Can You Freeze Bolognese Sauce? The Complete Guide

Ah, Bolognese sauce, a classic, traditional meat-based sauce in Italian cuisine from the region of Bologna…not related to bologna cold cuts. But do not get it confused with the American meat sauce! While American meat sauce is often a tomato-based sauce simmered in ground beef, Bolognese is much thicker and creamier, with only a touch of tomato.

The meat typically used in a Bolognese sauce includes either beef, pork, or both, and is traditionally slow cooked with a mixture of onions, carrots, celery, and tomatoes. And yes, you can always add a little wine to the mix.

Usually in Italy, Bolognese sauce is paired with tagliatelle pasta, which is a broad, flat type. However, pasta lovers can also enjoy Bolognese sauce when served with ribbon or tube-shaped pastas. After all, who can say no to a well-prepared Spaghetti Bolognese?

Many people like to make Bolognese sauce, and many others prefer purchasing it. But one thing is certain, sauce is versatile and tends to be used more than once. So, it’s a question of can you freeze Bolognese sauce? The good news is, yes you can!

Why am I qualified to tell you all about Bolognese sauce? Well, a DNA test told me I was 99% Italian, so you can trust me. 


Can Bolognese Sauce Be Frozen?

If you made too much of your Bolognese recipe and don’t want it to go to waste, you can absolutely store it in the freezer for a bit, as it freezes very well.

It’s great to stow away for a quick meal in the future, like when you forget you had to make dinner (this has happened more than once to me).  

Can You Freeze Bolognese Sauce with Cream in It?

If you cooked Bolognese sauce the right way and added milk or cream to it, you may have concern around whether the sauce can freeze due to expired dairy. However, you actually can freeze sauce that contains cream. 

There’s also a trick if you’re too nervous to add cream before you freeze it.

When you feel like defrosting your Bolognese, take it out and heat it, then add the milk or cream when you’re ready to serve. It will still taste fresh and delicious.

Can You Freeze Bolognese Sauce from a Jar?

Lacking in culinary skills and are afraid to burn the house down from a sauce-making attempt? Me too!

If your preferred method is just buying spaghetti sauce from a jar, you can also freeze that for later. But PLEASE do not freeze the sauce straight from the store-bought jar.

The liquids contained in it will solidify, potentially causing the glass to crack or shatter. That’s a little more crunch than you want in your sauce.

How to Freeze Bolognese Sauce

Once you’re done making the sauce (or eating it from the jar), and you’re ready to store the leftovers in the freezer, make sure the sauce has completely cooled down.

Next, transfer the sauce to a safe and airtight container or plastic freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air so there’s no room for leaks and it’s easy to remove and defrost when you want to use it again. 

Bags are great for creating “pillow-like” stacks in the freezer and can take up less room. Placing sauce into smaller containers or bags not only helps with taking up less room, but also with portioning. This way you don’t need to take out all your sauce at once and worry about refreezing or wasting any excess sauce. 

You also may want to label your sauce, this way you’re 1) not rummaging through your freezer trying to find it and 2) won’t question what the heck that dark red-looking, rock-solid thing hanging out in your freezer is.

How Soon Should You Freeze Bolognese Sauce?

Ideally, Bolognese sauce should be frozen on the day it was made, as the freshness will remain.

However, if you realize you’re not going to use all the sauce in two to three days, you can freeze it then too.

Just make sure the sauce has spent those two to three days in the fridge. 

How Long Can You Freeze Bolognese Sauce For?

Bolognese sauce can stay in your freezer for as long as three months. That’s plenty of sauce to go around for many meals ahead! 

If you feel as if you have too much sauce in the freezer and won’t make it before that three-month mark, Bolognese is also great for sharing.

Sauce is generally so easy to reheat and store, and is great for easy, quick meals that don’t take a lot of effort.

So, if you feel like sharing the Italian love and giving away some sauce, they can easily store it away in the freezer as well.

How to Defrost Bolognese Sauce

There are several ways to defrost Bolognese sauce. Which one you choose depends on how soon you need

Refrigerator Method

First up, and in my opinion the best method, is using the fridge.

Place the frozen sauce into the fridge to thaw. Placing it in cool conditions and not straight out at room temperature will help prevent growth of harmful bacteria, as immediately letting it sit out can cause that.

You can leave your frozen sauce in the fridge overnight to get a good consistency going in the morning. 

Warm Water Method

For the impatient ones, put the frozen container or bag into a bowl of warm water. Think of Goldilocks; not too hot, not too cold, just right. Let it sit from anywhere between thirty to forty-five minutes. It may take longer depending on how big the portion is. But if you listened to me earlier and divided the sauce into smaller portions, then we won’t have this problem.  

Microwave Method

If you want easy and fast thawing, microwave the sauce. Once you’re able to get the frozen sauce out of the container or bag, place the Bolognese in a microwavable bowl and proceed to cover it with a paper towel or microwave safe plastic wrap. 

You’re going to want to trust me on this one, cover your sauce. When sauce gets heated it splatters. I’ve had to clean out my microwave way too many times because of this. It’ll save you a hot mess and an “I told you so” from me.

Microwave the bowl for two to three minutes, then check and stir during every one-minute increment. This will help calm down the splatters and ensure the sauce is getting heated all the way through. You can also use the “defrost” setting in the microwave. 

Stovetop Method

One other method to reheat from its frozen state is to do so on the stove in a saucepan. Once your sauce is thawed enough, pour the sauce into a stovetop saucepan and heat it on low to a simmer for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can You Refreeze Bolognese Sauce?

The beauty of sauce is that it does maintain its quality, even if you defrost and refreeze. If you took out more than you thought you’d need, you can always refreeze the sauce. Even though there is some dairy in the sauce, it’s already cooked in and is not a heavy, dairy-based food. This allows sauce to be reused as needed. 

Just like how you’d normally freeze the sauce when it’s fresh, all you have to do is make sure the sauce you reheated is cooled down properly before storing it. 

Eventually, it will start to lose its quality, so it’s recommended you eat the frozen Bolognese sauce sooner rather than later.