Mince, be it beef, pork, lamb, chicken, or turkey is extremely versatile. There are so many different meals you can make with it. It makes a delicious bolognese or a filling for lasagne. Use it in shepherd’s or cottage pie, in enchiladas, or curry.
The options are endless. However, what if you have some leftovers after you have cooked your mince? It will only keep for a day in the fridge so is there another option.
Can you freeze it? The simple answer is yes, you can freeze cooked mince, and in this article, we will tell you how to do it, how to defrost it, and how to reheat it.
How To Freeze Cooked Mince
It isn’t difficult to freeze cooked mince but you always have to take precautions when you are dealing with meat as it can spoil easily. The last thing you want is to give yourself or other people food poisoning. To freeze cooked mince safely, this is the way to freeze it:
1. Cool down the mince.
You will need to cool down the mince first. You don’t want to put the warm mince in the freezer as it can bring up the temperature and other food may start to defrost. As it eventually refreezes, bacteria can form.
Put the cooked mince on your countertop at room temperature for no more than two hours. After this time, bacteria can start to form. The best thing to do is to transfer the cooked mince from the hot pan into a cold bowl and cover it with a plate. This will speed up the cooling process.
2. Transfer the mince into freezer bags or airtight containers.
If you don’t think that you are going to use all the mince at once, separate it into meal-size portions. This helps save on waste as you can only keep the mince for a day in the fridge when it has been defrosted. Don’t fill the bags or containers right up to the top as the mince will expand when frozen. If you are using freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible otherwise freezer burn may occur. The mince will lose taste and texture and even color. Put a label on the bags or containers with the date frozen and the contents. It is important to write what is in the bag if you are freezing different types of mince such as beef (see also Freezing Beef Burgers) or turkey.
3. Put the bags or containers in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Mince In a Sauce?
Absolutely, and you just need to follow the instructions we have given. However, while it is fine to add vegetables before freezing, we advise that you don’t add herbs as not all herbs freeze well. It is better to add them once the meat has been defrosted.
Tips For Freezing Cooked Mince
- Divide the cooked mince into meal-size servings. Work on each person needing between 100 – 200 grams.
- Squeeze out all the air from freezer bags to stop freezer burn from occurring.
- Don’t freeze raw and cooked mince together as this can cause bacterial infection. If you plan to freeze both raw and cooked mince, make sure that they are in separate containers. To freeze raw mince, you just need to follow the steps we have given for freezing cooked mince.
- If you buy refrigerated mince, you can extend its life by cooking and freezing it.
For How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Mince?
Cooked mince can be frozen for up to four months. After this time, it is possible that bacteria will start to form so make sure that you label the containers or freezer bags with the date you put them in the freezer. Cooked mince is so versatile that you shouldn’t have a problem using it up.
How Do You Defrost Cooked Mince
The safest way to defrost cooked mince is to put it in the fridge the night before you want to use it and allow it to defrost slowly. You can defrost it in the microwave but if you do this, you will need to use it up straight away. The one thing you mustn’t do is defrost the cooked mince at room temperature as this is an open invitation for bacteria to form. This goes for any type of minced meat.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Cooked Mince?
Yes, it is a good idea to freeze cooked mince as long as you follow the instructions carefully. If you do, your cooked mince will be safe to eat and you will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between freshly cooked mince and defrosted and reheated mince.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing cooked mince, but if you still want to know more, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze turkey mince?
Yes, you can. You can freeze any type of minced meat.
Can you freeze curried mince?
Yes, in fact, most types of curry freeze well. Spices tend to freeze well so you will be safe adding them before freezing. In fact, freezing curry intensifies the flavors so this is something to remember if you don’t want too hot a curry.
Can you freeze cottage pie?
Cottage pie is made from beef mince, unlike shepherd’s pie which is made with lamb mince. Both can be frozen with the potato topping. Perhaps you work long hours and don’t have the time or inclination to cook when you come home. Why not make a big dish of cottage pie at the weekend and then divide it into meal-size portions. Put them in individual containers and label them with the contents and date. If you plan to freeze a whole cottage pie, keep it in the dish and wrap in several layers of cling film to stop freezer burn from occurring. Cottage pie and shepherd’s pie both freeze for up to three months.
Can you freeze bolognese sauce?
Yes, you can but add the herbs after you have defrosted it. It can be frozen for around three months.
Can you give me some ideas of what to do with my defrosted cooked mince?
You could make a spicy chili con carne, stuff peppers with it, make a gorgonzola lasagne, turn it into burgers or sliders, make meatloaf, sloppy joes, meatballs, chili stuffed baked potatoes, Greek tacos, koftas, or lettuce wraps.
Are there any unusual types of mince I could use?
Venison mince is becoming popular. It is, however, an acquired taste. It has an earthy, pungent flavor and can be thought of as tasting gamey.