Fresh pasta is delicious, but what do you do if you’ve made too much? Stick it in the freezer! Here’s how.
There’s nothing better than fresh, homemade pasta. Delicate, but with a bite, fresh pasta pairs deliciously well with lightweight tomato sauces and pesto for a hearty, savory dish that can be cooked up à la minute—especially when you’re in a hurry or have friends over.
Making pasta is one of those tasks in the kitchen that take time and effort. For this reason, you will probably want to make a big batch on a Saturday or Sunday, storing as much of the pasta noodles as you can for later.
But fresh pasta only lasts so long in the fridge. And, unless you and the family are up for eating only pasta in the coming days, you will probably want to freeze it for long-term storage.
Which begs the question: Can you freeze fresh pasta?
Yes, you can freeze fresh pasta. Properly stored, fresh pasta will keep its best quality for 1-2 months in your freezer.
In this quick guide, you will learn everything there is to know about freezing, thawing, and enjoying fresh pasta. Keep on reading!
Does Freezing Fresh Pasta Ruin It?
No, freezing fresh pasta does not ruin it. In fact, it’s a legitimate way to save whatever noodles are leftover from a homemade batch, so that you and your family can enjoy it at a later date.
Whereas store-bought pasta lasts for 2-3 days in the fridge, homemade pasta has an even shorter shelf life, In many cases, it starts to soak up moisture and oxidize, turning gray to green, in as little as 24. So, if you made a big batch, it’s pasta, pasta, pasta for breakfast, dinner, and lunch—or in the freezer it goes!
The bottom line here is clear. When you’ve made a lot of pasta in a single go, and you have no way of eating it up over the next day or two, stick the leftovers in the freezer. You will save the fruit of your labor and have delicious pasta to thaw and enjoy at any moment of time in the following one or two months.
Can You Freeze Pasta With Sauce on It?
Yes, you can freeze fresh pasta that you’ve already cooked and tossed with the sauce. Many home cooks use this as a hack to make themselves a microwavable TV dinner that they actually enjoy eating.
Others prefer the flexibility that freezing uncooked pasta separately from the sauce gives them. Who knows? When the next pasta dinner rolls around, you might as well be in the mood for an Alfredo instead of a Bolognese!
If you happen to have leftover pasta sauce, freeze it. You can always thaw it along with the noodles, then toss them in a hot pan for a delicious dish cooked in no time. So, if you’re on the market for advice, freeze your uncooked fresh pasta and your sauce separately.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Pasta?
According to the USDA, frozen food stays safe to eat indefinitely, as freezer temperature puts all biological processes on pause. However, the aroma, flavor, and texture of the food will slowly but surely start to degrade—until it dries out and turns unappetizing.
When you put your fresh pasta in the freezer, you can expect it to keep its best quality for 1-2 months. Be sure to freeze your pasta in portions, so you can thaw them meal-by-meal over the next couple of months.
Of course, any type of food that stays in your freezer for too long, especially if it hasn’t been sealed well, will suffer freezer burn. Freezer burn happens when the surface of your pasta gets exposed to the dry, cold air, and thus dehydrates.
When that happens, the pasta will lose too much of its moisture, changing the way it looks and tastes. You’ll know this has happened when you see ice crystals and tough white patches on the pasta itself.
You can prevent freezer burn and keep your cooked pasta for longer by:
- Wrapping the pasta tightly, so air doesn’t get in;
- Using wax freeze paper or butcher paper instead of plastic.
- Vacuum-sealing your fresh pasta.
Using any of those methods will ensure that your fresh pasta lasts for as long as possible. Still, always remember that nothing lasts forever in the freezer. So be sure to eat up that pasta, or at least give it to someone who will.
How to Stop Cooked Pasta from Sticking Together When Cold
One of the biggest concerns you might have about freezing your cooked pasta is that they’ll stick with one another. That’s a fair point, considering how difficult it’ll be when you try to thaw it out for your next pasta dinner.
Thankfully, there are three steps that you can take to make that problem a thing of the past. Those steps are:
Dry: When you’re done preparing your fresh pasta, be sure to give it some time to dry on the surface. Remember: you’re not trying to dry the pasta and make it brittle. All you’re doing is waiting for excess moisture to dry up before you freeze the pasta.
Toss: After you cook your pasta, give it some time to cool down a little. Toss that pasta with a little bit of olive oil. The oil will form a light coat that prevents the pasta pieces from sticking to each other in the freezer.
Separate: Next, you can make things easier on yourself by portioning and storing your pasta separately. That way, even if some pasta portions are sticky, you’ll still have the others to rely on.
Following Steps 1 and 2 will help reduce the chances of your pasta sticking to each other. Still, even if sticking continues to happen, Step 3 will help you keep the problem to a minimum.
How Do You Defrost Frozen Pasta?
Now that we’ve looked at the finer points of freezing your fresh pasta let’s take a quick gander at how to defrost your frozen pasta when you need to.
Ideally, you should transfer your frozen pasta from the freezer to the fridge. That will give it a slow and easy thawing process. Of course, that will take several hours, so you’ll have to leave it in the fridge overnight. Plus, you’ll have to plan ahead if you want to use that method.
If you’re in a rush, you can put your frozen pasta into a pot of boiling water and cook it right away. The important thing is to not let it sit out for longer than 1-2 hours at room temperature. Bacteria thrive at room temperature, and they’re quick to make your food unsafe to eat.
The bottom line here is clear: you can freeze your pasta without any problems. At the most, you’ll have to toss the pasta with some olive oil to prevent it from sticking when it freezes.
Still, the payoff is worth it. You can make a large batch of fresh pasta and keep it for when you feel like having a quick and easy pasta meal.