Curry is one of those dishes where you usually land up making way more than you can eat in one or two sittings, no matter how determined you might be.
You might also find yourself craving a delicious curry for dinner during the week, but with no energy to actually make it. The best option would be to make a large batch of curry and keep it to enjoy at a later stage.
So can you freeze curry? Yes, you can freeze curry, and it freezes well if prepared properly for freezing. The type of curry that you are freezing can affect how well it will freeze, but most curries as well as curry paste and leaves, will freeze well and last for 2-3 months. Only potato curry is unable to withstand freezing.
There are many different curries to enjoy, but they contain various ingredients that fair differently in the freezer.
Still, once you understand how to properly freeze different curries, depending on their content and ingredients, you can start to successfully freeze portions to have on hand when you want a delicious, yet quick dinner.
The Ins And Outs Of Freezing Curry
When freezing curry, the most important thing to remember is that you should always freeze curry cold.
You cannot place curry, or any food, that is still warm in the freezer. Placing warm food in the freezer can raise the actual temperature, and put the other foods at risk of spoiling.
Before freezing, you can go ahead and make your curry as usual. Use your favorite recipe and cook up the curry.
If you are taking a shortcut and want to freeze takeout or restaurant curry, you need to somehow make sure that the meat was not previously frozen. Most responsible restaurants will be able to provide you with this information if you ask.
Meat, and almost all other foods, should never be frozen twice. This decreases the quality and increases the chance of food poisoning.
How to Freeze Curry
You need to let the curry cool down to room temperature. You should not leave it out for more than two hours, as this could lead to bacteria growth, so if you need to cool it down quicker you can separate it into smaller portions.
Once it has cooled, you need to start getting it ready to pack away. You will know roughly what size portions to freeze, whether it will be a portion for a family of four or single portions for you to enjoy on your own.
If you are unsure of the portion size to freeze, opt for smaller portions. You can always defrost more, but you cannot put thawed curry back in the freezer.
There are two viable container options to freeze your curry in:
1. Plastic Freezer Containers
Plastic freezer containers are the obvious choice to use when freezing curry. They are sturdy, reusable, and give good protection in the freezer.
However, you must remember that the spices in the curry, especially the turmeric, could stain the inside of the plastic freezer container. You probably don’t want your best plastic containers stained!
If you do happen to stain your plastic freezer containers with curry, however, you can try to use some bleach or baby bottle sterilizing solution to try to get rid of it, but there is no guarantee that this will remove the stains.
2. Plastic Freezer Bags
Plastic freezer bags are a good option if you are freezing multiple single-sized portions of curry. You can easily spoon in a single serving of curry into a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible and then seal it shut.
The best part about using plastic freezer bags is that they are super space-saving, and you can stack them flat one on top of the other in the freezer. This is especially helpful for those who have limited freezer space.
The downside is that the freezer bags are often not reusable, and do start to cost a bit extra when you are freezing multiple portions.
You need to remember to label the plastic freezer container, or the plastic freezer bag, with the name of the curry and the date of freezing. This helps you easily identify the curry in the freezer and gives you a time frame of when to use the curry by.
How Long Does Curry Last In The Freezer?
It is advised to use the curry within 3 months of freezing. The curry will still technically be fine to eat after 3 months, but the quality will start to decline, and it won’t taste as great as it would have when cooked fresh.
This is why it is so important to label the curry with the date of freezing, so you can keep a check on it to make sure you eat it within the time frame to ensure it tastes as fresh as possible!
Does Freezing Curry Change Its Taste?
When you freeze curry, the meat and vegetables are given time to stew and marinate in the spices and garlic more. This means that after freezing and thawing, the spices and garlic will be more intense.
This goes for the heat of the curry a well. A curry which had a bite to it when it was cooked, will probably taste considerably spicier when thawed and reheated – so make sure to take this into consideration when cooking your curry.
Freezing and reheating the curry will not necessarily change the taste and flavors of the curry, but it will intensify the taste more.
Freezing for an extended period of time will also cause the meat and vegetables to soften, and if left in the freezer for longer than 3 months, the meat and vegetables will turn mushy and the curry will just not taste as great.
It is best to keep the freezing period as minimal as possible, to avoid the flavors intensifying too much, and to avoid the meat and vegetables turning too soft.
An option is to freeze the curry without the garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, but you will obviously need to plan for this when cooking the curry.
You could always remove the portion you are wanting to freeze before adding in these spices to the portion of curry you are going to eat. Then you can add these in when reheating the frozen curry on the stove.
Garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom do not freeze well, especially when the curry is going to be kept in the freezer for a longer period. Just fry them up with some ghee and add them into the curry when you are reheating it from frozen, to save the taste and flavor.
Can You Freeze Coconut Milk Curry?
Tomato and stock-based curries freeze well, but the results for freezing curries that contain coconut milk can vary. When coconut milk is frozen on its own, it can separate, and while it is still fine to eat when separated, it can be slightly grainy.
