Queso is one of the most delicious Mexican dishes (and there are a lot of tasty choices out there). It is a simple dish and can easily be made in large portions.
It is used as a starter, a side, or as party food. Queso is a great dish for parties as it can be cooked up, poured into a big bowl, and then left out for everyone to dip their snacks into.
But, what can you do when the party ends and you still have a large amount of queso left over? Or what about when you make too much? If you make these kinds of dishes by just eye-balling the ingredients, it’s easy to make too much.
As the main ingredients in queso are dairy products, it obviously needs to be kept cool and in the refrigerator. But what about in the freezer? If you have made a lot and aren’t going to be needing it anytime soon, can you freeze it? Yes, you can!
But, as this is a creamy dairy-filled food, there are a few things to consider before just placing the whole thing straight in the freezer.
How to Freeze Queso
The first thing to do is to make sure the queso is completely cool before placing it in the freezer.
Once it has cooled down, transfer it into a freezable container. A freezer bag is a good option, but this will be difficult to handle due to the liquid nature of the queso. If it’s not reusable, it’s also not very eco-friendly.
The other option is to place it in a plastic tub. This will be easier to transport and keep the queso from spilling or bursting out of the bag.
Whatever container you place the queso in, make sure to leave some room at the top, otherwise, it may spill out as it freezes and changes shape.
It’s a good idea to divide up the queso into portion sizes. If you plan to freeze the queso so you can have some every now and again, you don’t want to have to defrost a huge tub.
As it’s not a good idea to refreeze food (especially dairy) you will then have to keep the queso that you didn’t use in the refrigerator.
Split the queso up into smaller containers so you only need to defrost as much as you need. This will save you time as smaller amounts will be quicker to defrost. It will also save you from potentially wasting food.
Once in the freezer, queso can keep for up to 6 months (so it will definitely be ready for your next party).
How to Defrost Queso
As with most foods, especially ones that contain a lot of dairy, you need to be careful of how you defrost queso.
As queso is so thick, it will take quite a while to defrost. You’re going to need to leave it for quite a few hours, if not overnight.
As queso contains so much dairy, you need to defrost it in the refrigerator. Dairy products should always be kept cool anyway, but defrosting in the refrigerator is better than in the microwave.
Leaving the queso in the refrigerator will allow it to defrost slowly. This will reduce the chances of it separating or going bad.
If you need it quickly, then you can defrost queso in the microwave, but it isn’t recommended. Only choose this option if your microwave has a specific defrost setting. If you heat frozen queso on a normal setting it won’t work as well and will just try to cook it.
As queso is so thick, even on the defrost setting, the already defrosted queso will begin to heat up and cook as the rest is still frozen. Make sure to stir the queso at regular intervals and don’t let it get too hot.
Otherwise, you will end up with queso that is still partially frozen with the cheese cooked or burnt on top.
Although you should avoid defrosting queso in the microwave, you can still reheat it in there. Make sure the queso is completely defrosted and then place it in the microwave for one minute.
Take it out, stir it, and then, if you want a thinner consistency or to heat it more, put it back in. Heating the queso is also a good way of combining it again if it becomes separated when defrosting.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Queso
Before transferring the queso directly from the hob to the freezer, it’s important that it has completely cooled. When warm or hot food is placed straight into the freezer, it will produce steam which will create pressure inside the container.
This can cause the top to pop off and the queso to potentially explode everywhere. (And if you don’t notice this happening, the exploded queso will then freeze all over the other food in the freezer drawer).
Placing hot or warm food in the freezer can also cause other food around it to defrost. They will eventually refreeze, but they may have their texture changed by the refreezing process.
It’s also not a good idea to refreeze food in general as, once the food has defrosted, the enzymes and bacteria will have got to work again. If the food is hot enough, it may even cause the freezer itself to defrost, which is really not what you want.
So, it’s super important to cool the queso down first. In fact, it might even be a better idea to place it in the refrigerator for a little while to chill.
Dairy products can easily curdle or separate when subjected to extreme temperatures, like in a freezer. So gradually lowering the temperature will help to stop this.
Overall, the answer is yes, you can freeze queso. It’s actually pretty easy and doesn’t require much work.
The most important things to remember are that it needs to be completely cool before being frozen and also is best when defrosted slowly.