It’s all bliss and glee when you portion soups for the freezer until it’s time to use them in a recipe.
Rock solid like bricks meant for building, frozen soups can be very difficult to break down to their previous glory without the right techniques.
They may even end up burnt, tasteless or worse bloated with a hefty population of bacteria after thawing.
Learn how to properly reheat a frozen batch of soup so you never end up creating mess inside your kitchen. You’ll also learn how to revive different types of soups as most soups suffer greatly in terms of texture and flavor after freezing.
How to reheat frozen soup
- Take out the block of soup from the freezer and put it inside the refrigerator overnight or for two days.
- Pour the contents of the soup bag into a clean pot or pan and cook on medium heat while stirring constantly to distribute the heat.
- In no time, the soup should begin to bubble.
- And water or broth to arrive at a desired consistency.
- Re-season soup lightly and add fresh herbs for revival when the i initial flavor is lost.
- Cook soup until the temperature halfway registers 165F or more using a food thermometer.
Defrosting frozen soups in details
Heating frozen soups is very easy, and can be done inside most cooking equipments, and using various techniques.
Below are the different techniques and appliances you can reheat soups in.
Heat in microwave
The microwave is a wonder invention capable of fast cooking of food items and reheating them. Inside the microwave, you can achieve not only a fully thawed soup but a fully cooked soup as well in as little as 10 minutes, depending on the quantity of the soup.
To cook frozen soup in the microwave, transfer the frozen soup directly into a microwave safe dish (if the soup is already inside a plastic bag or wrapper), or inside the microwave in its plastic or tempered glass container without the lid on.
There are a lot of people out there that voice against the reheating and cooking of soups in the microwave. And the reason they cite is the chemical migration that may occur during heating which is definitely true with some plastic packaging.
Regardless however, microwave thawing can be a decent option when appropriate plastic packaging are used for storage of the soup, and also those that are microwave safe (because you’ll end up popping the containers straight inside the microwave unless you plan on releasing the soup from the edges of the container and then transferring it into a microwave bowl). Safe plastic packaging materials include ziplock bags and other BPA free plastic containers that are microwave safe.
After putting the soup inside the microwave, set the appliance on low power and run for 5 minutes. Remove the container afterwards and stir inside the soup with a ladle, then return back inside the microwave and continue cooking at 2 minute bursts until soups turns hot and bubbly or the temperature halfway registers 165F and above.
* Use low power to ensure even defrosting and prevent burnt soup.
* Use an oven mitt to retrieve the soup from the microwave.
* Always store soup in the exact quantities as you would love to use them. Portioning very large batches of soup means you’re going to have to thaw the entire thing out even when you necessitate only a fraction of the soup, and such practice increases the chances of spoilage and deterioration.
In instant pot
Blocks of soups can cook almost effortlessly under the intense pressure applied by an instant pot. If you have one, you should definitely make it your number go to for defrosting soups and broths.
For cooking frozen soups in the pressure cooker, soups stored in plastic bags or small rigid plastic containers are ideal as they can easily be inserted into the cooker.
Make sure to insert the steamer shelf and then place the block of soup on it. If your container is too big to fit inside the instant pot, use the water bath technique mentioned below to loosen up the soup at the edges and then transfer the contents into the pressure cooker. Another method is to pour hot water directly inside the soup container to loosen it from the edges.
Afterwards, pour a little cold water inside the pressure cooker, choose the pressure cook function/button and set timer to 0 minutes. Allow pot to beep then use the rapid release function to depressurize the pot. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot steam coming out of the cooker when you depressurize.
On the stovetop
On the stovetop, there are different ways to tackle a solid block of soup. First, you can pour hot water inside the packaging to release the soup from the edges of the containet, then transfer contents into the pot on a stovetop and cook until hot and bubbly, or internal temperature halfway registers 165F.
Or, you can dip the bottom of the container into a bowl containing hot water for the release. Either way works well. If you don’t like working with hot water, you can use the water bath technique except that it will take you longer to release the soup from it’s edges.
Thaw in the refrigerator
Thawing soup in the refrigerator is the most recommended as it is less prone to harboring pathogenic growth. It keep the soup at a safe temperature while thawing it gradually. Thawing inside the refrigerator can take as much as 2 days depending on the quantity of soup you’re working with.
Dip the sealed soup in a water bath.
For the iced water bath, you simply remove the soup from the freezer and place the bottom of the soup container inside a water bath (i.e a bowl filled less than halfway with room temperature water). Use water from the tap. Soups can take a while to thaw using this method especially when they’re in bulk quantity.
Never thaw soups on the counter
There are more than three ways mentioned above for thawing and heating up soups, and the counter is never mentioned!
That’s because it can hold the soup for long in the danger zone which can cause pathogenic bacteria to accumulate into a healthy population and pose risks of soup poisoning.
The danger zone is between 40F – 140F and this is where bacteria multiply the quickest. When soup is kept for long in this zone, such as cooking and storing it on the counter as opposed to the refrigerator or freezer, or thawing at room temperature, it can be dangerous for whomever is consuming it.
How to revive freezer burned soups
It’s not a surprise to reach for your frozen soup and run into a burnt item. When you have a portion of your packaging inviting air during storage l, this can cause the hated phenomenon called “freezer burn” to take place, and it’s effects are enormous on soups. They affect their quality and cause a collapse in the overall texture.
But it’s not all doom and gloom with freezer burn, there’s still so much you can do to revive a freezer burnt soup.
You should consider re-seasoning the soup to your taste and tossing in fine chops of fresh parsley and herbs for the revive.
You want to add water to loosen up soups during thawing as freezing cause them to thicken up even after thawing. So add water to obtain a desired consistency or you can even use broth if that was called for in the initial recipe.
How to revive separated and grainy soups (fat based soups)
For soups made with diary based products like this broccoli cheese soup, they may adopt a grainy consistency after thawing due to the separation of the fats from the entire mixture during freezing, among other things.
You can store them by holding back on the diary addition, or make everything as usual, store in the freezer and try to revive the soup during thawing.
You should opt for more diary such as milk or cream as opposed to water and make sure to whisk continuously to form a homogenous mixture in the end. Season if appropriate.
How to properly store soups
There are many things you should consider before freezing soups, read them below. For more tips, read this article.
Cool soups before putting inside the fridge and do so under 2 hours. This article on “how long should soup cool before refrigerating” explains better.
Portion soups based on usage
Apportion you soups into several freezer bags to make thawing fast and efficient. You can even freeze soups in cube trays and transfer the cubes into a large packaging so you grab the required quantity you need on demand.
Ensure to label soup packaging with freezing date and name of the item to avoid running into mystery foods.
Arrange in order of usage
Keep new soups at the back of the fridge and old ones in front. This will force you to use the old ones before the new ones.
Never store any soup for longer than 5 months
Soups are made up of different components like herbs, veggies, starchy foods etc. You don’t want to be testing the limits of every single component in your soups as that can be a sure way of deteriorating it.
A majority of food components and elements can keep for at least 5 months in the freezer without a change in their flavor profile. So stick with the rule of storing soups for no more than 5 months, especially if it contains delicate components like diary and veggies.
Never store starch based soups
These come out gummy when thawed out. Examples include rice and potato soups. You can always freeze up the base broth and then use it to make the soup on demand.
You can easily reheat frozen soups by cooking them in the microwave, on the stovetop or using the pressure cooker.
If after freezing your soup suffers textural and flavor problem, you can always kick a new life into it with fresh herbs and extra seasoning.