You’ve knocked together a batch of beef stew; let’s be honest, it does take a lot of effort. So you’re left asking yourself, what can you do with the leftovers? Can they be popped into the freezer?
Can You Freeze Beef Stew?
Yes, you can freeze beef stew for up to 6 months. Allow it to cool to room temperature before portioning it into bags or containers and storing them in the freezer.
Does Beef Stew Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Beef Stew? No
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:
- Cool: The cooked beef stew shouldn’t be stored until it has completely cooled. However, don’t leave it out on the counter for extended periods as this could cause bacterial growth.
- Prepare Containers: Use airtight plastic containers. Foil trays will also do if they have tight lids and wide mouths. Choose the size of the container, depending on your purpose.
- 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 this expansion.
- Label and Freeze: Finally, label the containers and place them into the freezer. Try to keep the container level to avoid unwanted leakages.
It should be noted that thickeners like cornstarch or flour will separate once you freeze. Plan 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 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 to the stew before eating it.
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 the stew, stir through fresh parsley after reheating it. This is a great way to balance out the richness and 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 in the fridge overnight and 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.
Prepared, cooked and then cooled beef stew will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. It should be kept in airtight containers in the fridge.
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 immediately, 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 running the freezer container under 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.
Refreezing is much safer if you have thawed the beef stew in the fridge itself. 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. 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, once you pour in the stew, the container shouldn’t have too much empty room. Another great tip is to refrigerate the stew overnight before you freeze it for longer.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing beef stew or stew in general, then these may help:
We would avoid freezing beef stew that contains potatoes. Potatoes tend to become mushy when frozen and this can ruin the overall texture of your beef stew.
Yes, beef casserole can be frozen in Tupperware containers with tight-fitting lids for around 6 months once it has cooled to room temperature.
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