Many of us know cottage cheese is good for you, but it is only as long as it stays fresh. Some people ask us, “Does cottage cheese go bad?” and the answer is, without a question, yes. Cottage cheese is a dairy product which means it is made from animal milk. The majority of cottage cheese found in the grocery store is derived from cow’s milk. Since cottage cheese has milk in it, it will eventually sour and spoil. It is actually very perishable with a short shelf life compared to other foods. As with most foods, cottage cheese will last only if it is kept in optimal conditions. There are many factors that come into play when determining how long cottage cheese will last.
The majority of cottage cheese products that you will buy in your local grocery store will have a date stamped on them. This will typically state “sell-by date” or “expiration date”. The sell-by date is the date that the store needs to sell the product by. This does not mean that the product has expired. The expiration date is the date that the product is supposed to or is projected to expire.
Cottage cheese will last 7-10 days beyond the sell-by day if the product is sealed. By sealed we mean that the product is as if it were still sitting in the store and completely sealed. If the cottage cheese has been opened, it will last up to 7 days beyond the sell-by date. Both of this time-frames are assuming that the cottage cheese has always been kept at optimal temperatures and has not been left at room temperature for too long.
The above dates should be viewed as estimates so you should be careful and check for spoilage if the cottage cheese is beyond the sell-by date. Don’t risk your health by eating a potentially spoiled product. Look for discoloration, a runny texture. sour smell, or a not so fresh/non-typical cottage cheese smell. Always remember that cottage cheese does go bad as some point so be aware of signs of spoilage. When in doubt, throw it away.
Check out our article on “How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last?” for a more detailed look at cottage cheese spoilage.