String cheese is a fun snack and works in a ton of recipes. You just got home from the store and got a phone call. The next thing you know, it’s hours later, and your string cheese has been sitting on the counter. How long can string cheese sit out?
The United States Department of Agriculture warns us of the Danger Zone. String cheese that sits out for longer than 2 hours moves into the Danger Zone.
It is the temperature area between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140˚F. Bacterial growth can accelerate significantly in the Danger Zone and lead to food poisoning.
Bacteria can grow at any temperature, but it multiplies rapidly in the Danger Zone, hence the name. If your string cheese sits out for longer than the 2-hour recommended window, throw it away.
Foodborne illnesses can lead to serious health issues. It’s always best to lean toward the safety side. Sometimes string cheese comes in individual wrappers.
The manufacturers store it this way for safety reasons. Those plastic strips are airtight to prolong the shelf-life of the string cheese. The packaging should also be stamped with a sell-by date.
- Can I Leave String Cheese Unrefrigerated?
- How Can You Tell If String Cheese Has Gone Bad?
- The Best Way To Store String Cheese.
- Do Vacuum-Sealed Cheese Sticks Need To Be Refrigerated?
- How Long Will An Open Bag Of String Cheese Last In The Fridge?
- How Long Will Unopened String Cheese Last In the Fridge?
- I Left An Unopened Package Of String Cheese Out All Night. Is It Bad?
- Can You Freeze String Cheese?
- Is String Cheese Good For You?
- What Is String Cheese?
- Does String Cheese Melt?
- Final Verdict
- Related Guides
Can I Leave String Cheese Unrefrigerated?
You can. But only for 2 hours. Any longer than that, you are risking bacterial growth and possible foodborne illnesses. If you’ve left your new package of string cheese out and it’s under 2 hours, get it in the fridge.
If you forgot to put it away and the hours got away from you, throw it away. It’s not worth risking your health or the well-being of your loved ones.
How Can You Tell If String Cheese Has Gone Bad?
You might be able to smell when string cheese has gone bad because it’s a dairy product. Milk and other cheeses tend to get a sour scent.
String cheese could also develop mold, which should be pretty visible against the white. But we can’t always see signs of spoilage.
We think it’s worth mentioning that the naked eye cannot see all harmful bacteria. Some toxins are not detectable by scent or taste either. So it’s important to adhere to the sell-by date and the safety rules set by the experts.
The Best Way To Store String Cheese.
For the best results when snacking on string cheese, store it in the refrigerator. Don’t open the bag before you’re ready to use it.
The packaging is designed to hold in the moisture content and prolong the shelf-life. So it makes sense to leave it unopened until you want some.
Do Vacuum-Sealed Cheese Sticks Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes. Even though each cheese stick is in an individual vacuum-sealed pouch, they still need to be stored in the fridge. Supermarkets sell string cheese is sold in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.
They do this because cheese needs to be kept in the refrigerator. Cheese left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours can be carrying harmful bacteria.
These rules are set for safety reasons, and we know that string cheese is a great snack. But do yourself a favor and do not leave string cheese out for longer than 2 hours.
Even if it’s vacuum-sealed, sitting in the Danger Zone can create foodborne illnesses. The seal gives them a longer shelf-life, but it doesn’t protect them from the temperature.
How Long Will An Open Bag Of String Cheese Last In The Fridge?
Once you open that bag of string cheese, you have five to seven days to eat it. Even if you opened the individual packaging, it should last seven days.
Just store opened string cheese in an airtight container. Constant exposure to air depletes the moisture content, which leads to decay.
If you have the vacuum sealed kind, they may last longer. It’s always a good idea to read the packaging and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t assume it’s okay just because it looks fine. Looks can be deceiving.
How Long Will Unopened String Cheese Last In the Fridge?
Packages of unopened string cheese should last in the fridge for a week past the sell-by date. This date should be stamped on the bag by the manufacturer. Once you open the packaging, you have seven days.
