Potato soup can mean different things to different people. For me, it usually means a blended, creamy soup made from potatoes and any other vegetables that I have on hand that need to be used up. Each batch is different and I love it.
For others, potato soup is made by following a very specific recipe, handed down for generations. It has been perfected and is probably your family’s most treasured secret. The only thing we know for sure is that it has potatoes in it.
Simply put, potato soup is any soup that has a lot of potatoes in it!
So can you freeze potato soup? You can freeze potato soup but it’s not the best soup to freeze. However, if you know you are going to need to freeze your potato soup ahead of time, you can either omit the cream before freezing or use a dairy-free substitute. That way, you can avoid having to freeze dairy, which is the problem when freezing potato soup.
Maybe you’ve read other posts that told you that you absolutely, cannot ever freeze potato soup or cream-based soups. I’m here to tell you that I have personally frozen potato soup more times than I can count, and I keep doing it because I have figured out how to make it work.
There are some before and after practices that you’ll want to be careful about, so this article is dedicated to helping you freeze potato soup for the best possible results.
What Happens If You Freeze Dairy
Many people add dairy products to their potato soup to make it nice and creamy. The problem is, when dairy is frozen, the fat and water will separate.
This isn’t dangerous or even distasteful in any way, but it does create consistency issues when you thaw your soup. At best, it will be a bit grainy, at worst, it will look like it has curdled.
There are two very easy solutions to enjoying previously frozen potato soup with cream:
- If you know you are going to have leftovers, or if you’re making the soup ahead of time, leave the dairy out before you freeze it, and simply add it when you are reheating the soup after thawing it. This is your best choice.
- Use a non-dairy milk alternative, like coconut milk or almond milk. I love coconut milk in my soups because it adds a sweet hint of flavor, but not everyone does. It will still separate a little bit, but not nearly as noticeable as using heavy cream.
How to Freeze Potato Soup
If you’re prepping soup for a make-ahead crockpot type meal and freezing the ingredients raw, your potatoes aren’t going to fare very well. Raw, chopped potatoes will discolor when you freeze them and change in texture completely. You’re much better off cooking your soup ahead of time and then freezing it.
You can freeze cooked potatoes but if they are perfectly cooked before you freeze them, they will end up mushy when you thaw them, and practically mashed when you reheat your soup.
Cooked potatoes, particularly the standard russet potatoes that are usually used for soup, have a high moisture content. When they’re frozen, all the water molecules inside the potato pieces freeze.
Water expands when it freezes, so this breaks down the structure of your potato. When it thaws, the water shrinks and melts out, leaving your potato broken-down and mushy.
1. Prepare Your Soup For the Freezer
If you are going to have a smooth potato soup, you don’t have to take any extra precautions, you can skip ahead to the next section.
If you like your potato soup to have chunks of potato or other vegetables left in it, you will need to plan ahead a bit if you want to freeze some of the leftovers.
When your soup is about 75% cooked, so the vegetables are still quite al dente, remove it from the heat. Separate out enough soup for your current meal and continue to cook just that portion until it’s finished and you can eat it right away.
Anything that you’re going to freeze, or even refrigerate, in order to reheat again at a later date is best kept not quite cooked. This way, you can reheat the soup without overcooking your vegetables.
The only exception to this rule is if you’ve added any raw meats. You should never half-cook meat. Smoked or cured meats like bacon or ham are fine.
This is especially important if you’re freezing soups with chunks. By keeping them firm, the damage done by freezing won’t be as noticeable, and the potatoes will still have some structure left when you thaw it, though they still will be noticeably softer.
Refrigerate Potato Soup Before Freezing
Once you’ve made a batch of your very own potato soup you will want to make sure that you get any leftovers in the fridge within 2 hours. Let it cool to room temperature first, but once it reaches that point, bacteria will start to grow quickly.
To extend the lifespan of your delicious soup, pour it into a Tupperware container, preferably a glass one, with an airtight seal. Glass is always best for liquids because it will better protect your soup from taking on the flavors and odors of other foods that might be in your fridge.
When properly stored, your soup should last for 4 – 5 days. If you need more time than that, you will simply have to freeze it.
2. Freeze Your Potato Soup
First, always let your soup cool to room temperature (if you haven’t placed it in the refrigerator) before freezing it, however, make sure it is properly stored within 2 hours of being cooked.
It’s best to freeze your soup in single meal serving sizes, whether that meal is for a family of 4 or for just a single lunch, separate the soup accordingly. Potato soup should not be thawed and then refrozen, regardless of whether you reheat in between or not.
Transfer the soup to either a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe Tupperware container, preferably glass or freezer-safe plastic. Something like these from Amazon would be perfect for freezing soup.
If you’re using a bag, seal it 90% of the way and then carefully lay it flat on your counter to press out any remaining air, create an even layer of soup that fills the entire bag, and then finish sealing it very carefully.
The less air inside the bag, the better. Lay it perfectly flat in your freezer for at least 2 hours to let it freeze solid. After that, you can stand it up to save space if you’d like, or you can stack other foods on top of it, provided it is completely frozen first.
If you’re using Tupperware, the glass will best protect your soup from taking on any of the flavors of your freezer.
