Can You Freeze Cooked Spaghetti and Meatballs?
I don’t know about you, but spaghetti and meatballs is one of my family’s favorite meals.
And I always make more than I need. After all, making one double (or triple!) batch of anything is a lot less work than making one bunch twice.
So can you freeze spaghetti and meatballs and make it work for another dinner? You sure can.
Spaghetti dinner night is one of my favorites, because not only is it a quick dinner, but it’s one of the few things that everybody in the family loves. Plus, there are always spaghetti leftovers I can use for other meals or to freeze.
Can you freeze spaghetti and meatballs?
Good news — you can freeze spaghetti and meatballs! All parts of this dish can be frozen. The ground beef, tomato sauce, and pasta will last about 2-3 months in a regular 42 degree freezer. It’ll even last up to a year in the deep freezer.
How do you freeze spaghetti and meatballs?
The freezing process can be done a few different ways, but here are the most simple steps:
- Let Cool. Let the sauce, the meatballs and the pasta cool to at least room temperature.
- Whether mixed together or separate, place the components into a heavy duty freezer bag or freezer-safe Tupperware container.
- If using freezer bags, make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag to guard against freezer burn.
- If using Tupperware, make sure it is airtight. Then also make sure that you either 1) fill a shallow airtight container almost to the brim so when it freezes it pushes out the air, or
2) place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap over the top of the spaghetti and meatballs to help prevent freezer burn.
Lay your freezer bag on its side and freeze flat to help you save freezer space.
Should I freeze the spaghetti, meat and sauce separately?
There is most definitely an option to freeze the spaghetti, meat and pasta sauce separately.
Since all parts of this dish freeze, you can be creative about how you use each item when you thaw it. For example, you could use the sauce on uncooked plain pasta in a baked pasta dish . . . or use the pasta in a cream sauce dish.
How to freeze cooked pasta noodles by themselves:
Freezing the noodles when they are cooked al dente will give you the best results when you thaw and want to use them later.
Also, try mixing a bit of olive oil into the spaghetti noodles so they don’t stick together from all the starch.
Still make sure to use freezer bags or airtight freezer-safe containers and squeeze out all the air you can.
NOTE: This process works with all types of pasta once cooked. But if you are freezing fresh pasta you will want to place it on a cookie sheet in a single layer then pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes. After that, you can follow the instructions above.
How to freeze meatballs or meat by itself:
You can freeze the meatballs individually on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, place them in a freezer bag and toss them into any meal to make it a little meatier.
Freeze ground beef the same way as the meatballs by spreading the meat out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment and allowing it to freeze. Once frozen, crumble it and place the crumbles into a freezer bag so it can be used in other dishes.
Tips for freezing sauce separately:
Unlike jarred spaghetti sauce which can last a little longer in the fridge, your homemade spaghetti sauce should be frozen for sure. This cuts down on food waste and saves you time when you need it.
- Freeze sauce in a freezer bag or freezer safe tupperware that is airtight.
- For another option, try freezing your sauce in an ice cube tray to use for flavoring dishes and soups in the future.
Can you freeze cream-based sauces?
Some people like creamy sauces on their spaghetti, and guess what –you can still freeze a cream-based sauce.
Here are the things that you need to make sure of:
- You can freeze your sauce in heavy-duty freezer bags but because of the cream, I recommend doing a double wrap with some aluminum foil on the outside to help keep the temperature more constant.
- The other option is to freeze in high quality storage containers that are airtight.
- Unlike a tomato-based sauce which you could potentially pop right into the microwave to thaw, cream-based sauces tend to be more tricky. Make sure you thaw your cream-based sauce completely in the refrigerator before heating. For best quality results, I recommend heating over a low slow heat.
- Pop it into the microwave oven until heated through.
- Bake it in an oven safe dish in the conventional oven.
- Place it into a crockpot until warm.
- Use a pot on the stove and cook on low heat to medium heat.
How long after making spaghetti sauce can you freeze it?
Let it cool. Then freeze it. It should not take a long time (30-60 minutes) to completely cool as long as you stir it occasionally to let the heat out of the center.
Can you freeze spaghetti in individual portions?
I love freezing our favorite foods into individual portions that can be grabbed and thawed at a moment’s notice.
People usually think of storing people in plastic containers, but interestingly, glass jars are a great way to make individual portions. Just put a serving size into the jar, place a piece of parchment paper on top to cut down on freezer burn and then freeze it.
You can also use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to make small piles of spaghetti to freeze. Then once frozen, place them into a freezer bag and pull one out whenever you want a small meal.
Some days my lunch will consist of just an individual serving of spaghetti.
What if there’s parmesan cheese on it?
Parmesan cheese actually has a really high fat content, so it freezes really well. It shouldn’t compromise your spaghetti by freezing them together.
Can you freeze spaghetti in Tupperware?
Freezer safe containers (whether they’re technically “Tupperware” or not) can be used as long as they say they are an air-tight container. This helps prevent freezer burn.
You also want to make sure they’re quality containers so they don’t crack from the freezing temperature (which we have definitely had happen).
Can you put spaghetti in Ziploc bags?
A freezer safe bag is one of the best ways to freeze spaghetti and meatballs. The most important thing is to remember to try to remove all the air from the bag before placing it in the freezer.
How do you reheat frozen spaghetti with meat sauce?
There’s a chance that reheating those spaghetti noodles can make them mushy. So for best results, it’s a good idea to thaw the spaghetti with meat sauce in the refrigerator before reheating.
Once the mixture is thawed, bring it up as close to room temperature.
Then just have to warm it up in one of these ways:
Make sure the internal temperature of the dish is at least 165 degrees (especially if you have meatballs).
Did you forget to get the frozen spaghetti out to thaw in the fridge the night before?
No worries. Place the closed ziplock bag in a bowl with cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Then heat the spaghetti and meatballs using a method mentioned above.
Spaghetti Freezing FAQ’s
How long can you freeze cooked meatballs?
You can freeze cooked meatballs up to 3 months in the regular freezer and up to 1 year in a deep freezer.
Can you freeze spaghetti with sauce on it?
Yes, you can freeze spaghetti with sauce on it. You can either separate the components or freeze them all together.
How long does spaghetti and meatballs last in the fridge?
As we all know, refrigeration will only keep your perishable food good for so long before bacterial growth sets in, exposing us to possible food poisoning.
Be sure to look for signs of spoilage before eating. Things like bacterial growth, mold, or a rotten smell can all be signs of bad spaghetti.
Store-bought sauce is laden with preservatives and can last a little longer in the fridge. Be sure to check the expiration date.
The best option for homemade pasta sauce is to freeze it as soon as possible. It can be put in the refrigerator overnight, but should be frozen by the next day. And mark expiration dates on your frozen meals so you know when you need to use them up.
According to State Food safety and the FDA food code, all leftovers should be eaten before 7 days. That being said, I would recommend eating your spaghetti and meatballs in 3-4 days even if your container is airtight.
What’s a good spaghetti recipe?
My favorite spaghetti recipe is one that you can actually make in the crockpot. It is super simple and super delicious.
Remembering to freeze perishable foods can make the shelf life of the food you make last so much longer (instead of just putting it into the refrigerator to go bad quickly)
So, the next time you need a dinner idea on a busy weeknight, remember you have frozen spaghetti and meatballs in the freezer. And don’t you think food is always better the second time around? Pair it with a nice glass of wine and it will make that busy night feel so much better.