Yes, you can! Although popular theories will have you believe that reheating rice is a sin and can lead to instant death, this isn’t actually true. Freezing paella is perfectly doable and safe provided that you freeze it not long after cooking it. You need to allow it to cool and then freeze it, instantly. Don’t leave it out on your kitchen worktop overnight, for example.
There is also a further caveat: You cannot freeze paella if some of the ingredients have already been frozen previously. For example, if you threw a handful of cooked, frozen prawns into your paella then you cannot refreeze and recook those prawns. This is when things can get a little dangerous.
Use the table of contents below to navigate through this article to answer some of the most common questions people have when it comes to freezing paella:
How To Freeze Paella
So, as mentioned, before you get to freezing your paella you will want to let it cool. It just needs to cool down to room temperature. We would recommend spreading it out thin on a baking tray or plate to speed up the cooling down process. The moment it is cooled to room temperature is when you need to get on with freezing it which, fortunately, is very easy:
- Grab a plastic container or Tupperware and spoon in your paella. Think about the portion sizes you will use and find a container that matches this size. This will avoid wastage further down the line.
- Place the lid on the container. If it is not tight-fitting then you can wrap the container in a layer of clingfilm or foil to prevent any air getting into the container.
- Finally, put your container in the freezer.
It really is that easy!
Can You Freeze Seafood Paella?
Although the same method as above can be used for freezing seafood there are a couple of things you will need to consider:
Source of Seafood: Where has your seafood come from and can be you be certain that is was not previously frozen? You won’t want to freeze your seafood over and over again, especially if it has been cooked previously. So consider the source of your seafood and only freeze it if you can be certain of how it was previously stored.
Seafood Shells: Freezing your seafood with the shells still attached is not advisable. If your paella has been adorned with mussels or clams in their shells then you will want to remove those shells before freezing. If you still want to serve your paella with a fancy garnish of seafood in their shells then we would recommend cooking those elements fresh.
The above approach will work for most paella’s but there are a few extra steps you need to take when freezing seafood paella, especially if it contains clams or mussels.
- First, you need to prep all of the seafood in your paella. This involves removing any shells and other inedible parts of any seafood in your dish. Once you’ve done so, you need to allow your paella to cool to room temperature.
- As soon as it has cooled, spoon your paella into a container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Secure the lid before wrapping the container in a layer of clingfilm. Then place it in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Vegetarian Paella?
Vegetarian paella actually freezes really well. Unlike meat or seafood paella, most vegetables will freeze really well so you don’t need to worry too much about the ingredients in your paella. The same approach as above can be used when it comes to freezing your vegetable paella.
How Long Can You Freeze Paella?
Unfortunately, even when stored in the freezer, paella won’t last that long. Instead, we would limit the time it is frozen to 2 months. With such a variety of ingredients, it is hard to control what does and doesn’t freeze well. As with most frozen dishes, the longer you leave it in the freezer, the more the flavour and texture will degrade.
You Can Freeze Paella for Around 2 Months
How Do You Defrost Paella?
To defrost your paella, you will want to go with the slow and steady approach in the fridge, overnight. This will prevent any bacteria from forming on the rice which is common when rice is left at room temperature for too long.
Once the paella has defrosted, stirring a tablespoon of olive oil through the rice will help to loosen it up a little. You can then either reheat in a pot until it is hot through or it can even be reheating in the microwave.
Can You Refreeze Paella?
As we’ve discussed already in this article, this is actually a hard question to answer because it depends hugely on the ingredients in your paella and whether they were frozen previously. Generally speaking, the most you want to freeze something is twice and usually, you only want to freeze things in a raw state once and then a cooked state once.
With paella containing rice, we would actually avoid refreezing paella – that’s why correctly freezing it in portions is a good idea.
Does Paella Freeze Well?
Initially, you’ll find that paella will freeze well. Unfortunate, it won’t last this way long. If you were to compare a freshly made paella with a frozen paella then the difference will be hugely noticeable. Having said that, if the options are freezing it or throwing it away then go with freezing it.
Other Questions about Paella
Below are a few of the other common questions we have come across when it comes to paella – some related to freezing and some not. If you’re still sat there with a question or two about paella then drop a comment at the bottom of this article and we’ll aim to help out as much as possible.
Is it Safe to Freeze Paella?
It can be perfectly safe. But it does come down to following the rules above and correctly cooled, storing and freezing the rice. We are all aware of the dangers of rice that is left at room temperature and this is when it can become dangerous. We would highly advise following the advice from the NHS on this.