Can you freeze cooked pasta to reduce food waste?

We investigate whether you can freeze cooked pasta to avoid wasting food (and money)

Woman in striped top, holding a pan with a cooked pasta dish
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With food prices still high, families are wondering whether they can freeze cooked pasta to help their food shop go further. 

When considering how to save money on food, families might have already tried swapping to a cheaper supermarket, but it can still be difficult to make ends meet when essentials, like food, are much more expensive than they used to be. 

While food prices have been rising across the board, pasta is one of those items that has had a particularly steep price increase since the cost of living crisis began. In fact, pasta products are more expensive now than they have ever been, according to the Office of National Statistics. This is largely due to an increase in the price of durum wheat, which is a main ingredient of pasta. 

And when you think that £13.8bn worth of food that could have been eaten is wasted every year, according to the Food surplus and waste in the UK – key facts report from sustainability charity WRAP, it's clear that reducing food waste is key to saving money. 

Can you freeze cooked pasta?

Yes, you can freeze cooked pasta, and it's a great way to reduce food waste if you've made too much. But make sure you let it cool before putting it in the fridge or freezer. Putting hot food straight in a fridge or freezer, raises the temperature inside and can encourage bacteria growth on other foods you are trying to keep cool. 

If you plan on using the cooked pasta within a couple of days, you can store it in an airtight container in your fridge. But if you don't want to eat pasta again so soon, then freezing is a great solution. But there are a couple of different methods you can use, depending on whether your pasta is in a sauce or not. 

For pasta cooked in a sauce, like chicken pasta bake, this can be frozen in an airtight container or silicone bag, and kept for a couple of weeks. When it comes to reheating, you can simply decant the pasta meal from the container into a saucepan and heat through.

But as Kate Hall, home food waste expert and @TheFullFreezer on Instagram, explains, sometimes, you might not be freezing a fully finished meal. 

If you haven't mixed your cooked pasta with a sauce, then once you have drained off any excess water, you can store it in an airtight container and freeze. Then when you come to use it, there's no need to defrost or thaw it out first. Simply place it in some boiling water for a couple of minutes to cook. 

It's a good idea to freeze pasta in portion sizes, as you shouldn't freeze it again if it has already been frozen. Not only can this help reduce food waste, but it can also help you if you are trying out some batch cooking recipes or you need some 15-minute meals that don't require a lot of prep.

If you want to make better use of your freezer, you might also be wondering whether you can freeze cheese. It's also a good idea to check out these foods you can't freeze.

Sarah Handley
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.