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Freezing Meatballs

  • t

I've never been fond of freezing meat once it's been cooked, but I'm now stuck with a pot of Italian meatballs. Will freezing ruin them? They are so nice and moist right now. I'd assume they should be defrosted slowly, if frozen? (I'm also not fond of microwaves, especially for thawing meats.)

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  1. No, freezing will not ruin cooked meatballs. One thing you might want to do, if you have the time or supplies, is to freeze them in a batch of gravy/sauce. This way when you defrost them in the fridge or wherever, you can put then in a pan to slowly reheat on the stove and you have evenly heated, still moist meatballs and sauce for pasta.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tony

      Thank you Tony. I had them in the frig in sauce and have transferred them into the freezer.

      In the 20 or so years of cooking, I've never had leftovers of them, and I've made them many times, being of Italian descent. You learn everyday.

      (Viewing those frozen meatballs at Costco, didn't help turn me on to freezing mine.)

      1. re: tony

        This is exactly how I do it. Freeze them in the sauce, then defrost and slowly reheat in a saucepan.
        Somehow I always seem to end up making enough meatballs and sauce for ten, when there is only two of us.

      2. you can freeze them raw and just place them in your sauce without pre-cooking them at all. frying or baking the meatballs before they go in the sauce is unnecessary

        5 Replies
        1. re: foodfish

          The only concern with doing this is that the meatballs may freeze with a layer of ice around them, which when defrosting and cooking in your sauce, will cause your sauce to water down or even separate a bit. If you freeze them raw, I'd let them defrost in the fridge first, so that *icicles* can melt off, and then add them to your sauce to cook.

          1. re: Emme

            I freeze my raw turkey meatballs all the time, any amount of ice that may form on them is so minimal, there's no need to worry about watering down sauce.

            1. re: Emme

              I freeze meatballs all the time, and ice is never a problem.

              I make my meatballs about 1 1/2" in diameter, and they weigh about 1/2 oz each. This means 8 fit into a small zipper lock freezer bag neatly, and also meet my goal of 4 oz protein per serving. Before stuffing in the freezer, I open the ziplock a tad, and insert an orally operated cylindrical pressure assisted air extraction device (aka "a straw") to remove as much as air as possible. Toss all the small bags into a large freezer bag, use the OOCPAAED once more, and voila - nice, meal sized bags ready for easy prep, with nary an ice problem.

            2. re: foodfish

              I would never advise freezing meatballs raw if they are made with eggs.

              Freezing cooked meatballs is a wonderful idea.

              I always double or triple the recipe so I have extra to freeze.

              1. re: Fleur

                I make mine with eggs, freeze them, plop them in the pot of sauce straight from the freezer. Never any issues, always delicious.

            3. I always make big batches and freeze them in sauce. I use 1 quart deli containers and just take one out of the freezer a couple of days before using and they thaw out in the fridge.

              1. what if there is no sauce to cook/defrost them in from frozen? Do the rules change?

                1. When I make meatballs I cook them and then freeze them on a cookie sheet. I then take the frozen balls and vac seal them six to a package. That way they don't get freezer burn or turn into a meatball brick in the package. I'd rather start with fresh sauce, and simmer the frozen meat balls in it until heated thru. (Sometimes I remember enough in advance and thaw them in the fridge.)