Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese that has gained popularity worldwide in recent years. This rich, creamy cheese with its signature outer shell and inner stracciatella filling is delicious when served fresh. But what if you can’t eat it all right away? Can you freeze burrata to extend its shelf life?
The short answer is no, burrata does not freeze well. Freezing changes the texture of the cheese, making it soggy and watery once thawed. However, burrata can be stored in the fridge for a few days if handled properly. Read on for tips on how to store burrata and make the most of this delicate ingredient.
What is Burrata?
Burrata originated in the Apulia region of southern Italy in the early 20th century. The name comes from the Italian word “burro” meaning butter.
It starts with an outer shell of mozzarella or pasta filata cheese. The inside is filled with stracciatella, a creamy mix of fresh mozzarella shreds and heavy cream. When you slice into a ball of fresh burrata, the stracciatella oozes out like a rich, velvety sauce.
The flavor of burrata is mild, with a faint tanginess from the mozzarella and a rich, buttery note from the cream. The texture ranges from lightly springy on the outside to decadently creamy on the inside.
Burrata is serve fresh, usually within a day or two of being made. It pairs well with toasted bread, fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil for a classic Caprese-style salad. It also shines in pasta dishes, on pizza, in sandwiches, or enjoyed simply with a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic glaze.
Why You Shouldn’t Freeze Burrata
Freezing cheese can alter its texture, especially cheeses with high moisture content like burrata. When frozen, the water in the cheese expands into ice crystals. These crystals disrupt the protein structure that gives cheese its smooth, creamy texture.
Thawing further damages the texture. As the ice crystals melt, they leave gaps in the cheese protein matrix causing a grainy, mealy, or soggy consistency.
The high cream content in burrata makes it especially susceptible to textural changes during freezing. The delicate stracciatella filling will likely turn watery and start to separate when frozen and thawed.
So while fully frozen burrata will keep for months in the freezer, the payoff of extended shelf life comes at the cost of sacrificing its signature indulgent, creamy texture.
How to Store Burrata
Since freezing isn’t ideal, what’s the best way to store burrata? Here are some tips:
Leave burrata sealed in original packaging – Commercial packaging creates an airtight environment to protect the cheese. Unopened burrata keeps fresh in the fridge for 5-7 days past the pack date.
Transfer to an airtight container – If opened, move it to an airtight plastic container or resealable bag, making sure all air pockets are pressed out before sealing. Use within 2 days.
Keep extra liquid – Include any liquid from the original package to help maintain moisture.
Store at 32-40°F – Store burrata in the refrigerator crisper drawer away from ethylene gas producing foods like apples that can accelerate ripening. Consume within 5 days.
Use cheese paper – Wrap cut pieces in cheese paper, then a layer of plastic wrap for extra protection. Eat within 1-2 days.
Freeze with caution – If freezing, use individual portions, wrap tightly in plastic, and use within a month. Expect texture changes once thawed.
Proper storage slows down the ripening process to extend the shelf life of your burrata. But remember, it’s best when enjoyed fresh!
How to Tell if Burrata Has Gone Bad
Burrata is highly perishable and will develop signs of spoilage quickly if not stored properly. Here’s what to look out for:
Mold – Mold growth in fuzzy patches or spots indicates spoilage. Discard moldy burrata.
Sour smell – A pungent, sour milk odor means burrata has turned. Toss it.
Discoloration – Yellow, brownish, or orange tinting is a sign of oxidation. Don’t eat discolored burrata.
Sliminess – Excess moisture accumulation makes the rind slippery. This spoiled burrata should be discarded.
Dry, cracked rind – Extreme dryness with cracks in the outer shell means it’s dried out. Compromised texture makes this a don’t eat.
When in doubt, remember the old adage “When in doubt, throw it out.” Don’t risk getting sick from eating spoiled burrata.
Tips for Using Up Burrata Quickly
The short shelf life of burrata means you’ve got to use it fast. Here are some delicious ways to enjoy it before it goes bad:
Make burrata caprese salad – Slice burrata over fresh tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction.
Stuff it into sandwiches – Layer burrata with roasted veggies or cured meats on crusty bread.
Blend into pasta – Toss hot pasta with diced burrata so it melts into a creamy sauce.
Top pizzas – Fresh burrata is delicious baked on top ofMargherita pizza or other pizza varieties.
Fry burrata fritters – Coat burrata balls in flour then quick fry for an appetizer.
Make bruschetta – Top toasted bread with burrata, tomato, and basil.
Fill sweet peppers – Stuff mini sweet peppers with burrata and bake until melty.
Finding ways to use up a whole ball of burrata ensures none goes to waste. Get creative with recipes to enjoy this fresh cheese ASAP.
Guide to Defrosting Burrata
Although not recommended, you may come across frozen burrata. Here’s how to safely thaw it:
Refrigerator thawing – Place frozen burrata in the refrigerator in original packaging. Thaw for 24-48 hours allowing the cheese to defrost gradually.
Cold water method – Seal frozen burrata in a plastic bag then submerge in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Takes 2-3 hours.
Microwave thawing – Not advised. The microwave can create hot spots that alter the texture.
Room temperature thawing – Leaving frozen burrata to thaw on the counter is unsafe as the outer surface warms while the center stays frozen. Only thaw in the fridge or cold water.
Cook frozen burrata – Frozen burrata cubes or slices can be baked into dishes or melted into sauces without thawing first.
Proceed with caution when defrosting previously frozen burrata. Keep storage times short and expect some compromise in texture.
How Freezing Affects Burrata Quality
Freezing degrades several aspects of burrata quality:
Texture – The delicate curds turn mushy, watery, and separatd after thawing. The signature creaminess is lost.
Flavor – Subtle flavor nuances fade, leaving behind a more generic, bland cheese flavor.
Shelf life – Frozen storage gives prolonged shelf life, but thawed burrata must be eaten within days.
Appearance – Outer shell may tear. Filling loses its glistening white appearance and becomes dull.
While freezing lets you stash burrata for longer, the changes to texture and taste means thawed burrata is a downgrade from the fresh version. Enjoy it soon after purchase or prepare to sacrifice some quality.
Does Freezing Affect Nutrition?
Freezing itself does not degrade the nutrition content of burrata. Thawed burrata still provides:
Protein – High quality protein for building and repairing muscle.
Calcium – Around 20% of your daily calcium needs per serving.
Vitamin A – 10% daily value. Important for immune function and eyesight.
Phosphorus – For bone health, cell repair, and energy production.
Vitamin B12 – Helps make healthy blood cells and DNA.
Healthy fats – Both saturated and unsaturated fats.
The nutritional values remain whether the burrata is fresh or frozen. But the change in texture and flavor may make you enjoy thawed burrata less. For the best flavor, texture, and nutrition, eat burrata as fresh as possible.
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