When used in curry, coconut milk should freeze fine without any major changes, but you do need to be aware of the fact that the coconut milk might separate.
There is a higher chance of the coconut milk separating if it is one of the main ingredients in the curry, and also if it is left in the freezer for a longer period of time.
Curries that contain other creams such as heavy cream tend to freeze well, but curries containing light cream or yogurt don’t, as these split and separate really easily in the freezer and will not maintain a decent consistency when reheated.
If you want to avoid the coconut milk curry splitting when frozen and defrosted, and you don’t want the grainy texture, you should avoid adding the coconut milk to the curry before freezing, and rather keep it to add to the curry when it has thawed and reheated.
Can You Freeze Paneer Curry?
Paneer curry is popular for a reason, it is incredibly delicious! Paneer cheese works well to fill up vegetarian curries, and it is convenient as it cooks up quickly and doesn’t take much skill to cook right.
You might be nervous to freeze paneer curry, as most soft cheeses do not freeze well, but paneer does.
Freezing paneer curry is super easy, you simply need to cook it up as you would if you were going to eat it straight away. Portion it into your chosen serving size, then leave it to sit and cool to room temperature. Seal and label the containers and pop them in the freezer!
You should freeze paneer curry much the same you would freeze any other curry, and remember to use the curry within 3 months to ensure it keeps its best quality and taste.
Paneer on its own can be kept in the freezer for 6 months, but in a curry, the paneer acts like a sponge to the sauce and spices, so it is better to eat it before 3 months, before it becomes too soft and mushy and loses that texture and taste that paneer is so loved for.
Can You Freeze Curry Leaves?
If you purchase your curry leaves from the local grocer or harvest them for a curry tree in your garden, you might find you have too many curry leaves to use before they start losing their flavor and potency.
To extend their shelf life, you can freeze curry leaves.
Here is how to freeze curry leaves, using a pre-freeze process:
- Place the leaves on a baking pan that is lined with a baking sheet.
- Space the leaves out so they are not overlapping.
- Place the baking sheet with the curry leaves in the freezer for up to 2 hours.
- Once the curry leaves have frozen solid, remove them and carefully place them in a resealable plastic container or in a plastic freezer bag.
- Label this with the date of freezing and place in the freezer.
- Use the frozen leaves within 2 months, before they start drying out.
Flash freezing the curry leaves on a baking sheet first stops them from freezing together and clumping, which allows you to remove a single curry leaf at a time from the freezer, without having to defrost the whole lot.
The curry leaves can be kept in the freezer for longer than 2 months, but they might not be as potent. No one wants a weak curry leaf.
Enjoying Frozen Curry
Freezing curry is one thing, but you should know how to thaw and reheat curry to ensure it tastes as wonderful as possible.
The best way to thaw curry is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight. This prevents the curry from reaching temperatures which could be conducive to bacteria growth, which could lead to foodborne illnesses.
You will need to plan to take the curry out in time for it to thaw for when you want to eat it. If you do not have time to waste waiting for your curry to defrost in the fridge, you can leave it to defrost at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or in the microwave using the defrost function.
Once thawed, you can either reheat the curry on the stovetop or in the microwave. The stovetop does allow for more even heating, but it does take longer than using the microwave.
When using the microwave, you might want to add in a tablespoon or two of water or stock to help prevent the curry from drying out. Make sure to reheat the curry until it’s piping hot to ensure it is safe to eat!
Can you freeze curry paste?
Yes, you can freeze curry paste, so none will ever have to go to waste. When freezing curry paste, it is best to freeze it in single-serving portions, so that you do not need to defrost the whole bunch when you want to make one curry.
Just so we don’t leave any of your burning questions about freezing curry paste unanswered, we have a guide entirely devoted to this topic: Can You Freeze Curry Paste? – The Ultimate Guide.
Can you freeze potato curry?
Potato curry is one curry that does not freeze well. Potato turns grainy and soft when frozen, and this is true for when it is in a curry. It is best to just eat as much of the potato curry as you can, and avoid freezing it!
Does vegetable curry freeze well?
Vegetable curry does freeze well, but you should consume it within 2 months. Vegetables tend to go soft and mushy in the freezer, and this might make the curry more like soup than anything else when thawed and reheated.
Vegetable curry does have the benefit of having plenty of liquid to cover the vegetables, which does protect them from possible freezer burn, but it also works to make them mushier!
How long does curry last in the fridge?
If the curry was placed in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking and is kept in an airtight container and not contaminated with any other food items, it can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you think the curry might be sitting in the fridge for longer than this, then it is better to rather freeze it, to ensure that nothing goes to waste.
Freezing Curry The Right Way
You should never have to go through the pain of throwing away leftover curry that has sat in the fridge for too long. Portion out your leftover curry and pop it in the freezer to keep for a rainy day.
Curry does freeze well when prepared and stored properly, and freezing curry is a great way to ensure that you get to enjoy every last spoonful and that you have some meals ready in the freezer for when you don’t feel like spending time slaving over the stove!