Delicious cheese sauce is one of those things that can completely transform a dish – but if you make too much of the stuff, can you freeze cheese sauce?
Today, we take a deep dive into all things cheesy and sauce, to find out if you really can freeze cheese sauce and, if so, how to exactly go about it.
Ready? Okay... let's find out if freezing cheese sauce is really a good idea.
So... can you freeze cheese sauce?
You'll be pleased to hear that the answer is yes... you can you freeze cheese sauce. However, there's a catch.
When freezing cheese sauce, you'll need to keep a few things in mind, in order to ensure the taste and texture of the sauce isn't completely ruined.
That's because, like all dairy products, the quality of cheese sauce after it has been frozen and thawed depends a lot on exactly how it was frozen and thawed.
Can you freeze homemade cheese sauce?
Absolutely. In fact, homemade cheese sauce tends to freeze better than the shop bought variety. That is because it doesn't contain so many additives, which can all play a part in diminishing the quality of the texture and taste of the cheese sauce during the freezing process.
Can you freeze homemade nacho cheese sauce?
Yes you can. It basically works the same as freezing any other homemade cheese sauce.
Can you freeze nacho cheese sauce from a shop?
Yes, although you probably won't get results as good as with homemade cheese sauce. Remember, all those additives can work against the quality of the sauce after it has been frozen, thawed and reheated.
Can you freeze store bought cheese sauce?
Yes you can freeze store bought sauce. The quality of the cheese sauce after it has been thawed and reheated depends a lot on the type of cheese sauce. Some cheese sauces freeze better than others.
Can you freeze cheddar cheese sauce?
Yes you can. In fact, cheddar cheese sauce is one of the sauces that freezes quite well, without too much impact on taste and texture.
Can you freeze packet cheese sauce?
If it's ready made then yes. However, if its the granulated dried cheese sauce mix, then no you can't freeze it.
Can you freeze cheese sauce with cream?
I don't recommend freezing cheese sauce with cream as an added ingredient. This is because the cream will most likely split the sauce and you'll end up without that smooth consistency that makes cheese sauce so luscious.
Can you freeze béchamel sauce?
Otherwise known as white sauce, béchamel sauce is freezable. Much like cheese sauce, it can split when reheating, so care must be taken during the freezing, thawing and reheating process.
Which cheese freezes best?
Different cheeses freeze in different ways. Here are some of the best... and worst.
The best cheeses to freeze:
- Monterey jack
- Muenster cheese
- The worst cheeses to freeze
- Blue cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Queso fresco
What happens when you freeze cheese sauce?
When cheese sauce is frozen, the fat and the liquid content of the sauce undergo a separation. During the freezing process, ice crystals form on the liquid molecules and, once thawed, this defrosted liquid stays separated from the cheese curds in the sauce.
This separation of cheese curds and liquid fat is what causes defrosted cheese sauces to end up being grainy and unpleasant, as opposed to luscious and creamy. It all depends on the kind of cheese the sauce is made up of – some cheeses are affected more than others (see above).
Of course, if this does happen, there are ways to repair your cheese sauce and make it silky smooth once again...
How do you make thawed cheese sauce creamy again?
Grainy cheese sauce is not fun! Having gone through the whole freezing process, only to end up with a horrible grainy sauce is enough to drive anyone mad.
Fear not! There are ways to restore a cheese sauce to (close to) its former glory. Just follow these tips:
1) Place the defrosted cheese sauce in a mixing bowl and whisk it like a champion, until it becomes smoother. This is quick and effective – you should see immediate results.
2) If you want to make it even smoother, you can use a little indirect heating. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Then, place a glass bowl on top of the pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water.
Place the thawed cheese sauce in the bowl and, as the indirect heat slowly heats the cheese sauce, whisk continuously, until it starts to become smoother.
How long can you freeze cheese sauce?
You can freeze cheese sauce for up to six months. However, I recommend defrosting after around two months. That way, you'll minimise the impact on the taste and texture of the cheese sauce.
How do you defrost cheese sauce?
Defrosting cheese sauce in the correct way will ensure that it retains its taste and texture. If you do things in the right way, you will notice a minimal change. However, if you get it wrong, you could end up with a thing, watery, grainy mess – the last thing you want!
I would very much advise against defrosting cheese sauce in the microwave or by leaving it out on the kitchen side. This will guarantee a poor quality sauce.
The best way to thaw frozen cheese sauce is to allow it to defrost slowly in the refrigerator. Your best bet is leaving it to defrost overnight.
If you're planning on adding a small portion of cheese sauce to a recipe, there's no need to defrost it. Especially if you've frozen portions in ice cube trays. Just add some cheese sauce ice cubes straight into the dish and allow them to defrost into the recipe. Simple!
How do you reheat cheese sauce?
There are several ways to reheat cheese sauce, depending on how much time you have.
In a saucepan on the hob
Put the saucepan on a low to medium heat and add the cheese sauce, stirring constantly until fully heated through.
In the microwave
Heat on a medium setting in a microwaveable container, stirring every 30 seconds.
Stir straight into a recipe
Reheating cheese sauce by adding it straight to your chosen dish is a great option. Try stirring it into your favourite pasta dishes. You could also combine it with cauliflower and use it as a cauliflower cheese sauce, or at a small portion over risotto as the creamy final flourish.
Tips on freezing and thawing cheese sauce
To recap, here are the points to follow when freezing and defrosting your cheese sauce:
- Freeze it as quickly as possible after buying or making, to extend its shelf life
- Whisk it after defrosting to improve consistency
- Freeze in smaller portions (ice cube trays) and use only as much as needed)
How to use leftover cheese sauce
Frozen cheese sauce is brilliant for keeping long term and reusing when you've got just the right dish for it. Still, once you reheat cheese sauce, what should you use it with?
Thawed sauce can be reheated and used in a variety of ways. Here are just a few examples:
How To Freeze Cheese Sauce
- Airtight freezer-safe container
- Ziploc bag
- Freezer labels
- Plastic wrap
- Ice cube tray
- Sharpie pen
- Mixing bowl
How to freeze unopened STORE BOUGHT cheese SAUCE
- Keep the jar of unopened cheese sauce in the refrigerator until you’re ready to freeze it.
- Place the packet in a ziploc freezer bag and label it with the date of freezing.
- Alternatively, place the jar of unopened cheese sauce straight in the freezer. Label it with the date of freezing.
How to freeze opened store bought cheese sauce
- Wrap the opened cheese sauce in a layer of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
- Place it into an airtight, freezer-safe container or a ziploc bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible, before sealing.
- Label with the date of freezing and place the cheese sauce in the freezer.
How to freeze HOMEMADE cheese sauce
- Allow the sauce to cool, then transfer it to an airtight container.
- Label with the contents and date of freezing, then place the cheese sauce in the freezer.
How to freeze cheese sauce in small portions
- Spoon individual portions of cheese sauce into a large ice cube tray.
- Place the ice cube tray into the freezer to flash freeze for an hour.
- Once the cheese sauce is properly frozen, place the ice cube tray into a large ziploc bag or airtight container to prevent the cheese sauce from getting freezer burn. Remove as much air from the bag as possible, before sealing.
- Label the bag or container with the contents and date of freezing and return it to the freezer.
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