Freezing soup is a smart and practical way to enjoy your favourite recipes with minimum work, reduce food waste and ensure that you always have a delicious meal on hand.
I am a big fan of always having some soup ready and waiting in the freezer. In fact, when making soup I nearly always make a larger batch than needed immediately, and freeze the remainder.
It saves so much time; if I want soup at lunchtime, I can simply take out a pot from the freezer in the morning, and leave it to defrost. Three minutes in the microwave to heat it up, and I have a building block for lunch.
- All my easy soup recipes
- Carrot parsnip soup is gloriously golden
- Roasting concentrates all the flavours in this roasted tomato red pepper soup
- Roasted sweet red pepper tomato red lentil soup has extra protein from the lentils
- The classic tomato soup
- Spiced pumpkin carrot and sweet potato soup is my favourite autumn soup
However, when freezing soup, there are some dos and don’ts that make sure I’m enjoying a tasty bowl of soup, rather than one that has deteriorated from freezing.
What are the best soups to freeze?
Broth or bouillon
Any stock-based broth freezes well, as does stock itself. For everyday use, I’m happy to freeze a broth containing vegetables, but for something a bit more special, I can freeze stock for when needed, and then add fresh vegetables to cook just before eating.
Get my chicken stock recipe.
Frozen broths are the most basic soup to freeze, as it’s just a matter of letting it cool and then store inside freezer-safe containers for storing.
Meat based soups, and dishes that straddle that meaty soup/stew divide, freeze well. In fact, I find frequently that a dish like this actually improves as a result of some time frozen.
Rice Based Soup
If you love Asian cuisine, you’ll be pleased to know that rice soups freeze well. Congee, a staple in many Asian countries, is packed with nutrients and is even a meal on its own.
Freezing pureed soups come with a caveat: they will only freeze well when there’s little to no dairy content. If you’re adding cream or milk to a soup, it’s better to take as much as you need for immediate use, and add the dairy to that.
Then freeze the base soup without any added dairy. To serve, defrost the soup and then add any required dairy product before reheating.
Get the recipe for the celery lentil soup above.
Beans and lentil soups are also great to freeze for future consumption. Beans often take time to soften, which is why freezing any extra servings you have will help save time in meal prepping.
Get the recipe for bacon lentil soup.
Which soups don’t freeze well?
Not all soups may be frozen. Soups which don’t respond well to freezing include:
Potatoes or soups with cream , as they change in texture and even separate from the soup base when thawed. This includes soups with coconut milk.
Seafood soups, as they may develop a pungent smell when frozen
Soups thickened with cornstarch or eggs, as they turn out thin and watery when reheated
Soups with pasta, such as chicken noodle soup. The noodles can become mushy and soggy after freezing.
Soup toppings, such as fresh herbs, cheese, and tortilla chips, should not be added to the soups before freezing; add just before serving.
How to freeze soup.
First, remove any ingredient that you’re not freezing, such as pasta or dumplings. The best way to freeze soup is by cooling the soup quickly to room temperature.
Or, if you don’t have time to wait, you can cool the soup in a container in an ice bath.
Transfer the soup to an air tight container; either a plastic box with waterproof sealing lid, or a freezer weight plastic bag with a zip closure.
I find that a 500ml (2 cup tub) is perfect for soup for 2.
I always find using a jam funnel useful when filling containers with liquid. It makes it much easier to avoid spills.
Remember to label the containers with both the type of soup and the date you made and froze it. This avoids the unknown package or unidentified frozen object (UFO) at the bottom of the freezer!
Don’t overfill the container. The soup will expand slightly as it freezes. Make sure it has enough space for expansion. Otherwise the container might crack, or the lid get pushed off.
Place the container in the freezer. Don’t crowd containers of unfrozen soup together. You want it to freeze as quickly as possible.
How long can you keep soup in the freezer?
Soups typically stay good in the freezer for three months, while broths can last up to six months in your freezer.
But just because they stay long in the freezer doesn’t mean you should push them that long. If they stay too long, they’re at risk of freezer burn.
How to prevent freezer burn
The cold environment in a freezer has very low humidity. Anything left in the freezer will lose its water content which causes freezer burn.
To avoid this, seal the soup in an airtight container before freezing. Also, don’t keep anything in the freezer for too long.
How to defrost and reheat frozen soup
Fully defrosting soup before reheating means you will only be reheating it. If you start to reheat partially frozen soup the defrosted soup will cook, as the rest defrosts.
The easiest to defrost soup is simply to put the container straight from the freezer into the fridge 24 hours before the soup is wanted. This mean no worries about food safety.
Otherwise, if I want soup at lunchtime, I leave it in the closed container on the countertop after breakfast. And by lunchtime it’s completely defrosted.
To speed things up a little; if I’m defrosting a larger quantity, or I want it defrosted in an hour or so, I place the airtight container in a sink full of lukewarm water. This defrosts it far faster than sitting in air.
I think it’s better not to defrost or cook food in the microwave in a plastic container. Also, defrosting and reheating in a slow cooker is not recommended, as the extended time at warm, but not hot, temperatures is ideal for bacteria to grow.
Once defrosted, heat the soup either on the stovetop in a saucepan, or in the microwave (I like to use a Pyrex style jug) and enjoy.
Get the recipe for the parsnip apple soup above.