Cheese sauce is a delicious addition to many dishes, from macaroni and cheese to nachos and more. It adds a creamy, cheesy flavor that takes the recipe to the next level.
But what if you make more cheese sauce than you need for a recipe? Can you freeze the leftovers for later?
The short answer is yes; you can freeze cheese sauce for future use. However, there are some tips and tricks to follow to ensure the cheese sauce freezes and reheats well. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about freezing cheese sauce, including:
Should You Freeze Cheese Sauce?
Freezing is a great way to save leftover cheese sauce to use later on. The freezing process stops the cheese sauce from going bad and allows it to be stored for several months. Here are some of the benefits of freezing cheese sauce:
- Saves money by reducing food waste. Cheese sauce can be expensive to make with ingredients like cheese, milk, and butter. Freezing leftovers avoids throwing out unused sauce.
- Provides convenience. Frozen cheese sauce can be thawed and used anytime for quick meals or recipes.
- Preserves flavor. Properly frozen cheese sauce maintains its texture and cheesy flavor when thawed.
- Let’s prepare ahead. Make big batches of cheese sauce to freeze, and you’ll have it ready when you need it for upcoming recipes and meals.
So if you find yourself with extra cheese sauce, freezing is a great idea. Just be sure to follow proper freezing techniques.
How to Freeze Cheese Sauce
Freezing cheese sauce is easy, but there are some steps to take for the best quality:
1. Allow the sauce to completely cool.
It’s important to let the hot cheese sauce cool down to room temperature before freezing. Hot sauce will cause freezer burn and affect the texture when thawed. Pour the sauce into a shallow container and let it cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
2. Portion into Freezer containers.
Once completely cooled, scoop the cheese sauce into freezer-safe, airtight containers, leaving about 12 inches of headspace at the top. Good freezer container options include plastic freezer bags, silicone containers, or rigid plastic containers. Avoid glass jars, which may crack.
Portion the sauce into usable amounts based on your cooking needs, like 1 cup or 2 cup portions. Flat containers will freeze and thaw faster than tall, narrow ones.
3. Remove Extra air.
Remove any extra air from the containers before sealing them to prevent freezer burn. You can use a freezer bag and the water displacement method to suck out excess air. Or simply press down the cheese sauce in the container with a spoon before sealing.
4. Seal and Label containers.
Seal the freezer containers tightly. Make sure to label each container with the type of cheese sauce and the date so you know how long it’s been frozen.
5. Freeze and Use Within the timeframe.
Place the sealed cheese sauce containers in the freezer. Frozen cheese sauce will keep for 2–3 months in the freezer before its quality starts to decline. Use within this timeframe for the best flavor and texture.
Thawing and Reheating Cheese Sauce
When you’re ready to use your frozen cheese sauce, follow these tips:
- Thaw overnight in the fridge or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Do not thaw at room temperature.
- Reheat gently on the stovetop or microwave, stirring frequently. Add a splash of milk or cream if it seems too thick.
- Avoid boiling or overheating the sauce, which can cause separation. Reheat just until warmed through.
- Use thawed cheese sauce in your favorite recipes. The texture may be slightly thinner than fresh sauce, but the taste will remain.
- Do not refreeze thawed cheese sauce. Only refreeze if the sauce was never fully thawed initially.
Follow these simple instructions, and your frozen cheese sauce will retain its creamy, cheesy goodness when thawed and reheated. Freeze it in handy portions so it’s ready when you need it.
The Best Cheeses for Freezing Sauce
While you can freeze any cheese sauce, some types of cheese freeze and thaw better than others.
Here are some of the best cheeses to use:
- Cheddar is A hard cheese that freezes very well. Sharp cheddar makes an especially flavorful frozen sauce.
- Monterey Jack: This semi-soft cheese freezes nicely and melts smoothly when reheated.
- Parmesan: hard, crumbly Parmesan freezes excellently. Use it in sauces like Alfredo.
- American: Cheap American cheese slices make an affordable sauce that reheats smoothly.
- Cream cheese: For a rich, creamy base, use brick cream cheese in cheese sauces before freezing.
The key is to avoid soft, fresh cheeses like goat cheese, ricotta, or mozzarella in sauces intended for the freezer. These don’t freeze well and can curdle or separate.
The Best Sauce Recipes for Freezing
While all cheese sauces can be frozen, some specific recipes freeze and reheat especially well:
- Alfredo sauce is A creamy Parmesan sauce that freezes nicely.
- Nacho cheese sauce: Standard creamy orange nacho sauce retains its flavor after freezing.
- Mornay sauce: Made from cheese, butter, and milk, this béchamel-based sauce freezes well.
- Beer and cheddar cheese sauce: The beer gives a tangy flavor and helps the texture.
- Jalapeo popper dip: This spicy, cheesy sauce thaws into a smooth, creamy dip.
Remember to use harder, freezer-friendly cheeses in your sauce recipes. Cook the sauce thoroughly before freezing.
Troubleshooting Freezing Cheese Sauce
Freezing cheese sauce is simple when done properly, but sometimes you can run into issues like separation, curdling, or weird textures.
Here’s how to troubleshoot:
- Separation: To avoid the oil separating, be sure to let the sauce cool fully before freezing and thaw slowly in the fridge, not at room temperature.
- Curdling: This is caused by freezing ultra-fresh soft cheeses. Stick to hard cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan that freeze well.
- Grainy texture: If the thawed sauce is grainy, the cheese didn’t fully incorporate before freezing. Make sure the cheese is fully melted.
- Watery texture: excess liquid in the sauce can cause iciness after freezing. Cook the sauce down more to thicken before freezing.
- Lack of flavor: For the best flavor, use high-quality cheeses and seasonings. Low-quality cheese won’t retain flavor well.
Follow the proper freezing and thawing methods outlined above and test the recipes before freezing big batches to troubleshoot any issues with the cheese sauce before stashing it in the freezer.
FAQ About Freezing Cheese Sauce
Freezing cheese sauce opens up a world of possibilities for saving time in the kitchen. But you may still have some questions about the best practices. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How long does cheese sauce last in the freezer?
Properly stored cheese sauce keeps well in the freezer for 2–3 months. After that point, it’s best to discard it instead of risking freezer burn or spoiled sauce.
Can you freeze Velveeta cheese sauce?
Yes, you can freeze any Velveeta cheese sauce, including the liquid cheese sauce packets. The shelf-stable packaging helps it last longer when frozen. Thaw slowly and gently and reheat on the stovetop or microwave.
Is it better to freeze cheese sauce in bags or containers?
You can freeze cheese sauce in either freezer bags or rigid, airtight containers. Bags take up less space, while containers make it easy to scoop out portions. Remove excess air from either before sealing and freezing.
Can I freeze nacho cheese sauce from a can?
Pre-made canned nacho cheese sauce can also be frozen in portions for later use. Make sure to transfer it to a freezer-safe container instead of freezing the can, which may crack.
What’s the best way to reheat frozen cheese sauce?
Gently reheat the frozen cheese sauce over low heat on the stovetop or using the defrost setting on the microwave. Stir frequently, and add a little milk or cream to thin if needed. Avoid boiling the sauce.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.