Lentil soup is a simple and nutritious meal - great for vegetarians and vegans and the perfect option for a healthy side dish, starter, or lunchtime meal.
It also freezes extremely well, so if you make big batches of soup and usually store them in the fridge, why not freeze them instead and extend their shelf life?
This way you can conveniently have a quick and easy meal in the freezer at all times, and you can extend the shelf life of this protein-packed soup, meaning you reduce your food waste, which is always important.
It could also save you time and money if you buy your ingredients in bulk and then cook and freeze a huge supply of lentil soup for future meals.
How to freeze lentil soup
The following instructions will work well for both leftover store-bought soup and homemade versions, just ensure that you allow the soup to cool off fully before freezing it.
Once the soup is cooled, you should freeze it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Then transfer the chilled soup from the fridge into resealable freezer bags or small containers. It’s worth bearing in mind how many people each bag or container is for, or you can put a single portion in each one for ultimate ease when defrosting and reheating.
When storing in containers, ensure you only fill them halfway, or if storing in bags, squeeze out all of the air before resealing them.
Then label your containers or freezer bags and store them flat in the freezer.
Another option is to freeze your soup in the form of ice cubes. For this, you will need several ice trays and a large freezer bag.
Allow the soup to cool completely, and then ladle it into several ice cube trays until all the slots are filled.
Then transfer to the freezer and allow the cubes to freeze for about two hours, or until firmly frozen.
Remove the ice trays and take out each cube one at a time, placing all of the cubes in a large, resealable freezer bag.
Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible when sealing the bag, then write the date on it and store flat in the freezer.
How to defrost lentil soup
Remove your soup from the freezer and transfer the container or bag to the fridge.
Leave the soup to thaw overnight.
When you’re ready to heat the soup, you can transfer the thawed contents into a saucepan and simmer on low heat until piping hot - this usually takes a few minutes.
If you want to thin your soup out, you can add a little water or broth while heating.
Do not reheat the defrosted soup!
Factors to consider before freezing lentil soup
Allow the soup to cool before freezing
This is really important.
Putting warm food in the freezer causes a shift in the overall freezer temperature, which increases the risk of spoilage. Not only could the soup turn bad, but this could be the case for all of your stored frozen food.
It is also likely to decrease the shelf life of your frozen soup and will be easier to spoil when you reheat it.
If you’re particularly short on time, you can always put the pot in ice water and stir the soup every few minutes to speed up the cooling process. This is much safer than risking putting the lukewarm soup in the freezer.
Don’t overfill the container
All liquids expand when put in the freezer, so it’s essential you leave some headroom when prepping your soup for freezing.
If you fill the container to the brim, you risk it bursting, but on the other hand, if you underfill the container you risk freezer burn, which could alter the taste of your defrosted soup.
Ultimately, you want to leave about an inch of space from the top of the container when filling it with soup. This gives it the best of both worlds - enough room to expand while ensuring minimal air exposure.
Don’t overcook your soup
If you’re cooking your soup with the intention of freezing the entire batch, it’s best to undercook your lentil soup, as you know you’ll be freezing it and reheating it again later on. This way, you’ll lower the risk of the soup becoming excessively mushy when you reheat it.
If you are planning on eating half of your batch now and half later, you can always split it in two.
For example, when the lentils are slightly undercooked you can put half of the batch to one side so it can cool, while you prepare the rest of the soup.
This way, once the undercooked half has cooled you can freeze it straight away, which should allow you to achieve fresher results and a better consistency once you come to thawing and reheating the soup at a later date.
If frozen correctly, your lentil soup can be frozen for up to 6 months. However, consume the soup at your earliest convenience, as the longer it’s kept in the freezer, the more you risk changes to the flavor and texture.
You should also be aware that different types of lentils will freeze and thaw differently.
Green lentils freeze and thaw relatively well, but brown lentils hold more water so they’re likely to thin out the texture of your soup when you defrost and reheat it.
Lentil soup is a hearty, wholesome dish and is packed full of protein and flavor, making it perfect for warming you up on those chilly winter nights.
Generally, lentil soup freezes well and can be kept for up to six months, but it’s important you get the prep and defrosting process right to ensure you maintain the texture of your soup.
The most important factor to remember is to always let the soup cool completely before freezing it.
Freezing soup is a great way to ensure you have a big batch on hand in the freezer at all times.