Can You Freeze Risotto?

Risotto is a delicious dish. It can include mushrooms or fish for example. Lobster is a particularly nice addition. However, it isn’t an easy dish to produce. It takes a lot of time and effort, so what do you do if you’ve made too much? You can store it in the fridge for up to two days, but if you don’t want to eat it again so soon, freeze it. This article will tell you how to freeze your risotto so that it is as good as when you first made it.

Freezing Risotto

Perhaps you think that rice isn’t as good reheated as when it is first made (see also Freezing Cooked Rice). Yes, when it cools down, some of the water content is lost and the rice can stick together becoming dry. Risotto can also lose some of its creaminess when it cools down, but this can be rectified. Yes, there is a difference between freshly cooked risotto and frozen and thawed risotto but we will tell you how to make the frozen version just as good.  

How to Freeze Risotto for the Best Results

It is advisable to freeze risotto as soon as you can after making it. This will help to keep some of the original flavors and will stop bacteria from forming. If you put it in the fridge and then freeze it the following day, the risotto is best eaten on the day you thaw it. However, if you freeze it on the same day, you can keep the risotto in the fridge and eat it within three days. It may, however, lose some of its flavors.

Here are the instructions for freezing risotto:

  1. Cool down the risotto. It is very important to cool down the risotto quickly so that bacteria doesn\t form. You can leave it on your countertop, but make sure that you don’t leave it out for more than two hours. If you have a lot of risotto to cool down, divide it up between separate dishes or put it on a cookie sheet.
  2. Portion the risotto. If you are left with enough risotto to make up two or three meals, divide it out into several portions. so that you only defrost as much as you need for one sitting. You don’t want to waste any of your delicious risotto.
  3. Transfer the risotto into containers. The best things to use for your risotto are airtight containers. However, you can use resealable plastic bags as long as you ensure that they are not going to leak. You don’t want a mess in your freezer as not only will that be a waste of good food, but it will take time to clear up the mess and you will have to defrost your freezer. You can put the bags in a container so that any potential mess is minimal. Remember to make a note of the date you froze the risotto.
  4. Freeze the risotto. The last step is to put the containers or bags in the freezer. You can keep the risotto in the freezer for up to two months for best results. The risotto won’t go off if you leave it for longer, but it might not taste as good.

Defrosting Risotto

There are different ways to defrost risotto and we’ll go through them here. 

In the fridge.

If you decide to defrost your risotto in the fridge, put it in the night before you are going to eat it. This will ensure that the risotto defrosts thoroughly. If you don’t remember to defrost it until the morning, you can put the container in lukewarm water in the fridge. This helps to speed up the process.

In the microwave.

If you suddenly decide that you want to eat risotto for dinner, but you haven’t got much time to defrost it, you can use your microwave. The risotto may lose a little flavor using this method. Use the microwave on the defrost setting in short bursts, about 30 seconds. Put a little water or stock on it to stop it from drying out. After each burst, try and break up the risotto a little each time. You don’t want to be too forceful as that may ruin the texture of the risotto.

On the stove.

This can be laborious but it does work. You need a non-stick pan and some water. Put a couple of tablespoons of water into the pan and heat. Then add the frozen risotto. Keep it on a low heat and once the outer layer has defrosted, scrape it off. Keep doing this until the risotto has completely defrosted. Be careful not to scrape too harshly as this can ruin the texture of the risotto. You also have to be careful that the risotto doesn’t burn. There’s nothing worse than burnt rice.

Reheating Risotto

If you defrost your risotto in the fridge, you can leave it in there for a couple of days before you reheat it. However, if you thaw it in the microwave or on the stovetop, you need to reheat it straight away to stop bacteria from forming. 

There are different ways to reheat risotto and we’ll go through them here. 

 On the stove.

This is the best way of reheating thawed risotto as it gives you the best control over the dish. Most importantly, it helps to maintain the original texture. Get a non-stick pan and put the heat on medium. Heat up butter and water or stock. You could even add some white wine (see also Can you Freeze Beer?). Once these ingredients have warmed up, add the risotto and reheat. Keep stirring to make sure that the risotto doesn’t burn or stick. It is a good idea to taste it as you’re reheating it. You may need to add more butter, stock, or wine.

In the microwave

This isn’t the best way of thawing as you don’t have as much control over the risotto as you do when reheating on the stove. You will need to add a little water, stock, or wine and heat it in 30-second increments. Stir in-between each increment. It will take around four minutes to reheat the risotto this way. Make sure that you reheat on the lowest setting.

In the oven.

This is easy, as you just leave the risotto in the oven, but there is a chance that it can burn.   The best way to reheat in this way is to take an oven-safe dish, put the risotto in it with butter and stock or water, and then cover. Preheat the oven to 300 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the risotto for between 10 and 15 minutes. You might want to check it halfway through to see if it’s going dry. If it is, add more butter and stock.

Reheating Risotto Tips

You may feel that it is a big task to reheat risotto so let us give you a couple of tips so that you get perfect results.

  • Dry risotto. Dry risotto isn’t nice and can be an issue when you are reheating thawed risotto. The most important thing to remember is to add water or stock to it if you feel that it is drying out. If you want more creaminess, add butter. We suggest that you reheat it on a stove. If you then find that it is getting a little watery, you can always keep it on the stovetop for longer until the water evaporates. It is all about balance. 
  • Not Only Butter. If you want to make your risotto creamier, you can also add parmesan cheese to it as well as butter. You can use other shredded cheese as well. Salty cheese is a good option, but don’t use too much as you don’t want the salt to overpower your risotto.  

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