White sauce, also known as bechamel sauce, is one of those staple sauces which you’ll find in a variety of different dishes.
It is an excellent addition to most meals and a core ingredient in one of the most classic dishes: lasagne.
But what happens if you make too much white sauce? What are you supposed to do with the delectable leftovers?
The answer is simple, freeze it. Like most foods, white sauce can be frozen and is pretty easy to freeze. Despite its high dairy content, white sauce does not experience any issues throughout the freezing process.
This makes it a great option for storing leftovers or even meal prep for the future. Making a batch of white sauce ahead of time can easily reduce prep time for lots of different meals you may prepare in the future.
So if you want to freeze your white sauce but don’t know where to begin, follow this guide and the whole process will be simple.
How to freeze white sauce
Whether you have leftover white sauce because you prepared too much for the lasagne you had for dinner. Or you’ve decided to proactively prepare white sauce to help future you. The best way to prolong the shelf life of white sauce is by freezing.
The process is simple, and you have two freezing processes to choose from. You can either freeze the white sauce in the freezer or flash freeze it first. Neither method is necessarily better, it will all come down to personal preference.
If you have decided to simply freeze the sauce in your home freezer, the most important thing you need to do is wait for the sauce to cool thoroughly. You will likely serve this sauce warm but it is essential it has cooled before you start freezing the sauce.
If the sauce is not cooled thoroughly the consistency may be damaged during the process. While you leave the sauce to cool you should cover the dish it is in with a layer of saran wrap. This will prevent the sauce from forming a skin as it cools
Once you are confident that the sauce has cooled throughout you can then transfer it into an airtight, freezer-friendly container. You must leave at least 1 inch of space at the top of the container so that the sauce has room to expand while it freezes.
You should then seal the container and label it with the storage date before laying it flat in the freezer for future use.
Alternatively, you may decide to flash freeze the sauce first. This process exposes the sauce to very cold temperatures for a small amount of time to prepare it for its time in the freezer. It essentially chills the sauce prior to freezing so that the ingredients can adjust for long term freezing.
You should leave your sauce to cool completely and then transfer into a resealable, freezer-safe plastic bag. While the sauce is cooling you should prepare an ice cold bowl of water ready.
You should ensure the bag has been sealed properly, then submerge the bag of sauce into the cold water for between 15 and 20 minutes. After this time you should then label the bag with the date of storage and place in the freezer until you want to use it.
How to defrost white sauce
Just like freezing white sauce, the defrosting process is also very simple. When the process is so easy, freezing white sauce is the logical option to extend its shelf life.
In the fridge, your white sauce will only remain edible for roughly 5 days but by freezing you can extend this up to 12 months.
When the time comes for you to use the white sauce that you froze possibly months earlier, all you need to do is transfer the container from the freezer into the fridge.
The sauce should only take a few hours to defrost in the warmer temperatures of the fridge, but for the best result, you should leave it to thaw overnight before you use it.
Once you are confident that the sauce has defrosted thoroughly you can then reheat it. You will notice that the defrosting process has altered the consistency of the sauce.
It may appear grainy, and the ingredients may have split making the sauce look like it is inedible. Don’t be worried or put off by this. It is a normal part of the process and can be easily fixed while reheating.
To reheat the white sauce you should pour the defrosted mixture into a saucepan and reheat slowly over low heat. You should stir the sauce regularly to ensure the different ingredients bind together again, and also that the sauce doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pan.
Once the sauce reaches a thick and glossy finish and has a consistency of a freshly made white sauce, it is ready to eat.
Factors to consider
Similar to when you freeze anything, there are some factors that you should consider when you decide to freeze your white sauce.
If you are preparing white sauce ready to freeze for future use, you mustn’t allow the sauce to sit at room temperature for any amount of time.
Extreme temperatures, either hot or cold will prevent the growth of bacteria, but room temperature encourages growth. By ensuring the sauce is never left at room temperature you will reduce the chance of bacteria growth and also stop the dairy content in the sauce from turning.
You should also consider freezing the sauce in ready-made portions, especially if you are preparing the sauce for future use. You will not require an entire batch of white sauce to make one serving of lasagne, so by freezing into portions you will be reducing waste.
Once defrosted, the white sauce cannot be frozen again so any excess defrosted sauce will have to be thrown in the trash. You should consider dividing the sauce into portions before freezing by using separate containers or bags.
This will allow you to use one bag as and when you need it, rather than wasting lots of sauce because you defrosted too much.
So, the answer is yes, you can freeze white sauce.
In fact, it can be an excellent way to reduce the time needed to prepare meals in the future.
The entire process is simple, so if you use white sauce regularly you should consider preparing some to freeze.