Meat is one of those ingredients that can be full of flavour, used in countless dishes and spanning cuisines worldwide… but it can also be a costly purchase to throw away.
Too often, people fall into the trap of leaving a delicious cut of beef or a packet of chicken breasts in their fridge, only for it to turn bad before it can be used. That is why the freezer is a meat eater’s best friend. But is it possible to freeze marinated meat and still have a deliciously tender, flavourful dish?
To freeze marinated meat, tip the meat along with some of the marinade into a good quality freezer bag, seal it up tight and then pop it into the freezer.
How to Freeze Marinated Meat
Considering just how many types of meat there are, it would not be fair to assume that they can all be marinated and frozen in the same way and produce consistent results.
You will need to change how you freeze a piece of marinated meat depending on the meat itself:
How To Freeze Marinated Chicken
Though chicken is one of the most widely used meats, it is not always the most flavourful. Without any seasoning, chicken can be bland and rubbery.
That is why many people freeze their chicken in a marinade to ensure that they have a flavourful meal with little effort. Here is how:
- Make The Marinade
Decide what flavours you want to marinate your chicken in and prepare in a large bowl.
- Prep Chicken
Using a sharp knife, cut up the chicken into any shape and size you wish. Try to keep all the pieces equal.
Find a large zip-lock freezer bag and add the prepped chicken directly to the bag. Then pour the marinade on top of the chicken.
Freezer-Friendly Chicken Marinade
Use equal quantities of olive oil, honey and soy sauce combined with 1 grated garlic clove and 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger per portion.
- Secure Shut
Starting where the marinade ends, push all of the air out of the freezer bag and then secure the bag shut.
- Mix Together
Gently press on the freezer bag and use your hands to mix together the chicken and marinade until the two components are thoroughly combined.
- Double Bag
Place the marinaded chicken bag into another, larger plastic bag and tie the bag shut. It can be a clean shopping bag or another freezer bag.
Use a prominent marker to note the type of meat you are freezing and the flavour of the marinade used.
Finally, lay the marinaded chicken flat in your freezer and leave it to freeze.
Remove the frozen marinaded chicken at least 8 hours before you plan to cook the chicken. Place the frozen chicken in your fridge and allow it to defrost naturally to prevent bacteria growth.
How to Freeze Marinated Beef
Beef is more finicky. This is because various cuts of beef differ so much in texture and purpose.
That being said, there is a freezing method that can be universally applied to freezing any type of marinated beef:
- Make The Marinade
The first thing you need to do is prepare a marinade for the beef. Don’t be afraid to use bold flavours or season the marinade more than you typically would.
Freezer-Friendly Beef Marinade
Combine equal quantities of olive oil and lemon with 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, 1 grated garlic clove and a pinch of salt per portion.
- Prep The Beef
Each cut of beef needs to be cut and prepared differently. Some pieces need to have their fat cut off, while others just need to be patted dry. Prep your cut of beef however required.
Once the beef is prepared, add it to your marinade and leave the beef to sit for a few hours in the marinade.
- Bag Up
Remove the beef from the marinade and place it directly into a zip-lock freezer bag.
- Add Marinade
Pour a few tablespoons of the marinade into the freezer bag with the beef.
- Secure Shut
Use your hands to remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible. Then shut the zip lock freezer bag, securing it tightly shut.
- Double Bag
To ensure as little freezer burn as possible, place the freezer bag inside another freezer bag or plastic shopping bag and secure that bag shut, too.
Lay the marinated beef flat in your freezer and leave it to freeze until solid. You can then move it to a more convenient place in your freezer if you wish.
You should defrost marinated beef in a similar way that you defrost marinated chicken. Allow the beef to naturally thaw out your fridge for a few hours before use. Then remove the beef from the freezer bag and thoroughly pat it dry to remove any excess moisture.
How to Freeze Marinated Meat Successfully
There are a lot of complications that can come from freezing marinated meat if you are not sure what you are doing. To save ruining a perfectly good chunk of meat, here are a few tips you can use to freeze marinated meat:
- Overdo the Marinade – As the freezing process of meat tends to dilute and alter the meat’s and marinade’s flavour, consider adding more herbs, spices, and seasoning before you freeze to ensure that the marinade remains flavourful until you are ready to cook.
- Limit Acid – Always be very careful with how much acidity you use in your marinade when marinating meat. The more acidic the marinade is, the more tender the meat will get, which is all well and good until the meat loses its texture completely. So, avoid falling into the trap of using too much lemon juice or vinegar.
- Don’t Combine Meats – Don’t mix marinated beef or strong meats with other meats in the freeze, and its flavour will soak into the meats and ruin their intended flavour. Instead, keep each marinated meat separate.
Does Marinated Meat Freeze Well?
It is quite a common practice nowadays to marinade meat in advance and freeze it to ensure that your good is bursting with as much flavour as possible.
But some meats, such as beef, need to be marinated and frozen slightly differently to freeze well.
Freezing Marinated Meat FAQs
Here are some FAQs that might be of use regarding freezing marinated meat safely:
Yes, any met that has been marinated can be frozen including pork. Tip the pork pieces with the marinade into a freezer bag, seal it up and freeze it.
Most marinades will work well in the freezer. The only exception are those with a high acidity content. These can toughen meat up when used for too long so it’s worth avoiding those with high vinegar or lemon ratios.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.