Can You Freeze Beef Stew?

You’ve knocked together a batch of beef stew, and let’s be honest, it does take effort. So you’re left asking yourself: Can you freeze beef stew? And does beef stew freeze well or not?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze beef stew. Beef stew can be frozen for around 6 months. Allow it to cool to room temperature before portioning into bags or containers and then storing them in the freezer.

How To Freeze Beef Stew

The method for freezing beef stew is far from complicated but there are a few things you’ll want to do along the way to ensure it freezes well. The best way to freeze beef stew is as follows:

  1. Cool
    The cooked beef stew shouldn’t be stored until it has completely cooled. However, you can’t leave it out on the counter as this could cause bacterial growth. The best method is to dip the pot of stew in ice water for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this until it reaches room temperature.
  2. Prepare Containers
    For storage, use plastic containers that are airtight. Foil trays will also do if they have tight lids and wide mouths. Choose the size of the container, depending on your purpose. Storing for the entire family means using larger containers. For individual meals, use smaller containers to avoid defrosting excess stew. Consider how you’ll use it and then select an appropriate container.
  3. Portion Out
    Spoon your stew into the containers. Keep in mind that the stew will expand as it freezes. So leave around a centimetre from the top of the lid to the top of the stew to allow for this expansion.
  4. Label and Freeze
    Finally, label the containers with the contents and then place them into the freezer. Try to keep the containers level to avoid unwanted leakages. 

It should be noted that thickeners like cornstarch or flour will separate once you freeze. Plan out whether you want to freeze your stew, and don’t thicken it until you’re ready to reheat. Potatoes are also best added during reheating so that they don’t lose their texture.

How to Freeze Beef Stew with Dumplings

While regular beef stew can be made ahead and frozen, dumplings don’t freeze as well, unfortunately. Dumplings will lose their firmness, texture and flavour, causing them to fall apart during reheating.

That is why it’s best to make and add dumplings into the stew right before you eat it.

Freeze Beef Stew with Dumplings

3 Tips for Freezing Beef Stew

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing beef stew to have the best results:

  • Consider Portion Sizes – Consider the portions you’re most likely to consume the stew in and then select containers of this size. This makes it far easier to defrost one portion at a time as and when you want it. 
  • Stir Through Fresh Herbs Afterwards – To add freshness to stew, stir through fresh parsley after reheating it. This is a great way to balance out the richness and to hide the fact it was once frozen at all.
  • Place in the Fridge Overnight – You can allow the flavour of your stew to intensify before freezing it by placing it into the fridge overnight then freezing it the following day. This period in the fridge will give all the flavours time to develop further. It’s why stew tastes better the next day! 

How Long Can You Freeze Beef Stew?

As long as you have stored the beef stew in a sealable container, the stew will remain safe to eat for months and months. It can last up to 4 to 6 months at a go. During this period, the quality will be well maintained.

You can store it for longer without any safety issues, but the flavour will decrease with time.

You Can Freeze Beef Stew for Around 6 Months

How Do You Defrost Beef Stew?

The best way to defrost beef stew is by keeping it in the fridge overnight to thaw out. This is a long process, but safer as well.

However, if you’re in a rush and want your stew defrosted right away, there are a few alternate methods.

You can defrost your beef stew in the microwave or a saucepan. This is entirely up to your preference, and both methods are effective. The first step for either method is to run the freezer container under some hot water.

Do this until the stew loosens up a little.

After this, you can directly pop it into the microwave in a microwave-safe container. Keep pausing to stir throughout the process so that clumping doesn’t occur. This will give you an evenly defrosted and heated stew.

For thawing in the saucepan, add the contents into the appropriate pan and heat it slowly. Keep the heat on the lowest setting until the stew is fully melted.

Can You Refreeze Beef Stew?

Refreezing meats can be a concern, given their tendency to go bad. Once you thaw beef stew, you can keep it in the fridge for 3 to 4 more days. It is best to eat thawed beef stew immediately and not leave it out for long.

Do not leave defrosted stew in the open at room temperature. If it is left out for longer than 2 hours, it is best to discard it.

If you have thawed the beef stew in the fridge itself, then refreezing is much safer. You can refreeze this without any issues since the meat is not raw.

Does Beef Stew Freeze Well?

In short, beef stew does freeze well. It is considered a great make-ahead dish. This means that you can make some ahead of time and store them for busy days! However, always ensure you follow the right freezing method.

Additionally, defrost with care to keep your stew in the best form and fresh.

Most stews and soups will freeze quite well. Beef stew follows this tendency as well. Keep in mind that the containers do not allow any extra moisture to seep in.

Moreover, the container shouldn’t have too much empty room remaining once you pour in the stew. Another great tip is to refrigerate the stew overnight before you freeze it for longer.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing beef stew or stew in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Beef Cheek Stew?

Beef cheeks lend themselves perfectly to being slow-cooked in a stew. The good news is that everything published on this page can be applied to beef stews made with most cuts of beef, including cheeks.

Can You Freeze Beef Stew with Guinness?

Generally speaking, the alcohol will have been cooked off and reduced significantly when cooking a stew with Guinness which means it won’t have a huge impact on the way it freezes.

That means you can use the same method outlined above for freezing stew made with Guinness.

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