However, anything with liquid in it will expand as it freezes, so make sure you leave at least 1 inch of space between your soup and the lid to allow for this without shattering your container.
If you want to be especially careful, place some plastic wrap on the surface of your soup and freeze it without the lid for up to 2 hours. This will let any expansion happen and you can safely place seal your container without any worries.
It’s always a good idea to label your soup with the date that it was frozen. Potato soup is best eaten within 6 months of freezing.
3. How to Thaw Potato Soup
Depending on whether you froze a smooth soup or a chunky soup, you may have to take a few additional steps after you thaw it and before you serve it to get the best tasting, most pleasing mouth-feel possible.
The best way to thaw your soup is to take it out the night before you plan on consuming it and let it thaw in your fridge.
If you find yourself at a loss for what to make for dinner and only have a few hours, you can place your frozen soup, as long as it is still well sealed, in a sink or bowlful of lukewarm water. This will reduce the time it takes to defrost drastically.
If you have even less time to get dinner served, you can reheat it from frozen. Simply pour it into a large pot and warm it up slowly, over low heat, stirring constantly.
You can put it in the microwave, but it is not recommended if you have any chunks left in your soup, as they will go mushy.
If you have a smooth soup, you can use the appropriate defrost setting on your microwave, stirring frequently to distribute the heat.
How to Best Serve Previously Frozen Potato Soup
Once your soup is thawed or reheated, you will have the choice to serve as is or make a few amendments for quality control.
Smooth soups should be ready to serve with nothing more than a good stir and the addition of your dairy if you so choose.
With chunky soups, it’s a good idea to have a taste and texture test before you serve your soup. Hopefully, after taking all of the above precautions, your vegetables will have survived the freeze nicely.
If you’re concerned that they’re too soft, your best solution is to simply turn your chunky soup into a smooth soup by pureeing it in your blender. If you still want chunks, you can add fresh vegetables to your soup as it reheats.
Steam some fresh potatoes, cauliflower or other vegetables as the soup warms up (after being blended) and add them at the very end.
Another option is to add a can of cooked beans to your soup. You can also top your soup with some croutons or a toasted piece of bread covered in cheese, similar to a bowl of French onion soup. Even sprinkling some toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds on top will add some texture to your now-smooth soup.
There are plenty of options to give you the experience you most want and, as a bonus, your leftovers will taste brand new.
What can I add to potato soup for flavor?
Potato soup was traditionally a “throw what you have in a pot” type of meal, so the options for making a tasty potato soup are practically limitless.
Anything you would use to build a flavor-packed broth soup will also be delicious in your potato soup: celery, onions, garlic, carrots, and herbs.
You may also want to roast some garlic and caramelize some onions for a sweeter, earthier flavor. Many people add bacon or ham to their potato soup, and for the vegans and vegetarians, you can get a similar smoky flavor using all-natural liquid smoke.
For a twist, you may want to add some dry white wine, or Worchestershire sauce, or even spice it up with some chili peppers or dry mustard. The possibilities really are endless.
What goes good with potato soup?
Potato soup is a bit heavy on its own, so it’s nice to add something light to your meal, such as a salad with some fresh berries or a simple cut of perfectly grilled meat or fish.
If you want the soup to really stand on its own, you can’t go wrong with simply providing some dinner rolls for dipping, or some garlic toast to add some crunch to your meal.
Do I have to peel potatoes for soup?
No, you don’t have to peel potatoes for soup, if you happen to enjoy the skin of the potato and you’re planning on leaving chunks in the soup.
Leaving the peeling on will help your potato pieces keep their form and will add a little extra texture to the soup, which is always nice.
If you’re going to be pureeing your soup, however, it may be better to peel your potatoes first, as that will give you a smoother finish and a more appetizing color to your soup.
How do you make potato soup thicker?
There are many ways you can thicken your potato soup, but the three most common are as follows:
- Mix cornstarch or flour with some cold water and add it to your soup when it is almost ready to serve. It will thicken within 1 – 2 minutes without altering the flavor at all
- Add some heavy cream to your soup (see the question below)
- Boil extra potatoes, or another starchy vegetable like carrots or even some lentils, and puree them with some of the broth until it is silky smooth. Add that back to your main soup to thicken it considerably and add extra flavor.
Will heavy cream thicken soup?
Yes, adding heavy cream is one of the most traditional ways to thicken a soup, in fact. After the cream is added, let it simmer for a while, stirring frequently to prevent it from crisping to the bottom of your pot. It should thicken nicely in about 5 minutes.
How do you add cream to soup without curdling?
For most cream soups you will want all the other ingredients to be mostly cooked in just the broth before you add the cream. When your soup is almost ready, bring the temperature is on medium but not boiling.
Measure out your cream and slowly pour it into the hot soup, stirring constantly until all the cream is added and fully combined. Try to avoid letting the soup boil, even after the cream is added completely.
Why do cream soups get watery?
Cream has a lot of fat in it which doesn’t sit well with water. When it is blended well, it will combine, however, the longer it rests, the more the fat will start to separate from the water, which will rise to the surface.
If you stir your soup really well or, better yet, put it in a blender, it will recombine the fats with the water and you will have a nice thick soup once more.
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