Once the string cheese is older than seven days, it could be carrying harmful bacteria. Some of that bacteria might not cause food poisoning.
Signs of spoilage may not always be visible or leave a smell. This is why use-by dates and food safety rules are implemented.
I Left An Unopened Package Of String Cheese Out All Night. Is It Bad?
Unfortunately, if you leave a package of string cheese out all night, it doesn’t matter if it’s opened or not. It’s already moved into the dreaded Danger Zone, which the FDA also suggests.
String cheese that sat out all night could be infested with bacteria. It could be so plentiful you and your family may suffer stomach aches if you eat them.
Rules for food safety are implemented because not all bacteria are detectable by sight, smell, or taste. Even if the cheese looks fine and smells fine, there could still be trouble lurking.
Don’t chance it and throw it away if you left it out all night. And don’t feed it to your kids.
Can You Freeze String Cheese?
You can, but it will become rubbery. String cheese has a high water content, which can quickly disappear when frozen. We suggest that you don’t freeze string cheese.
But, if you find you have some opened, and you can’t eat it by the deadline, freeze it. It should last for two months.
Is String Cheese Good For You?
String cheese has a lot of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Calcium and vitamin D are for solid teeth and bones.
Proteins are part of our skin, organs, muscles, and hormones. Without them, we couldn’t function.
A stick of string cheese with an apple is an excellent snack that’s low in calories and good for you. Plus, it tastes great.
What Is String Cheese?
To be authentic string cheese, it must be mozzarella. The reason behind this is because mozzarella creates a stringing effect naturally.
But not all cheeses in stick form are string cheese. Manufacturers have decided to create an entire line of snack cheeses in stick form.
Some common cheese varieties include the following.
- Sharp cheddar
- Monterey jack
- Medium cheddar
- Smoked string
- Pepper jack
If you notice, they don’t make snack sizes like this of hard cheeses. Soft cheese with high moisture content works best for the stick snack cheese option.
Does String Cheese Melt?
It does, which is why they work great for mozzarella sticks. The melting point of string cheese is 90˚F, and it melts best when sliced.
There are so many unique ways you can use string cheese to add some fun to your meals. Here are a few that we love:
In Baked Pasta Dishes
Manicotti, lasagna, and baked penne are all fun ways to kick up your pasta dishes. These all require mozzarella, which is string cheese.
You don’t have to shred it like a brick of mozzarella, and it melts nicely. You can pull it apart or stuff it into the pasta. Have fun and get creative.
We wouldn’t recommend laying sticks of string cheese on a pizza. But if you chop them up or pull them apart, all that leftover string cheese will go to good use. Pizzas are fun to order out, but they’re even more fun to make when using string cheese.
In Pizza Rolls
Pizza rolls are another fun item that we can either buy frozen or try our hand at creating. When it comes to cheese, string mozzarella is perfect. You can cut it to the right size, which would be simpler to roll than shredded cheese.
On Potato Skins
The cheddar brand would work well with this recipe. And sticks offer a unique cut, and they melt perfectly.
Bake your potato, let it cool, then cut it in half. Scoop out the inside, add a brush of butter, and some chopped cheddar sticks. Bake at 350 until crispy.
Coming up with a kid’s lunch isn’t always easy. Lunchables are fun and offer a mix of good food. Get a stick of cheese, protein, and some fruit.
Put it all in a sealable container and leave it for the kids when they stop home for lunch. You can find all you need at the grocery store and get creative. This method will save you money as well.
Fried Mozzarella Sticks
We can’t write an article about string cheese and not mention mozzarella sticks. These are not the simplest thing to make, but you can do it with patience.
First, you whisk some eggs and milk. Dip the string cheese in flour, then the egg mixture, and then in seasoned breadcrumbs. Dip it back in the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Freeze them before frying.
String cheese is a smart buy because you can grab it for a snack or use it in a complicated recipe. It’s all up to you. But if your cheese has sat out too long, throw it out. Foodborne illnesses can be severe, and you should always play it safe.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nancy do it, no judgment here) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.