Did you know you can freeze cooked pasta? Learn how easy it is to freeze shells, spaghetti & egg noodles – with or without sauce. Great for feeding the baby or a quick dinner for the family!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just snap our fingers and dinner made itself?
And did you know you can make dinner even faster and freeze cooked pasta?!
I normally use a kitchen scale (I have this one) to measure exactly how much pasta we need, but when my husband told me he’d eat leftovers, I made a whole box.
Can you guess what happened?
We had A TON of pasta leftover.
So much so, that there was no way we could eat it all without feeling awful. I began thinking of what we could do for the pasta not to go to waste and I thought – what if we freeze the cooked pasta?!
Why would you consider freezing pasta?
Aside from listening to your husband and making too much, there are actually a few reasons to freeze pasta:
- Batch Cooking: You make extra on purpose so you can save time cooking later.
- Leftover Pasta: You accidentally made too much and you don’t want it to go to waste.
- Cook Once, Eat Twice: You have pasta on your meal plan twice, so you’re being smart with your time and cooking now for both meals.
How to Freeze Cooked Pasta
Here’s how to freeze pasta so it’s not mushy later:
- Slightly undercook the pasta. Cook pasta al dente, which is slightly undercooked. If the box says to cook for 9-11 minutes, the timer for cooking the noodles should be set for 8 minutes.
- Rinse your pasta under running cold water. The cold water helps to stop the cooking process, and it’s the same reason we put hard boiled eggs into a water bath.
- Toss the cooked pasta with olive oil. Olive oil will help keep the pasta from sticking together as it freezes, as you store it, and when you use it in your recipe later. Tip: Toss the pasta in the same pot you used to cook it in to reduce dishes!
- Freeze the pasta. Place the pasta on a baking sheet (I have this set) in a single layer. This is important – if the pasta is not in a single layer, it will clump together as it freezes. When freezing long noodles (spaghetti, fettuccine, angel hair, etc.), make “nests” instead of freezing in a single layer by taking a fork and twirling it in the tossed pasta. When you have about a ½ cup of pasta on the fork, carefully move the pasta directly to the cookie sheet. Leave a couple of inches between nests. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least one full hour, or up to 8 hours.
- Move the pasta to a freezer-safe container. This can be a set of glass storage containers (I have these), glass jars (here’s how to freeze glass jars without breaking them) or freezer bags.
I recommend storing the pasta in amounts you would typically use in a recipe, like 4 or 8 ounces. Make sure you get all of the air out of the bag to avoid freezer burn and label your container!
How to Thaw Frozen Pasta
- Place the pasta in a pan of WARM (not hot) water. This will bring the noodles to room temperature.
- Carefully stir the frozen pasta directly into the dish. This will defrost the pasta and cool the dish slightly, so make sure the pasta is heated through again before serving. Also, try not to over stir the noodles!
- Place the frozen pasta directly into a pot of boiling water. This will very, very quickly thaw the noodles and cook them for one minute.
- Pop it in the microwave!
Need some sauce and/or meal ideas using frozen pasta? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Hearty Spaghetti Sauce (and 15-minute Italian meatballs!)
- 15 Minute Alfredo Sauce
- Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
- Weeknight Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Savory Pasta with Onion, Bacon & Greens
- Creamy Squash Pasta Bake
- Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
- The Best Stove-top Macaroni & Cheese
- Pumpkin Chili Mac
- Lentil Macaroni & Cheese
Can you freeze cooked pasta with meat sauce (or with pesto)?
What about whole dishes – can you freeze pasta casserole or freeze pasta meals?
What else can you freeze, besides pasta?
The freezer is my go-to preservation method for SO MANY different foods:
Freezing foods, including leftovers, is one way we’re able to afford real food on a budget. If you need help with this, I HIGHLY recommend downloading my free substitution guide. It’s a list of 130+ substitution ideas that let you use the food you already have, and save money by NOT having to run out to the store!