Grated Parmesan cheese is a popular ingredient used in many dishes, from pasta to soups and salads. But have you ever wondered how long this delicious cheese can last when left unrefrigerated? In this article, we will explore the shelf life of grated Parmesan cheese and provide you with some useful tips on storage and usage.

What is Grated Parmesan Cheese?

Before we delve into its shelf life, let’s briefly understand what grated Parmesan cheese is. Also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, this hard Italian cheese is made from cow’s milk and aged for at least 12 months. Its distinct nutty flavor and granular texture make it a perfect addition to various recipes.

Shelf Life of Grated Parmesan Cheese

When it comes to unrefrigerated storage, grated Parmesan cheese has a relatively short shelf life compared to other types of cheeses. The main reason for this is its high moisture content, which makes it prone to spoilage when exposed to air and heat.

On average, unrefrigerated grated Parmesan cheese can last for about 2 hours before the quality starts deteriorating. During this time, the cheese may begin to dry out and lose its flavor. Therefore, it is highly recommended to store grated Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.

Proper Storage Guidelines

To maximize the freshness of your grated Parmesan cheese, follow these simple storage guidelines:

1. Once opened or if purchased pre-grated, transfer the cheese into an airtight container or resealable bag. 2.

Place the container in the refrigerator’s main compartment where temperatures remain consistently cool. 3. Make sure the container remains tightly sealed after each use.

1. If you have a large quantity of grated Parmesan cheese and want to extend its shelf life further, consider freezing it. Divide the cheese into smaller portions and place them in freezer-safe bags or containers.

3. Label each bag or container with the date of freezing to keep track of its freshness. 4. Frozen grated Parmesan cheese can last for up to 6 months without significant quality loss.

Signs of Spoilage

Even with proper storage, grated Parmesan cheese can eventually spoil. Here are some signs indicating that the cheese has gone bad:

– Mold growth: If you notice any green, blue, or white mold spots on the surface of the cheese, discard it immediately.
– Unpleasant odor: A strong, unpleasant smell is a clear indication that the cheese has spoiled.
– Changes in texture: If the texture becomes slimy or sticky, it’s best to dispose of the cheese.

Remember that these guidelines are general recommendations, and individual factors such as temperature and handling can affect the shelf life of grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipes Using Grated Parmesan Cheese

Now that you know how to store grated Parmesan cheese properly let’s explore some delicious recipes where this versatile ingredient shines:

1. Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

  • Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.
  • In a separate pan, fry pancetta until crispy.
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper.
  • Drain cooked spaghetti and add it directly into the egg mixture while still hot.
  • Mix well until the egg coats the pasta evenly.
  • Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese on top.

2. Caesar Salad

  • Toss fresh romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing until well coated.
  • Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese generously over the salad.
  • Add croutons and a squeeze of lemon juice for an extra tangy kick.

3. Cheesy Garlic Bread

  • Cut a baguette into slices and spread butter on each side.
  • Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and parsley over the buttered bread.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) until golden and crispy.


In conclusion, grated Parmesan cheese has a limited shelf life when left unrefrigerated due to its high moisture content. To maintain its freshness and extend its usability, it is important to store this delicious cheese properly in the refrigerator or freezer. By following these storage guidelines and practicing proper food safety, you can enjoy the wonderful taste of grated Parmesan cheese in various recipes for an extended period!