Martha Stewart's Tip For Reviving Hard Parmesan Cheese

When it comes to cooking Italian cuisine, parmesan cheese is a common ingredient in many dishes. While buying in bulk may seem economical, the cheese can dry out if stored in the fridge for too long. Dry parm can be tough to grate, and though it remains safe to eat for a few months, its taste and texture might not be ideal.

Fortunately, celebrity chef Martha Stewart has shared her go-to method for reintroducing moisture to the cheese, enabling her to use it in dishes like chicken parmesan or as a topping for chicken and broccoli linguine. In a TikTok video, she shares that she wets a piece of cheesecloth and leaves it damp but not dripping. To ensure the moisture stays inside, though, Stewart seals the whole thing with cling wrap.


Use this trick for fresh parmesan, the perfect finishing touch for any meal #goodthing #tiptok #lifehacks

♬ original sound – Martha Stewart

Cheesecloth is beneficial here because the fabric is thin enough to allow for ample airflow, preventing condensation buildup while the cheese rehydrates. She recommends refrigerating the wrapped cheese overnight, giving it sufficient time to reabsorb moisture, which softens the cheese for easier grating and slicing.

Properly store parmesan to prevent drying out

While this method is useful for reviving dried-out cheese, Martha Stewart suggests proper storage of your parmesan to avoid this issue in the first place by tightly wrapping your parmesan in plastic wrap while storing it in the fridge, which shields the cheese from the cold air that can sap out its moisture.

If plastic wrap is unavailable, wax paper or aluminum foil are suitable alternatives for protecting the parmesan. Cheese paper — which is coated in wax and plastic, and designed specifically for this purpose — is another option. Additionally, placing the cheese in an airtight container can help prevent it from absorbing other odors in the fridge, compromising its quality.

Those who are concerned about using up all of the cheese before it goes bad should consider freezing it. Cut the large block into smaller portions, wrap each piece individually, and freeze them for up to a year. Thaw the cheese at room temperature for about 10 minutes before grating and using it.

How to use dried parmesan

If rehydrating your dried-out parmesan isn't an option, don't fret — the cheese may still be useful. Of course, you'll want to ensure it hasn't molded and still smells and tastes good. If it's merely dry and not spoiled, it can be added to soups, sauces, and broths, infusing them with a rich, cheesy flavor, particularly in dishes like this silky cauliflower cheddar soup, or in a creamy fettuccine Alfredo sauce.

Although it may require more effort than grating, you can still chop up your dry cheese with a sharp knife and cutting board. Once the cheese has been broken down into tiny pieces, it can be stirred into soups or sprinkled over pasta dishes for a little extra texture. Alternatively, cut the cheese into finer pieces, place them on a baking tray, and bake to create parmesan crisps.

If you don't mind your cheese a little on the powdery side, you can simply place smaller pieces of the cheese into your food processor to be ground down. Then, once it's powdered, it can be added into a shaker — picture the kind on tables at your favorite local pizza joint — for easy garnishing.