From fried chicken to pot roast, grilled meats to Thanksgiving turkey, a special meal isn’t complete without a savory sauce like gravy! But if you made more sauce than you can handle, can you freeze gravy? Gravy is typically made from flour, fat, milk, cream, and chicken stock.
These ingredients typically keep well in the fridge but combined in a sauce, they’ll go bad quickly. This makes gravy an extremely perishable sauce. In fact, gravy that’s been left sitting for two hours at room temperature is no longer safe to consume and should be discarded.
If you made a lot of gravy, you have to store it properly. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a lot of wasted gravy and no one wants that!
Image used under Creative Commons from Horace Ko
When left in the fridge, homemade gravy will for about 2 days. That’s a pretty short lifespan. Freezing cream-based gravy will extend its shelf life to about a week or so. On the other hand, gravy made from flour could keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.
The fact is, gravy will start breaking down when stored for too long. This goes regardless if the sauce is kept in the freezer or fridge. When freezing gravy, we recommend packing it in a single serving portion. This way, you don’t have to take the entire batch out of the freezer for a small serving of the sauce.
Prepping the sauce is important when you’re freezing gravy. This is a dipping sauce so naturally; most of your loved ones will either dip their food directly into a bowl of gravy or pour the sauce over their food. It’s best to serve the sauce in serving plates. Do not let anyone touch the leftovers without using a serving spoon or ladle. This will prevent contamination or bacterial growth.
Regardless if you are freezing homemade or store-bought gravy, always boil the sauce for 3 minutes prior to freezing. This will kill the bacteria that could otherwise shorten the lifespan of the gravy while in storage. Here is a step by step guide on how can you freeze gravy:
Image used under Creative Commons from jeffreyw
Assuming that the gravy has been boiled prior to freezing, leave the sauce to cool completely before packing for storage. Get several freezer bags or airtight plastic containers. If you’d like to freeze micro-servings of gravy, you can use ice cube trays.
Pour the cooled gravy into the freezer bag or airtight container, leaving about an inch or two of space to let the sauce expand. Seal the container tightly. If you’re using freezer bags, squeeze as much air as you can prior to resealing. Mark each container with the label and storage date then stick in the freezer.
Defrosting and reheating gravy is straightforward but it should be done with care. Because the sauce is sensitive to temperature changes, you should never thaw frozen gravy at room temperature. Leaving the sauce to sit too long increases the risk of bacteria growth. To defrost gravy, just transfer a portion of the frozen sauce from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the sauce to thaw overnight.
Once the gravy is defrosted, there will be separation between ingredients. This is normal, especially for cream-based or milk-based gravy. Give the gravy a good stir and it’s ready for reheating.
Image used under Creative Commons from Kari Sullivan
To reheat thawed gravy, pour the sauce into a pan and simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes. If the sauce is on the watery side, you can add a thickening ingredient like cornstarch (dissolved in water) as you simmer. Once the gravy is smooth and thick, it’s ready to serve!
Gravy is such a versatile sauce. There are so many ways to eat leftover gravy. Now that you know how can you freeze gravy, go ahead and make a batch without worrying about the leftovers!