Panera designed its fast-food chain model around the concept of a regular bakery-café. It started to earn the attention of bakery lovers thanks to their staple sourdough bread, and it has only expanded since then, increasing their gastronomic offering over time. Their soups are highly regarded by many due to their homemade-like quality. One of their most popular soups is the Broccoli Cheddar soup, although their Chicken Noodle and Cauliflower Parmesan soups are not exactly laggers! You’re probably reading this because you already love Panera soups, but got a little carried away. Now you may be wondering these questions for the remaining soup. Can you freeze panera soups? How long does panera soups last in the fridge?
Yes, you can freeze panera soups. But not every soup reacts well to freezing. Soups with dairy ingredients will require special treatment. And contrary to what you might imagine, that treatment comes after freezing, not before. You’ll see what I mean as we move on.
When it comes to the noodle soups, we wouldn’t advise freezing them at all, as the noodles won’t be able to survive from the ice crystals.
The procedure will be the same for every soup variant (except for noodle soups, for the reason outlined above). The first thing to keep in mind is the importance of cooling the panera soups. It’s preferable to use the fridge for this purpose, otherwise, bacteria will thrive in it as it sits on the counter, potentially leading you to contract food poisoning or foodborne illness. After around 15-20 minutes of fridge time, transfer the soup into airtight freezer containers or bags, seal them after squeezing out all the air, and store them in the freezer.
Be mindful that you need to save some space in the container or bag between the content and the lid. This space should be approximately 1 inch. By doing this, you’ll allow the liquid to expand (as most liquids do when frozen) without the risk of compromising the seal and splattering soup all over your freezer, ruining the entire meal in the process. Conversely, if you underfill the containers, you’ll risk burning your soup with the cold air that circulates over the surface.
In the case of the chicken noodle soup, it would probably be better if you tried to use the noodles and only save the broth. After you’ve thawed it, you can add new homemade noodles instead.
Some soups generally freeze ok, and the difference in taste won’t be noticeable. Nevertheless, soups with a milk or dairy base, such as the Broccoli Cheddar and the Cauliflower Parmesan soup, tend to separate into layers when frozen, acquiring a grainy feel as a result. Nevertheless, there are workarounds to this, and it’s possible to restore some of their original consistency in the defrosting process.
If you haven’t reheated the soups, they should be safe to refreeze for the most part. Dairy-based soups should not be frozen a second time, since the texture is already compromised enough upon first freezing. It’s always recommended that you use single serving size containers to avoid thawing unnecessary amounts of soup.
Panera soups should be safe to eat within a period of 4 days of fridge time. Afterward, they will suffer spoilage and you’ll need to discard them.
When stored in the freezer, you should try to consume them within the next 2 months after first freezing. They will not go bad beyond that time, but they won’t be very enjoyable.
To thaw the soup correctly, pull the container out of the freezer, push it into the fridge and let it rest there for the night. This way, the moisture will slowly be reabsorbed by the broth, regaining some of the original smoothness. It’s the best way to defrost virtually any Panera soup, especially the parmesan and cheddar-based recipes. The other defrosting techniques will likely turn the soup chunky and soggy, but if you are on a tight schedule, pour the contents into a microwave-friendly bowl and set the microwave to defrost, stopping from time to time to stir the mix. If you’re thawing dairy-based soups, proceed to add milk or sour cream whenever necessary.
You could theoretically reheat the non-dairy soups just like you would any other homemade soup recipe, but it’s not ideal. Nevertheless, if you decide to cook Panera soups frozen, try to at least add some water at the bottom of the pot first, to avoid scorching it.
With regards to Panera soups with cheese or dairy ingredients, the texture will definitely get severely damaged if you try to bypass the defrosting process. Thaw the soup first slowly and then stir it consistently and vigorously in a pot at medium-to-low heat to reclaim the lost consistency, while also pouring milk or sour cream if need be.