Yes, you can freeze chicken and dumplings to enjoy this comforting dish later. Freezing chicken and dumplings is a great way to prepare a batch ahead of time and have easy meals ready to reheat. There are a few tips to follow when freezing chicken and dumplings to maintain the best texture and flavor.
Can You Freeze the Entire Pot of Chicken and Dumplings?
You can freeze a whole pot of chicken and dumplings. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container with a tight fitting lid. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of headspace at the top of the container to allow for expansion. Label the container with the contents and freeze for up to 3 months.
Should You Freeze the Chicken and Dumplings Separately?
Freezing the chicken meat and dumplings separately can help maintain the texture better. Place cooked, shredded chicken pieces in a freezer bag or container. For the dumplings, place them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen dumplings to a freezer bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper. This prevents them from sticking together.
How Long Does Chicken and Dumplings Last in the Freezer?
Properly stored, frozen chicken and dumplings will maintain best quality for 3-4 months in the freezer. The chicken may still be safe to eat after that time, but the texture and flavor will slowly decline. Dumplings tend to get mushy and chicken dries out over prolonged freezing.
Can You Freeze Raw Chicken and Dumplings?
It’s not recommended to freeze raw chicken and dumplings before cooking. Raw chicken should always be cooked fresh to food safety standards. The dumpling dough may become tough and gummy if frozen before cooking.
Tips for Freezing Chicken and Dumplings
Follow these tips for the best results freezing chicken and dumplings:
- Allow chicken and dumplings to cool completely before freezing.
- Package in airtight containers, leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Label containers with contents and freeze date.
- Freeze chicken shredded in portions for easier reheating.
- Freeze dumplings in a single layer on a baking sheet before transferring to a container.
- Separate layers of frozen dumplings with parchment paper.
- Avoid overcrowding dumplings, as this causes them to stick together.
- Use frozen chicken and dumplings within 3-4 months for best quality.
How to Reheat Frozen Chicken and Dumplings
Thaw frozen chicken and dumplings in the refrigerator overnight. For quick thawing, place the sealed container under cold running water. Here are some reheating methods:
On the Stovetop
Place the thawed chicken and dumplings in a saucepan with a little chicken broth or water. Cover and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add more broth as needed to reach desired consistency.
In the Oven
Transfer thawed chicken and dumplings to an oven-safe baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes until hot. Check and stir occasionally.
In the Microwave
Microwave thawed chicken and dumplings in a microwave-safe dish, covered, for 2-3 minutes. Stir and continue heating in 30 second intervals until hot. Take care not to overheat.
In the Slow Cooker
Place thawed chicken and dumpling mixture into a slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cover and cook on Low for 3-4 hours until heated through. Stir occasionally and add more broth as needed.
Tips for Reheating Chicken and Dumplings
- Always thaw frozen chicken and dumplings completely before reheating.
- Reheat gently over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
- Add a little chicken broth or water to help maintain moisture.
- Bring sauces and gravies to a gentle simmer when reheating.
- Dumplings may get mushy with reheating. Add fresh dumplings on top before serving if desired.
Freezing Leftover Chicken and Dumplings
You can safely freeze any leftovers too. Let leftover chicken and dumplings cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Reheat frozen leftovers using the same methods.
Avoid freezing chicken and dumplings more than once. The texture tends to suffer with multiple rounds of freezing and reheating.
Can You Freeze Homemade Chicken and Dumpling Soup?
Chicken and dumpling soup freezes very well. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring to an airtight freezer container. Leave 1 inch of headspace to allow for expansion. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop until piping hot.
Storing Thawed Chicken and Dumplings
Once chicken and dumplings have been thawed, use within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze thawed chicken and dumplings. Store any uneaten portions in the refrigerator and use soon.
Freezing is a great way to enjoy chicken and dumplings any time. Allow cooked chicken and dumplings to cool fully before freezing in airtight containers. Freeze for up to 3-4 months and thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. Use thawed chicken and dumplings within 3-4 days and avoid refreezing. Follow proper food safety guidelines when handling and reheating for best quality.