A common carbohydrate popular in Asian and Italian dishes especially, noodles are a staple of the American pantry, especially when dried, which extends their shelf life considerably for years of storage.
Freshly made or post-cooking, however, they can only be kept in the refrigerator for so long before spoiling, so you might be wondering if it’s possible to pop them in the freezer and save yourself a tasty dish for a rainy day.
Noodles – What Kind Are We Talking?
Noodles are traditionally produced by rolling and unleavened dough, shaping into long, thin strings, and either refrigerated to use fresh or dried for cupboard storage, typically cooked in boiling water, but also pan or deep fried.
As an especially versatile side or main course, you’ll find them in sauces or soups, as well as alongside meats and veggies, made from either wheat, rice, eggs and flour or buckwheat typically, but also found in other forms less frequently.
For our article, we’ll be offering advice about those made from eggs or wheat, so you should consult other sources if you have a particularly niche noodle and you want to know if you can freeze it or not.
We can’t promise that every single dish is going to be as delicious as it was originally after freezing and thawing, but hey: it’s safe, quick, convenient and you’ll be happy you did it on a rainy, gloomy day.
How to freeze Noodles
You’ll find that most noodles respond fairly well to freezing, defrosting to their original temperature and just as enjoyable as the original dish, which is especially true for those that haven’t been cooked yet, which see very few changes in texture or flavor.
If you’re making a large batch of noodles in advance and you’d like to freeze them, it’s best to only part-boil (to an al dente texture), as fully cooked noodles that are frozen and then cooked have a tendency to become soggy, or unpleasantly chewy.
Whether entirely or partially cooked, you’re going to want to lie them nice and flat in your choice of sealed airtight container, with no gaps, so that it’s harder for any freezer burn or ice to form and impact the cooking process.
Prefer to separate out into portions? That’s more than fine, you can place as much or as little as you like into a sealable freezer bag, though it might be a little difficult to arrange them if you have quite a few platefuls to freeze.
For uncooked noodles, the process is the same, but it’s more important for the container to be airtight, in order to preserve their freshness, so a freezer bag isn’t going to do the job as well.
Naked noodles, or those without any accompaniments, will stay fresh for approximately two months, with those that have yet to be cooked lasting longer, as opposed to their fridge use-by date of around a week.
Leftovers from a meal are a different story, and it really depends on the other ingredients, but of course, the noodles will be fine for the same amount of time – just make sure whatever else you cooked up is going to be okay too!
When loading up the freezer, make sure to label your containers or bags with the date of freezing, as well as how close your noodles are to their use-by date, which will indicate how quickly you should consume them after defrosting.
How to defrost Noodles
Plain, frozen, uncooked noodles can be placed in your refrigerator to thaw, which will take around two to three hours, which cooked noodles will require a longer defrosting process and will be best left in there overnight.
Of course, if you had other ingredients in the mix, the defrosting period and location might differ, so check for individual components just to make sure you thaw and cook correctly to avoid getting sick.
Once ready to go, you can prepare your uncooked noodles as you normally would, but previously prepared dishes should be reheated according to the following method, being sure to take into account other ingredients as above.
Using a microwave is the quickest way to enjoy your freshly-thawed meal, which you should microwave at thirty second intervals on a medium heat, checking the texture and stopping when they’re piping hot and ready to eat.
This is especially useful if you really want to enjoy a freshly cooked, homemade meal but don’t have the patience to wait for your pasta to boil, as it’s pretty much ready to go – all you need is the sauce! Unless you froze leftovers, of course…
Once completely thawed out, you should aim to consume your noodles as soon as possible, and don’t think you’ll be able to freeze them again! This will seriously mess with your taste and texture, and is probably bad for your stomach too.
Leftover Noodle Ideas?
Tired of having the same old noodle dishes, or looking for a fun new way to spice up your leftovers? Why not try one of the following ideas, which are great if you don’t want to freeze them, have to use them up that day or just don’t have the space!
Consider baking your noodles in a delicious amalgamation of sauces, veggies and cheeses for a crispy and bubbly mac n cheese vibe with whatever cuisine you’re in the mood for – though don’t freeze THOSE leftovers! Just like mom’s casserole.
Why not whip up your own ramen bowl, much tastier than the instant cup kind, just by adding some eggs, crunchy greens, some curry paste, chilli flakes and some soy sauce to taste for an immediate noodle upgrade.
Got some miso soup lying around? Or cream of chicken? Whatever can or tub of hot and tasty liquid you have lying around, soup and noodles is a classic pairing that boosts two humble meals from tasty to amazing.
You could always rummage around your fridge for other leftover ingredients you need to use up and make a one pot stir fry, depending on what they are! Veggies are always great, and some umami from soy sauce or another salty flavor.