Can you freeze beef stew potatoes?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze beef stew with potatoes?” and discuss how to freeze beef stew with potatoes?

Can you freeze beef stew with potatoes?

Yes, you can freeze beef stew with potatoes. However, it is not recommended, as the texture of the potatoes change considerably during the freeze-thaw procedures, negatively affecting the sensory aspects of the dish. 

On the other hand, it is safe to freeze beef stew. Food leftovers may be stored for 1-2 months in the freezer (1). Freezing is one of the most used methods to preserve food.  

In China, processed products with potato as the principal raw material are less than 10% of the total output, and the forms of processed products are mainly of starch, modified starch, potato chips and fried chips, etc, and about 70% of the potato gross output was consumed in the form of fresh tuber in China (2).

What happens when you freeze beef stew with potatoes?

When you freeze beef stew with potatoes, the water present in your dish will freeze and restrict the growth of microorganisms. As a result, the shelf life of the food is extended. However, it is known that freezing and thawing of food may change the eating quality of frozen ready meals. 

Therefore, it is important to freeze freshly prepared meals and use high quality ingredients to provide good texture, flavor, aroma and appearance to the final dish. Quality of frozen foods decreases due to damage caused by recrystallisation, leading to loss of texture. In the case of ready-to-eat meals containing fat components of meat and sauce portions that are frozen, a common loss in quality is the development of off-flavors due to lipid oxidation (3).

In the case of foods containing starch, such as potatoes, they may undergo severe modifications when frozen, perceived through unwanted changes in texture that occur after freezing and thawing. This phenomenon is due to the retrogradation of the starch chains leading to syneresis, a separation of the starch gel and aqueous phases (4).

Which potatoes are better to freeze with beef stew? 

Potatoes that are low in amylose in their composition, known as waxy potatoes, are better to be frozen with beef stew. Examples are the varieties of fingerling and red potatoes. It is well known that low-amylose starches are more freeze–thaw stable than amylose-containing starches. Examples of high amylose potatoes are the varieties known as starchy potatoes, like Russet and Idaho (6). 

As mentioned earlier, the negative effects on the texture of freeze-thawed potatoes are due to the phenomenon called syneresis. Syneresis occurs due to the retrogradation of starch gels, where there is recrystallization of gelatinized starch chains with the consequent release of water. During retrogradation, amylose forms double-helical associations of glucose units, whereas amylopectin crystallization occurs by reassociation of the outermost short chains. Syneresis happens to a greater degree for starch-containing foods with higher amylose content for starch (7).

What determines the quality of a frozen and thawed beef stew with potatoes?

Besides taste, texture plays a significant role in the determination of eating quality for ready meals. While negative changes in the taste of frozen food may be prevented by avoiding temperature fluctuations and elimination of oxygen (by a good packaging with moisture/ oxygen barrier), changes in the texture may be reduced by a fast freezing process. 

Meat components are unlikely to experience significant changes in texture unless dehydration occurs during storage. This can be readily avoided by ensuring total coverage of the meat components with suitable moisture content sauces. The determining factor for meat texture is the quality of meat used. However, for vegetable components the texture may undergo considerable changes during processing, freezing and storage (3).

How to freeze beef stew with potatoes?

To freeze beef stew with potatoes, cool the dish within 2 hours to a temperature of 40°F or below. To prevent bacterial growth, it’s important to cool food rapidly. In the case of large portions, it is recommended to divide the large amounts of food into smaller portions, placing them in shallow containers. Make sure that the meat portions are covered with sauce to avoid dehydration during storage. Store beef stew in the freezer at a temperature of 0°F or below for 2 months (8). 

To thaw the frozen beef stew, place it in the refrigerator overnight (the safest method) or thaw it in the microwave. 

Other FAQs about Beef  that you may be interested in.

Does beef jerky go bad after opening?

Can you defrost beef burgers in the microwave?

Can you defrost beef at room temperature?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze beef stew with potatoes?” and we discussed how to freeze beef stew with potatoes and why some varieties of potatoes are better to be frozen than others.


  1. Foodkeeper. United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. Zhang, Hong, et al. Progress of potato staple food research and industry development in China. J integr agric, 2017, 16, 2924-2932.
  3. Kennedy, C. J. Future trends in frozen foods. Managing frozen foods, 2000, 345-356. CRC Press.  
  4. Jobling, Stephen A., et al. Production of a freeze–thaw-stable potato starch by antisense inhibition of three starch synthase genes. Nature Biotechnol, 2002, 20, 295-299.
  5. Freezing and Food Safety. United States Department of Agriculture.
  6. What Potatoes Have the Highest Glycemic Index? Tufts University Health & Nutrition.
  7. Kaur, Amritpal, et al. Effect of guar gum and xanthan gum on pasting and noodle-making properties of potato, corn and mung bean starches. J food sci technol, 2015, 52, 8113-8121.
  8. Leftovers and food safety. United States Department of Agriculture.

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