Although cheesecake does not stay as fresh in the freezer as long as other frozen foods can, cheesecake is in fact very easy to freeze and it does not matter if it is homemade, store bought or a box mix cheesecake.
As cheesecake will only keep fresh for three or so days in the refrigerator - even when stored in an airtight container – storing it in the freezer means you can prepare it ahead of time for a family BBQ, or just pop some leftover slices into the freezer for a treat at a later date.
So, yes, you can freeze cheesecake easily and it will keep at best quality for a month or so in the freezer. For it to be at its best though, as I show you in this post, cheesecake needs to be wrapped well and free from toppings before it is frozen.
Before I move onto the finer points of freezing cheesecake, I thought I would share some of the interesting history of cheesecake with you – as interestingly, cheesecake was just as much a favorite of the Ancient Greeks as it of ours!
The Ancient Greeks made their cheesecake from wheat, flour, ricotta-style cheese and honey, which would be mixed into a cake and then baked. It is known that this type of cheesecake was served to athletes during the 776 BC Olympic Games and it was also used as a wedding cake. Records show the first cheesecake recipe was written down in 230 AD – around 2,000 years after cheesecake was first known to have been around!
When Greece was conquered by Rome, the Romans ‘requisitioned’ the recipe and as many chefs like to do, made a few improvements. In this case, it was to add eggs and crushed cheese and after baking it under a hot brick, the Romans preferred to serve their cheesecake warm. Now called libuma, as the Roman Empire expanded and conquered across Europe, the recipe went with them.
In the different European countries, the cheesecake took on its own form, often depending on what ingredients were available. It was popular during Tudor times in England and a recipe for cheesecake was printed in a 1545 recipe book.
The recipe for cheesecake came to the New World along with the settlers and by the eighteenth century, the yeast in it had been replaced with beaten eggs. In the early 1900s, restaurants in New York had their own version of cheesecake - branded as New York cheesecake - but it was not until 1929 when cream cheese was first used in the recipe instead of cottage cheese, that the ‘real’ New York cheesecake was born!
If you do prefer a slice of New York cheesecake, or your tastes run more to an unbaked fruit topped or chocolate cheesecake, then in the next section, I show you exactly how you can freeze any of these styles (and more) of cheesecake.
Just What Should You Think About Before You Freeze Cheesecake?
As I have already said, cheesecake does keep for a few days in the refrigerator, so if you want to eat it soon, it is probably better to keep it in the refrigerator.
Cheesecake is usually at its best eaten within a month of freezing but may keep for two months or more without losing too much quality and texture. If you do want to freeze cheesecake for longer than a month, it can be worth doing a test freeze with a few slices of your favorite cheesecake, just to see how long it keeps fresh for.
Although some foods can last for 12 or so months in the freezer, over time, freezer burn will always develop. Frozen cheesecake should always be stored in the freezer rather than in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator due to temperature fluctuations.
Cheesecake should be frozen without any toppings, instead, add toppings once the cheesecake is thawed. A dense cheesecake usually freezes better than a lighter cheesecake as freezing can increase the density.
As well as freezing cheesecake without toppings, extra wrapping is needed to keep the cheesecake at its best in the freezer. You are better to wrap as detailed below and avoid leaving store bought cheesecakes in their original boxes or wrappers as this will allow freezer burn to develop faster and the cheesecake may take on odors from other foods stored in the freezer.
If you bought a cheesecake already frozen, then always follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to thawing and/or cooking the cheesecake. Unless specified, a pre-frozen cheesecake should not be refrozen unless it is being baked, then it may be suitable for re-freezing after it has been cooked and chilled.
How to Freeze a Whole Cheesecake
Although cheesecake freezes just as well whole as it does in slices, it can be easier to slice it before freezing instead of after thawing.
Before you can freeze cheesecake, you need to leave it to its final chill - usually around four hours - in the refrigerator. Cheesecake needs to be completely cold before it can be frozen. If it has not been completely chilled, not only will it raise the temperature in the freezer, but it also means the cheesecake will be much harder to handle and slice.
