Have you ever been in the middle of making a delicious pasta dish, only to realize that the Parmesan cheese you were planning to sprinkle on top has gone bad? It can be frustrating and disappointing, especially if you’re not sure how to tell if your cheese has gone bad or not.

Luckily, there are some simple ways to determine whether your Parmesan cheese is still good or if it’s time to toss it out. Here are a few things to look for:

Check the Expiration Date

The first thing you should do when determining whether your Parmesan cheese is still good is to check the expiration date. Most cheeses will have a “best by” date printed on the packaging, which gives you a rough idea of how long the cheese will stay fresh.

If your Parmesan cheese is past its expiration date, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone bad. However, it does mean that it’s more likely to have started developing mold or other bacteria that could affect its quality.

Inspect the Cheese

Another way to tell if your Parmesan cheese is bad is by inspecting its appearance. Fresh Parmesan cheese should be a pale yellow color with a firm texture. If you notice any discoloration or soft spots on the cheese, that could be a sign of spoilage.

Also, check for any mold on the surface of the cheese. While some types of mold are safe to eat (such as those found in blue cheeses), others can be harmful and should be avoided.

Smell Test

One of the most common ways people determine if their Parmesan cheese has gone bad is by giving it a sniff test. Fresh Parmesan cheese should have a nutty, slightly sweet aroma. If your cheese smells sour, rancid, or just generally unpleasant, that could be an indication that it’s no longer fresh.

Taste Test

If you’re still unsure whether your Parmesan cheese is good or not, you can also do a taste test. Fresh Parmesan cheese should have a rich, savory flavor with a slightly granular texture. If your cheese tastes bitter, sour, or just doesn’t taste right, it’s probably time to throw it away.

Storing Your Parmesan Cheese

To ensure your Parmesan cheese stays fresh for as long as possible, it’s important to store it properly. The best way to store Parmesan cheese is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help prevent the cheese from drying out and developing mold.

You can also wrap your cheese in wax paper or parchment paper before storing it in an airtight container to help absorb any moisture that could cause spoilage.


In conclusion, there are several ways to tell if your Parmesan cheese has gone bad. Checking the expiration date, inspecting the appearance, giving it a sniff test and taste test are all effective methods for determining whether your cheese is still good or not.

Remember to always store your Parmesan cheese properly in order to extend its shelf life and prevent spoilage. By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious and fresh Parmesan cheese every time you use it!