Soup is the cold-weather hero we all need. It can fight off sickness, be made in big batches and freeze like a champ. As to how to freeze soup, the process is pretty easy. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to prep the soup for freezing and pack it up so that it tastes just as good as day one.
Our best method for freezing will work for a variety of cozy soup recipes, from lighter broths to hearty stews. Luckily, making a pot of this liquid gold (five-spice beef stew, anyone?) is one of the most undemanding tasks in the kitchen so you have plenty of easy soup recipes to choose from. It doesn’t take much more effort to make extra soup, so go ahead and simmer up a cauldron-ful. Whatever you can’t finish up in a few days can last for months in the freezer.
How to freeze soup, step by step
Step 1: Cool the Soup
You cannot just stick a piping hot pot of soup in the fridge or freezer. It’ll warm up the other foods in there while not cooling the soup quickly enough, causing a host of unwanted food safety issues. The best way to chill down soup is to dunk your pot in the sink filled with cold water and lots of ice, then stir occasionally. You can even speed up the cooling by dividing the soup into smaller containers. Let the soup cool until tepid.
Step 2: Label the containers
Label the containers with the date and contents. If you’re using bags, place each one in a bowl or tall container and fold the edges over the rim.
Step 3: Pack up the soup
Ladle the cooled soup into the labeled containers, leaving 1/2 to 1 inch headroom at the top (liquids expand while freezing but if you leave too much space, the food might develop freezer burn).
If you’re not planning to heat up the whole batch, freeze individual servings so you can prep a portion or two at a time.
If you have any pasta, rice or grains that are part of the soup, freeze those separately to prevent them from getting mushy when thawing later. The same goes for any crunchy garnishes (croutons, roasted chickpeas, frico, etc.) that you want to keep crisp. Press out any excess air in the freezer bags and seal shut.
Step 4: Freeze the soup
If you’re freezing bags, lay them flat in a single layer. Once they’re frozen, you can stack the bags upright so it’s easier to sort through them, like folders in a filing cabinet.
How long can soup be frozen?
According to the FDA, soup can be stored for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and for 2 to 3 months in the freezer. Any longer than 3 months and you risk losing freshness and the soup may get diluted from the ice that forms then melts during thawing.
What are the best containers for freezing soup?
Get freezer-safe, airtight containers in a size that makes sense for portioning. If you’re using plastic, make sure it’s heavy-duty (otherwise the liquid may break through the flimsy plastic when it expands in the freezer). Quart-size takeout containers or freezer bags are perfect for single or double servings; scale up to gallon-size if you’re planning to serve more at once. Anything larger will be a nightmare to thaw. A product we love for freezing soups: Souper Cubes, a winner of GH’s Kitchen Gear Awards. They’re oversized ice cube trays with a handy cover and the frozen cubes pop out easily.
Can you freeze soup with milk in it?
Sadly, soups with milk, cream or other dairy may turn grainy or become separated during their stint in the freezer. The best way to a freeze creamy soup? Prepare it up until the point when the dairy is added, then freeze and add the dairy after reheating the soup.
How to reheat frozen soup
Congrats! You’ve got your bag or container of frozen soup. Don’t be tempted to dump it straight into a pot on the stove (or worse, microwave it for eons). The first step is to let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then you’re clear to reheat it gently on the stovetop or in a microwave, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired temp.
Susan (she/her) is the recipe editor at Good Housekeeping, where she pitches ideas, parses words, and produces food content. In the Test Kitchen, she cooks (and samples!) recipes, working with developers to deliver the best written versions possible. A graduate of Brown University and a collaborator on several cookbooks, her previous experience includes stints at Food & Wine, Food Network, three meal kit companies, a wine shop in Brooklyn and Chez Panisse, the pioneering restaurant in Berkeley, California. She enjoys playing tennis, natural wines and reality competition shows.