Pasta is a staple in many households. It comes in countless shapes and pairs perfectly with various ingredients and sauces.
So, if you love having pasta dishes throughout the week, you might be considering: Can I cook pasta in a big batch and freeze it for later?
Perhaps, you prefer making homemade fresh pasta from scratch. As simple as it gets, preparation always takes time. Can you make fresh pasta and freeze it?
We’ve all been there. Luckily, this article has all the answers for you. Keep reading to find the ultimate guide on freezing and preserving pasta—with or without sauce.
Various Ways How To Freeze Pasta
From lasagna to spaghetti bolognese to fettuccine carbonara, freshly-cooked pasta is undoubtedly flavorful and delicious.
Plus, there is always a reason to freeze pasta. Whether to salvage leftovers, cook in a big batch, or to preserve homemade fresh pasta, freezing is your way to go.
Freezing Pasta Dishes
If you cook in a large portion, serve as needed and freeze the rest immediately. Don’t let the dish stand outside of the fridge for more than 2 hours.
If you have leftovers that you can’t finish within 3 to 4 days, freezing is your best option. Make sure to check that they are still fresh prior to freezing.
Here is our simple guide to freezing pasta.
1. Cook pasta dishes following your favorite recipes.
2. Let it cool rapidly.
3. Decide whether to freeze a whole dish or in individual portions.
If you plan to serve the dish over several meals, consider dividing it into individual servings.
This way, you can pull out a pack instead of thawing a whole big package. Plus, a smaller package means a shorter time for thawing and reheating.
If you want to serve the entire dish in one sitting, freezing the whole dish shouldn’t be a problem. For baked pasta, such as lasagna or mac and cheese, freezing them in oven-safe pans allows you to reheat them right in the oven.
4. Pack each portion into a resealable freezer bag or freezer-safe container. For freezing lasagna, cut in square and wrap in plastic wrap before packing in a freezer bag.
5. Squeeze as much air as possible from the bag.
6. Seal tightly and freeze.
Freezing Cooked Pasta Without Sauce
This method results in slightly better quality than freezing fully-cooked pasta dishes.
Simply freeze pasta and sauce separately. When it’s time to eat, simply reheat the pasta and mix it with the sauce.
Follow this step-to-step guide to freezing cooked spaghetti and pasta.
1. Cook pasta until slightly under al dente.
For the cooking time, follow the instructions on the package. Avoid cooking it too soft because we will reheat and cook with the sauce later on.
2. Allow the cooked pasta to cool slightly.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss it gently. Adding olive oil helps to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other.
4. Divide it into a single portion and pack in a small freezer bag or container.
For pasta noodles, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, flash-freeze them before packing. Gently shape the spaghetti into little nests, lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and flash-freeze for a few hours. Transfer frozen spaghetti to a freezer bag.
5. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal tightly.
6. Label the container with the dish name and freezing date.
Freezing Fresh Homemade Pasta
If you take your time in making fresh pasta from scratch, you must want to store it the right way.
Refrigeration preserves the freshness for only 1 to 2 days. Luckily, your freezer is the best place to store homemade pasta.
Here is how you should freeze spaghetti to preserve its peak quality.
1. Prepare fresh pasta/spaghetti following the recipe.
2. Cut and shape your favorite shapes into long noodles, shells, or other shapes.
3. Coat pasta with flour and spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For spaghetti and other long-shaped pasta, take a single serving size, and lay it on the baking sheet.
4. Freeze for at least 15 minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other.
5. Divide the slightly frozen pasta into a single serving size.
6. Transfer to a freezer bag.
7. Press as much air as possible and seal tightly.
8. Write the freezing date and the amount
How To Defrost and Reheat Frozen Pasta
When it comes to defrosting and reheating, the guidelines are slightly different depending on how far the pasta has been cooked.
Frozen Pasta Dishes
Just a quick note, pasta dishes are perishable. Thus, thawing it on the kitchen counter is not recommended.
You can safely defrost it in the refrigerator. Although it takes a lot of time, refrigerator thawing is the safest method. If you have leftovers, you can refreeze them within 3 to 4 days after thawing.
Once thawed, bake in the oven or reheat in a pan. Make sure the center part reaches 165 °F.
Alternatively, you can also directly reheat it in the microwave or in a pan.
For baked dishes, such as lasagna or mac and cheese, you can reheat them right away in the oven as long as they are frozen in an oven-safe pan.
Frozen Cooked Pasta Without Sauce
Simply bring water to a boil and add frozen pasta. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and combine with the sauce.
Frozen Homemade Pasta
Bring a generous amount of water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt (optional) and drop frozen pasta in the pan and cook until al dente. Cooking time varies on the type of pasta.
How Long Can You Refrigerate and Freeze Pasta?
Cooked pasta can be refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days. Transfer the dish to a sealed airtight container, preferably a shallow one. Refrigerate within 2 hours after cooking.
Meanwhile, freezing can preserve cooked dishes for up to 2 to 3 months. That means you can freeze lasagna or spaghetti bolognese up to this time without losing the flavor and texture.
If you spend your weekend making fresh pasta, luckily, you can freeze it for 1 to 2 months.
|Cooked pasta with sauce (pasta dish)||2 to 3 months|
|Cooked pasta without sauce||2 to 3 months|
|Homemade fresh pasta (uncooked)||1 to 2 months|
See more: Does dry pasta go bad?
For uncooked dry pasta, check thoroughly for discolorations, visible molds, or pantry bugs. Discard cooked pasta if it looks slimy or discolored, smells rotten, or tastes unpleasant. If it has been sitting in the fridge for more than 4 to 5 days, also throw it out for safety reasons.
Yes, most pasta sauces freeze quite well. Opt for tomato-based sauce rather than cream-based one. Tomato-based sauces, such as bolognese sauce and marinara, are the most freezer-friendly. Meanwhile, cream-based sauce, such as alfredo sauce, tends to split and become watery after thawing.
Dry, well-sealed pasta has a shelf life that is incredibly long. The possibility of bacterial or mold growth is low, provided that dried pasta has minimal moisture content. However, when you see signs of molds, insects, or off smell, it’s probably time to toss your dry pasta.
Freezing pasta makes your life a lot easier. It prevents food waste, saves a lot of cooking time, and allows you to whip up delicious meals in a flash.
It works perfectly for both preserving leftovers and prepping your meals throughout the week. Simply make ahead of time, with or without sauces, and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months.
Fresh homemade pasta is also freezer-friendly and can be frozen for up to 1 to 2 months. Also, check these pasta alternatives if you’re looking for a substitute when cooking.
See more: Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?
*image by MissesJones&moshkoviktor/depositphotos