Under the right circumstances you can refreeze most foods – even raw meat like chicken breasts. Each time you freeze food, more cell walls break down. This breakdown will cause a change in texture and loss of quality that you might not enjoy, but the food will be safe to eat.
What about soups and stews? Can you refreeze the soup you’ve thawed?
Yes, you can refreeze soup. As long as the soup doesn’t sit at room temperature for a couple of hours or more, thawed soup is safe to refreeze. The safest way to refreeze soup is to reheat the soup thoroughly before cooking and refreezing.
Let’s look at the best way to freeze and refreeze soup to make sure it’s safe and delicious when you’re ready to eat it.
Freezing Soup for the Best Quality
When you freeze soup the first time, you’ll determine whether or not the soup will still be delicious if you need to refreeze it later. Follow these tips to retain the soup’s freshness for the best results.
Don’t Let Soup Sit at Room Temperature
The general rule is to throw away any cooked food sitting at room temperature for two hours or more. Cooked foods that need refrigeration can reach the temperature danger zone if left at room temperature for too long.
This danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacterial growth in this temperature range can spoil the food and make you sick.
If the soup is too hot to put directly into the freezer after your meal, quick-cool it instead of letting it gradually cool down. Fill a bowl, sink, or larger pot with ice and water, then put your soup container into that ice bath.
Use the Right Container
Freeze soup in an airtight container. Make sure it’s a freezer-safe container so it can protect the food from humidity and freezer burn.
The best way to freeze soup is to put it into multiple small containers or freezer bags and cool each of those quickly in the same way before freezing. If you use small containers, you’ll be less likely to have soup left to refreeze.
When the soup is no longer hot, put it in the freezer. Put it as close to the back of the freezer as you can so its temperature doesn’t change every time the door opens.
Thaw the Soup Properly
The best way to thaw frozen food is to put it into the refrigerator overnight or a day before you need to use it. Don’t thaw it on the countertop. Thawing at room temperature risks all or part of the food getting too warm and staying at that temperature for too long.
If you use a container that can go from a freezer to a microwave oven, you can remove or vent the lid and quickly thaw and heat the soup in the microwave.
If you can pop the soup out of the container, you can put it into a pot on the stove and quickly reheat it without thawing, too. Keep any thawed soup in the refrigerator.
Can you refreeze the soup you reheated? What if it didn’t completely thaw?
Only refreeze soup that has been kept refrigerated at 40 degrees or less for no more than three or four days.
If you’ve kept vegetable soup in the fridge for more than four days, it’s not a good candidate for freezing. Likewise, if the soup contains meat or dairy, you shouldn’t refreeze it after three days in the refrigerator.
For food safety purposes, bring thawed soup to a full boil before quick-cooling and refreezing the unused portion. Boiling it reduces the risk of foodborne illness from any bacteria that could be there.
Don’t refreeze soup you thawed in a microwave or on the stovetop. Only freeze soup that you thawed slowly in the refrigerator.
What if you reheated the soup? You can still refreeze it. Bring it to a full boil during the reheating process, quick-cool it in an ice bath if it’s too hot to put in the freezer, and refreeze.
How Long Can You Freeze Soup?
Freezers that maintain the proper temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit or below will keep food frozen indefinitely. As a result, food won’t spoil and become dangerous to eat at that temperature.
That doesn’t mean you can keep soup in your freezer for two years and enjoy a delicious meal. It might be safe to eat, but it will break down over time and lose taste and texture. The appearance will also change.
Plan to eat any frozen soup within about three months. You might find that even after a year, it tastes fine. But after three months, the quality of the food will change. The longer it stays frozen, the more moisture the soup will lose and the less tasty it will become.
Here are some common questions about freezing and refreezing soup to help you get the best results.
Do all soups freeze well?
Most soup and stews freeze well, but the ingredients in a soup help determine whether the quality will change much after freezing. Soup that contains crunchy vegetables, for instance, will have a different texture because the cell walls in the veggies will break down and become soft.
Which soups don’t freeze well?
Noodle soups and soups with pasta don’t freeze well. The pasta can turn into mush when the soup thaws. Likewise, potatoes change in texture when frozen and become mushy or grainy. Creamy soups that contain milk or cream can separate after thawing and look less appealing, but they’ll taste the same.
Can I freeze soup in a Mason jar?
Using Mason jars can help you freeze soup in small portions. You can freeze soup or other foods in glass containers like Mason jars, but this comes with a small risk of breakage.
Mason jars usually hold up well, but if one does break, you’ll have to deal with broken glass in your freezer. Other materials like plastic remove that risk.
How can I freeze soup in individual portions?
Small freezer-safe containers with sealing lids or small sealing freezer bags work for small portions of soup or other foods. Using small containers instead of thawing one large one and refreezing the leftovers is convenient and safe.
This method reduces the risk of bacteria growth, too.
Wrap Up: Can You Refreeze Soup?
As long as you follow food safety practices like freezing soup quickly, using freezer-safe containers, and thawing soup in the refrigerator, you can safely refreeze soup to enjoy another day.