Soup options can feel endless and are the ultimate comfort food for sick days, Winter nights, or when you're feeling nostalgic and just want to feel at home. Soups are great for meal prepping and are often quick and easy to whip up, but most recipes make pretty large batches - so what's the best way to store leftovers? Freezing soup may seem super easy, but in reality, not all soups can be frozen and there are varying shelf lives depending on your ingredients. Let us break it down for you.
The best soups to freeze are stews with chunky vegetables, protein, and broth. These typically hold up well due to the nature of their ingredients - broth doesn't separate or curdle and proteins and vegetables can withstand the moisture well to keep intact. These soups can last up to three months in the freezer.
What you will want to be wary of is freezing anything with dairy or something cream-based. These soups can be frozen for one month, tops. Sometimes, if you leave the soup in the freezer for too long, the dairy will begin to separate from the other ingredients, which gives it that chunky texture while it's thawing out. This could also lead the dairy within the soup to curdle while it's getting reheated, which is definitely not what you want. But here's a pro-tip from blog Fit Foodie Finds: if you know you're planning ahead for a future meal and aren't simply putting away leftovers, make your soup and avoid adding in the dairy until after you reheat what you froze. Just add your heavy cream or cheese at the end!
Chowders and rice or noddle soups are delicious, but their main ingredients don't do well over time, as starchy foods typically absorb liquid. Noodles and rice expand until near disintegration and potatoes turn mushy. So, like dairy-based soups, consider adding in your larger starches during the reheating process for a better taste. Without the starches added in, these soup bases can also last up to three months in your freezer.
Now, while you consider storing your soups, think of how you best want to serve them. You can't necessarily chisel out a chunk of frozen soup for just a small individual bowl, so look into containers of varying sizes so you can thaw out just the right amount without having to wait hours for an entire batch to be ready. This will save you space in your freezer with stackable containers. You can also use airtight bags.