A cozy dinner featuring a delicious corn chowder is probably one of the best meal options. but sometimes you end up with leftovers of this filling dish. What can you do with them?
Can you freeze corn chowder? Yes, you can freeze corn chowder. It will keep for over 3 months in the freezer. However, dairy products and potato can cause texture changes to the soup after freezing. You can adjust recipes, use mashed potatoes, or take the potato cubes out before freezing to minimize effects.
In this article, you will learn all about freezing corn chowder, including the dos and don’ts of doing it.
What Is Corn Chowder?
As the name suggests, corn chowder is a chowder soup which means that it is made with milk, cream, or both.
The main ingredient in corn chowder is corn. You can use fresh corn as well as canned or frozen corn kernels.
Potatoes and onion are also a must in most traditional corn chowders. You can also add bacon, poultry, or seafood in your corn chowder to make it more filling and add more flavor and texture.
Can You Freeze Corn Chowder?
Most soups are ideal for freezing. You come home after a long day at work and need something cozy and hearty to eat. In such cases, having some corn chowder ready in your refrigerator is a lifesaver.
You can freeze corn chowder. You can make a big batch and store leftover chowder soup in cold or frozen storage to enjoy it later.
Freezing corn chowder is easy and won’t affect the taste of the soup. However, expect to experience some changes in the consistency of corn chowder especially if you have made it with milk, cream, or half and half.
As dairy freezes, it becomes grainy. Thus, once you reheat frozen corn chowder, you may notice that it is not as smooth as it was before freezing.
Dairy-free corn chowder made with plant-based ingredients will freeze better.
From the safety aspect, there are no health risks involved in freezing corn chowder so long as you store the soup in the right temperature and thaw it correctly.
If you want to make a batch of corn chowder on the weekend and don’t want it to be grainy when reheated, you can cook it to the point when you have to add the dairy products.
This way, you can add the milk or the cream when reheating the chowder for dinner. In such cases, it is also good to add diced potatoes only when you are fully cooking the frozen chowder for a midweek dinner.
How to Freeze Corn Chowder
Freezing leftover corn chowder is a great way of not wasting any of this hearty dish and saving it for another occasion. Here is how you should do it:
- Let the soup cool down.
- Divide into portions by ladling the chowder into smaller containers or plastic bags. Make sure to pour an equal amount of liquid and corn in each portion.
- If you are using a container, leave an inch of space between the lid and corn chowder.
- Mark the containers with the date.
How Long Does Corn Chowder Last in the Freeze?
Properly stored corn chowder will last 2 to 3 months in the freezer. It may keep safely in the freezer for longer. However, the sooner you eat it the better will it taste.
In any case, before you consume previously frozen corn chowder, inspect it closely and give it a ‘sniff test’ to make sure it is good to eat.
How to Defrost Frozen Corn Chowder
The best way to defrost frozen corn chowder is by letting it thaw in the fridge first. Ideally, you should transfer corn chowder from the freezer to the fridge the day before and let it thaw there overnight.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Freezing Corn Chowder
There are some common mistakes people make when freezing chowder. The poor results from these mistakes are what lead many to believe that it is not a soup to be frozen.
1. Overfilling the Container or Freezer Bag
When it comes to freezing corn chowder or any other soup, it is important to keep in mind that they expand once stored in the cold storage.
Thus, when freezing corn chowder, you shouldn’t fill the container with the soup to the brim. Leave some space for it to expand.
But overfilling is not the only problem. Sometimes you don’t find the right container to freeze the soup in.
You may choose a container that is much bigger than what you need and end up with a lot of space in it. This way you leave a lot of room for air in the container, making the chances for the freezer burn higher.
In such cases when you have only a couple of ladles of chowder left, pour it into a freezer bag. Push as much air as you can out and successfully freeze the small portion of corn chowder.
2. Not Cooling the Soup Properly Before Freezing
As we have mentioned above, before storing corn chowder in the freezer you need to cool it.
You may be in a hurry and think that the soup has cooled down enough and store in the fridge right away. But doing so could be a cause for concern. Bacterial growth will affect not only your chowder but also you if you eat it.
If you don’t have time to cool the soup properly and store it in the fridge, there is a way you can speed up the cooling process safely:
To do so, divide the soup into smaller portions. You can use the containers or plastic bags you will be storing the chowder in. Immerse the containers (bags) with soup into ice-cold water.
Store corn chowder in the freezer only when it has fully cooled down.
As it may take hours for corn chowder to cool down completely, using this method of preparing the soup for cold storage is a great way of ensuring it is safe to eat later.
3. Freezing Corn Chowder with Cubed Potatoes in It
If you are cooking corn chowder for the freezing purposes don’t add cubed potatoes and wait until you defrost and reheat the soup.
When frozen and defrosted, potato chunks suffer changes in texture, which leaves them mushy and off-putting. They are starchy and soak up the liquid in the chowder. This makes it difficult to freeze soups with a lot of potatoes.
If there are potato cubes in your corn chowder, you can remove them prior to freezing.
Or, if you know you are going to freeze corn chowder, instead of putting traditional potato chunks in the soup, use mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes freeze much better than cubed ones do.
You can add mashed potatoes to the corn chowder while making it or put some in each soup bowl when you are serving reheated corn chowder.
Tips For Freezing Corn Chowder
Here are a few tips to make your experience with freezing corn chowder easier and smoother.
Tip #1: Use Plant-Based Milk
Compared to cow’s milk, plant-based milk suffers fewer texture changes when frozen. Thus, if you like chowder made with non-dairy milk, such as almond or coconut milk, there’s all the more reason to go for it.
Tip #2: Opt for Low-Fat Milk
If you don’t want to substitute regular milk with plant-based alternatives, the next good option is using low-fat milk to cook corn chowder.
The less fat the milk has, the fewer changes it suffers when being frozen and defrosted. The reason milk becomes grainy when defrosted is that the fat separates from the whey.
So, using low-fat milk to make corn chowder is a good way of avoiding unpleasant changes in the soup consistency after defrosting.
You can also use evaporated milk to make corn chowder if you want to bring the texture changes to the minimum.
Tip #3: Add Some Bacon
You may already have bacon in your corn chowder. However, adding it on top of the creamy soup creates the best contrast of textures.
Once you have reheated the chowder, sprinkle it with crispy fried bacon pieces. Doing this will make the soup taste better and give the feeling of newly-cooked chowder.
As ingredients in the soup become softer after being frozen, your corn dish will certainly benefit from the texture of crunchy bacon chunks.
Tip #4: Save Space
If you are one of those people that likes freezing everything, you are probably short of freezer storage space. Here’s what you can do to store a lot of corn chowder in your freezer without it occupying too much space.
Pour the soup into sealable plastic bags. Lay them flat in the freezer until solid. Once you have frozen a few bags of corn chowder, stack them together to save space.
Tip #5: Add Cream to Restore the Texture
As we have already mentioned, corn chowder made with dairy tends to get grainy when defrosted. To restore the texture of the soup to a certain degree, you can stir in some heavy cream into the chowder while it simmers on low heat to be served for dinner.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Broccoli Cheese Soup?