Paella is usually made in big portions since it can be a great family dish. So, you will often have leftover Paella, which can make you curious if you can freeze Paella?
Also, Paella is a very filling type of food, and there are big chances you overestimate how much you need to make for yourself and your family.
Like a year ago, I made Paella only for two persons, so I made it in a normal size pan, but even so, it was way too much, and about half of it remained untouched.
That was when I researched whether it was safe to freeze Paella and how much I could keep it this way since I didn’t want to eat it in the next few days.
Can you freeze Paella?
Yes, Paella can be frozen and can be kept in the freezer for up to two months. To properly freeze Paella, you need to wait for it to be completely cool, place it in an airtight container and then put it in the freezer.
This is the best way to freeze any type of Paella because you prevent the air from getting to your food, which can make it go bad, and also you prevent the smell contamination from the other food you have in the freezer.
From my experience, if Paella is kept in the freezer for two months, it will not have the same quality as a fresh one. But if you have no other choice, you can freeze it, and it will most probably be safe to eat.
So, I wouldn’t recommend you to freeze Paella if you can eat it in the next 2 days.
Freezing it into small portions might be a great idea if you have a really large quantity of leftover Paella; this will make sure that it defrosts easily, making it safer to eat.
Read also: Why Is Paella So Expensive?
How much does Paella last?
-Paella can last 3 days in the refrigerator if stored properly. You should put your Paella in an airtight container or at least seal the bowl very tightly with a plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge.
This is the best way to store Paella if you plan to eat it in the next few days. Paella can still be good after 2 days in the fridge, but it is recommended to eat it in the first two days. Otherwise, there are big chances that your Paella will lose its quality.
-Paella kept in the freezer lasts up to two months, but as well as the fridge stored one, the quality can suffer if you keep it for more than one month.
-Paella kept at room temperature can last up to two hours, so if you made Paella today and plan to eat it tomorrow or after more than two hours, it will be safer if you store it in the fridge.
How to defrost Paella?
There are two main ways to defrost your Paella.
The safest one is to defrost it in the fridge overnight. This way, you ensure that there are no chances for any bacteria to grow inside Paella. The danger zone in which bacteria grow quickly is between 40-140 degrees F after two hours.
So if you keep your cooked food for more than two hours at room temperature, bacteria have bigger chances to grow and multiply.
The second one is actually at room temperature on the counter. This depends on how much Paella you want to defrost because a bigger Paella can take more than two hours, making it unsafe to eat.
Read Also: Can You Freeze Scallops ?
How to properly reheat Paella?
You can reheat Paella in a few different ways, but some of them can affect the texture of your Paella.
-Reheating Paella in the microwave. What can be more convenient than reheating your frozen food in a microwave?
In this case, you should let Paella defrost first and then place it in a microwave-safe container where you can add a bit of oil; this will make your Paella not stick to the bowl. Then microwave it for one or two minutes. This depends on how much Paella you have and how well your microwave works.
This is the fastest way to reheat Paella, but it will affect its texture, making it a bit moist, which can be a dealbreaker for some of its ingredients. Always use a microwave cover when heating anything in a microwave !
-Reheating Paella in a frying pan. This is a great way to reheat Paella fairly quickly and keep the best texture.
For this method to work, you need to add a bit of oil into the pan, put it on a small or medium heat, and then add the Paella.
Make sure you even Paella out it in the pan and stir it constantly; this will ensure that you will not have any colder parts.
-Reheating Paella in the oven. You can reheat the Paella in the oven, making it keep a good texture and taste, but this is by far the slowest method to reheat a Paella.
So if you have around 20 minutes, this might work for you. Spread Paella in a thin layer, add a bit of water, cover it in foil, and let it cook.
From time to time, you have to make sure that the water hasn’t run out, which can get your Paella to burn, and also, it would help if you stir it at least once.
How to know if Paella has gone bad?
For Paella that has been frozen, you first have to thaw it to check if it has gone bad.
There are a few signs you can check before reheating the Paella:
-Color. This one can depend on the ingredients you used for making your Paella, but usually, the rice should be a yellowish color. If somehow you see that it get a light brown color, you should throw it away. Also, if you notice any weird spots on the seafood or the meat you used, it would be safer not to eat it.
-Smell. If it has a sour smell or a rotten fish/meat smell, you need to throw it away quickly. The smell of seafood that has gone bad is very strong, so there are few chances you will miss it.
-Texture. If your Paella is mushy and has extra moist, it is not safe to eat.
-Mold. This one is obvious, and it is not as common as with other, more wet food, but it can happen, so if you see any sign of mold on your Paella, you should not think twice before getting rid of it.
Some people think that if you scrap the mold out of food, it is safe to eat, but that is not true since the mold presence on your food is a sign of bacteria growing that most probably grown inside the food as well as outside.
Read Also: Can You Eat Cold Chicken Nuggets?
Indeed, you can safely freeze and reheat Paella, but there are significant chances that the quality will not be the same, so I would highly recommend cooking only as much as you think you will eat.
If you overestimate how much you need, make sure you freeze it properly and use the best method to keep its texture and taste intact.