Can You Freeze Red Beans And Rice? [Plus Easy Reheating Instructions]

I can’t think of a better way to save money than by making frugal meals. We have to eat every day and buying takeout for every meal can dwindle your bank account by hundreds of dollars a month. Red beans and rice is a classic cheap and delicious meal. Even if you’re not trying to save money, adding in sausage, sweet potatoes or green beans makes for a hearty winter meal.

But what happens when you’ve made way too much? Can you freeze red beans and rice?

Generally speaking, you can freeze red beans and rice. In fact, it tastes just as great reheated as it does fresh. However, you need to consider things like when to freeze it, what to store it in when freezing, and how to reheat it once frozen.

You should let you’re cooked red beans and rice cool completely before freezing. When freezing red beans and rice, store in a plastic sealable bag and remove as much air as possible. To reheat your frozen red beans and rice, it’s best to reheat from frozen by placing beans and rice into a pot to cook on low-medium heat for several minutes until hot.

How Long Do Red Beans and Rice Last In The Fridge?

In a sealed container, red beans will last up to a week in the refrigerator. Conversely, refrigerated rice only lasts for a maximum of 24 hours. To avoid having to make a new batch of rice, it’s best to freeze your red beans and rice.

Does Red Beans And Rice Freeze Well?

When freezing red beans and rice, the biggest mistake people make occurs after it’s already frozen. After freezing their red beans and rice, some people let it slowly thaw out. Slow thawing is the number one cause of mushy rice.

This happens because slowly thawing allows more moisture to come in contact with the rice. The rice absorbs this extra moisture, clumps together, and gets gummy. But what about the red beans?

Can You Freeze Red Beans After Cooking?

Yes, you can freeze red beans after cooking. However, it is important to never freeze red beans or rice immediately after cooking. You need the red beans and rice to cool to room temperature before freezing. By freezing red beans and rice when it is still hot, you’re increasing the moisture levels which results in more mushiness and an increased risk of freezer burn.

What Kind Of Container Should You Use To Freeze Red Beans And Rice?

When freezing red beans and rice, the single most important element is what you store it in. The container you chose must be airtight. If the red beans and rice are exposed to air, they begin to dehydrate and oxidize. This is freezer burn. While freezer burn doesn’t make frozen red beans and rice unsafe to eat, it does make it harder, blander, and less enjoyable when reheated.

Freezing red beans and rice in a plastic sealable bag is the easiest way to prevent freezer burn. Either a Ziploc or store-brand sealable plastic bag should get the job done. Better yet, using a vacuum sealer is the top way to prevent freezer burn because it removes any air that could cause it. Spread frozen red beans and rice out in the plastic bag and it will be easier to reheat later

How To Freeze Red Beans And Rice?

Let’s get down to business, shall we? Freezing your red beans and rice is so simple, convenient, and it reheats quickly. Follow these steps to learn how to freeze red beans and rice:

1.  Cook

These instructions apply to any type of beans and any type of rice. Feel free to get creative with your beans and rice concoctions. When freezing, you can either mix your red beans with your rice or keep them separate. However, mixing them helps to keep rice from sticking together and getting mushy.

2. Let Cool

As discussed earlier, it’s best to allow your red beans and rice to cool before freezing. There are a few ways to speed up the cooling process. First, you can spread your beans and rice out onto a large flat surface, like a platter or a piece of parchment paper. This allows for any residual heat left in the center of your red beans and rice to dissipate.

Another way to decrease cooling time is to put the beans and rice into the refrigerator. It is ok if it gets colder than room temperature as long as it’s not still hot.

3. Portion

Freezing red beans and rice has the best results when you separate a large batch into smaller batches. 2-3 cup portions work excellently. When portioning for frozen red beans and rice, consider how much you will want when reheating. Will you be feeding a family of 4 or just yourself? Once you have a giant hunk of frozen red beans and rice, it is very difficult to break it down without reheating completely.

4. Store 

As discussed previously, the best container for your frozen red beans and rice is a plastic sealable bag. Remove your portions from their room temperature container and transfer them into quart-sized plastic bags. If you have a vacuum sealer, use this to remove all the air from its container.

If you do not have a vacuum sealer, try this method. First, sit your bag upright with the fullest part of the bag on the counter and the seal in the air. Grab your bag from the outside just above where your red beans and rice stop and try to create an airtight space within the bag. With one hand still creating an airtight space, use your other hand to push any remaining air from the plastic bag and seal.

5. Freeze

Once your plastic bag is full and sealed, lay the bag out on the counter to equally distribute its contents. Freeze your red beans and rice by laying the plastic bags flat on top of each other. You can use a plate to rest the bottom bag of frozen red beans and rice or set it directly on the freezer shelf.

How Long Can You Freeze Red Beans And Rice?

You can keep frozen red beans and rice anywhere from 6 months to a year. As long as you’re sure to safeguard against freezer burn, your frozen beans and rice will taste great whether you reheat them in two weeks or two months.

How To Reheat Frozen Red Beans And Rice?

You can take several approaches to reheat frozen red beans and rice. First and foremost, never slow thaw by leaving frozen red beans and rice in the refrigerator overnight or out on the counter for a few hours. Not only does this increase the likelihood of food-borne illness, but it also makes your rice mushy. Here are a couple of ways to reheat frozen red beans and rice:

1.  Stove-top

Put frozen red beans and rice into a frying pan and cook on low to medium heat. Be sure to add a tablespoon or two of water to your frying pan to help defrost the red beans and rice. Stir occasionally. In a pinch, if you don’t have a frying pan, you can also use a pot. However, keep in mind that smaller pots have less surface area which means a slower reheat.  

2. Microwave

Put frozen red beans and rice into a microwave-safe dish. Glass bowls work best. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to start and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on defrost mode in 1 to 1.5-minute increments. Stir after each defrost cycle adding another tablespoon or two of water if your frozen red beans and rice start to look dry. Once mostly defrosted, microwave in 1-minute increments on high until the desired temperature is reached.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Freeze Red Beans And Rice With Sausage?

Adding sausage to your red beans and rice is a popular way to enjoy the dish. Luckily, you can totally freeze your red beans and rice with sausage. You don’t need to take any added precautions but it will take a little while longer to reheat.

Can I Freeze Popeye’s Red Beans And Rice?

Yes, you can freeze the red beans and rice you got from Popeye’s, or anywhere else for that matter. Of course, you need to be concerned about what container you use to freeze your red beans and rice. Be sure to remove your takeout red beans and rice from its original container and transfer them to a plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal well before freezing.

Final Thoughts

The easiest, cheapest, and the most hearty meal just got a lot more convenient. Freezing red beans and rice is a great way to save leftovers for up to a year. Defrosting frozen red bean and rice is stress-free because it reheats best from frozen.

You can reheat red beans and rice in either a frying pan, a pot, or a microwave-safe dish. When you freeze your red beans and rice, be sure to consider what you’re storing it in and take measures to protect against freezer burn. If your frozen red beans and rice gets freezer burn, it won’t taste as good but it’s still safe to consume.

So, go ahead and cook that giant batch of red beans and rice because you can always freeze your leftovers and enjoy it at a later time.

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