One of my family’s favorite meals is barbecued pork chops. They’re easy to make, economical, and I often have most of the ingredients already in my fridge or pantry. While we can eat a large serving in one meal, there are often leftovers. Rather than just throw away the delicious food, I like to keep them for future ready-to-eat meals.
When considering how best to keep them, I wondered if freezing cooked pork chops was the way to go.
Generally speaking, you can freeze cooked pork chops. Make sure that you store them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in heavy-duty foil. It’s important to let your cooked pork chops cool before putting them into the freezer. They can be stored for up to six months in the freezer.
- Can You Freeze And Reheat Cooked Pork?
- Is It Better To Freeze Pork Chops Raw Or Cooked?
- How Do I Freeze Pork Chops?
- Reheating Frozen Pork Chops
- Final Thoughts
Can You Freeze And Reheat Cooked Pork?
Pork is a great dish to make in a large batch to have leftovers. There are a few things to consider based on the way that you prepare your pork.
Can You Freeze Cooked Pork Chops?
Freezing cooked pork chops is easy. Simply put them in an airtight container such as a Ziploc container or bag. Just make sure that it is designed for the freezer. Too-thin bags and storage containers make it easier for the food inside to get freezer burn.
Make sure all of the air is out and seal it. It can help to store your leftover cooked pork in individual or meal-sized portions. This way you only need to take out and reheat what you need.
The thing to watch for when freezing cooked pork chops is freezer burn. When your frozen food loses moisture, it can result in frozen crystals forming. This is called freezer burn and results in dry, tough food. Pork is especially prone to this.
Nothing is worse than tough, dry pork when you thought you were getting a delicious meal of your favorite foods.
How To Prevent Freezer Burn?
You can lower the chance of cooked pork chops developing freezer burn by removing all of the air from the storage container or bag. Excess air absorbs moisture from the meat as it is kept in the freezer.
Storing your cooked pork chops in individual portions will also cut back on potential freezer burn. By only removing what you plan to eat (and leaving the rest in the freezer for another day), you only need to defrost and reheat the portion that you will use.
Can You Freeze Cooked Pork Chops In Gravy?
Pork chops in gravy, also called Smothered Pork Chops, freeze very well. You can follow the same steps to safely store cooked pork chops with gravy in the freezer.
You can also store extra gravy in a separate container in the freezer. If you have used meat to make the gravy, it may separate when frozen. Simply reheat and stir to reincorporate all of the ingredients.
Tip: If you have extra gravy, smother the pork chops until the storage container is full. This will reduce the amount of air in the container and prevent freezer burn.
Can You Freeze Cooked Stuffed Pork Chops?
Stuffed pork chops are great for the freezer. If you have stuffed them with veggies, rice, or other delicious ingredients, they can make an easy meal that includes everything in one dish.
Freezing stuffed pork chops is best done by wrapping the pork chop in heavy-duty foil. If you want to store multiple stuffed pork chops together, wrap each one individually in foil then put them in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or container, making sure to press any extra air out before you put it in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Cooked Breaded Pork Chops?
Treat breaded pork chops the same way that you would any other variety of cooked pork chops when it’s time to store them. Remove as much of the air as you can and make sure they are cool before putting them into the freezer.
I tend to store cooked breaded pork chops in the fridge and eat them within two or three days of cooking. Freezing breaded pork chops works fine, but the dish can lose some of its crispiness when you defrost and reheat it.
The thing to consider with breaded pork chops is how long they can stay in the freezer. If you have used eggs to bind the breading onto the pork chop (a common and delicious method), you should use your frozen breaded pork chops within two months.
Is It Better To Freeze Pork Chops Raw Or Cooked?
If you want to maximize the freshness of your meat, it is better to freeze pork chops raw. Freezing your pork chops raw will reduce the chances of freezer burn developing, especially if you get them in the freezer right away. When you buy pork chops from the supermarket, they have likely already been frozen and defrosted once.
Doing this over and over again takes moisture out of the meat and results in dry, tough pork.
If you want to make meals ahead of time that are easy to reheat, it is better to freeze pork chops cooked. All you need to do is defrost and reheat your dish to get something delicious and healthy on the table. Pork chops cooked in gravy or sauce are some of the best options since they will ensure that the meat stays moist while reheating.
How Do I Freeze Pork Chops?
Freezing pork chops is pretty simple, although there are a few different methods depending on what kind of dish you have made.
Wrapping and Freezing Cooked Pork Chops
The Foil Method
This is my favorite method for pork chops and pork cutlets that don’t have a lot of sauce or toppings. Once your pork chop has cooled, place it on a large square of foil. Make sure to use heavy-duty foil meant for the freezer or you may have leaks.
Fold and press the foil around the pork chop, making sure that all of the surface is covered tightly. Any air caught inside will lead to freezer burn and dry pork chops. You can stack individually wrapped pork chops in the freezer or store them inside a bag or container to catch any accidental leaks.
For pork chop dishes that have a lot of sauce or gravy, storing leftovers in a freezer-safe container is a great method. Place the pork chops into the container and fill to the top with sauce or gravy. Don’t worry if you don’t plan to use all of the sauce. Keeping the pork chops submerged will keep them moist while they are frozen.
If you have extra sauce, keep it in the freezer in its own container. The next time that you make pork chops, you can defrost and use the sauce to cut down on a step.
Freezer Bag Storage
I like to store raw pork chops in freezer bags in portions of four or five (one meal for my family). Because I don’t like to reuse storage items that I use for raw meat, disposable freezer bags are the most economical and easiest option.
You can also use freezer bags to store cooked pork chops and even sauce. Put the pork chops and sauce inside the bag and freeze it horizontally. Once it is frozen, you can store it vertically in your freezer to save space.
Tip: Freeze pork chops in individual portions. This will make it easier and faster to defrost and reheat just what you need for one meal.
How Long Do Cooked Pork Chops Last In The Freezer?
Cooked pork chops can last for up to six months in a deep freezer. For best results, cooked pork chops should be defrosted and eaten within two or three months of being frozen. Keeping them in the freezer longer is not a food safety issue, but the taste may not be as good and the meat can become tough.
To preserve the quality of your frozen pork chops, try not to defrost and refreeze them often. Ideally, you will only defrost them once, when you are ready to eat them. Storing cooked pork chops in the freezer in individual portions can help you with this.
Reheating Frozen Pork Chops
To reheat your frozen cooked pork chops, you will first need to defrost them. I like to do this by placing the pork chops (still in their container) in a shallow bowl in my refrigerator. The bowl will catch any leaks or condensation that may appear as they defrost. Depending on the thickness of your pork chops, this can take up to two or three days.
For a single serving pork chop, 24 hours to defrost is usually plenty of time.
After your pork chops are defrosted, you can reheat them in the microwave, on the stove, or in the oven. The microwave is the fastest but may not preserve any crispy bits. The stove is good for frying or reheating pork chops smothered in gravy or sauce. The oven will take the longest to reheat your pork chops but is usually the best at keeping the outside crisp and the inside tender.
Freezing cooked pork chops is so easy that it is almost always part of my meal-prep routine. Whether you opt for Smothered Pork Chops (my personal favorite), breaded pork chops, or any other recipe, storing your leftovers in the freezer will ensure that you have a fast and delicious meal ready to eat in the future.
Katie is an experienced writer, who wrote for big magazines like The Spruce. She is also a mom of three (Sebastian, Lincoln, and Hannah). In her spare time, she likes to read, day hike, and explore hidden gems around her home in North Carolina. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiebwriter or her website, www.katiemelynnbegley.com.