While the cheesecake is chilling, clear some room in the freezer so that you can place it securely on top while it freezes. Once the cheesecake is fully chilled in the refrigerator, move it, in its pan, into the freezer and leave there for one hour.
If you have a cardboard round from a bakery cake floating around, then this can be used for putting the cheesecake onto. You may also decide to leave it on the base of the springform pan if you will not be freezing it for too long.
Otherwise, make a basic cardboard round by wrapping a piece of cardboard (slightly bigger than the cheesecake) in some aluminum foil. Once the cheesecake has done its first hour in the freezer, take it out, loosen the edges of the cheesecake with a blunt knife or spatula and lift (or slide) the cheesecake out and onto the foil-wrapped cardboard. Depending on the size or type of cheesecake, you may need an extra pair of hands at this point!
Once the cheesecake is on its new base, wrap it well in plastic wrap and finish with a layer of aluminum foil to help prevent freezer burn. Use a sharpie to write the date of freezing on the foil to help you keep control of how long it has been in the freezer for.
If you want to freeze a whole cheesecake that you have pre-sliced (but want to serve as a whole cheesecake), then after slicing, gently pull each slice apart just enough to insert a small piece of wax paper in between. This ensures that the cuts stay in during the freezing and thawing process.
If you do have a large enough plastic box, or have a bakery box, you may want to place the wrapped cheesecake inside it in the freezer to prevent it getting accidently crushed.
How to Freeze Cheesecake Slices or Mini Cheesecakes
If you have yet to slice the cheesecake, then as in the section above, allow it to chill in the refrigerator for four hours and then place the whole cheesecake, uncovered in the freezer for one hour.
When you take it out from the freezer, you can then slice it – a knife dipped into a jug of hot water will make it easier – into the portions that you want.
Already cut slices should also be left for until fully chilled and the slices can then be put uncovered at the top of the freezer for an hour.
Whichever way, you have dealt with the slices, each one is now ready to be individually wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and then foil. Once all the pieces are wrapped, they can be put in a Ziplock bag and the air removed before sealing. Once you have written the date on the bag, it can be put into the freezer – ideally in a container or a part of the freezer where it will not get crushed.
Leftover cheesecake slices should be chilled, and the toppings removed before freezing them for one hour, wrapping and then deep freezing them.
Mini cheesecakes should be chilled, wrapped individually and frozen the same way as cheesecake slices.
How Do I Thaw Cheesecake?
Cheesecake should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator as this helps to keep the structure of the cheesecake and prevent condensation from forming, as well as reducing the risk of any foodborne illness. When you thaw, you can remove the aluminum foil, but leave the plastic wrap on.
Once the cheesecake is thawed, leave it out on the countertop for 30 minutes for the temperature to adjust.
Although it is not ideal thawing at room temperature, if you do need to thaw it quickly, individually wrapped slices of cheesecake should take around 30 minutes, while a full cheesecake will take between 2 to 4 hours to thaw on the countertop.
You can also defrost unwrapped single slices using the defrost setting in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Cheesecake can lose some of its texture when it is defrosted in this way though and you should not use this method to thaw a full cheesecake.
As a caution, once thawed, if the crust is noticeably moist, the cheesecake itself is dry or its edges have started to turn brown, it is always safer to trash it.
Otherwise, once your cheesecake is fully thawed, you can transfer it to your serving plate and add your toppings if required and then serve.
After thawing a cheesecake, keep it refrigerated and consume within two days. It should not be refrozen.
Freezing Cheesecake – The Summary
In this post, I have shown that yes, you can freeze cheesecake whole or in slices and as long as you wrap it well and freeze it without toppings, it will keep at best quality for a month or so in the freezer.
I do hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have found it useful then please do share it with your friends. If you would like to leave any comments on your experiences of freezing cheesecake, then you can do so in the box below.