Can You Freeze Tomato Sauce? (YES! Here’s How)
Tomato sauces are a relatively cheap source of nutrition. These sauces can easily be made from scratch or purchased in bulk, which is why so many people wonder if there is a way to freeze all of that tomato sauce for later?
You can freeze tomato sauce easily. Make sure to freeze your tomato sauce in an airtight container or freezer-grade ziplock bag once it’s been quickly cooled. Doing so ensures your frozen tomato sauce will maintain its best flavor and texture for up to six months.
Keep reading to learn the following:
- The best way to freeze tomato sauce.
- How long tomato sauce remains good once frozen.
- How the freezing process affects the flavor.
- How to thaw your frozen tomato sauce.
- If you can refreeze tomato sauce.
How To Freeze Tomato Sauce for Later Use
Tomato sauce is a staple in many homes, especially those that enjoy dishes like spaghetti, chili, and homemade tomato soup. So let’s talk about the best way to freeze your tomato sauce for later.
To properly freeze your tomato sauce, you will need the following items:
- Sink with cold water or ice
- Airtight container or freezer-grade ziplock bag
How to freeze your leftover tomato sauce:
- Cool your tomato sauce right after cooking. Quickly cooling your tomato sauce prevents your food from sitting in what is referred to as “the danger zone” for too long and growing bacteria. You can do this by placing your pot of tomato sauce in a sink full of cool water or ice.
- Portion your sauce into an airtight container or freezer-grade ziplock bags once cooled. You can use plastic or glass; just remember to leave enough room for the liquids in the sauce to expand as they freeze.
- Date and label your sauce containers. Doing this will help you remember what’s in each container and use them up before their best-by-date.
- Place the containers in the freezer. You can then enjoy your sauces before the 6-month mark for the freshest taste.
Ziplock Bags Help You Make More Space in the Freezer
Note that the freezer-grade ziplock bag method of storage allows you to better stack your sauces in a way that will take up less room than a hard-sided container.
When freezing using a ziplock, you should lay the bag down somewhere flat until it’s completely frozen, after which you can move it to a storage shelf in your freezer to keep things more organized.
If you don’t already own a stackable organizer for your freezer, I recommend the DecoBros Stackable Kitchen Organizer (available on Amazon.com). This excellent metal shelving comes in a two-pack, is completely collapsible, and can easily be used outside of your freezer if desired.
Also, If you’re looking for a more detailed guide to freezing your tomato sauce, check out this 2-minute video by the Blue Flame Kitchen on how to freeze pasta sauce:
How Long Can Tomato Sauce Be Frozen For?
So it’s definitely possible to freeze tomato sauce for later. In fact, tomato sauce is one of the easiest types of food to freeze. But how long exactly will your tomato sauce remain good in the freezer?
Tomato sauce can be frozen for 3 to 6 months. Leaving your tomato sauce in the freezer any longer can result in freezer burn. Plus, for the freshest taste, it’s recommended that you consume your tomato sauce around the 3-month mark.
There is one exception to the 3-to-6-month mark expiration date. Suppose you have a deep freezer that tends to run quite a bit cooler than your average freezer. Then you may have success keeping your tomato sauce for up to a year if stored properly.
Also, if you are freezing a tomato sauce that contains meat, you will still want to consume your sauce before 6 months have passed. You should also aim to consume your meat sauce immediately once thawed for the best taste.
Does Freezing Tomato Sauce Affect the Flavor?
So now you know that you can keep any extra tomato sauce frozen for up to 6 months. But the real question is whether or not the freezing process will affect the sauce’s flavor.
Freezing tomato sauce does affect the flavor. The longer your sauce remains frozen, the less flavorful your tomato sauce will be due to the breakdown of enzymes found in tomatoes. That’s why it’s recommended that you consume your freezer sauce between the 3-to-6-month mark.
Another thing to note is that if you are trying to freeze a tomato sauce with any dairy in it, the flavor can be significantly altered due to the dairy and tomato separating during the freezing process.
Therefore it’s recommended that you don’t freeze tomato sauce with the dairy in it, though it’s not impossible to do so. You can always blend the sauce back together, but you’ll often find that the consistency remains off.
Depending on what you plan to cook with your tomato sauce, this may not matter so much to you. An excellent way to combat flavor distortion from the freezing process is to add any herbs or spices after thawing your sauce.
If you still notice your sauce’s flavor is off, you can try adding a pinch of sugar to balance it.
The Best Ways To Thaw Tomato Sauce
Now that you have some frozen tomato sauce, you might wonder what the best method to thaw that sauce is. The overall process for thawing tomato sauce is relatively simple, so let’s get right into it.
Leave Your Tomato Sauce in the Fridge Overnight
The simplest method for defrosting your sauce is to remove the sauce from the freezer and leave it in the fridge overnight. Typically your sauce will have thawed by the 24-hour mark unless your fridge is set to colder settings. In that case, you’ll have to wait several more hours.
Once your tomato sauce is thawed, you will have to mix the sauce well to re-incorporate any water that may have separated from the tomato mixture. You can do this on the stove or in a microwave very quickly. Just remember to stir the sauce regularly.
The only drawback to the overnight fridge method is that you will have to think ahead and remember to pull the sauce out a day in advance of whatever you are planning to make with it.
Thaw Your Tomato Sauce in the Microwave
The fastest way to thaw your frozen tomato sauce is to put it in the microwave.
Do the following to safely thaw your tomato sauce:
- Place your sauce in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave the tomato sauce on high for 5 minutes.
- Take the sauce out from the microwave and stir well.
- Add 2 more minutes to the microwave and pause it to stir the sauce until it’s fully thawed.
Be careful not to overcook your sauce, as this can lead to a strange burnt flavor that can ruin whatever dish you plan to add the tomato sauce.
Thaw Your Tomato Sauce on the Stove Top
Last but not least is thawing your tomato in a pot on the stove. This method is the better method to use if you need your sauce thawed quickly but would like to prevent your sauce from thawing unevenly or burning.
To thaw your sauce on the stovetop, do the following:
- Put a bit of oil in a pot, and transfer the tomato sauce into the pot.
- Set the stove’s burner to medium heat.
- Keep stirring until the sauce is properly thawed.
- Enjoy whatever culinary creation you desire.
When using the stovetop to thaw your sauce, you will want to be especially careful not to cook on high heat and keep stirring so your tomato sauce doesn’t burn to the bottom of your pan.
Can You Refreeze Tomato Sauce?
Sometimes you thaw sauce with the intention of using it up quickly, but due to circumstances, you don’t end up using the sauce. So what should you do in this situation? Can you refreeze your tomato sauce, or will that ruin it?
You can refreeze tomato sauce, but keep in mind that refreezing any sauce can permanently alter the texture and taste. However, freezing tomato sauce that has previously been frozen is safe so long as it’s still within the 3-to-6-month use-by date.
So long as your tomato sauce is still good, you should have no problem refreezing it. However, you may possibly have to spend a little more time fixing the separation of the liquids from the solids once thawed again.
If you find the separation to be an issue when refreezing your tomato sauce, popping your thawed sauce in a blender can help re-incorporate all liquids and solids back to their original state.
Can You Freeze Tomato Sauce – Summary
Tomato sauce can easily be frozen for later use, and so long as you use your sauce before the 6-month mark, it should remain fresh to taste.
Just keep the following in mind:
- Cool your tomato sauce quickly before freezing.
- Store your sauce in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
- Label and date your containers so that you’ll know how long you have to use them.
If you follow these steps, your pasta sauce should freeze without a problem, leaving you with a sauce you can enjoy for months to come.