Jambalaya is a Cajun-based dish made with rice and different types of meat and seafood, including chicken, sausage, and even shrimp.
People often make large portions of this dish and end up with leftovers. You can freeze your leftover jambalaya, but you have to freeze it the right way.
How Is Jambalaya Made?
To understand why jambalaya has to be frozen a certain way, you have to first know a little about how it is cooked. Cooking jambalaya usually starts with browning your meats, and most people use either chicken or sausage. Then chopped up vegetables such as onions and bell peppers are added, and finally rice and water.
As you probably already know, rice can be tricky to freeze. This is because if it isn’t frozen right, it can get mushy or crunchy when reheated. For that reason, it’s best to freeze your jambalaya in some type of airtight container or even a freezer bag. You’ll want to make sure as much air as possible is released before it goes in your freezer. Don’t just put your jambalaya in a container and cover it with aluminum foil. It needs to be in a container that is completely airtight.
How To Freeze Jambalaya Properly
The first thing you’ll want to do when you have leftover jambalaya is let it cool down. The cooler it is before you put it into your container, the better and faster it will freeze. If you cook your jambalaya with shrimp, take out the shrimp before freezing it. Why? Because certain seafoods, including shrimp, come out a little chewy and with an odd texture when they’re frozen. You can always make fresh shrimp and add it to the leftover jambalaya.
After the jambalaya has cooled down, divide it into smaller portions so you can decide how much of it to reheat later on.
How Long Can You Keep Jambalaya in the Freezer?
Jambalaya will stay good in the freezer for about three months. In fact, if you know you’ll be eating the rest of your jambalaya within three to four days, you don’t have to bother with freezing it.
Use the Right Container
The type of container you put the jambalaya in also matters. Use a freezer bag, a container with an airtight lid, or a vacuum-sealed bag. Always make sure you label and date the container so you know exactly how long you can keep it in the freezer. Leave about an inch of space between the jambalaya and the top of the container in case it expands a little bit during the freezing process.
How To Defrost Jambalaya
The best way to defrost your frozen jambalaya is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and leave it in there overnight. The next day, your leftovers will be ready for reheating.
How To Reheat Jambalaya
There are three reliable ways to reheat your jambalaya leftovers:
- Microwave it. To microwave your jambalaya, place it in a microwave-safe container and cover it. Then microwave it for 30 seconds and stir. If it’s still not done, keep microwaving it at 20-second intervals, stirring after each time, until it is warm enough. When you’re finished, let it sit for 30 seconds before you eat it.
- Cook it in the oven. Place the jambalaya in a container and add one to two tablespoons of water or broth. Don’t add more than this because you may get mushy rice in the end. Stir the jambalaya, cover it with foil, and bake it in a 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for 25–30 minutes. The exact time will depend on how much jambalaya you’re cooking.
- Cook it on the stove. This is the fastest method, and all you do is place the jambalaya in a pot with one to two tablespoons of water or broth, then stir. Keep the stove on low-medium or medium heat and cook the jambalaya for about five minutes or until hot. If it takes longer than five minutes, make sure you stir it frequently.
Freezing and Reheating Jambalaya Is Easy
Jambalaya is a tasty Cajun dish made mostly with rice and meat or seafood. It actually freezes nicely as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. Reheating it is simple, but keep in mind that you can only keep jambalaya in the freezer for up to three months. Just follow the rules mentioned above, and your leftover jambalaya should turn out just fine.