Learning how to freeze soups is an excellent way to stay on track with your low sodium diet. Make freezing soups part of your low sodium meal prep, and you’ll always have a tasty low sodium meal ready to go!
How to Freeze Soups for Low Sodium Meal Prep
Preparation is a vital part of successfully maintaining your low sodium lifestyle. Having a pantry, fridge, and freezer full of low sodium food makes it easy to stay on track. You are less likely to eat high-sodium convenience foods when you’re busy if you have a healthier option ready and waiting for you.
Meal prep is one way to ensure you always have the foods you need. One afternoon of cooking can produce multiple meals you can pop in the freezer to enjoy later. Soups are the perfect meal prep foods. They’re simple to prepare, and most freeze well.
Learning how to freeze soups for low sodium meal prep will save time and give you the convenience of a prepared or frozen meal without the excess sodium.
Tips for Freezing Soups
Skip Dairy-Based Soups
Cream-based soups can separate when frozen and thawed, leading to an inconsistent texture and an off-taste. If a soup contains more than 1 cup of dairy, freeze it without the dairy, then add the dairy once it’s thawed as it reheats. Label the container with reheating instructions, including how much dairy to add once it’s thawed.
Cool Soups Quickly
Smaller portions will cool faster, so you can freeze them sooner. Cooling soups quickly is essential for two reasons. Putting hot soup in your freezer can thaw the other foods stored there.
It also allows any bacteria or foodborne illness to grow. Bacteria grow best between 40℉ and 140℉. Cooling soups quickly means less time in this range, often called the Temperature Danger Zone. If you’re not freezing your soup in small portions, you can quickly cool a large batch by placing the pot of soup in an ice bath and stirring it frequently.
Noodles or Not
Freezing soups with noodles or other pasta is usually not recommended. Some find that frozen and thawed pasta absorbs too much liquid and has an unpleasant texture. I freeze my Low Sodium Chicken Noodle Soup after addi the noodles and have not had an issue with the taste or texture of the noodles when the soup is thawed. If you’re concerned about potential texture issues, freeze the soup without the noodles and add the cooked noodles to the soup once it’s thawed.
Leave Room for Expansion
If you’re freezing your soups in freezer-safe glass containers, resist the urge to fill the container to the rim. Liquids, soups included, expand when they’re frozen. If there’s no room left in the container, the frozen soup may cause it to crack or shatter. Play it safe and leave at least ½-inch space to accommodate the frozen soup.
How to Freeze Soups for Low Sodium Meal Prep
To freeze soups, cool them as quickly as possible. Never put hot soup (or any food) into the fridge or freezer without cooling it first. When hot foods are placed in the fridge or freezer, they are at risk of causing foodborne illness. Refrigerators and freezers can’t cool food fast enough to keep it out of the Temperature Danger Zone.
I ladle my soups into smaller containers, to speed up the cooling process. In my days as a personal chef, I’d bring a small countertop fan to help cool food quickly. If you’re using plastic bags, ladle the hot soup into small bowls or containers to help it cool faster. (Hot Soup + Plastic Bags=Big Mess!)
Once your soup is cooled, add it to your container of choice. Seal it tightly and place it in the freezer. If you’re using plastic bags, don’t forget to label them BEFORE filling. Gently squeeze out as much excess air as possible before sealing and freezing.
Tools for Freezing Soup
These reusable silicone freezer trays come in a variety of sizes. I use the 1-cup trays to create perfect soup portions.
FAQS for Freezing Soups
Can I freeze all kinds of soup?
I freeze all soups except cream-based soups. Soups made with dairy products can separate when frozen, meaning the fat in the dairy separates from the rest of the soup. This can lead to an unpleasant, grainy texture and a loss of flavor.
My Low Sodium Curried Butternut Squash Soup contains ¼ cup of heavy cream, and it freezes beautifully. If you’re making a soup with more than 1 cup of dairy, I recommend preparing the soup up to the point of adding the dairy. Freeze the soup without the dairy. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw the soup and warm it in a pot on medium-low heat. Stir in the dairy, making sure not to boil the soup once the dairy has been added, or you’ll risk having it separate.
I regularly freeze my Low Sodium Chicken Noodle Soup as it’s my husband’s favorite lunch. To save time, I freeze it after I’ve added the noodles. Some people report that freezing pasta in soups can cause texture issues once thawed. I’ve tried both and haven’t noticed a loss of texture in the noodles. If you’re sensitive to texture, you can prepare the soup without the noodles and stir the cooked noodles in once the soup is thawed and reheated.
How long will my soup last in the freezer?
If stored properly, you can keep soup in the freezer for up to three months. The longer soups are frozen, the more likely the taste and/or texture will suffer. The ice that forms on the soup the longer its frozen melts when the soup is thawed, which can lead to a watered-down soup with soft or mushy vegetables.
Store soups in airtight containers. If you’re freezing your soups in plastic freezer bags, remove as much air from the bag as possible and make sure they’re tightly sealed.
How do I defrost soup?
For best quality, I recommend thawing soup in the refrigerator overnight, but I live in the real world where we don’t always have time or remember to pull things from the freezer a day before we want to eat them.
In this case, if you freeze soup in microwave-safe and freezer-safe containers, you can thaw your soup in the microwave in 1-minute intervals until it is thawed and heated through. Stir frequently to ensure the soup heats evenly. I don’t recommend this thawing method for glass containers, even if they’re labeled microwave and freezer safe. Extreme temperature changes, like going directly from the freezer to the microwave, can cause glass containers to shatter.
Can I re-freeze soup if I defrost it and don’t eat it?
You can safely re-freeze soup after defrosting. According to the USDA, you can re-freeze soup if it has remained in the fridge at a temperature below 40℉, has not been left out for more than two hours, or left out in temperatures above 90℉ for more than one hour. Re-freeze thawed soups within 3-4 days of thawing.