Learn how you can freeze gumbo easily so it tastes just as good as the day you made it!
These tips will help you freeze your gumbo leftovers perfectly, plus how to thaw and reheat them great!
Can You Freeze Gumbo?
Yes! Whether you have gumbo leftovers or decide to make an extra batch, you can freeze it to enjoy it later.
Since the roux has incorporated itself into the liquid, this growth-based stew freezes great into a cohesive liquid. And since there are no ingredients that have starch, like pasta or potatoes, it freezes very well and keeps its taste and texture intact once you thaw it.
Can You Freeze Roux for Gumbo?
Freezing roux for gumbo is a terrific idea since it’s one step of the recipe that demands some time in the kitchen stirring. So, make it once and save yourself time by freezing roux in ice cube trays.
Once your roux is thick and brown -or the desired color- pour it into an ice cube tray so you can have individual portions to use whenever you need it.
Can you freeze gumbo with rice?
Yes, if your gumbo leftovers have rice mixed in, you can freeze them the same way you would freeze gumbo or, say, chicken and rice soup. One thing to note is that the texture of the rice will soften when you reheat it.
How to Freeze Gumbo
Freezing gumbo is super simple and similar to freezing other soups and stews. So from now on, you can cook gumbo once and eat it many times! Just be sure to follow these steps to store gumbo perfectly every time:
- Make the gumbo
We need something to freeze, so first, make your favorite recipe, or try my Traditional New Orleans Chicken Gumbo. I also have a delicious gluten-free version, in case you need it!
- Bring to room temperature
Before freezing the gumbo, you need to allow it to cool down to lower the risk of foodborne sickness.
Once it’s at room temperature, you can store it in freezer-safe containers or zip bags for up to 3 months. Don’t overfill the containers since liquids expand when frozen. Tip: label the container so you know when you froze it.
Pro Tip: If you’re using a zip bag to store gumbo, fill it and place it on a baking sheet to freeze it. Once frozen, remove the baking sheet. Now you have a flat bag that is easy to store instead of a huge block of frozen stew taking too much room!
How long can gumbo stay frozen?
Gumbo, like most soups and chilis, can stay frozen indefinitely, but the USDA recommends freezing it for up to 3 months because after that, the texture of the gumbo will decline, and you might feel it’s gone bad.
Best Containers for Freezing Gumbo
My top picks for freezing gumbo are freezer-safe zip bags and plastic storage containers. What size? It depends on how many servings you want to freeze. Gallon-sized zip bags are great for families, 4-6 servings, while individual containers can also be convenient if you plan on heating up 1-2 servings.
Glass mason jars or storage containers are also an option, just be sure they are microwave-safe if you want to reheat the gumbo in the microwave. Tip: leave ½-inch of room at the top for expansion
How to Thaw Gumbo
You can thaw gumbo in the fridge, in a water bath, or in the microwave. The method you choose will depend on how much time you have, i.e. whether you’re in a hurry or not.
Thaw gumbo in the refrigerator
Transfer the frozen gumbo from the freezer to the fridge. It will take 1 or 2 days to defrost, depending on how much gumbo you are thawing.
Thaw gumbo in a water bath
Place the gumbo container in a large bowl with room-temperature water until the stew begins to loosen from the sides of the container. Use this method if you’re short of time.
Thaw gumbo in the microwave
Place the gumbo container in the microwave with the lid sitting on top, not sealed. Select your microwave’s “defrost” setting, which is about 30% power, for about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how much gumbo you’re heating up.
Reheating Frozen Gumbo
Reheating gumbo is my favorite part of cooking it because it means I get to enjoy it again and love it just as much as the first time! How? You can reheat gumbo on the stove or the microwave.
To reheat gumbo on the stove, place the thawed gumbo in a large pot and reheat over medium heat until simmering. If using the microwave, place it on a microwave-safe dish and reheat it until the gumbo is heated through. Serve it with one of these gumbo side dishes, and enjoy!