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Dec 27, 2013 02:28 PM

Question on freezing meatballs


I am planning to make a large batch of meatballs and freeze half of them. My usual method is to brown meatballs in the pan and finish cooking in the sauce. My question is can I brown all the meatballs and then freeze half of them, to thaw and then finish in the sauce at a later date? In other words, is it okay to freeze partially cooked,meatballs that have only been browned? Thanks.

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  1. You might want to finish them off in the oven and then freeze them.

    1. I think it sounds just fine. Don't know why it wouldn't.

      1. Your method is fine. Just throw the frozen meatballs in the sauce and leave yourself enough time so they cook thru.

        6 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          agree par-cooking is fine. then spread on sheet pan to freeze, then bag. this way you can pull out as many as you need and not be stuck with a solid mass.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Be sure to label well, lest someone think they are fully cooked and consume something that isn't. I see no advantage to not cooking them fully in the first place. I've never refrigerated or frozen partially-cooked animal proteins.

            1. re: greygarious

              Well, if they're fully cooked, then they'll be overcooked, won't they? And it's unlikely that anyone would eat them straight from the freezer. By the time they heated them up, they wouldn't be partially cooked. But so what if they were?

              1. re: greygarious

                Provided one is using good beef and the diner is not immune-compromised there is nothing wrong with eating a "rare" meatball any more than a rare burger. Since I do and no one in my house is I feel no need to label as such.

                There are many people I know who swear by meatballs cooked fully in the sauce. I like to par cook mine to get out any excess fat/grease and then let them finish in the sauce. It makes for a very tender and tasty meat ball. I just made well over 100 yesterday and the ones not eaten yesterday or today are in the freezer, waiting to made into subs or sauce.

                1. re: greygarious

                  lol, is there somebody in your house who might eat a frozen meatball? if you freeze them cooked through, they will be overcooked with re-heating.

            2. I always make and freeze my meatballs uncooked.

              The benefit is the flavor from the fond (brown bits) during frying and fat that is imparted into the sauce once the meat is browned but not cooked through but as the sauce cooks adds depth.

              Browned but not cooked through loses the fond approach if frozen and reused. No need to brown then. Sauce loses out.

              Cooked all the way through and then frozen is the same approach as using bagged frozen meatballs.

              Awesome for convenience and far healthier if trying to remove the meat fat from your diet as a lot of it is cooked out in the baking process, just like a meatloaf.

              All are fine to freeze depending upon what sauce you are using and flavor profile you wish to have.

              Again, I either freeze raw, or if making a from scratch red sauce, freeze when sauce is fully cooked through with meat included.

              No right or wrong.

              Just varying degress of yumminess.

              1. You should brown at high heat so they hold together and then freeze then on a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet. When they are rock hard move the meatballs to a zip bag and return them to the coldest part of the freezer for storage.

                If you cook them to full done they will be overdone when you reheat them.