I’m the worst at overestimating how much spaghetti to make. We’ve been eating this stuff for like three days now, and I still have leftover spaghetti!
Not wanting to toss it (or eat it for another day!), I slipped it into a Ziploc bag today and stuck it in the freezer.
You read that correctly – freezing spaghetti is actually a thing, and it’s a great way to save up your cooked spaghetti portions (and yes, even the sauce!) for another day.
Here’s a quick guide on how to make the most of all that leftover pasta!
Does Cooked Spaghetti Freeze Well?
Freezing leftover spaghetti is a great way to save your extras for a future ready-made meal. Just be sure to let it cool before placing it in a freezer bag for storage.
It’s best to squeeze out as much air from the bag as possible to help prevent freezer burn. Be sure to label your bag with the date, and try to use your leftover spaghetti within six months or so, for best quality.
When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. We don’t have a microwave, so when it’s time to reheat mine I either dump it into a casserole dish and bake ’til heated through in the oven.
You don’t need to overcook the pasta. Just let it cook until it’s warm or it will become mushy.
Another way I do it is I put it in a saucepan over medium heat, and add a little water to the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching. Then stir until heated through. You can also use a microwave, if you have one, or a slow cooker to warm up your leftover spaghetti.
Reasons to Freeze Leftover Spaghetti
As I already told you, it can be really tough to guess-timate how much pasta you need! While using a food scale or measuring cups can help, I still never seem to get it right.
If you accidentally make too much pasta, freezing it is a great way to preserve the bounty for later. It’s also a good option if you prefer to cook in batches. You can make extras now so that you can use the pasta later on for other recipes (or just a second meal). It’s a great option for busy cooks in particular!
Tips for Freezing Leftover Spaghetti
Luckily, freezing leftover spaghetti is pretty easy – as long as you follow a few simple tips.
Cook the Pasta First
You can cook spaghetti as well as just about any type of cooked pasta, but how you do it is important and can make a big difference. For example, think about how you cook the noodles.
There’s not really any point in freezing uncooked pasta, since it will last up to two years in the pantry.
Avoid Overcooking Pasta
Definitely cook your pasta al dente style.
However, try to avoid overcooking your pasta if you know you’ll eventually end up freezing it. Pasta that is overcooked will be even softer and mushier when you thaw it.
Let the Leftovers Cool First
Let the spaghetti sit for a few minutes before transferring it to the fridge and to the freezer. This allows the sauce to thicken and stick to the noodles, making it less likely to spill or splatter when reheated.
Additionally, rapid cooling can cause the pasta to become gummy and difficult to reheat.
Put it in Ice Cube Trays
For perfectly portioned spaghetti that reheats quickly and evenly, put it in ice cube trays. Just cook the spaghetti as you normally would, then let it cool slightly before adding it to the ice cube trays.
Once it’s frozen, you can pop out as many cubes as you need and reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop.
No more soggy noodles or wasted leftovers – just delicious, easy-to-eat spaghetti whenever you want it.
Add Olive Oil
If you want, you can add a bit of olive oil to the strands when you cook them. This will prevent them from clumping together in storage.
Rinse the Pasta
Another tip is to rinse your pasta under cold water after you’ve boiled it. This will stop the cooking process and essentially “blanch it for storage.
If you haven’t added sauce to your leftover spaghetti when it comes time to freeze it, you can place it on a baking sheet first to freeze it.
Spread it out on a single sheet, ideally not touching, so that it won’t clump together as it freezes. This will let you store large amounts of pasta without taking up a ton of space or causing unpalatable lumps.
Flash freeze on the cookie sheet for a few hours, then transfer into your freezer-safe container.
Use Multiple Containers
Freeze your leftover spaghetti in multiple containers instead of one jam-packed one. This will give the ingredients more room to expand as they freeze and thaw.
Avoid Gluten-Free Pasta
I also don’t recommend using gluten-free pasta. In my experience, it doesn’t freeze all that well.
What is the Best Container to Freeze Spaghetti Sauce?
While some argue that the best container is plastic because it doesn’t absorb flavors or smells, others prefer glass because it’s non-reactive and won’t leach chemicals into the sauce. The best container for freezing spaghetti sauce is actually a Mason jar.
Unlike plastic, Mason jars are made of tempered glass, which means they can withstand rapid changes in temperature without shattering. In addition, the wide mouth of the jar makes it easy to scoop out the sauce when you’re ready to use it. And because Mason jars are clear, you can easily see how much sauce is left.
