Countdown to Soup Swap Day 10: How to Freeze Soup

6 years ago

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Less than a week to Soup Swap Day and if you're planning a swap -- unless you want a really annoying Friday night (trust me on this one) -- you should be narrowing down which soup you want to make and freeze. While you're agonizing over which soup really showcases your point of view as a chef, I've got tips that will guide you to freezer-friendly recipes and help you keep your masterpiece hauntingly flavorful (and safe to eat) when it's finally consumed.

Ingredients to Avoid When Freezing Soup

Some ingredients don't freeze that well; fortunately, they're almost always stuff you can add in when you're reheating the soup.

  • Eggs -- the one ingredient that I find really doesn't work to freeze. This includes eggs used as thickener for things like avgolemono, alas.
  • Potatoes. They get mealy. Some people are OK with that.
  • Cream or milk. It can separate, and I find it just tastes funny when it freezes. Doesn't hurt a bit to add it in when you reheat.
  • Pasta. Gets flabby. Add cooked pasta when you reheat.
  • Tofu -- gets chewier when you freeze it, which I actually like for soup, but if you're not looking for that texture, add it in when you reheat.

Image by Sporkist via Flickr

Picking Out Containers and Freezing Your Soup

  • Cool your soup thoroughly before you place it into a plastic container to freeze. This makes for faster freezing, which makes for smaller ice crystals, which makes for nicer defrosted soup. I usually take the soup out of the pot before putting it in the fridge (hot pots bring up the temp of the entire fridge -- no bueno for food safety). With many soups, you want to do that anyway, to let extra fat harden on top so you can remove it easily.
  • Use containers made for freezers. You will be sorry if you don't.
  • You can use plastic freezer bags, but note they will be messy to fill. If you do, fill them up and lie them flat on a cookie sheet so they freeze flat and stack.
  • Make sure to leave a little bit of space in any kind of container, as soup expands when it freezes. A quarter of an inch is fine; any more risks freezer burn. (Note: there are special rules for freezing in glass jars, which will burst if filled too full.)
  • Quart containers provide 4 cups of soup, which works for me as a meal for two.
  • Say it with me: Label your soups, people. Soup Swap has taught me well. I now label with the following: Date made, who made it, ingredients, special diet-compatibility (veg, vegan, gluten-free). I also tell myself what's missing from the soup: Add a cup of cream; mix in cooked pasta or rice; this wants potatoes; top with avocado, baked tortilla strips, chopped cilantro and sour cream, etc.
  • Soup has a freezer shelf life of two to three months.

Thawing and Reheating Soup

  • Thaw in the fridge (takes a day), under cold water (takes a couple of hours, submerge sealed container in cold water) or in the microwave in a microwave-safe container (minutes). Or just chuck your block of soup into a pot on the stove, heat and eat.
  • Check your seasonings before serving. Soup's flavors get more complex after the second day, but you might need to add some freshness and acid with chopped herbs, a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar.

What's your favorite soup to freeze?

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