Can You Freeze Cooked Pasta?

Is there a more popular carb than pasta? With so many varieties available to us from the supermarket, it’s easy to base a weekly meal plan on this versatile and affordable mainstay.

Whether you rustle up a bolognese to accompany spaghetti or include some fresh veg in a rich and creamy pasta bake, you might be wondering if it’s okay to freeze cooked pasta and save it for later?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze cooked pasta. Cooked pasta can be frozen for around 3 months. Regardless of whether your pasta has been cooked as part of a recipe, or if you just have some leftover from the pan, you can box it up and place it in the freezer for future use.

How to Freeze Cooked Pasta

Although pasta tends to be quick and easy to prepare, some people like to cook it in a batch and add it to a variety of recipes. Pasta is the perfect staple to include in so many lunch and dinner dishes, that it’s helpful to have a cooked supply of pasta on hand, so you can save yourself time and effort in the kitchen.

Here’s how you freeze cooked pasta successfully:

  1. Drain
    If your cooked pasta isn’t already a part of a particular recipe, you will need to drain the excess water from your pasta, using a colander or sieve.
  2. Allow to Cool
    Once drained, you will need to leave your pasta on the side to cool. It’s helpful to remove it from the pan and transfer it to a cool dish, as this will speed the cooling up significantly.
  3. Split Into Portions:
    Next, decide how you want to split your pasta. It’s better to divvy it up into portion sizes before you freeze it, so you only have to take the needful out of the freezer when you come to eat it.
  4. Place Into a Container
    If you’re freezing plain cooked pasta, you can place it in a freezer-safe bag. Just make sure you press out as much air as possible from the bag before you freeze it, to save it from freezer burn. If your pasta is part of a dish or is covered in sauce, you’re better to freeze it in a Tupperware box to avoid leakages.
  5. Label and Freeze
    Write the date that you cooked your pasta, as well as the desired use by date. Remember, you can freeze cooked pasta for around three months.

3 Tips for Freezing Cooked Pasta

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

  • Ensure Ingredients are Evenly Distributed – If you’re freezing your cooked pasta as a ready-made dish like a pasta bake, be sure to carefully divide up the ingredients before you freeze it. After all, you don’t want one portion to be full of ingredients, and the other to be exclusively pasta!
  • Try to Freeze Pasta and Sauce Apart – While it’s possible to freeze cooked pasta with associated sauces [like spaghetti Bolognese], for instance, you should try and freeze them separately if possible. This will ensure the texture of your pasta is well preserved and doesn’t soften in the freezer, which can happen if you freeze it alongside sauce and other ingredients.
  • Avoid Cheese – A bit like point two, try and avoid topping your cooked pasta with cheese and other ingredients before you freeze it. These can be frozen separately or added fresh after your cooked pasta has defrosted. 

How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Pasta?

You can freeze cooked pasta for around three months.

It’s important to get your cooked pasta in the freezer as quickly as you can to ensure it’s nice and fresh when you come to defrost it. If you plan to use your leftovers within a couple of days, you can place your cooked pasta in the fridge.

However, if you know straight away that you want to freeze it and save it for another time, it’s best to get it straight in the freezer.

You Can Freeze Cooked Pasta for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Cooked Pasta?

When you’re ready to enjoy your cooked pasta, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge. You can leave it covered in its respective container, but it’s best if you remove it the night before you plan to eat it. This will make sure it defrosts thoroughly.

If your cooked pasta contains meat or fish (in a pasta bake, for example) you must ensure it is defrosted in the fridge. You should never defrost meat on the countertop.

Can You Refreeze Cooked Pasta?

If you have an excess of plain cooked pasta after you’ve defrosted it, it’s perfectly safe to return it to the freezer and refreeze it, providing it was defrosted in the fridge. Don’t do this more than once as your pasta will deteriorate in flavour and texture if you do.

Also, if your cooked pasta dish contains vegetables, be careful with refreezing it as they could easily go mushy and ruin the texture of your meal.

Does Cooked Pasta Freeze Well?

Cooked pasta freezes really well. Regardless of whether you freeze it plain or as part of another dish, it will preserve its texture and taste for up to three months in the freezer.

So, if you’re keen to save yourself lots of time in the kitchen, consider rustling up a variety of pasta-based dishes that you can turn to for lunch and dinner, as they will freeze perfectly well.

Related FAQs

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

Can You Freeze Cooked Pasta Bake?

Yes, you can freeze cooked pasta bake. Once cooked, allow it to cool before wrapping the dish in a layer of foil. Once wrapped, place the dish into the freezer and allow it to freeze. When you want it for dinner, remove it from the freezer, defrost it then reheat it. 

Can You Freeze Pasta with Sauce on it?

Yes, you can freeze pasta that has been mixed with sauce. However, where possible, we would advise freezing the sauce and the pasta apart as there is less risk of the textures changing. 

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