The Best Way To Freeze (And Thaw) Soup To Retain Flavor & Nutrients
Nothing can warm you up from the inside out like cozying up with a steaming, wholesome bowl of soup. Luckily, soup is also a versatile timesaver you can make ahead in batches and enjoy throughout the year.
And whether you're storing leftovers or honing your meal-prep skills, freezing soup is one of the best ways to avoid waste and secure a healthy, readily available dish.
There are so many creative ways to ensure optimal longevity of freezer-friendly soups. Here, experts share the best ways to successfully freeze (and thaw) soup to help it retain peak flavor and nutrition.
The best methods to freeze soup.
Using freezer-safe storage containers is one of the most valuable tools for stocking up on soup. We're talking about the types of containers that can endure the cold without cracking or shattering, particularly during rapid temperature shifts.
It's equally important to "choose container sizes that fit your lifestyle," says Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D., author The MIND Diet. "If you're one person, reheating from a container that includes one to two servings makes more sense than having to reheat six servings to get one meal."
Another helpful tip to consider is to let your soup cool down thoroughly before transferring it into your favorite freezer container.
The bag method.
Not all bags are made the same, and when it comes to freezer-appropriate choices, the best (and most sustainable) ones are reusable silicon style versus single-use bags. Aside from being a convenient, washer-friendly option, "you can also reheat the whole bag in a pot of hot water," Moon suggests.
Freezer-specific plastic bags are also an option—and a better one over conventional sandwich baggies. These are made of thicker and sturdier plastic, which prevents them from leaking or becoming brittle. Because liquids expand as they chill, make sure to leave 1 to 2 inches of space at the top of the bag (which applies to almost any soup-friendly container you choose). Buying high-quality freezer bags from a reliable brand you trust is always a good bet.
A quick tip: If you're on a mission to prevent freezer burn, aim to press out as much air as possible from your zip-top freezer bags (although certainly not necessary, a vacuum sealer might come in handy). Then, freeze your bags flat or store them upright like books to maximize freezer space.
Silicone molds, ice cube trays, or muffin tins.
You read that right! Muffin tins, ice cube trays, and silicone molds are a brilliant way to freeze single soup servings.
Why do we love this method? It allows you to distribute and store almost any soup into contained serving sizes. One tip to keep in mind: When you're ready to reheat your frozen soup, set the tins in a tray filled with warm water to help the portions pop out.
Freezer-appropriate glass vessels are a practical, plastic-free way to store soup, as long as you leave enough expansion room so the glass doesn't crack. According to Moon, "There are freezer-safe glass containers on the market that can go straight into the microwave for a quick defrost."
Mason jars are a durable, inexpensive glass favorite that make for a lovely storage solution (wide-mouth options work especially well). Their tight lids mean you can minimize freezer burn without worrying about leaks. Just be sure to let your soup cool down to room temperature before freezing, to avoid glass fractures down the road. And if you're worried about spilling soup all over the counter in the pot-to-jar transition, a funnel might be useful.
Glass jars are also one of the few microwave-safe options. That said, remember to remove the metal lid before zapping your Mason jar.
Why is soup a fabulous freezer food?
Soup has been a staple in most cultures globally for good reason. They're often full of nutrient-dense ingredients, which, when simmered, tend to be easier to digest while retaining their maximum nutritional value.
Soup is a health-supporting powerhouse that's easy to cook, eat, and, yes, freeze! Ingredients, flavors, textures, ratios, cooking techniques, storage methods—the sky is the limit when it comes to soup. Its wide variety and versatility make it an unmatchable freezer food.
How long does it keep?
Generally, soup lasts roughly three to six months in the freezer, depending on the ingredients. Veggie-based broths, stews, and soups tend to last longer than dairy or meat-based ones, but it's always useful to keep an eye on your frozen soups. If they look, smell, or taste unpleasant, it might be time to throw them away.
A quick tip: Label your freezer-safe containers with both the date and name, to help you keep track of your frozen meals.
A few common soup-freezing questions, answered.
Can you freeze creamy soups?
Sure, but it might not reheat well—you'd be better off cooking the ingredients and leaving out the cream or roux and then doing that step when you thaw the ingredients and are ready to serve. Also, be sure to "reheat dairy- or soy-milk-based soups gently, or they'll curdle or separate," says Moon.
Can you freeze noodle soups?
Hold the pasta! Cook it fresh and add it to the soup when you're ready to eat it, for the best texture. Why? Because soggy noodles are no fun. Starches tend to absorb liquid while frozen and become mushy after reheating.
Can you freeze potato soups?
Starchy ingredients are usually best added immediately before serving, but freezing the base is a great option.
Soup recipes that freeze well.
Considering what we now know within the marvelous soup realm, here are some of our top recipes with excellent freezer potential:
Freezing is a straightforward, creative approach to storing and preserving soup all year long. Glass and silicone containers are great options for storage, and some soups keep better than others. Opt for a soup-freezing method that best fits your culinary and lifestyle preferences.
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