Can You Freeze Risotto?

It’s warming, unctuous and hearty but risotto can be a bit of a faff to prepare. You have to carefully watch over it as you regularly stir stock into it.

So, can you batch cook risotto and then freeze it to save yourself the effort of preparing a fresh batch every time? Is this a viable solution?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze risotto. You can freeze risotto for around 3 months and it will actually freeze well. The problem with frozen risotto is when you come to defrost it and then eat it. The texture can either become mushy or the rice can become tough.

How to Freeze Risotto

Whether it’s a plain risotto, mushroom risotto or a fancy Milanese risotto spiked with saffron, this is the best approach to take when it comes to freezing risotto:

  1. Cool Your Risotto
    Once you’ve made your risotto, you need to allow it to cool. With rice, you want to get it cooled down within 2hrs to be on the safe side and prevent bacteria from forming. If you’ve made a large batch, then take a baking tray and spread the risotto out on it. This will help it to cool down quicker. Do NOT place it in the fridge to cool when it is warm.
  2. Portion Your Risotto
    As soon as it has cooled, grab portion-sized Tupperware pots and spoon your risotto into these pots. If you haven’t got any plastic, airtight containers then you can scoop portions into freezer-safe bags. If using bags, try to squeeze out as much of the air from the bag as possible as you seal it up.
  3. Freeze Your Risotto
    Label the bags up with the contents and the date and then place the containers or bags into the freezer to freeze.

That’s all there is to freezing risotto. But it’s the thawing where you need to take special care which we’ve discussed a little further down the page.

3 Tips for Freezing Risotto

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

  • Cool Safely – You’ve probably heard how important it is to deal with cooked rice safely to avoid bacteria forming. This is the same case for risotto. You need to cool it down quickly to room temperature. As soon as it is at room temperature, you must get it frozen.
  • Freeze in Portions – Freeze your risotto in portions in bags so you can quickly defrost the amount you need at a time.
  • Add a Splash of Water When Reheating – Risotto can dry out a little when frozen so when reheating it, you’ll want to add a splash of water or stock. Stir it and if it still looks a bit dry, add a further splash until it is the right consistency.

How Long Can You Freeze Risotto?

Three months is the longest you will want to store your risotto in the freezer. It will be perfectly safe to eat beyond this period, but there is an increased risk that both the flavour and texture will degrade.

As always, make sure you label your risotto clearly with the date it needs to be consumed to avoid wasting it.

You Can Freeze Risotto for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Risotto?

The first step is to defrost it in the fridge overnight. This will prevent you from overcooking the already cooked grains of rice and destroying its texture further. So place the risotto in a bowl and in the fridge allowing it to thaw slowly.

Next, in the evening you want to eat your risotto, bring a small amount of water, or preferably stock, to the boil then turn the heat right down. Place your risotto into the pan and give it a gentle stir until the liquid has loosened your risotto.

Don’t stir too vigorously or you’ll ruin the texture of the rice.

You may need to add a little more water to loosen it.

Once warmed through, add a fresh grating of parmesan cheese to give it that desirable consistency.

How Do You Defrost Risotto in the Microwave

You can defrost risotto in the microwave, but it’s not as simple as placing it in the microwave and heating it on full power for 5 minutes. Unfortunately, it takes a little effort. Instead, you will want to microwave it in short bursts of 30 seconds.

Between every burst, you’ll need to stir in a little water or stick before giving it another burst.

Your risotto should then be defrosted and piping hot after around 5 minutes of microwaving.

Can You Refreeze Risotto?

As you already know, cooked rice is something you need to be careful with when storing leftovers. We’ve mentioned previously that bacteria can form on rice which can do quite a lot of harm.

It’s for this reason that we would highly recommend not refreezing risotto. To err on the side of caution.

Not only is there a risk to your health, were you to refreeze it, but you’ll also find that the texture of your rice is completely ruined when it comes to eating it.

Does Risotto Freeze Well?

It freezes well, but it’s in the defrosting where you may have issues. If you defrost it too quickly or reheat it too quickly, you can ruin your risotto’s texture. Take your time, and you’ll still be able to enjoy your risotto as you normally would.

Ultimately, however, a freshly made risotto will always trump a frozen one.

Related FAQs

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

Can You Freeze Arancini?

Arancini, or risotto balls, certainly can be frozen. Just place your arancini into a freezer bag and straight into the freezer. You can take it out of the freezer and place into a hot oven until piping hot through.

Traditionally, arancini are made with leftover risotto. Its origins are as peasant food in Italy as a way to avoid wasting leftover risotto. These days, they’re found in most Italian restaurants. Even the likes of Gordon Ramsay has a recipe for arancini which you can check out here.

Can You Freeze Barley Risotto?

You can use the same technique we have used here to freeze a barley risotto. You will, unfortunately, have the same issues with texture. It can become quite dry when frozen then thawed so make sure you follow our tips above to provide it with some much-needed moisture.

Can You Freeze Paella?

Many of the rules we’ve covered for freezing risotto can actually be applied to paella: Yes, you can freeze it, but it might not freeze exceptionally well. It will also come down to what ingredients you’ve included in your paella. If you want more information, then read our guide to freezing paella.

Freeze Paella

Leave a Comment