With Thanksgiving right around the corner, everyone’s ready to make gravy. What few are actually prepared for is what to do with leftovers or how to store gravy if made in advance. Which begs the question: can you freeze gravy?
Everything You Need to Know About Freezing Gravy
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a rich gravy to pour over the turkey, filling, and mashed potatoes. However, it’s easy to make too much gravy or not have enough time to make it the day of. Both of these are gravy disasters! Knowing how to properly freeze it comes in handy when planning ahead for your family dinner or storing what’s left over.
This post will help you navigate through the ins and outs of proper gravy storage so that it’s always fresh and delicious — even if it’s frozen.
What is Gravy?
Gravy is a savory, thickened sauce made with either flour, milk, cream, or a combination of them. Chicken, beef, or turkey stock are also used but it’s not the stock that makes freezing gravy overwhelming sometimes. In fact, it’s the fat. With only two types of gravy, cream-based, and flour-based, you can imagine which one is more troublesome.
Neither is actually complicated, but it’ll be useful to keep in mind the pros and cons of each kind of gravy when choosing a recipe. Depending on the type, frozen gravy can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. When thawed, it can also split and you’ll need to stir or blend it to make it smooth again. The defrosting method is very specific. That means before you start making gallons of gravy, figuring out which kind works best for you is going to save you lots of time.
Can You Freeze Gravy?
Yes, but what your gravy is made with will determine how long you can freeze it.
Can You Freeze Gravy Made with Milk and Flour?
Absolutely! This type of gravy is roux-based, or flour-based. Rouxs are a traditional French technique for thickening soups and sauces using a mixture of cooked flour and fat. The milk definitely incorporates a bit of fat, but it’s not as problematic when freezing because the fat-content is much lower than in cream-based gravy. Because of this, it will last about 3 months in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Gravy Made with Cream?
Of course! It’ll only last about 2 weeks, but it’s something. The reason why it lasts so little in comparison to flour-based gravy is because heavy cream usually has a 36% fat-content. This means it has more fat molecules than milk or butter. When frozen, they clump together and produce a grainy texture that’s very characteristic of “splitting.”
How to Freeze Gravy 2 Ways
These are the easiest, most practical ways to freeze gravy depending on the serving sizes you have in mind for later on.
Large Portions of Gravy
Transfer the fully cooled gravy to a freezer-friendly bag or container and seal it. If you’re using a bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 2 weeks if it’s cream-based and up to 34 months if flour-based.
Gravy Ice Cubes
This method is for tiny portions, perfect for biscuit cravings. Once completely cooled, pour the gravy into ice cube trays. Pop them in the freezer for 5 hours or until completely solid. Then remove them from the tray and transfer to a freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for up to 2 weeks if it’s cream-based gravy and up to 3 months for flour-based.
Tips for Freezing Gravy
Follow these tips to make sure you’re not eating dinosaur-age gravy or chugging down gallons of it before it goes bad:
- Freeze individual portions. Unless you’re planning to eat the whole 67 fl oz (or however much you made) of it in one sitting, it’s best to divide it into individual serving sizes before freezing. This way you can defrost only what you’ll actually eat and avoid any waste.
- Add a label. Especially as foods find their way to the back of the freezer, it’s easy to lose track of their existence and cook date altogether. Avoid this by writing the date on the freezer-friendly bag with a Sharpie. You can also write it on a piece of masking tape and stick it on the bag or container. Do whatever you need to do, but find a way to add the date.
- Don’t defrost and re-freeze. Once you defrost the gravy, it’s over. You can’t freeze it again so don’t even try because it’ll split and become grainy. If you don’t finish all of it, you can pop it into the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Boil it. Before freezing it, boil the gravy for 3-5 minutes to get rid of any bacteria that may speed up decomposition. Let it come down to room temperature before freezing.
- Use an immersion blender. If the thawed gravy has split a little, you can still save it. Place it in a pot over medium heat and, once it simmers, use an immersion blender to process it for 20-30 seconds. This should re-incorporate the sauce.
How Long Does Gravy Last?
When refrigerated in an airtight container, any kind of gravy will only last for up to 2 days.
Freezing is a different story. Cream-based gravy will keep for up to 2 weeks in the freezer, whereas flour-based gravy lasts up to 3 months.
How to Defrost Gravy
It’s important to never defrost gravy at room temperature because there’s a higher risk of spoilage and food poisoning. The only safe way to defrost it is by letting it thaw in the fridge overnight a day before you eat it. Once it’s fully thawed, you can pour it into a pot and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes until warm. If it splits, give it a good stir. For best results, use an immersion blender until it’s nice and smooth again.
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