Learning how to freeze soup is an easy way to make sure you always have something warm and delicious around the house.
Whether you’re looking for a light dinner or a hearty lunch a tasty homemade soup can be one of the healthiest and easiest things you can cook at home. Having a few recipes on hand that are simple to make and freeze well is also a good way to eat healthier.
To be helpful, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about freezing soup, along with seven of our favorite recipes that taste just as delicious after they’ve been frozen as they did when they were first made.
The Best Ways to Freeze Soup
One trick that helped us cook and eat a lot more soups and stews is that every time we make a batch a third to a half goes into the freezer for later.
Planning on freezing some each time we’re making a batch has helped us get over the challenge the comes up with so many recipes, where you end up with such a large quantity that it’s almost impossible to finish it before you’re sick of eating it.
In this piece
When you start freezing soup, it helps to start with one you like to eat, otherwise, every time you see it in the freezer you’re going to pick something else to defrost.
Once the soup has been made, let it cool to room temperature before putting it in a freezer-safe container. Letting the soup cool first helps it to freeze evenly and prevents it from forming large ice crystals.
Some people recommend cooling soup in the fridge before freezing it to further cool it down. The problem with freezing soup when it’s hot is that it’s more likely to form large ice crystals, which can make it taste mushy once it’s been defrosted.
A couple of things to keep in mind when picking out freezer containers for soup. Starting with size, which does matter here, is to pick a size that matches how you like to eat soup. We like to use 4 cup containers with screw-on lids that hold around two servings. This makes them easy to store in the door of freezer and the right amount for dinner or lunches.
Soup expands as it freezes, so make sure not to overfill the containers. A good tip is to leave around an inch between the soup and the container’s lid. Which gives it enough room to expand while limiting the amount of air that can get in.
To help avoid freezer burn try to reduce the amount of air in the container, which is also why it’s a good idea to avoid under filling containers. Another way to reduce freezer burn is to put plastic wrap over the top of the soup before screwing on the lid.
Make sure to label the containers with the name of the soup and when it was made, name and month are fine. The general guidelines for keeping frozen soup are 3 to 6 months in the freezer. We often go for a year at our house with hearty soups and stews and they taste fine.
No matter how long something has been frozen the rule is if it tastes or smells funky when you defrost it, toss it.
Delicious Tasting Frozen Soup
One of the great things about freezing soup is that if you pick the right one and follow a couple of general guidelines it’s one of the few things that taste as good after it’s been frozen as it did when it was first cooked.
A common question people ask is “can you freeze soup?” The answer is you can, but some soups work better than others. In general, soups that have lots of proteins in them freeze well, while soups with certain types of starch, such as rice, pasta, and potatoes can end up being soggy when they’re defrosted.
Soups made with milk or cream often end up grainy when they’re defrosted, similar to what happens if they’re overheated or the dairy is added too early. A couple of ways to overcome this is to avoid boiling the soup before it’s frozen or after it’s defrosted. It can also help to whisk in some cream as it’s being reheated
A tip if you want to freeze soups that have pasta or cream in them is to hold those ingredients back when you’re making the soup and only add them when the soup is being reheated.
If you know you’re going to freeze a soup that has lots of vegetables, it can help to slightly undercook the vegetables, knowing they’ll finish cooking when the soup is being reheated.
How to Reheat Frozen Soup
Reheating soup that’s been frozen is as simple as it sounds. If you have the time just take the container out of the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge for a day or so. This is one of the places where picking the right sized container matters. The smaller the container the faster it will defrost.
If you don’t have time to let it defrost in the fridge, place the sealed container in the sink and run water over it until it starts to soften. Microwaves also work, just make sure that the container is microwave safe, the lid has been removed, and to use the defrost setting.
Once the soupsicle is willing to slide out of the container, it can be both warmed and defrosted in a saucepan on the stove. Just turn the heat on a low simmer and use a spoon to break the soup up as it transitions from frozen to liquid.
In general, the best way to reheat soup is on the stove in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat with regular stirring. This will let the soup heat through without anything in it overcooking. It’s also a good idea to wait to garnish the soup until it’s ready to be served.
Soups To Freeze
Once we started freezing soup and stews this way, we started making a lot more batches and a much wider variety. And the more variety in the house, the more we eat of the good stuff and less we order take-out.
Having a variety of soup & stews on hand also makes it easy to grab a couple of containers from the freezer at the beginning of the week and toss them into the fridge, so there’s something ready to eat whenever anyone is hungry. They also make great gifts.
Here are seven of our favorite soup and stew recipes that taste just as delicious after they’ve been frozen as they did when they were first made.
Italian Lentil soup is a hearty soup full of delicious vegetables and a scrumptious Italian sausage made with turkey that brings everything together. The fennel and leeks in this recipe compliment the lentils’ flavor and texture, making sure there’s some crunch to go along with the lentils’ earthiness.
This soup is a great choice if you’re looking for something healthy that works as a meal by itself or as the sidekick for a good sandwich. Make the Recipe
Lamb stew with fresh herbs and white beans is full of delicious flavors that have the right combination of fresh and hearty to work any time of the year.
What makes this lamb stew recipe so delicious is how the complex flavors from the coriander and fresh herbs come together and how the seasoned flour helps the lamb stay tender while creating a thick, rich stew. Make the Recipe
Buffalo is a great choice for stews because the lean meat produces a hearty stew that doesn’t weigh you down.
This buffalo stew recipe has lots of flavor, a little heat, and a nice mixture of tender slow-cooked buffalo and hearty potatoes to go along with the crunch from the Poblano peppers and carrots. Make the Recipe
Carrot soup with ginger is packed full of healthy ingredients that make it an excellent choice to eat all year long. We’ve done a few things with this recipe to help this soup standout, including roasting the carrots at a high temperature and figuring out the right time to add the ginger – hint it’s not at the beginning.
What we’ve ended up with is a soup where the earthy flavor in the carrots compliments the pugnaciousness of the ginger and the brightness of the coriander. Make the Recipe
We thought it would be worth including our everyday chili recipe in this roundup. This recipe is designed to be something you can throw together with a few simple items that can be kept in the house.
This is the type of chili that works well when you’ve been on the run all day, it’s cold outside, and all you want to do is curl up and have something that tastes great and fills you up. Make the Recipe
This is a simple, tomato soup recipe full of fresh vegetables that brings interesting flavors and textures together to create a heartwarming soup.
This tomato soup pairs perfectly with chilly days and plates full of grilled cheese. This also is one of our favorite soups to make for a crowd. Make the Recipe
This hearty Tuscan white bean soup is full of rich Italian flavors and is one of our favorite things to eat when we’re under the weather or longing for a trip to Italy. Make the Recipe
Stuff to Help You Make Better Soup
Making soup is pretty basic, all it takes is a big pot, low heat, and some water. That being said, here are a few things to help make cooking soup a little easier and more fun.
A good stick blender makes blended soups, like the roasted carrot soup, a lot easier to make. we’re partial to this immersion blender, but have lots of other good options in Umami’s market. A good stick blender makes everything so much easier and less messy than trying to transfer the soup to a traditional blender.
Our favorite thing to make soup in is our Le Creuset Dutch Oven, what we like so much about using our Le Creuset to make soup is how the pot holds on to the heat, letting us slowly cook the soup over a low simmer to build up layers of flavor. It doesn’t hurt that the Le Creuset pots are beautiful to look at and that the enamel makes cleaning them a breeze.
If you like the idea of making more homemade soups and stews, start by picking up some freezer containers, so you have them on hand, and then pick out a new recipe each month to get you started.
For more recipes and stories check out Umami’s section on Soups and Stews.