If you've shifted into soup mode, be sure to get the most out of whatever soups you make.
Cream-based soups are a hearty, filling, and wholesome comfort food dish.
But what's the best way to store them?
There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup, especially on a chilly fall or winter day.
However, when you make a big batch of soup, it can be tiresome to keep reheating the leftovers.
Soup lasts in the fridge for around 3 days, meaning that a large batch might seem to keep resurfacing as a meal or snack.
Thankfully, soup can be made with storage considerations in mind so that you can genuinely enjoy it for months to come.
What Soups Freeze Best?
Soups with creamy consistency, such as potato soup, will not freeze well because the composition of the soup will change.
Potatoes may become gooey and have an unappealing texture.
Additionally, soups that contain rice, beans, or noodles may taste different or become mushy.
Chili freezes well, but white chicken chili is cream-based and will likely not remain the same consistency when thawed.
Broth-based soups freeze best, but if you want to freeze a soup that contains ingredients that do not hold up well in the freezer, consider making a portion of the soup base separately and add those in at a later date.
Freezing your soup without ingredients that tend to freeze poorly, such as cream, milk, pasta, garnishes, and tender greens, will give you the perfect base to thaw for future use.
You can add in the other ingredients when you defrost the soup.
When you need to freeze ingredients that are not generally good team players for frozen soup, you can remove them and freeze them separately to attempt to preserve them if possible.
For example, removing the solid ingredients from beef stew and freezing the stew base and the vegetables and meat separately is a great way to better maintain the integrity of the product.
While there may be some marked differences, you will likely yield a better result.
Can You Freeze Soup with Cream in It?
The quick answer is yes, you can.
But you need to plan for the soup to change, and for the possibility of not enjoying the results.
Consider that you may want to plan to use a food processor to combine ingredients in a cream-based soup in order to mask the fact that the soup’s ingredients may have become compromised by freezing.
This will also help make a thicker soup, dispersing the water that may result from thawing.
Pureed soup will have a different texture, but the same flavor profile.
Vegetables, soup, and milk-based ingredients blend well in a puree.
How to Freeze Soup
Here are our best tips to store soup and set yourself up for some easy freezer meals in the future.
To freeze homemade soup, separate it into portions that work for the size of your family or your personal needs.
Individual servings can be made by freezing soup in a muffin tin to create smaller portions before transferring it to plastic bags.
Larger quantities of leftover soup can be stored in plastic freezer bags or an airtight container to avoid freezer burn.
Leave approximately ½ inch of space in containers to allow soup to expand while freezing.
- Let soup cool. Soup that is refrigerated before it cools is prone to more bacterial growth, as the fridge cannot bring the temperature down quickly enough to keep it food-safe. If you’re in a rush, you can speed this step up by soaking the pot of soup in an ice bath in your sink, stirring often to distribute the heat.
- Package, label, and date your freezer-safe bags. To get soup into a bag with less mess, cuff the bag over the edge of a bowl or cup and ladle the soup in.
- Seal the packaging, leaving space for the liquids to expand while freezing. Let out any excess air, then seal tightly.
- Lay any bags of soup flat in a single layer in the freezer. Once frozen, stack to save freezer space.
How Long Does Frozen Soup Last?
Soup lasts for a maximum of four days in the fridge, and less if it’s milk-based, so plan to freeze soup 2-3 days past preparation for best results.
The safest time to freeze a soup is the same day you made it.
Soup will last in the freezer for up to three months with proper storage, but it depends on the type of soup.
Over time, the quality will progressively degrade.
Additionally, you may find that flavors become diluted due to the formation of ice in the freezing process.
Ice crystals that are created by freezing soup will become water once you thaw the soup, making the soup less true to its original flavor.
Creamy soups are best used within 1-2 months due to their composition.
It's a good idea to eat leftover cream soup sooner to preserve the best soup taste and still enjoy a delicious meal.
How Do You Reheat Frozen Soup?
Frozen soup can easily be reheated many ways.
The method that you choose will determine how long it takes to reheat the soup.
You will also want to consider what the soup is made of — chowders will reheat best over low heat, whereas stew, gumbo, or other hearty soups will reheat well over medium-low heat.
All soups should be stirred occasionally during reheating and should not be consumed until they reach a safe temperature of at least 165°F.
This temperature will ensure food safety, as bacteria will not be able to survive in these conditions.
With all methods of reheating, you should remove the soup from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator until partially or entirely softened.
Reheating soup in the microwave
- Place soup in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals.
- Poke holes in any covering for ventilation, or use a microwave-specific covering.
- Stir after each 30-second interval and continue to microwave until the soup reaches a safe temperature. Reheat soup with a stovetop
- Put just enough water in the bottom of a pot to prevent the soup from sticking and burning.
- Continue cooking and stirring on medium heat until the hot soup reaches your desired temperature.
Reheat soup in an Instant Pot
- Add water to the bottom of the pot for thick or partially frozen soup.
- Close and seal the lid. To reheat the soup slowly, press the “Keep Warm” button. For a faster reheating, select Manual or Pressure Cook and set at 0 minutes. While the Instant Pot is pressurizing, it will start to reheat.
- Switch to “Keep Warm.”
- Release the steam through the pressure valve before removing the lid. Stir the soup and test the temperature. Continue to heat the soup on “Keep Warm” until it reaches 165°F.
Remember, the best method is really just about what works best for you.
Once your soup thaws though, we don't recommend freezing it again.
Want more creamy soup recipes?
Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.Soups, Cream, Freezer Meals, How To Guides