How to Freeze Goulash

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Written By Acacia Crossley


Goulash is traditionally a combination of beef, tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers stewed in a rich sauce that’s heavily seasoned with paprika. The stew itself is easy enough to make but needs a few hours for the beef to become wonderfully tender and for the broth to develop its rich taste.

But on a cold winter’s night, when you want a quick, hearty meal, you don’t want to wait hours for goulash to stew as it needs to. That is why you should consider freezing the stew.

To freeze goulash, allow it to cool before portioning it out into airtight containers or thick freezer bags. Seal them up, and then pop the portions of goulash into the freezer.

How to Freeze Goulash

There are a few ways that you can choose to freeze leftover goulash depending on what component of the goulash you wish to freeze the most:

How To Freeze Goulash 

When you are meal-prepping and want to freeze a hearty portion of your goulash, it is easy enough to do so. You can freeze the stew’s tender meat and perfectly cooked vegetables in one go with minimal effort. Just follow this method: 

  1. Leave To Cool 
    Once you have finished cooking your goulash, leave it on the counter to reach at least room temperature before you start to freeze it. 
  2. Prep Tubs
    Line up either a handful of air-tight containers or zip-lock freezer bags. 
  3. Portion Out
    Ladle your goulash into the various containers and bags. Try to make the portion sizes as even as possible and give a hearty amount of meat and veg to each portion. 
  4. Secure 
    Close the container making sure to secure it fully shut. 
  5. Freeze
    Place the now air-tight goulash portions directly into the freezer. Lay any zip lock bags flat. Don’t place any containers too close to the back of the freezer. 
How Do You Defrost Goulash?

Defrosting goulash is just easy as freezing it. Remove your desired portions from the freezer at least 10 hours before you plan to eat the goulash, and leave in your fridge to defrost naturally. Then heat it up on the stove or in the microwave until hot. 

How to Freeze Goulash Sauce

Though goulash requires enough time for the meat and vegetables to cook through, it is the sauce that takes the longest time to develop and is what makes the goulash take longer to cook. 

What you can do if you don’t want to have countless helpings of the same meat and vegetables in your freezer is freeze the sauce from any leftover batches of goulash to defrost later.

That way, you can mix up the vegetables and meats you pair with the sauce and still be guaranteed a hearty, rich meal. Here is how you can freeze just the goulash sauce: 

  1. Separate The Sauce 
    Of course, the first thing you need to do when you want to freeze goulash sauce is separate it from the rest of the stew. You can do this by filtering the sauce through a sieve or by scooping out the vegetables and meats with a slotted spoon. 
  2. Cool 
    Once the sauce has been separated, leave it on your kitchen counter to cool to at least room temperature. The colder, the better. 
  3. Ready A Container
    Grab your largest air-tight, freezer-friendly container and ready it on the counter to pour your sauce into. Or prepare some sealable freezer bags. 
  4. Portion Out
    If you want to freeze your goulash sauce into manageable portions, use a ladle to separate the sauce into containers or freezer bags. Try to keep the portion sizes equal. 
  5. Secure 
    Once you have separated all of your sauce, properly secure the container shut to make it airtight. Or push all of the air out of the zip lock freezer bags and shut the bags as tightly as possible. 
  6. Freeze
    Place the sauce bags or containers directly into the freeze and allow the cold to work its magic. You can leave goulash sauce in your freezer for up to 3 months. 
How Do You Defrost Goulash Sauce?

You do not need goulash sauce to defrost all of the way to use it. You do need to let the sauce thaw naturally in your fridge for a couple of hours so that you can remove it from the bag or container. But once it is soft enough, add it directly to your pot to defrost fully. 

How to Freeze Goulash Successfully

It takes next to no time to freeze goulash, no matter if you want to freeze the rich goulash sauce or the stew as a whole. Still, goulash is a delicious stew when cooked fresh, and there are a few ways that freezing the goulash could alter the stew’s texture or flavour.

So here are a few tips you can keep in mind to prevent that: 

  • Keep Element Separate: Even if you plan on freezing both the goulash sauce and chunkier components, you may want to separate the vegetable and meats from the sauce and freeze them separately anyway. Doing so can stop the meat and vegetables from soaking up any more sauce while they freeze and turning mushy once defrosted. 
  • Cool: Always allow your goulash to cool before freezing it. This will prevent the stew from condensating while it starts to freeze, preventing freezer burn and a mushy goulash. 
  • Freeze for 3 Months Max: We recommend that you leave your goulash in the freezer for no longer than 3 months as it starts to lose flavour and texture. That being said, you can push that use-by date to 4 months if you have minimal freezer burn.
  • Season When Reheating: It never hurts to add more seasoning to your food once it has been defrosted, especially when defrosting soups or stews. The freezing process can dilute some of those hard-earned flavours, but by adding a pinch of extra salt and pepper while the goulash defrosts, you can really elevate the flavour to its former glory. 

Does Goulash Freeze Well?

Goulash is a stew that freezes very well if you take the necessary steps to prevent freezer burn, which would make the contents of the stew mushy.

Goulash sauce, on the other hand, freezes brilliantly. This is why we’ve included our method for freezing this alone above.

Freezing Goulash FAQs

If you have more questions about freezing goulash, then these FAQs might be helpful:

Can You Freeze Goulash With Rice?

No, this is not a good idea. If you are going to freeze goulash and rice, freeze them in individual containers for up to 3 months.

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