Not every soup is freezer-ready.
I’m a big advocate for freezing soup in the cooler months. I love making big batches of my favorite soups and stews and freezing them in portions to grab for dinner on busier weeknights or lunch on a rushed morning before work. There’s definitely some tips and tricks for freezing soup you should know before diving in, but generally it’s a foolproof, comforting, and incredibly delicious method for meal prep.
That said, until recently, I didn’t realize that there are some soups that you just can’t freeze. See, I made a big batch of corn chowder, full of zucchini, potatoes, and lots of corn. The recipe called for almond milk and for half the ingredients to be blended to create a rich, creamy texture—yum right? To my dismay, when I went to reheat the portion of soup that I’d frozen, it was a gritty, mushy, and an unappetizing mess. I had to toss four meals worth of soup.
I now know there are a lot of reasons that soup didn’t work out so well in the freezer. It was perfectly delightful hot off the stove, but because of all the ingredients helping to make it extra-creamy and luscious, it was not a great candidate for a make-ahead, frozen meal.
So that you can enjoy soup season to the fullest—here are the five types of soups you should plan to eat within a few days of cooking, because they can’t withstand a stay in your freezer.
Soups with Pasta or Grains
There’s nothing quite like a soul-warming bowl of Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup on a crisp winter night or a steaming cup of Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup when stuck in bed with the flu. Unfortunately, any soup with pre-boiled pasta, quinoa, or rice doesn’t tend to retain great texture through freezing, thawing, and reheating. If you want to freeze a soup that typically contains pasta or grains, wait to add that element and boil a fresh batch when you reheat the soup.
Recipes like this Creamy Street Corn Soup achieve decadence from heavy cream. Sadly, soups with any kind of cream or milk base tend to separate with freezing.This leads to a grainy textured soup that will probably end up poured down the drain after reheating. Try freezing these soups before adding in the dairy, and when it comes time to reheat, you can mix it in on the stovetop. Additionally, soups that use almond milk or coconut milk, like this Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, have a better chance of holding up in the freezer—but add the non-dairy milks in later if possible for the best texture.
You would think a veggie-packed soup, like Summer Minestrone Soup, would be exactly what you need to pop in the freezer for a last-minute meal. But freezing a veg-heavy soup is risking totally overcooking your vegetables when reheating. This will lead to mushy, stringy, and sometimes overly grainy vegetables. Try to undercook the vegetables before freezing them if possible.
Typically you’re in the clear when it comes to completely blended sweet potato soups, like this Thai Peanut Sweet Potato Soup. These recipes freeze and reheat well. But we would recommend skipping anything with chunks of potatoes, or even blended white potato soups, like White Cheddar Chive Potato Soup. Thawing and reheating chunks of potatoes leaves them with a bizarre, mushy texture, and creamy potato soups tend to become gummy and unappetizing when reheated.
Any soup that requires you to remove a portion, blend it, and then add it back into the pot creates a naturally creamy, and flavorful bowl. But soups like this Creamy Broccoli-Cheese Soup will separate when frozen and aren’t apt to gracefully reintegrate when reheated. Consider freezing the soup pre-blending, and blending a portion once reheated.