I've been doing some research on canning cheese in half pint jars. A few videos I watched showed some good success with cream cheese but cheddar's seem to change a bit in texture and become a bit porous after the process. My thought here was to turn the cheddar into a spreadable cheese before canning.

Looking at the FDA canning site I notice they have no recommendations for canning cheese and in fact they haven't even tried to can cream cheese. No tests at all. My question is, has anyone had success with making then canning cheese spreads? What would be the best method for making the spread so that I minimize failure and what would be some of the possible risks that might not be noticeable to the naked eye or by smelling if it did go bad?

  • Fritos and Tostitos spreads come in jars, which might as well be cans: google.com/… Looks like there's all sorts of flavors I've never heard of, so you might find something to mimic. Dec 20, 2015 at 17:19
  • Yes, but I wonder if they add something to make it shelf safe or if a simple water bath or pressure cooking could get the same results and still be safe. Dec 20, 2015 at 18:44
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    Here are some nice tips: oklahomapastrycloth.com/blog/?p=2887 Google up "canning cheese", looks like plenty of people are doing it successfully. Dec 20, 2015 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


Canning cheese may carry with it a risk of botulism, according to Clemson University Extension and the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Soft cheese is of particular concern.

This practice has not been scientifically validated and we cannot recommend it. Cheese and cheese milk can potentially be contaminated with Clostridium (C.) botulinum, the botulism-causing bacteria. The pH of cheese qualifies it as a low acid (pH 5.1 to 5.9) food and thus is in the canning danger range. Although uncanned hard cheeses (Asiago, Cheddar, Edam, Feta, Gouda, Parmesan) will not support growth of C. botulinum, the canning process may add available water to them. How much water is added by canning has not been tested. Increased available water may allow C. botulinum to grow and make canned hard cheeses unsafe. In addition, boiling waterbath canning processes kill the competitive “good” bacteria that help prevent the growth of C. botulinum. It is the dryness (low available water), salt content (lowers available water), acidity (produced by lactic acid bacteria) and competitive “good” bacteria that provide safety for hard cheeses; because of these factors, they can be waxed and stored for aging for years on the shelf without safety problems.

The incorrect assertion that it is possible to safely can soft cheeses such as cream cheese is of major concern. Soft cheeses are higher in available water and must be refrigerated to delay spoilage. They contain sufficient available water to support the growth of botulism-causing bacteria. A boiling waterbath canning process does not kill spores; therefore, canning soft cheese clearly raises the potential for serious health problems.

So, until more testing is done by a very reliable source, I would consider canning cheese to be unsafe. At least I wouldn't consider it to be shelf stable.

  • Clostridium botulinum in cattle and dairy products.: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20301016 Take home: Botulism infections are becoming more common in cattle as silage processing changes. Bot spores will survive standard pasteurization. The Case of Botulinum Toxin in Milk: Experimental Data: aem.asm.org/content/76/10/3293.full Take home: Pasteurization at 72°C for 15 s inactivates at least 99.99% of BoNT/A and BoNT/B and at least 99.5% of their respective complexes. This paper didn't cover spores, but we already know they can survive from the first reference. Dec 28, 2015 at 0:21
  • Ran across a can of canned cream cheese in an ethnic Vietnamese grocery store in San Jose, CA. Cheddar too. I did not buy it, but they got it into the country somehow. Feb 2, 2016 at 1:01

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