Can You Freeze Cooked Lamb?
Lamb is one of my favourites meats to have as a roast dinner and it’s especially popular during the Easter festivities. However, a whole leg of lamb can be quite large and you may be wondering if you can freeze cooked lamb to use at a later date.
Do I need To Freeze Cooked Lamb?
Cooked lamb will keep safely in the fridge for a few days, so if you plan on using it up that time then there’s no need for it to be frozen.
There are lots of ways you can use up cooked lamb such as in a curry, casserole, shepherds pie and ragu.
Can I Freeze Cooked Lamb?
Yes, you can freeze cooked lamb ready to be used at a later date in another dish or simply to be reheated and eaten as it is. All types of lamb can be frozen – whether it’s a leg of lamb, lamb cutlets, lamb neck, diced lamb or lamb shoulder.
If the lamb is part of another dish, such as a curry or stew, you may want to check the rest of the ingredients used are safe for freezing. Generally speaking, they should be fine, be caution should always be taken with any ingredients that have been previously frozen.
How To Freeze Cooked Lamb
Before freezing any type of cooked lamb, you’ll need to ensure it’s fully cooled. With a leg of lamb, the meat should be removed from the bone before freezing but smaller cuts, such as cutlets can be frozen with the bone still in.
- Once cooled, place the cooked lamb into a suitable container for freezing. This could be a ziplock bag, Tupperware container or you could wrap the cooked lamp in clingfilm or tin foil.
- Before freezing, think about splitting the lamb into small portions so you can remove how much you’ll need easily and prevent food waste. Smaller portions will also defrost more quickly.
- Label and date the cooked lamb or lamb dish (eg. curry) for future reference – there’s nothing worse than getting a dish out of the freezer for dinner only to discover it’s actually something else!
- Cooked lamb will last for around three months in the freezer. It’s safe to eat after this time but not be at the best quality.
How To Defrost Cooked Lamb
As with most meats, cooked lamb is best defrosted in the fridge overnight, as this prevents it getting too warm and entering the danger zone for bacteria forming.
Freezing and defrosting lamb in smaller portions should help keep thawing times to a minimum, however for larger pieces or whole dishes that have been frozen, you may want to allow an extra few hours.
How To Reheat Cooked Lamb
There are lots of ways to reheat cooked lamb including in the microwave, in a frying pan or skillet on the stove, in the oven or adding to a dish that is already hot and bubbling away such as a soup or stew. As lamb is quite fatty it reheats well and is less likely to go dry than some other meats, even after having been frozen.
The main thing is to ensure that the lamb is piping hot before serving and has reached a minimum temperature of 75 degrees C which can be checked with meat or food thermometer.