Empanadas are the Latin American gift that keeps on giving—a crispy, flaky crust concealing a treasure trove of filling, whether it be meat, cheese, or veggies. But, life happens. You’ve made dozens for a party that got rescheduled, or maybe you’re meal prepping for the next two weeks.
Whatever the reason, you’re here to know if you can freeze these pockets of joy. Can you save some for a rainy day? Can you actually freeze empanadas without ruining their scrumptious taste and texture?
Let’s delve into the delectable world of empanadas and explore how to prolong their life in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Empanadas?
Yes, absolutely! Freezing empanadas is a great way to keep them fresh for a later date. It doesn’t matter if they are baked or fried, meat-filled or vegetarian; with the proper steps, you can freeze empanadas successfully without sacrificing taste or texture.
How To Freeze Empanadas?
Preparing the Empanadas
- Cool Down: If you have freshly cooked empanadas, allow them to cool to room temperature. Hot empanadas will create condensation in the freezer, leading to a soggy end result.
- Individual Wrapping: Wrap each empanada tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure it’s sealed well to prevent air from getting in.
- Batch Them Up: Place the individually wrapped empanadas in a larger freezer bag or airtight container. If you’re using a bag, try to remove as much air as possible before sealing it.
- Label and Date: Mark the container with the date you’re freezing them. This way, you won’t have to guess how long they’ve been in there.
- Layering: If you’re freezing multiple layers of empanadas in a single container, place a layer of parchment paper between them to prevent sticking.
- Into the Freezer: Place the bag or container in the deepest part of your freezer for optimal temperature consistency.
How Long Can You Freeze Empanadas?
When properly stored, frozen empanadas can last up to 3 months.
Beyond that, they won’t necessarily spoil, but the quality will start to decline. The filling may become dry, and the dough might lose its flakiness. Trust me, you don’t want a lifeless empanada!
How To Defrost Empanadas?
Defrosting empanadas is almost as crucial as freezing them properly. You want to retain that original zest, right? Here’s how:
- Slow and Steady: Transfer the empanadas from the freezer to the fridge and let them thaw for several hours or overnight. This method retains the most flavor and texture.
- Unwrapped Unveiling: Once they’re thawed, unwrap the empanadas and let them sit for about 10 minutes to get rid of excess moisture.
- Microwave Method: If you’re in a rush, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave. However, be cautious as this might make the dough a bit soggy.
- Oven Technique: You can also reheat them in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 10-15 minutes. If they are still frozen, it might take a little longer.
Do Empanadas Freeze Well?
Absolutely, they do! The outer crust remains crispy, and the inside filling keeps its flavor intact when properly frozen and thawed. Freezing empanadas is a fantastic way to meal prep or save leftovers for future feasts.
However, the key is in the proper technique—skimping on any step can result in a soggy or tasteless empanada. You wouldn’t want to disrespect the empanada gods, would you?
Can You Refreeze Empanadas?
Technically, yes, but I don’t recommend it. Refreezing empanadas can result in a substantial loss of quality.
The filling may become dry, and the crust could turn into a soggy mess. Plus, frequent temperature changes are a breeding ground for bacteria.
So, once you’ve thawed them, it’s best to enjoy them right away.
Creative Ways to Use Empanadas
Frozen empanadas are not just for direct reheating; you can get pretty creative with how you use them:
- Empanada Salad: Toss chunks of reheated empanadas in a salad for a meal with different textures and flavors.
- Breakfast Bowls: Crumble some reheated empanadas over a bowl of scrambled eggs, fresh salsa, and avocado slices.
- Empanada Sliders: Slice a reheated empanada in half and stuff it with some fresh veggies and sauces to make a quick and delicious slider.
So there you have it—a comprehensive guide to freezing empanadas like a pro. It’s a wonderful way to preserve these delicious pockets of flavor for future cravings. Just follow these steps carefully, and you won’t have to worry about last-minute meal planning. Here’s to many more delicious and convenient empanada moments!
Can I freeze empanadas with egg-based fillings?
Yes, you can, but the texture may change a bit after thawing. Egg-based fillings can become a little rubbery when reheated.
How do I prevent freezer burn on empanadas?
The secret is in wrapping them individually and sealing them in an airtight container. Also, consume them within three months for best quality.
Is it better to freeze empanadas cooked or uncooked?
Both methods work well. However, freezing them cooked saves you the cooking time later, and they usually retain their flavor better.
Can I cook frozen empanadas without thawing?
Yes, you can bake or fry them straight from the freezer. Just add a couple more minutes to the cooking time.
How can I tell if frozen empanadas have gone bad?
Look out for freezer burn, a sour smell, or any discoloration. These are clear indicators that your empanadas have lost their quality.
What’s the best way to re-crisp thawed empanadas?
The oven is your best friend here. Preheat to 375°F (190°C) and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until they regain their original crispness.