How do you know when Manchego cheese is bad?

Manchego cheese is a popular Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk. Like any cheese, it’s important to know when Manchego has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat. There are a few key signs you can look for to determine if your Manchego cheese should be thrown out.


The first thing to check is the appearance of the Manchego. Fresh Manchego has a firm and compact consistency. As it starts to spoil, it will become soft, runny, or develop a slimy texture. Mold growth is another clear sign that the cheese has spoiled. You may see blue, green, white, or black fuzzy mold developing on the cheese. If you notice any odd colors or textures, it’s best to discard the Manchego.


A good sniff test can also help detect if Manchego has gone bad. Fresh Manchego has a distinct nutty, salty aroma. As it spoils, it gives off a sour, bitter odor instead. An ammonia-like or yeasty smell are especially tell-tale signs that the cheese has gone off. If you detect a rotting or unpleasant smell, do not eat the Manchego.


You can confirm if your Manchego cheese is bad by tasting a small amount. Fresh Manchego has a salty, tangy, and slightly sweet flavor. Spoiled Manchego will immediately taste off with a bitter, sour, or sharp taste. Any change from the characteristic nutty Manchego flavor means it should not be consumed.

Storage Conditions

How the Manchego was stored can provide clues about its freshness too. Manchego that was left out of the refrigerator for over 2 hours or stored in warm conditions may be unsafe to eat. Any cheese kept past its expiration date should also be discarded. If there are any doubts about the storage, it’s better to be safe and toss the Manchego.

Time Since Opening

How long ago was the Manchego cheese opened? Freshly cut Manchego will last about 3-4 weeks refrigerated. Once opened, tightly rewrap the cheese and use within 1-2 weeks for best quality. If it’s been longer than that, the cheese is more prone to spoilage.

Signs of Spoilage

Here is a summary of the most common signs that Manchego cheese has spoiled and should be thrown out:

  • Soft, slimy, or runny texture
  • Mold growth on the cheese
  • Strong bitter, sour or ammonia-like smell
  • Unpleasant or sharp taste
  • Left out of the fridge for over 2 hours
  • Stored in warm conditions
  • Passed expiration date
  • Opened for over 1-2 weeks

When in Doubt, Throw it Out

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety. Even if you’re unsure about whether your Manchego has gone bad, it’s best to discard it. Manchego made from raw or unpasteurized milk is more prone to harboring dangerous bacteria. Consuming spoiled Manchego can cause food poisoning or digestive issues. Don’t risk getting sick – if the cheese looks or smells questionable, just throw it out.

Storing Manchego Properly

To extend the shelf life of your Manchego, proper storage is key. Here are some tips for keeping Manchego fresh for as long as possible:

  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil.
  • Keep refrigerated at 40°F or below.
  • Place in the coldest section of the refrigerator.
  • Store in original packaging until you are ready to eat it.
  • Avoid introducing moisture into the packaging.
  • Do not freeze, as this will negatively impact texture.
  • Follow “best by” dates for maximum freshness.

Freezing Manchego

Freezing is not recommended for Manchego cheese. The high fat content means it does not hold up well to freezing. The texture will become crumbly and dry once thawed. However, if you do freeze Manchego, here are some tips:

  • Freeze in original packaging or tightly wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Portion into chunks for easy thawing.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months for best quality.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use.
  • Use thawed cheese for cooking vs. eating raw.
  • Expect some deterioration in flavor and texture.

How to Tell if Frozen Manchego is Bad

If you do freeze Manchego cheese, inspect it carefully once thawed. Signs that previously frozen Manchego has spoiled include:

  • Unusual dryness or crumbly texture
  • Extremely runny consistency when thawed
  • Mold growth
  • Off odors
  • Bitter or unpleasant taste
  • Dark spots or odd discoloration

If you notice any of these issues, the thawed Manchego should be discarded.

Shelf Life of Different Types of Manchego

The shelf life of Manchego can vary slightly depending on the type:

Type of Manchego Refrigerator Freezer
Fresh Manchego 3-4 weeks 2 months (quality loss)
Añejo Manchego (aged 6 months) 4-6 weeks 2 months (quality loss)
Manchego Curado (aged 1 year) 6-8 weeks 2 months (quality loss)

As shown, fresh Manchego has a slightly shorter shelf life than aged Manchego. But all varieties should be consumed within 1-2 weeks of opening for best flavor and texture.

How to Use Up Manchego Before it Goes Bad

To help use up Manchego cheese before it spoils, here are some delicious ways to enjoy it:

  • Sandwiches or burgers: Add sliced or grated Manchego to sandwiches, burgers, paninis.
  • Salads: Crumble Manchego over green salads, grain bowls, or potatoes.
  • Pasta: Sprinkle shredded Manchego on pasta dishes.
  • Soups: Garnish bowls of soup with Manchego.
  • Boards: Include Manchego on cheese boards and platters.
  • Snacking: Pair with cured meats, olives, fruits, and nuts.
  • Cooking: Melt into omelets, vegetables, rice, etc.
  • Baking: Add to breads, tarts, scones, etc.

Getting creative with recipes and snacking is a great way to use up Manchego before it expires and prevent waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if pre-packaged Manchego is bad?

Check packaged Manchego carefully before opening. Signs of spoilage include a swollen or leaking package, mold inside the packaging, and an off or sour smell when you remove the seal. Always discard pre-packaged cheese past the printed expiration date.

Can you eat Manchego cheese with mold on it?

It’s not recommended to eat any cheese with mold, including Manchego. Cut off at least 1 inch around and below any moldy spots. Mold can send threads throughout the cheese that are invisible. Play it safe and throw out the Manchego if mold is present.

Does Manchego cheese need to be refrigerated?

Yes, it’s important to refrigerate Manchego cheese. The proteins will break down at room temperature, causing quick spoilage. Store Manchego in the fridge in its original packaging until you are ready to eat it. Refrigerate any cut pieces as well, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Can you freeze Manchego cheese?

You can freeze Manchego but it’s not recommended, as the texture deteriorates significantly. It will become crumbly and dry. If freezing, wrap tightly in plastic and use frozen Manchego for cooking vs. eating raw. Only freeze for 1-2 months maximum.

How long is Manchego cheese good for unopened?

An unopened package of Manchego cheese will typically last 5-6 weeks past the production date if refrigerated properly. Aged Manchego varieties can last even longer, around 8 weeks unopened. Always check for signs of spoilage once opened.

Can you get sick from eating spoiled Manchego?

Yes, consuming moldy, rotten, or contaminated Manchego cheese could make you sick. Potential illnesses include food poisoning, digestive upset, allergic reactions, and infections. Always discard Manchego at the first signs of spoilage to be safe.


Manchego cheese has a distinct flavor and texture that can quickly deteriorate once it starts to spoil. Keep an eye out for mold growth, a slimy consistency, foul odors, and an uncharacteristic taste which all indicate the cheese has gone bad. Store Manchego properly in the fridge, wrap tightly, use by recommended timelines, and throw it out at the first hint of spoilage. With the right storage and handling, you can safely enjoy Manchego’s rich, nutty taste before it expires.

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