Don’t Be Afraid of Freezing Meatballs, Either!
Now you know that you can freeze leftover spaghetti, but what about meatballs? Can you freeze those, or will they get mushy?
If you follow these simple steps, you can have delicious, fresh-tasting spaghetti and meatballs that are just as good as when they were first made. First, cook the spaghetti and meatballs according to your recipe.
Once they are cooked, allow them to cool slightly so that they can be handled easily. Next, place the spaghetti and meatballs in a freezer bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Finally, seal the bag and store it in the freezer.
What About Alternatives – Like Chicken Spaghetti or Spaghetti Squash?
There are also some other great options for dishes made with spaghetti. For example, chicken spaghetti is a delicious and easy way to use up leftover cooked chicken.
Or, if you’re looking for a healthier option, try substituting spaghetti squash for traditional pasta.
Both of these dishes can be easily frozen and reheated, making them perfect for busy weeknights. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Freeze Noodles and Sauce Separately
Finally, I recommend freezing the sauce and the pasta separately. Not only will the noodles thaw more quickly when they aren’t inside the sauce, but they won’t get soggy, either.
How Do You Defrost Cooked Pasta With Sauce?
There are a few methods you can use to successfully defrost and reheat your cooked pasta with sauce.
One is to place the frozen dish in the fridge the night before you plan on eating it, allowing it to thaw slowly. Alternatively, you can place the frozen pasta in a bowl of warm water for about 20 minutes, until it is thawed.
How Do You Reheat Frozen Cooked Pasta?
Once thawed, cook the pasta on the stove over low heat until it is heated through. Be sure to stir often so that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
You can also reheat the pasta in the microwave, although this may cause the sauce to become watery. If you are using this method, heat the pasta in short bursts, stirring after each one, until it is heated through.
No matter which method you choose, cooked pasta with sauce can be successfully reheated with a little planning ahead.
How Long Can You Freeze Spaghetti Sauce With Meat?
Spaghetti sauce with meat can be stored in the freezer for up to four months.
When freezing spaghetti sauce, it’s important to use an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. You can also portion out the sauce into individual servings before freezing, which will make it easier to thaw and reheat later on while also preventing freezer burn.
Alternatives to Freezing It
If freezing your leftover spaghetti doesn’t sound that palatable to you, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways you can use up your leftovers.
If you haven’t combined the sauce and noodles yet, why not toss the plain noodles with some butter, cheese, or olive oil, and add some herbs? You can have a simple vegetarian pasta or even add some bacon or chicken for added flavor.
Another family favorite is spaghetti casserole. Basically, it’s spaghetti – but with extra cheese! You’ll layer ingredients like ricotta and mozzarella cheese with your noodles and tomato sauce and then bake it. It’s kind of like lasagna, actually!
I haven’t tried this, but I’ve even heard of people making leftover spaghetti pizza. All you need are a few eggs and some parmesan cheese to make a pie-like meal that’s absolutely to die for. Here’s a recipe.
There are also recipes out there for things like leftover spaghetti frittatas, fritters, and even muffins, too.
Get creative! You shouldn’t have to get sick of eating leftover spaghetti ten nights in a row when there are plenty of other options out there for you to try.
What’s your favorite thing to do with leftover spaghetti?
Yes. Be sure to leave enough headroom in the Ziploc or other freezer-safe bag so that it can expand as the sauce freezes.
Once the sauce is frozen, it can be placed in the fridge where it will keep for four to six months. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw the sauce in the fridge overnight or in a bowl of warm water.
The answer depends on a few factors, including the type of spaghetti and the cooking method. For instance, thin spaghetti will heat up more quickly than thick spaghetti.
Additionally, boiling the spaghetti in water will generally take longer than microwaving it. With that said, most frozen spaghetti will be heated through in about 10 minutes.
Yes. Sauces made with a high tomato content can be frozen in jars or plastic containers after they have been cooked. Before freezing, the sauce should be cooled to room temperature and then transferred to a freezer-safe container.
Be sure to leave enough headspace in the container to allow for expansion during freezing. When ready to use, the sauce can be thawed in the refrigerator and then reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.
