Lentil curry is a delicious, protein-packed dish that can be a healthy regular meal when you’re short on time. The spices, lentils, vegetables, and sauce meld together into a mouthwatering meal. But can you freeze lentil curry to enjoy later?
The short answer is yes; you can absolutely freeze lentil curry for quick and easy meals down the road. Freezing is a great way to save time, avoid food waste, and always have a homecooked meal ready to reheat.
With a few tips and tricks for proper freezing and storage, you can enjoy your favorite lentil curry for months after initially preparing it.
How to Freeze Lentil Curry
Freezing lentil curry is simple, but there are some steps you should take to make sure it freezes and reheats well. Here is a step-by-step guide:
1. Let It cool.
After cooking your lentil curry, you need to let it come to room temperature before freezing. Hot food placed directly in the freezer can lead to food safety issues. Let the curry cool to room temperature, about 1–2 hours before freezing.
2. Portion It Out
Once cooled, portion the curry out into freezer-safe containers, leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top. This allows for expansion as the food freezes. Freezer bags, plastic containers, or glass containers all work well. The portions can be whatever size works for your meals. 3–4 servings per container are convenient for quick reheatable meals.
3. Seal and Label
Make sure to seal the containers airtight to prevent freezer burn. Then label the containers with the contents and freeze date so you know what’s inside and how long it’s been frozen when you go to reheat it.
4. Freeze immediately.
Place the sealed and labeled containers in the freezer right away. Freeze lentil curry within 2 hours of cooking for best quality and food safety. The quicker it freezes, the better it will retain its flavor and texture.
5. Use Within 3-6 months.
For optimal taste and texture, use your frozen lentil curry within 3–6 months. It may last up to a year frozen, but the spices can start to fade and the consistency can become more watery over longer freezing periods.
Tips for Freezing Lentil Curry
Follow these handy tips when freezing lentil curry to get the most out of your frozen meals:
- Use freezer-safe, airtight containers to prevent freezer burn.
- Allow space at the top for expansion as the curry freezes.
- Cool completely before freezing for food safety.
- Freeze portion sizes that work for your meals.
- Label with contents and freeze date.
- Avoid overfilling containers, which can lead to cracking.
- Freeze within 2 hours of cooking.
Thawing and Reheating Lentil Curry
Thawing and reheating your frozen lentil curry is easy. Here are some methods to reheat frozen lentil curry safely and deliciously:
- Microwave: Reheat frozen lentil curry in the microwave in 1-2 minute increments, stirring between rounds, until hot and steaming. Use microwave-safe containers.
- Stovetop: Thaw curry overnight in the fridge or let it sit for 20–30 minutes at room temperature before gently reheating it in a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop.
- Oven: Reheat frozen lentil curry in a covered oven-safe dish at 350°F for 35–40 minutes until hot and bubbling.
- Slow cooker: Thaw frozen lentil curry in the fridge overnight, then add to a slow cooker with 14 cups water and cook 3–4 hours on low until heated through.
Stir the reheated lentil curry well before serving to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add a splash of water if the curry seems too thick. Avoid boiling or overheating, which can cause the sauce to separate.
What About Freezing Other Curries?
The good news is that lentil curry isn’t the only kind you can freeze! Most curries freeze well for quick meals later on. Here are some other delicious curries you can easily freeze:
- Chickpea curry
- Vegetable curry
- Thai green curry
- Tikka masala
- Butter chicken
- Coconut curry
- Pumpkin curry
- Chicken curry
The same freezing steps apply to any curry variety. Make sure to cool completely before freezing in airtight containers. Reheat gently on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave. Add water if the defrosted curry seems dry or thick.
Some quick tips:
- Freeze curries without rice or naan since they don’t reheat well.
- Avoid freezing for longer than 3–6 months for the best flavor.
- Add fresh garnishes like cilantro after reheating.
With these guidelines, you can confidently freeze your favorite curries for fast, delicious meals any time!
Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Lentil Curry
How long does lentil curry last in the freezer?
Properly stored lentil curry will maintain quality in the freezer for 3-6 months. It may technically last up to a year frozen, but the flavor and texture will decline over time. For best taste and texture, enjoy your frozen lentil curry within 6 months.
Can you freeze lentil curry with vegetables?
Yes, it’s fine to freeze lentil curry with vegetables. Just make sure to fully cool the curry first before freezing to prevent food safety risks. Delicate vegetables like spinach may get watery when thawed but are still safe to freeze.
Should lentil curry be frozen flat or standing up?
To maximize freezer space, freeze lentil curry flat in a single layer if possible. But standing containers up is fine too. Just make sure to leave headspace at the top and seal tightly to prevent freezer burn.
Is it better to freeze lentil curry in glass or plastic?
You can freeze lentil curry in either glass or plastic containers. Plastic freezer bags or containers are economical and lightweight for freezing. But glass is more eco-friendly and keeps flavors pure. Avoid regular plastic containers, which can crack.
Can you freeze and reheat lentil curry multiple times?
It’s best to freeze lentil curry only once, without thawing and re-freezing multiple times. The texture and taste will degrade with each freeze-thaw cycle. Enjoy leftovers within 3–4 days in the fridge. Don’t refreeze thawed lentil curry.
Freezing is an easy way to save your leftover lentil curry or prepare bulk batches to enjoy later on busy nights. Follow the proper guidelines on portioning, cooling, sealing, and reheating, and your frozen lentil curry will stay delicious for months!
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.