Reheating frozen soup is a quick and easy way to get a healthy meal on the table. However, there are some important considerations when reheating soup directly from the freezer to ensure food safety and preserve the taste and texture of the soup.
Can Frozen Soup Be Reheated Safely?
Yes, it is safe to reheat frozen soup without thawing first as long as it is heated thoroughly to 165°F. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, all parts of leftovers, including frozen foods, need to reach 165°F. This high temperature helps kill any dangerous bacteria that may be present.
When reheating frozen soup, it will take longer for the center to come up to a safe temperature. Be sure to stir occasionally and check the temperature with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part. Reheating on the stove or in the microwave are both effective methods.
Stovetop Reheating Method
To reheat frozen soup on the stovetop:
- Place the frozen soup in a saucepan on medium heat. Do not thaw before placing on the burner.
- Stirring frequently, bring the soup to a gentle simmer.
- Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for 15-25 minutes until the soup reaches 165°F when measured with a food thermometer.
- Serve hot.
Stirring often helps distribute the heat evenly to avoid scalding or burning. Keep the heat at a gentle simmer to avoid boiling over or a blown out emulsion in cream soups.
Microwave Reheating Method
To reheat frozen soup in the microwave:
- Transfer the frozen soup to a microwave-safe bowl or container. Do not thaw before reheating.
- Microwave on 50% power, stirring every 2-3 minutes, until heated through, 10-15 minutes.
- Check temperature with a food thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F.
- Let stand 2-3 minutes before serving.
The lower heat power heats the soup gradually to ensure it doesn’t boil over or cook unevenly. Stirring periodically will help distribute the heat. Letting it stand after reheating allows the temperature to equilibrate.
Thawing Before Reheating
It is not necessary to thaw soup before reheating. However, if you want to thaw frozen soup first, there are a couple methods:
- Refrigerator: Thaw soups overnight in the refrigerator. This slow thawing avoids food safety risks.
- Cold Water: For a quicker thaw, place the frozen soup in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Cook immediately.
- Microwave: Thaw in the microwave, using the defrost setting if available. Cook immediately once thawed.
Once thawed, soup can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave until steaming hot, about 165°F.
Tips for Best Results Reheating Frozen Soup
Follow these tips for delicious soup, whether reheating frozen or thawed:
- Use a lower heat setting to reheat gently, preventing scorching on the bottom.
- Stir frequently to distribute heat evenly.
- Replace any evaporated liquid with water or stock as it reheats.
- If reheating cream soups, stir a small amount of milk or cream just before serving for best texture.
- For pureed soups, an immersion blender can help smooth out any separation or graininess.
To safely reheat frozen soups:
- Do not slow cook directly from frozen, always thaw or reheat fully to 165°F first.
- Bring soup to a boil when reheating.
- Only reheat once, do not freeze again after reheating.
- Use within 3-4 days if refrigerating after reheating.
Avoiding Texture and Flavor Issues
Reheating frozen soup can sometimes alter the texture and cause graininess or separation. To avoid this:
- Stir frequently while reheating.
- Simmer on low rather than boiling rapidly.
- Blend thick pureed soups briefly before serving if needed.
- Add cream or milk to creamy soups right before serving.
For best flavor, season after reheating and add any garnishes just before eating.
Storage if Not Consuming All at Once
When reheating a large batch of frozen soup:
- Portion out servings and refrigerate within 2 hours.
- Divide into shallow containers for rapid cooling.
- Use refrigerated soup within 3-4 days.
- Freeze any remaining portions immediately.
Rapidly cooling in the refrigerator prevents bacteria growth. Frozen soup that has been thawed and reheated can be safely refrozen.
Frozen soup can be safely reheated from its frozen state, without thawing first, as long as it reaches 165°F. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, allowing extra time for the center to come up to temperature. Stirring frequently will help distribute the heat evenly for the best results. Follow food safety guidelines, and add any cream or garnishes after reheating for maximum flavor. With a little care when reheating, frozen soup can be a quick, healthy and delicious meal.