In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze spaghetti with meat sauce?”, and how long can you freeze spaghetti?
Can you freeze spaghetti with meat sauce?
Yes, you can freeze spaghetti with meat sauce. Freezing the spaghetti with the meat sauce is better than refrigerating it as long as you defrost the spaghetti in the fridge overnight. More on this in the article below.
What is the best way to freeze cooked spaghetti?
Frozen spaghetti will last 1-2 months in the freezer if stored correctly. Cook your spaghetti al-dente and toss it with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. This will prevent the spaghetti noodles from sticking or becoming mushy after defrosting. Then pack the spaghetti noodles in an air-tight container and freeze.
Does cooked spaghetti freeze well?
Stored with the sauce or not, frozen spaghetti does not go bad for at least 1-2 months. After the 2-month time window, the spaghetti undergoes noticeable quality changes but remains safe to eat. If you have a large volume of spaghetti, divide it into small portions so it can freeze faster. Fast freezing prevents the pasta from losing quality during freeze-thaw processes and during storage (1).
No matter how well you store your spaghetti, it will end up being mushy if you do not defrost it properly. Ideally, you should defrost your frozen spaghetti in the freezer overnight.
How long can you freeze spaghetti?
If you freeze your spaghetti following all the considerations mentioned above, you can expect it to last for about 8 months in the freezer. But the frozen spaghetti is best consumed within 2 months of storage, according to the US Department of Agriculture (2).
Pasta products lose quality due to changes in the gluten structure. During the frozen storage, the sample hardness might be influenced by the ice growing and recrystallization which caused great damage on the gluten network. This damage may increase soluble substances on the noodle surface, which lead to adhesiveness or stickiness of frozen cooked noodles when reheated. Consequently, the pasta loses its hardness (1).
How do you defrost the frozen spaghetti with meat sauce?
The best and the safest way to defrost the frozen spaghetti with meat sauce is to leave it overnight in the fridge. For this, you will need to plan your meal.
So, if you are pressed for time, you can rely on other quick-defrosting methods. One of them involves placing or dumping the spaghetti contained in cold running water.
How do you heat frozen spaghetti with meat sauce?
The purpose of cooking your pasta al-dente before freezing ensures that it does not go mushy when reheated. After you have defrosted your frozen spaghetti with meat sauce, put it in a pan and heat it over medium heat on the stovetop.
Add a splash of water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Finish off by sprinkling grated parmesan on top.
Most frozen convenience foods are best if thawed before cooking in the microwave. Use a low-power defrost cycle followed by a cycle at higher power to cook and heat the food. Follow the directions for thawing and heating that come with your microwave. A general guideline is that it will take about 6–8 minutes for each pound of food thawed at a defrost setting (30 percent power). The food may need to be rotated or turned over halfway through the defrosting time (3).
Freezer Spaghetti Sauce recipe
- 4 onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 16 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste
- Saute the onion, garlic, green pepper, and vegetable oil in a slow cooker until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Then stir in the chopped tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, sugar, salt, and ground black pepper and cook for 2-3 hours on low heat, stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from burning.
- Remove the sauce from heat and let it come down to room temperature. Divide the sauce equally into quart-size freezer containers and pop them in the freezer.
- When ready to use the sauce, defrost it and mix it with a can of tomato paste.
According to the Australian Institute of Sport, one portion of spaghetti bolognese contains:
How to freeze spaghetti bolognese?
Cook spaghetti bolognese
Boil the pasta al-dente and cook the bolognese sauce as per the recipe instructions.
Leave to cool
Let the spaghetti bolognese come to room temperature before packing it away for freezing. If not allowed to cool, the steam from the food will have no way to escape.
The condensed steam droplets inside the storage container will turn into ice crystals. These ice particles will damage the quality of the food while compromising food safety.
Freezing warm food raises the temperature inside the freezer. This puts the other frozen food at the risk of spoilage.
Cooling the food quickly is important to ensure safety and freshness. To speed cooling, put the pan containing the prepared hot dish (such as a main dish or sauce) in a pan or sink of ice water. Stir every 5–10 minutes. This is especially important when preparing large amounts of food (3).
Place in container
Now it is time to divide the spaghetti bolognese into portions and put them in the container. You can use both freezer bags and air-tight containers.
Use freezer bags to store small portions as they can be stacked on top of each other and take up less space in the freezer. Opt for an air-tight container when you have a large batch of spaghetti bolognese to store. Use freezer- and microwave-oven-safe containers to package foods that will be thawed and/or reheated in a microwave oven (3).
Squeeze out the air and label
Squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer bag before you chuck it in the freezer. This helps block the air and moisture contact and maximize the shelf-life. Besides, deflated freezer bags save freezer space. The more oxygen removed from the container, the better the food quality. However, removing oxygen does not prevent bacteria from growing (3).
Putting a clear label may seem trivial but it is a very important practice. It helps you in identifying the frozen food without having to make any vague guesses. Moreover, it helps keep track of the shelf-life of frozen food.
Put the container in the coldest part of the freezer, which is the back of the freezer. A steady temperature plays a key role in the longevity of frozen food.
Other FAQs about Spaghetti that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze spaghetti with meat sauce?”, and how long can you freeze spaghetti?
- Liu, Qian, Xiao-Na Guo, and Ke-Xue Zhu. Effects of frozen storage on the quality characteristics of frozen cooked noodles. Food chem, 2019, 283, 522-529.
- FoodKeeper Data. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Raab, Carolyn A., and Nellie Oehler. Freezing Convenience Foods that you’ve prepared at home. 2002. Oregon State University.