You can freeze pasta with sauce, but it’s important to choose the right type of pasta and sauce. First, steer clear of delicate pasta shapes like cappelletti, shells, or bow ties. They tend to break down when thawed and don’t hold their shape as well as sturdier cuts like fusilli, garganelli, or gemelli.
Also, label and date the containers before placing them in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy your meal, simply thaw the pasta in the fridge overnight and reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.
20 thoughts on “Freezing Leftover Spaghetti”
Can I just defrost frozen spaghetti in the microwave instead of soaking in hot water?
I’m gonna take 1 step further. I’ll freeze my pasta and sauce separately then put it in a vacuum sealer bag and vacuum the air out and seal it.
Okay I get it you can freeze spaghetti but can you freeze spaghetti that has sauce on it already. We make spaghetti but I mix it with the sauce and eat it as a left over. But we get tired of it and can’t eat it all so I’d like to freeze it. Can I freeze it and still have it taste okay?
YES! I always freeze mine with the sauce mixed in. Works great.
How long does it stay good for
I try to use it up within three months, just to keep freezer burn at bay.
Thank you!! I have a ton. I’m going to freeze today!
I am a terrible judge when it comes to estimating pasta portions therefore have plenty of left overs. I absolutely love Kendra’s idea of reusing cereal and cracker bags to separate servings….. brilliant!!! I do prepare and freeze most any over ripe fruits on a cookie sheet then store in zip lock bags until I need a handful for shakes or sauces. I’m a huge fan of minimal waste and recycling. Thanks for sharing!
Just out of curiosity, since it’s already in a ziploc bag, could you just put it right out of the freezer into a large pot of boiling water and thaw/heat it that way? Would the noodles cook more? If you remember enough ahead of time to actually get it out of the freezer the night before, you are truly amazing. I rarely remember things like that in time. 🙂
Yeah, that would work; though maybe not quite boiling water. As long as the bag doesn’t touch the hot sides of the pot and melt to it. Yuck 😉 What I would do (if I forgot to thaw it) is fill the sink with really hot water, and let it thaw in the ziploc in the sink water. I do that with meat sometimes, and it works really well. You might have to drain and refill with hot water again before it’s completely thawed… but it works 🙂
Cool idea 🙂 I mostly freeze stuff like pre-portioned bags of ground beef, produce that’s gonna go bad, etc. Oh, something related – I keep gallon freezer bags in the freezer and when I make a whole chicken or even chicken parts, I save the bones and when I have enough I make a huge huge batch of chicken stock/bone broth.
Kendra, good idea for using the cereal and cracker bags in place of wax or parchment paper–I’ll have to remember that one!
Just don’t try to bake with it, LOL. Tried that once. Didn’t work 🙂
I had no idea you could freeze pasta? I figured it would come out yukky. Nice to know! I freeze half used containers of pasta sauce, milk or juice if we are going out of town and pretty much anything else that looks like we might not get to it before it goes bad.
I also am a big over-estimator when it comes to making spaghetti, but not so much as the pasta noodles, but the sauce! I always make a full crock pot of home made sauce, then have leftovers for ages! This is definitely a regular staple in my freezer. I love using the crockpot, so making spaghetti is super easy when I use the frozen leftover sauce. Thank goodness for freezers, otherwise I’d be so wasteful!
I love what you posted on here but how do you freeze your left over homemade spaghetti sauce? I use a crock pot also and need some ideas on what to do with my left overs.
Thanks so much.
Ooohhh good idea Kendra and Pam…I have started saving cereal bags but didn’t have that many uses for them yet…I’ll have to add that one for freezing pancakes…
We always freeze leftover spaghetti, too. Sometimes I freeze it in one-person size portions so that someone can pull out a small bag and heat the contents up for lunch. If you don’t want to use a lot of small bags for that, you can freeze it in small “clumps” on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet, then transfer all the clumps into one gallon size freezer bag. I also make big batches of pancakes and freeze the extra. Again, you can either freeze them individually (so they don’t freeze into a big clump) and then put them together in one bag, or cut parchment paper into small squares to put between them, then just stack them with the paper between them and put them into a bag to freeze.
Great tips, Pam! I like to freeze extra pancakes, too 😉 I save the waxed bags from cereal and cracker boxes, cut them into squares, and use them to put between the pancakes so they don’t all freeze together. Saves me from having to buy parchment or wax paper 🙂
I do this all the time, when I ewheat it, I put it in a pan and add more sauce and put shredded cheese on top and bake it in the oven and its good like that.