date – if it’s past the expiry date, it’s likely gone bad
  • Look for mold – any fuzzy, colorful growth means it’s spoiled
  • Smell the cheese – a sour, ammonia-like odor means it’s gone bad
  • Check the texture – if it’s dried out, crumbly, or slimy, it’s likely bad
  • Taste the cheese – an unpleasant or bitter taste is a sign it’s spoiled

How to store goat cheese properly

To avoid having your goat cheese go bad too quickly, proper storage is important:

  • Keep refrigerated at all times, at 40°F or below
  • Seal tightly in plastic wrap or storage containers to prevent mold
  • Wipe away moisture and condensation regularly
  • Store in the coldest part of the fridge, not the door
  • Once opened, re-wrap tightly in new plastic wrap

With proper refrigeration, most goat cheese has a shelf life of 1-2 weeks after opening. Unopened, it can last 1-2 months past the sell by date. Soft goat cheese has a shorter shelf life than aged varieties.

Signs goat cheese has gone bad

Here are the common signs that your goat cheese has spoiled and should be discarded:


Mold is one of the most obvious signs of spoiled goat cheese. At first, you may notice small spots of fuzzy mold. It can be white, green, blue, grey, or black. As it spoils further, the mold grows and eventually covers the entire surface.

Some types of mold are harmless, while others can cause allergic reactions or illness. It’s best not to take any chances and discard molded cheese.


Fresh goat cheese is bright white. As it starts to spoil, it becomes off-white, yellow, or tan. Darkening and discoloration is a sign it has aged past its prime.

Dry, crumbly texture

Fresh goat cheese should be moist and soft, with a creamy texture. If it becomes dry, gritty, and crumbly throughout, this indicates it has dried out and spoiled.

Slimy texture

While perfectly good goat cheese can sometimes have a moist, sticky surface, a slimy texture throughout means it has gone bad. This is often caused by mold or bacterial growth.

Ammonia smell

Goat cheese gives off a distinct ‘goaty’ smell, which is normal. However, if you notice a strong ammonia-like odor, that’s a red flag. It means protein breakdown has begun and bacteria is growing.

Bitter taste

Goat cheese can range from mild, tangy, tart, to sharp in flavor. But it should never taste unpleasant or bitter once it has spoiled.


If your aged, semi-firm goat cheese starts to soften and get mushy throughout, it’s likely reached the end of its shelf life. Fresh soft cheeses are okay, but softening in firmer varieties is a bad sign.

Change in color of rind

For goat cheeses with an external rind, like Crottin or Humboldt Fog, the rind can provide clues too. It should be an off-white or greyish color. If the rind darkens, changes color, gets sticky/slimy, that’s a red flag for spoilage.

How to tell if goat cheese is still fresh

To identify if your goat cheese can still be safely eaten, look for these signs of freshness:

  • No visible mold on the cheese
  • No dark spots or discoloration
  • Creamy, moist texture without dry or slimy spots
  • Mild, tangy aroma without ammonia smell
  • Bright, white color without browning
  • Clean, off-white rind without sliminess or stickiness
  • Sharp, tangy, tart taste without bitterness

If your unopened goat cheese displays none of the signs of spoilage, it should be fresh and safe to eat, as long as it’s before the expiry date.

How long does opened goat cheese last in the fridge?

The shelf life of opened goat cheese depends on the type:

  • Soft goat cheese – lasts 5-7 days
  • Firm/aged goat cheese – lasts 2-3 weeks
  • Crumbled goat cheese – lasts 1-2 weeks

These timeframes are for proper storage in the fridge at 40°F or less. Make sure to wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap or seal in an airtight container.

Also, keep in mind that goat cheese with mold, slime, ammonia smell, bitterness, or other signs of spoilage should be discarded even if the expiry date hasn’t passed yet.

Table: Refrigerator life of opened goat cheese

Goat Cheese Type Refrigerator Life After Opening
Soft goat cheese 5-7 days
Aged/firm goat cheese 2-3 weeks
Crumbled goat cheese 1-2 weeks

How to store unopened goat cheese

For unopened, packaged goat cheese, optimal storage extends the shelf life. Here are some tips:

  • Keep refrigerated at all times until opening day
  • Seal tightly in original plastic wrap
  • Store in coldest part of the fridge, away from door
  • Keep away from foods with strong odors that can transfer
  • Follow “best by” or expiry dates on packaging

With proper storage, most commercially packaged goat cheese lasts for:

  • Soft goat cheese: 2-3 weeks from production date
  • Fresh goat cheese: 1-2 weeks from sell by date
  • Aged goat cheese: 2-3 months or longer unopened

Table: Shelf life of unopened goat cheese

Type of Goat Cheese Refrigerator Life Unopened
Soft goat cheese 2-3 weeks from production date
Fresh goat cheese 1-2 weeks from sell by date
Aged goat cheese 2-3 months or longer

What to do if you eat spoiled goat cheese

If you accidentally consume goat cheese that was spoiled, here are some steps to take:

  • Drink plenty of fluids – this can help dilute any possible toxins
  • Take an antacid containing simethicone – this helps settle upset stomach
  • Call your doctor if severe symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, fever develop
  • Monitor closely for allergic reaction signals like rash, swelling, breathing issues
  • Write down what symptoms you experienced and which cheese you ate
  • Report your experience to the seller or manufacturer

In most cases, eating a small amount of spoiled goat cheese causes minimal issues. But if you experience concerning symptoms that persist, seek medical help.

How to tell if goat cheese can be salvaged

In some cases, goat cheese showing only minor signs of spoilage can be salvaged:

  • Small mold spot – cut off at least 1 inch around the moldy area
  • Drying out – trim dry parts and incorporate softened goat cheese into a spread or dip
  • Slight sour smell – use in cooked dishes like grilled cheese, pizza, pasta bakes
  • Hardened texture – shred and melt into casseroles, soups, mac and cheese

However, if the cheese has extensive mold, strong ammonia smell, slimy texture, or bitter taste, it’s best to discard it.

Tips for preventing goat cheese from going bad

Here are some tips for keeping your goat cheese fresh for as long as possible:

  • Buy only what you will use within 2 weeks
  • Check sell-by and use-by dates in the store
  • Refrigerate immediately at 40°F or less
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or seal in airtight containers
  • Wipe away excess moisture after each use
  • Use clean utensils to avoid cross-contamination
  • Don’t let sit out at room temperature more than 2 hours
  • Throw away cheese at first sign of spoilage

With proper handling and storage methods, most goat cheese stays fresh for 7-14 days after opening. Using caution around expiry dates and signs of spoilage will help avoid foodborne illness.


Goat cheese is highly perishable and can go bad within 1-2 weeks if not stored properly. Signs of spoilage include mold, slimy texture, discoloration, bitter taste, and ammonia smell. For optimal freshness, keep refrigerated at all times, wrap tightly, follow expiration dates, and discard if any molds or warning signs appear. With proper handling, goat cheese can stay safe to eat for up to 2 weeks after opening.

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