No matter if you are making chow mein or fried rice, we can all agree that Chinese food is delicious, and the last thing you would want is to have to waste a portion because it was left in the fridge for too long.
There should never be any Chinese food left to spoil in the fridge, but in order to prevent this, you need to know how to extend its shelf life.
Can you freeze Chinese food? Yes, you can freeze Chinese food, and it freezes well for about 3 months. The most popular to freeze are chow mein and fried rice. It is best to freeze it quickly after it has reached room temperature to reduce the risk of bacteria growth. It is safest to freeze Chinese food you have cooked yourself.
You can make large amounts of these, or any Chinese meals, and freeze extra portions for when you want some Chinese comfort food.
Next time you make some Chinese food at home, double up the portion and freeze any leftovers to enjoy when you are too busy to cook, or you need to satisfy your Chinese food cravings.
However, you need to know how to properly freeze Chinese food, and how to reheat it to taste just as good as when it was freshly cooked. Here is how to properly freeze and enjoy frozen Chinese food!
How To Freeze Chinese Food
Before you get to freeze leftover Chinese food, you will need to cook it up at home. It is a good idea to cook up a larger batch so you have some leftover, or if you are just feeding yourself, follow a recipe and any leftovers can be frozen for quick dinners during the week.
Fried rice can be made as normal, with your rice, vegetables, egg and chicken, beef or pork if you want.
However, if you are making chow mein, you should try to remove the portion you are wanting to freeze before the noodles are cooked through. They should be just tender. This isn’t always possible. It is fine if you cook the noodles through; it just means they will be soft when thawed and reheated.
Once you’ve cooked your Chinese food, let it cool to room temperature. You cannot place hot food into the freezer.
That would cause condensation in the freezer container which could cause a decline in quality and cause freezer burn. It could also raise the temperature of the freezer and put other food items at risk.
Storing Chinese Food
When it comes to what you can freeze Chinese food in, there are three options, an airtight container, a sealable plastic freezer bag, or an aluminum food container.
Airtight container – An airtight container is a good option as it seals shut tight and can be used over and over again. You can either choose to store a large portion in a large airtight container, or smaller portions in smaller containers.
The only issue with airtight containers is that they can take up quite a bit of space in the freezer, which is not optimal if your freezer is small or you have little space to work with.
Sealable plastic freezer bag – Sealable plastic freezer bags are great to use, and you can easily portion out fried rice or chow mein into single portion freezer bags. They are easy to label and date for you to track when the food should be eaten by.
You can also lay the freezer bags flat and stack them one on top of the other to save space in the freezer.
Aluminum food containers – Aluminum food containers are super convenient to use, but they can only be used once and can get quite pricey.
However, the benefit of using them is that Chinese food can be frozen and thawed and then reheated in one container, so you don’t have to dirty up different dishes just for one meal.
So once the food has cooled down to room temperature, place it into the chosen freezer container and label it with the date of freezing. You can also label the container with what the food is if you are worried you might forget.
Place it in the freezer, and that’s it!
Freezing Chinese Takeout Food
It is possible to freeze Chinese takeout, but it is a little risky because you cannot be sure of the handling of the food.
To ensure maximum safety and quality of the food, you should freeze it as soon as you get home, or as soon as the food has been delivered. You cannot be sure how long it was left out at the restaurant, so try not to add to this by letting it sit out on your counter.
Place the Chinese food into a plastic freezer bag, an airtight container, or in an aluminum food container, label it with name and date, and place it into the freezer.
You can follow the same thawing and reheating process above that you would use for Chinese food cooked at home.
How Long Does Chinese Food Last In The Freezer?
Chinese food will keep safe indefinitely if frozen properly, however, the quality of the frozen food will begin to decrease over time. It is recommended that you consume Chinese food within 3 months of its freezing date, as it will begin to lose its quality after this.
The better you handle and store your food, the longer it will be safe to consume, and the longer it will keep its good quality.
To ensure that your food remains safe to eat, you should freeze it within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth, and freeze it when it is room temperature to prevent condensation which could cause freezer burn.
How to Thaw Chinese Food
As with any frozen food, the best way to thaw Chinese food is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
This is the safest way to do so as it prevents the Chinese food from reaching temperatures which could lead to bacteria growth, and it allows the Chinese food to thaw evenly, and not become mushy.
If you are in a bit of a rush to thaw the Chinese food, you can leave it out at room temperature or place it in the microwave, but this does put the food at risk of increased bacteria growth and becoming mushier.
Chinese food thawed in the microwave can become mushy and the texture won’t be very palatable.
It pays to plan and leave a portion of Chinese food in the fridge to thaw overnight.
Reheating Chinese Food
Once you have left the Chinese food to thaw overnight, you can then go ahead and reheat it. There are two easy ways to do this:
You would first need to preheat the pan and add in some cooking oil. Wait until the pan is heated to medium-high and then add in the Chinese food. Stir frequently to prevent the food from sticking and burning. Once heated through, remove from heat and enjoy.
2. You can also choose to reheat the Chinese food in the microwave. You should add a tablespoon of water into the Chinese food to prevent it from drying out.
Place the food into the microwave and switch it onto food power for a minute. Once a minute is finished, check the temperature, and place the food back into the microwave if it needs more reheating.
And just in case you ordered wontons, we have a guide devoted entirely to reheating them properly. You wouldn’t want to ruin perfectly good wontons by not reheating them properly.
How long can leftover fried rice be kept in the fridge?
If stored properly, leftover fried rice can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will also depend on what is in the fried rice and how long it was left out at room temperature.
How long does fried rice last after being frozen and thawed?
Once frozen and thawed, fried rice can be kept for an additional 3 days in the fridge, as long as it was not reheated. If the fried rice, or other Chinese food, was reheated after being thawed, it should be consumed and any leftovers discarded straight away.
How can you tell if Chinese food has gone bad?
You can tell if Chinese food has gone bad by smelling if it has an off odor. If the usual smell has changed, it is better to not eat it. You can also look to see if it looks off, or if there is any mold.
If the appearance has changed or if there is any mold, throw it away!
Freezing Chinese Food – Summary
Chinese food is way too comforting and wholesome to have any leftovers thrown away.
You need to make sure that you freeze any Chinese food leftovers, to give yourself a delicious and easy meal to enjoy during the week when you are too busy to cook, or when you just want the comforting taste of Chinese food!
Follow the above guide on how to successfully freeze, thaw, and reheat Chinese food for the best results.