How to Freeze Soup Beans and Broth
How to Freeze Soup Beans and Broth

The best way to freeze soups, beans, broth and other liquid foods. Maximizes storage space and makes defrosting quicker and easier.

In this recipe

  • Freeze liquids in flat bags
  • Tips on using freezer bags
  • A baking sheet is your freezer’s friend
  • Fill up your freezer bags
  • How to thaw your frozen food

I’m a freezer hoarder. I can admit that here, right?

My freezer is clogged to the gills—not just with regular things like frozen fruit and chicken sausage, but also with the random leftovers that a professional food writer and recipe tester collects. (Testimony: several cups of unused Rugelach filling, enough frozen whipping cream to last you months, and more Thanksgiving turkey than you need to know.)

Since I had a few batches of pressure cooker beans that desperately needed to be frozen, I thought I’d share my favorite method for freezing soup, beans in their cooking liquid, and broth to both save space and make my weeknight meal prep a little easier .

Freeze liquids in flat bags

Here’s the kicker: freeze them flat. Get heavy duty ziplock freezer bags and stock them up. Squeeze out as much air as possible, place the bags on a baking sheet or the bottom of your freezer and freeze.

Once frozen, the flat, stiff rectangles of soup, beans, or broth (or really liquid food) can be stacked like T-shirts or stored upright on a shelf like books.

The upside is that flat things take up far less space in a freezer than a bunch of oddly shaped containers, plus it’s usually easier to find that exact soup or beans you want for your dinner without delving into the deep and mysterious recesses digging into your freezer.

Tips on using freezer bags

I recognize that this method requires a certain level of trust, especially when it comes to concerns about bursting or leaking bags. Here are a few tips to help:

Use good quality freezer bags: Make sure the box label actually says “Freezer”. These bags are sturdier and made of thicker plastic than sandwich bags. Also, I think it’s worth buying quality bags from a brand you trust. I generally use quart size Ziploc freezer bags.

Do not overfill sacks: Liquids expand as they freeze, so leave a little extra room to account for that. I usually only put 2-3 cups of food in a quart-sized bag. In gallon sized bags, I fill about three liters (12 cups) or so.

Do not stack bags more than 3 or 4 high. I’ve admittedly never bug tested this, but more than four bags stacked worries that the weight of the top bags could cause the bottom ones to burst.

A baking sheet is your freezer’s friend

This is just a precaution in case bags burst or leak. The baking sheet keeps the mess at bay and is much easier to clean than the bottom of a freezer. I typically use a jelly roll pan, which is smaller than a full baking sheet and easier to fit in the freezer.

In addition, a baking sheet makes it easier to freeze food anywhere in the freezer, not just on the floor. I often place the baking sheet on top of other foods, near the top of the freezer.

Fill up your freezer bags

Another tricky moment is filling the sacks. How do you get the food in the bag without making a huge mess on your counter?!

My usual method is to stand the bag upright in something large and fairly thin, such as a quart-sized liquid measuring cup. Hold the sachet open with one hand and use the other hand to gently fill the sachet with a measuring cup. You may still get a few droplets here and there, but at least they’re in the measuring cup.

If you have a canning funnel, this is also a good time to use it. (Call out Alana Chernila for that special tip!)

How to thaw your frozen food

When it comes time to thaw your food, I recommend placing the frozen pouch in another container and thawing in the refrigerator. The bag is unlikely to leak, but as it thaws the food will lose its shape and it’s good to keep in it. Because the bags are so thin, food tends to thaw quickly overnight or while you’re at work.

When I do a quick defrost in the microwave, I first defrost the food, still in the plastic bag, on a plate. Once the food has thawed enough that I can break it into a few pieces or wiggle it out of the bag, I transfer it to a bowl to finish the microwave.

And that’s it! Give it a try the next time you need to freeze soup, beans or broth! Once you’re frozen, you’ll never come back.

How to freeze soup, beans and broth

preparation time
16 minutes

freeze time
12 hours

total time
12 hrs 16 mins


  • Quart or gallon sized zippered freezer bags

  • 4-cup liquid measuring cup or other tall, thin container

  • Measuring cup for 1 cup

  • can hopper, if present

  • baking tray


  1. Filling the freezer bags:

    Place one of the freezer bags in the 4-cup measuring cup or other container. Hold the bag open with one hand (or use a canning funnel) and fill the bag with a measuring cup with the other hand. Remember to leave a little room in the bag to allow liquids to expand as they freeze.

  2. Squeeze out all the air and seal the bags:

    Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags; I often use a straw to suck out as much air as possible. Seal the bags and label them with the contents.

  3. Freeze bag flat:

    Stack the bags (no more than 4 high) on the baking sheet. Place in the freezer and freeze until firm.

  4. Store bags:

    Once frozen, you can remove the baking sheet and store the bags as you like. It is likely that the pouches adapted to each other during freezing; Gently pull them apart if necessary.

  5. When you are ready to thaw:

    To thaw overnight or during the day in the refrigerator, place the pouch in a Tupperware or other container to hold the pouch while the food thaws. To defrost in the microwave, place the pouch on a plate and thaw in batches until you can break the food apart or wiggle it out of the pouch. Transfer the food to a bowl or other container and finish defrosting.

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!