How to Freeze Soup in Bags or Containers for Easy Make-Ahead Meals

Learn our Test Kitchen's best tips for freezing soup so you can easily enjoy a steamy bowl on busy nights or whenever you have a craving.

When it comes to saving leftovers, the freezer can be your best friend. And soup is one of the best foods to keep stocked in the freezer. So if you're looking forward to a big cozy bowl of chicken noodle soup or chili for dinner tonight, you can make a big batch without worrying about any going to waste. Use our Test Kitchen's easy methods and tips for how to freeze soup in bags or containers, so quick dinners are just a few steps away whenever you need it.

Into meal planning for the family? We're also sharing some of our fave freezer-friendly soup recipes (not all soups are OK to freeze) to keep the freezer stocked.

How to Freeze Soup

Frozen soup bags
Jason Donnelly

When making homemade soup, your recipe will determine whether it will freeze well. Broth- and tomato-based soups, stews, and chilis freeze best. Avoid cream-based soups and soups thickened with flour or cornstarch. Wondering if you can freeze potato soup? Unfortunately, our Test Kitchen doesn't recommend it, as chunks of potatoes can become mealy after freezing. Once your leftovers are ready, follow these steps to learn how to freeze soup safely.

Step 1: Cool Soup Quickly

After cooking (or enjoying your soup), cool hot soup quickly by placing the soup pot in ice water in the kitchen sink, stirring often. It's important to cool soup fast to prevent bacteria growth.

Step 2: Create Freezer Soup Portions

Ladle the cooled soup into freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving ½- to 1-inch of space at the top of the container (the soup will expand when freezing). You can store multiple portions in a large container to thaw for family dinners or freeze them in individual-size containers to tote.

Step 3: Freeze Soup

Write the contents and date on each container for future reference. Place soup in the freezer and store for up to 3 months.

Best Freezing Containers for Soup

When freezing soup, you can use whatever container you want as long as it's safe for the freezer and you leave the headspace as noted above. You can use freezer-safe containers made of plastic or glass as well as freezer-safe bags. There are also handy silicone freezing trays available made specifically for soup.

Thawing and Serving Frozen Soup

It's important to note that you should never thaw frozen foods at room temperature. Thaw frozen soup for one to two days in the refrigerator before reheating using one of the following methods:

  • Microwave: Pop the soup out of the container or bag and place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid ($6, Walmart) or vented plastic wrap to prevent spattering. Thaw soup in the microwave on 50% power (medium). Stir frozen soup a few times as it thaws.
  • Stove-top reheating: Reheat thawed soup on the stove top until heated through using medium-high heat for broth-base soups and medium heat for purees or stews. Stir often to keep from burning; watch beans and veggies closely.

While we're on a soup kick, go ahead and plan on adding some freezer-friendly soups to the menu so you'll always have a delicious meal ready to heat and serve. We've got a ton of top-rated soup and stew recipes that will freeze well, but plenty are created specifically for the freezer. Our barley-beef soup, Tuscan bean soup, and sausage-pepper soup would be great recipes to start.

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