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Can You Freeze Goulash? A Complete Guide

Food Guide

Goulash is a hearty, flavorful stew that makes for a delicious and comforting meal. With tender chunks of meat simmered in a tomato or paprika-based sauce and vegetables, it’s no wonder goulash is a favorite dish for many.

But what if you end up with leftovers after making a big batch? Or want to prep goulash ahead of time for quick weeknight meals? Freezing is a great option for preserving your goulash to enjoy later.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about freezing goulash, including:

  • Can you freeze goulash?
  • How to properly freeze goulash
  • How long does goulash last in the freezer?
  • How to reheat and serve frozen goulash
  • Tips for best results freezing goulash

So let’s get freezing!

Can You Freeze Goulash?

The good news is that yes, you can absolutely freeze goulash for later enjoyment! The rich stew is well suited for freezing.

Both traditional Hungarian goulash and American goulash freeze well. The tender chunks of meat and vegetables hold up nicely through the freezing process.

Freezing is a great way to:

  • Preserve leftover goulash
  • Save time on busy nights with premade goulash
  • Avoid food waste by freezing portions you can’t eat right away

As long as you take a few precautions (outlined below), frozen goulash will taste delicious when reheated.

How to Properly Freeze Goulash

Freezing goulash is easy, but following these steps will give you the best results:

1. Start with freshly made goulash

Don’t freeze goulash that’s already been sitting in the fridge for several days. Use fresh goulash within 2 days for optimal flavor and texture.

2. Cool the goulash completely

Bring the temperature down to room temperature before freezing. This prevents excess moisture from evaporating inside the freezer bag or container.

3. Portion into serving sizes

Divide goulash into freezer bags or containers in portions ideal for your household, like 2-4 servings. This allows for easy reheating!

4. Remove air

Squeeze out excess air before sealing bags. For containers, leave 1-inch headspace. Getting rid of air prevents freezer burn.

5. Use freezer-safe materials

Use thick, high-quality freezer bags, plastic containers, or aluminum foil casserole pans. This protects your goulash during freezing.

6. Label bags or containers

Include the name and freeze date. This lets you know what’s inside and when it expires.

7. Freeze right away

Get your goulash in the freezer as soon as it’s prepped. Quick freezing maintains best flavor and texture.

How Long Does Goulash Last in the Freezer?

Stored properly in airtight packaging, goulash can be kept frozen for 2-3 months before quality begins to decline.

For best flavor and texture, aim to defrost and eat frozen goulash within this 2-3 month window.

If goulash has been in the freezer for over 3 months, inspect it closely when defrosting. As long as it still smells good and looks okay, it should still be safe to eat but the flavor and texture may suffer. Discard any goulash that smells bad or appears spoiled.

Properly stored goulash can be kept frozen for up to 6 months, but 3 months or less is best. Place goulash at the front of your freezer to make sure you use it in time!

How to Reheat Frozen Goulash

Reheating frozen goulash is easy and preserves the delicious flavors. Here are some reheating methods:

  • Stovetop: Heat goulash over medium-low, stirring occasionally until warmed through. Add a splash of broth if needed.

  • Crockpot: Thaw goulash overnight in fridge before adding to a slow cooker to heat through.

  • Oven: Place thawed goulash in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F until hot, stirring once.

  • Microwave: Defrost goulash in fridge before reheating individual portions in the microwave, stirring every minute.

Bring goulash to an internal temperature of 165°F. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh herbs or cheese and serve with bread!

Tips for Freezing Goulash

Follow these pro tips when freezing goulash for best results:

  • Leave 1-inch of headspace in containers to account for expansion during freezing.

  • Use milk or cream in goulash instead of sour cream, as sour cream may curdle when frozen. Add fresh when reheating.

  • Undercook noodles slightly before adding to goulash to avoid mushy pasta when reheated later.

  • Don’t freeze goulash more than once. Refreezing causes greater risk of food spoilage.

  • Freeze in small portions ideal for your household for quicker reheating. Freeze any extra sauce separately.

  • Use fresh spices and seasonings. Frozen goulash can lose some seasoning intensity. Adjust seasoning when reheating.

Can You Freeze Already Cooked Goulash?

If you have a batch of freshly cooked goulash that you want to save, you can absolutely freeze your leftovers! Just let the goulash cool completely first before dividing into portions to freeze. Frozen pre-made goulash is perfect for quick meals later.

Can You Freeze Goulash With Noodles?

For best texture, it’s recommended to cook noodles separately to serve with goulash or add them later. But you can freeze goulash with some noodles as long as you slightly undercook them first. The noodles will hold up better than if fully cooked. Just be gentle when reheating to avoid mushiness.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Goulash?

Refreezing goulash that has already been thawed is not recommended. Thawed goulash will only last 3-4 days in the fridge before quality suffers. Refreezing introduces higher risk of bacterial growth. For best quality and food safety, do not refreeze thawed goulash.

Final Thoughts

Freezing is an excellent way to preserve leftover goulash or prepare goulash ahead of time while retaining fantastic flavor. With proper freezer storage and reheating, you can enjoy delicious goulash for up to 2-3 months after freezing.

Divide freshly cooked goulash into portions, remove air, use airtight packaging, and freeze immediately for ideal results. Reheat frozen goulash on the stovetop, in the oven or slow cooker, or microwave.

Following the tips above will help you successfully freeze goulash for quick and easy meals your whole family will love. So get freezing and enjoy tasty goulash even on your busiest days!


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