Stir fries are easy to put together and can be ready in minutes. You can make a stir fry out of any mixture of vegetables. Asian stir fries are the most popular made with water chestnuts, green beans, baby corn, bean sprouts, and red peppers. However, you could stir fry mushrooms, broccoli, sugar snap peas (see also Can You Freeze Mangetout?), and bell peppers.
If you fancy a bit of meat, add thinly sliced steak or chicken (see also Freezing Marinated Chicken). Just remember that it will take a little longer to cook a stir fry with meat. However, what if you have made too much stir fry? If you plan to finish it in the next couple of days, you can store it in the fridge, but what do you do if you want to keep it for longer?
The answer is simple. Freeze it. In this article, we will be taking a look at how to freeze stir fry and how to defrost it.
How to Freeze Stir Fry
You can freeze stir fry ingredients either uncooked or cooked (see also Can You Freeze Egg Noodles?). In fact, it freezes better if it is uncooked. If it is cooked, it can go a little mushy when it is defrosted. So, if you prepare a lot of ingredients, just cook as much as you need for that meal and freeze the rest. These are the steps you need to follow to freeze stir fry.
1. Cool down the stir fry
If you are freezing cooked stir fry, cool it down before freezing. Transfer it to a cool bowl so that it cools down quickly. It should only take around an hour, so it is safe to cool down on your countertop. It is after two hours that bacteria can start to form on your food. Obviously, if you are freezing uncooked stir fry, you can skip this step.
2. Divide the stir fry into meal-size portions
It is best that you freeze your stir fry in portions that you think you will use in one meal. If you freeze too much, the leftovers will only last for a day or two in the fridge and you may end up having to throw them away.
3. Put the stir fry in freezer bags
Put each portion in a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. If there is air in the bag, freezer burn may occur, and your food can end up tasteless. It is a good idea to put a label on each bag so that you know when you put it in the freezer. It is also a good idea to write the type of stir fry on the label especially if you freeze many different stir fries.
4. Put the bags in the freezer
How to Freeze Stir Fry With Meat
It is just as easy to freeze stir fry with meat. Just follow the instructions for freezing stir fry with vegetables, but it may take a little longer to cool down cooked stir fry. Make sure that it isn’t out for over two hours as bacteria can start to form. However, it shouldn’t take that long as stir fries usually have thin strips or small pieces of meat.
Tips For Freezing Stir Fry
- If possible, freeze uncooked stir fry to get that crisp and crunchy texture.
- If you do cook the stir fry, undercook it. If it is firmer, it will freeze better and you will end up with crunchy vegetables, not a mushy mess.
- Don’t freeze your stir fry with a sauce as this will make the vegetables go soggy. If you are cooking your stir fry before freezing, take out the vegetables and meat you want to freeze before adding the sauce.
- Avoid reheating your stir fry in the microwave as it can make the vegetables go soft. It is better to heat it in a frying pan as you would if you were cooking fresh ingredients. Then you will get a crisp and crunchy stir fry.
For How Long Can You Freeze Stir Fry?
You can freeze stir fry for up to two months. Try to get the stir fry in the freezer as soon as possible so that it retains its texture.
How Do You Defrost Stir Fry?
It’s not a good idea to cook stir fry from frozen as it can make the vegetables soggy and if there is meat in it, there is the chance that you won’t cook it all the way through and will be at risk of food poisoning. The best thing to do is take it out of the freezer the night before you want to cook it and defrost it in the fridge. It will defrost safely if the temperature in the fridge is no more than 40F.
Can You Refreeze Stir Fry?
It isn’t dangerous to refreeze stir fry, but we wouldn’t recommend it. The more times vegetables are frozen and defrosted the softer they will become and the meal won’t be nearly as tasty as if you cooked it fresh or just defrosted it once. Because of this, ensure that you freeze the stir fry in meal-size portions so that you don’t have to refreeze or throw it away.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Stir Fry?
It is best to refreeze stir fry that hasn’t been cooked, but this doesn’t stop you from freezing cooked stir fry. Just follow our instructions and you should end up with stir fry that is almost as good as fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that we’ve told you all you need to know about freezing stir fry. However, if there is more that you want to know, we’ve answered a few questions here.
Can I just freeze the vegetables and add the meat when the vegetables have defrosted?
Yes, you don’t have to freeze the meat with the vegetables. However, you will need to cook the meat first to make sure that it is cooked through. It is dangerous to eat meat that hasn’t reached the correct temperature and you could get food poisoning. The vegetables will only take minutes to cook if defrosted in the fridge.
Can you freeze pre-packed stir fry?
Yes, you can, but don’t freeze it if it has gone past its use-by date.
Can I freeze stir fry sauce?
Yes, you can but don’t freeze it with the vegetables as it will make them soggy. A good idea is to freeze the stir fry sauce in ice cube trays and then you can just pop out as many cubes of stir fry sauce that you need.