What Happens If You Freeze Cooked Pasta?

Correction 3/24/22: A previous version of this post stated that the cell walls of starches are broken when pasta thaws. Cell walls are broken by the formation of ice crystals when all food is frozen, not when it thaws.

Where would we be without our home freezers? For those of us who love to cook in bulk, this frosty appliance is a lifesaver when it comes to extending the use-by date of everything from casseroles and soups to stews and pot pies. First appearing in American homes in the 1940s, the freezer is a device many of us likely take for granted but can't live without. When you have no room in the fridge for leftovers or ingredients, the freezer can tack on up to six months of shelf life for most cheeses and breads, up to nine months for butter, and up to a year for many fruits, according to Almanac.

Have you ever thought of freezing leftover pasta? Many of us have wondered if this particular preparation is one of the many common foods that freeze well without suffering too many changes in its taste or texture.

The best way to freeze cooked pasta

While it won't be as good as it was freshly made, you can freeze cooked pasta. As explained by the Kitchn, cooked pasta that's not yet tossed in sauce will generally freeze better than already-sauced pasta, maintaining its texture more nicely once thawed. If you're planning on freezing pasta, the outlet suggests cooking your chosen shape to just less than al dente, tossing the pasta with a bit of olive oil, and then spreading it out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in the freezer until it's frozen solid. Then, you can transfer the frozen pasta to zip-top freezer bags for up to two months. When it's time to cook your frozen pasta, you can just microwave it or reheat it on the stovetop with a little sauce and it will thaw quickly.

The good news is, tomato-based pasta sauces freeze extremely well, according to Taste of Home, so you can go ahead and freeze you favorite sauce at the same time you freeze the pasta that will go with it.

Can you freeze pasta that has already been sauced? Of course, but as the sauce and pasta will reheat at different speeds — and you likely cooked it to perfection instead of less than al dente — it really isn't ideal (via Better Homes & Gardens).