Parmesan cheese is a popular hard Italian cheese known for its sharp and nutty flavor. It is commonly used as a topping for pasta dishes, salads, and soups. However, many people are unsure about the proper storage of this cheese and wonder what happens if it is not refrigerated.

What is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It is aged for at least 12 months, which gives it a distinct flavor and texture.

Why Refrigeration Is Important?

Refrigeration is essential for preserving the quality of Parmesan cheese. When left at room temperature, the cheese can quickly degrade, lose its texture, and develop mold. The high moisture content in the air can cause bacterial growth and spoilage.

What Happens If Parmesan Cheese Is Not Refrigerated?

If Parmesan cheese is not refrigerated properly, it can spoil quickly. The high-fat content in the cheese makes it susceptible to bacterial growth and oxidation. As a result, it will develop an off-flavor and become rancid.

Additionally, if you leave your Parmesan cheese out in warm temperatures or in direct sunlight for an extended period, it will dry out and lose its natural oils. This will cause the texture to become crumbly or grainy instead of being smooth and creamy.

How To Store Parmesan Cheese?

To ensure that your Parmesan cheese stays fresh for longer periods, you must store it properly. The best way to store grated or shredded Parmesan cheese is by placing it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator.

For whole pieces of Parmesan cheese that have not been cut yet or have been opened but still have their rind intact should be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then placed in an airtight container. This will help to preserve the cheese’s flavor and texture.


In conclusion, Parmesan cheese is a delicious and versatile cheese that should be stored appropriately to maintain its quality. Refrigeration is essential for preserving the texture, flavor, and freshness of this cheese.

Leaving Parmesan cheese out at room temperature or in warm temperatures can cause it to spoil quickly, lose its natural oils, and become crumbly or grainy. By storing Parmesan cheese correctly, you can enjoy its rich flavor for an extended period.