French onion soup is a delicious and hearty soup that is perfect for cold weather meals. It is made by slowly caramelizing onions and then simmering them in broth and wine. The soup is topped with toasted bread and melted cheese before serving.
One of the best things about French onion soup is that it freezes very well. This allows you to make a large batch and freeze portions for quick and easy meals later on. But how long does French onion soup actually last in the freezer?
How Long Does Homemade French Onion Soup Last in the Freezer?
Homemade French onion soup can be frozen for 2-3 months without losing quality or taste. The onions and broth in the soup freeze well so the flavor will remain even after reheating.
To freeze French onion soup:
- Make a large batch of the soup according to your favorite recipe.
- Let it cool completely, then transfer to airtight containers or freezer bags.
- Make sure to leave 1 inch of headspace at the top of containers as the soup will expand.
- Seal the containers and label with the soup name and freeze date.
- Lay containers flat in the freezer to freeze quickly.
Once frozen, the soup should keep well for 2-3 months stored at 0°F or below. Make sure your freezer is around 0°F to maintain quality. If stored longer than 3 months, the soup may start to lose flavor and the onions can become mushy.
What Happens if Frozen Longer?
While French onion soup will remain safe to eat if frozen longer than 3 months, the quality will decline over time. Here is what can happen if the soup is frozen too long:
- Onions lose texture – The onions can become increasingly mushy.
- Broth separates – The broth may separate from the solids.
- Less intense flavor – The rich flavors can start to fade.
- Watery consistency – The liquid may become watery after thawing.
The soup will still be usable if frozen for 4-6 months but may be noticeably lower in quality. Once you get past 6 months, the texture and flavor can decline considerably.
Does Pre-Made French Onion Soup Freeze Well?
Pre-made, store-bought French onion soup can also be frozen but may not keep as long or freeze as well as homemade. The refrigerator cases and freezing process used before purchase can affect the quality. Here are some tips for freezing store-bought soup:
- Check the “best by” date and freeze before this date for best quality.
- Use within 2 months for best flavor, texture, and performance after thawing.
- Freeze in original packaging or transfer to airtight containers.
- Follow all reheating instructions on the package after thawing.
While pre-made soup won’t freeze quite as well as homemade, it can still keep for 1-2 months in the freezer without too much decline in taste or texture. Just be diligent about following any instructions from the manufacturer.
How to Thaw Frozen French Onion Soup
Once you are ready to enjoy your frozen French onion soup, here are some tips for proper thawing:
- Refrigerator thawing – For best results, thaw the soup slowly in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours. This helps maintain texture.
- Cold water bath – You can submerge the container in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. This can thaw soup in 1-2 hours.
- Microwave – Defrost soup in the microwave in short intervals, stopping to stir. This takes about 5 minutes but can alter the texture.
Avoid thawing French onion soup at room temperature or in hot water, as this can cause bacteria growth. Refrigerator thawing is ideal. Once thawed, bring the soup back up to a simmer before serving.
How to Use Thawed French Onion Soup
Once thawed, French onion soup is easy to reheat and enjoy. Here are some serving ideas:
- Reheat gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
- Ladle into oven-safe bowls and top with sliced baguette and cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and browned.
- Simmer thawed soup with red wine for added flavor.
- Mix in cooked beef or chicken for a heartier meal.
- Stir in herbs, spices, or sherry to give the soup a flavor boost.
Avoid boiling the soup for too long when reheating, as this can make the onions slimy. Heat through gently and add any additional toppings just before serving.
Storage Times for Thawed French Onion Soup
Once thawed, French onion soup should be used within 3-4 days. Here are some storage guidelines for thawed soup:
|2-3 months (use within 1-2 days after thawing again)
Only refreeze the soup if it was thawed in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. And use within 1-2 days after thawing a second time. For best quality, enjoy the thawed soup within 3-4 days.
Signs Your Thawed French Onion Soup Has Spoiled
Here are some signs that your thawed French onion soup has gone bad and should be discarded:
- Mold growth
- Curdled or ropey texture
- Sour smell
- Bubbles or foaming when reheated
- Off colors like gray or yellow
- Slimy texture or mucus-like strings
As long as the soup was stored properly in the freezer and refrigerator, it should stay fresh for 3-4 days after thawing. Discard immediately at the first signs of spoilage.
With proper freezing and thawing methods, French onion soup can keep well in the freezer for 2-3 months. Make sure to use airtight packaging, thaw slowly in the refrigerator, and consume within 3-4 days for best quality thawed soup. Following these guidelines will help you enjoy delicious homemade French onion soup even when you don’t have time to make it from scratch.