Pasta is a very popular staple. There are so many different types such as tagliatelle, ravioli, lasagna, penne, and cannelloni, and a whole array of dishes you can make with it.
Try linguini with clams, spaghetti Bolognese or carbonara, cannelloni stuffed with spinach and ricotta, pasta bake, or pasta salad. Most of the time we buy pasta ready-made but perhaps for a special occasion, you might make your own pasta.
It does take some effort so can you make it in bulk and freeze some for later use? The simple answer is yes, and in this article, we will tell you how to freeze pasta dough and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Pasta Dough
There are three ways in which you can freeze pasta dough: as dough balls, as pasta sheets, and as shaped pasta.
How To Freeze Pasta Dough Balls
1. Portion the dough.
You will want to separate the dough into portions per person so that you only defrost as much as you need for each meal. Roll the portions into small balls that weigh around 3 ½ ounces. That should be sufficient for one person.
2. Wrap each ball individually in cling film.
You need to wrap the balls tightly so that air doesn’t get in and cause freezer burn. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of the pasta. It is a good idea to double-wrap the dough balls to be extra safe.
3. Put the pasta dough balls in a freezer bag.
Squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Put a label on the bag with the date and contents.
4. Put the bag in the freezer.
Make sure that you don’t put anything on top of the bag that could squash the pasta.
How To Freeze Pasta Sheets
This is a good way to freeze pasta whether you want to use it in a lasagna or to cut it into strips of spaghetti, pappardelle, or tagliatelle (see also Can You Freeze Fresh Pasta?).
1. Roll and cut the pasta to length.
Cut the pasta into sheets of about 10 inches in length. Dust the sheets with flour so that the pasta sheets dry a little. You don’t want to put the wet dough in the freezer because it will become sticky. This is because ice crystals form when you freeze and if a product is already moist, it will become worse.
2. Put the pasta sheets in an airtight container.
You need to make sure the container is airtight so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Line the container with a sheet of baking paper. Put a sheet of pasta in the container and then another sheet of baking paper. Keep doing this until you have used up all the pasta sheets. The reason for putting the baking paper in between each sheet of pasta is to stop the sheets from sticking together. Then you can remove only as many sheets as you need for one meal. This helps to save on waste. Put a label on the container with the date and contents.
3. Put the airtight container in the freezer.
How To Freeze Shaped Pasta
1. Cut the pasta dough into the shapes you want such as tagliatelle or pappardelle.
Portion the pasta into 3 ½ ounce portions and swirl them into nests.
2. Wrap each swirl in cling film.
Wrap them tightly to prevent freezer burn.
3. Put the swirls of pasta dough in a freezer bag.
Squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Put a label on the bag with the date and contents. Alternatively, put the dough in an airtight container.
4. Put the bag in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Pasta Dough.
- Divide the pasta dough into 3 ½ ounce portions so that you only defrost as much as you need. Otherwise, you’ll have to throw some away and that is a waste.
- Make sure that the pasta dough is airtight. If it isn’t, it will lose taste and texture and you won’t be able to use it.
- If you have frozen sheets or shapes of pasta dough, you can cook them from frozen. It will only take a minute or less than if you had defrosted it. This is a great time-saver.
For How Long Can You Freeze Pasta Dough?
You can freeze pasta dough for up to three months as long as you keep it airtight. This is very important with pasta dough as it is delicate and sensitive. After the three months are up, the pasta dough will deteriorate rapidly and will be unusable. This is why it is important to put a label on the freezer bag or airtight container with the date you put the dough in the freezer. It is important to check the date at regular intervals to ensure that you don’t keep it in the freezer for too long.
How Do You Defrost Pasta Dough?
If you have frozen shapes, you can use them while they are still frozen. Just put a portion of the spaghetti, tagliatelle, or pappardelle into a pan of salted boiling water. If you are making lasagna, you can put the sheets straight into the pan and layer them with the filling, be it meat or vegetables. When it comes to cannelloni, thaw the sheets at room temperature for a few minutes so that you can work with them.
If you have frozen pasta dough balls, you will need to defrost them slowly. Take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge. Leave them to defrost overnight. Then you can roll and cut the dough into the shapes you want.
Can You Refreeze Pasta Dough?
Unless you have a blast freezer which most home cooks won’t have, we don’t recommend refreezing pasta dough. This is because ice crystals are formed when food is frozen. While it doesn’t affect the integrity of the pasta dough the first time around, refreezing will ruin the texture of your pasta dough.
However, if you have used frozen pasta in a dish such as lasagna, pasta bake, or spinach and ricotta cannelloni, you can refreeze the dish.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Pasta Dough?
Yes, it is as long as you make sure that the pasta dough is airtight, and you don’t refreeze it unless it’s in a dish. Otherwise, you won’t be able to tell that the pasta has been frozen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing pasta dough but in case you still have questions about freezing pasta dough or pasta in general, we have answered a few questions here.
You can keep pasta dough in the fridge for around three days. If you want to keep it for longer, you will have to put it in the freezer.
Filled pasta includes ravioli, tortellini, and cannelloni. You can freeze all of these but check that the fillings all freeze and for how long. To freeze any of them, divide them into portions of 3 ½ ounces and put them in freezer bags or airtight containers. Make sure that the air is squeezed out of the freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. You can flash freeze the filled pasta first, making it easier to remove only as many as you need. Place the filled pasta on a baking tray, making sure that the pieces don’t touch each other, and freeze for a few hours. Then put the pasta in a freezer bag and put this back in the freezer.
You can often find colored pasta and, in general, they have been colored with vegetables such as spinach, tomato, and beetroot. In addition, you can get squid ink pasta which is black and quite striking. However, can you freeze pasta dough that has been colored? The answer is yes, and you can freeze it in the same way as normal pasta dough, that is in balls, sheets, or shapes.
On paper, you can but you have to consider what is in the salad. Vegetables with a high water content don’t freeze that well and that includes cucumber and zucchini. In addition, if the salad has a creamy dressing, the dressing may split. Cream cheese and cottage cheese become watery, and herbs turn brown. In reality, it is better to prepare pasta salad fresh and if you have any leftovers, store them in the fridge and eat it within a couple of days.