Can You Freeze Deli Meats? How?

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Quick Answer: Can You Freeze Deli Meats?

Yes, you can freeze deli meats to perfection! All kinds, types and cuts of deli meats (be it prosciutto, luncheon meat or cold cuts) can be kept in freezer storage, but some freeze better than others, and there are different, separate techniques for freezing deli meats. They are all, however, quite simple and hassle-free and are mostly tried-and-tested and fail-safe.

This comprehensive guide details step-by-step instructions, among other things you must know in order to freeze deli meats at home.

With time-tested personal experience and expert opinion to back it up, this guide covers everything you need to know!

Without further ado, let us get right into the first method!

How to Freeze Deli Meat Sandwiches?

How to Freeze Deli Meat Sandwiches?

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Instead of freezing deli meats separately, you have decided to go right ahead and freeze the sandwiches that you have made from deli or luncheon meat. This is also a great idea, and can be done with no issues.

Materials

  • Plastic wrap
  • Airtight resealable freezer bags or container

Tools

  • No special tools needed

Instructions

    1. Make your Deli Meat Sandwiches as Per Recipe - These sandwiches are fairly easy to make; use the guide if needed and move on to prepping to freeze the sandwiches once they have been prepared.
    2. Wrap Each Sandwich Tightly With Plastic Wrap - Cling film can also be used as a substitute for plastic wrap.

      However, it is essential that you wrap each sandwich very, very tightly and securely.

      No part of the sandwich should be exposed, and there should be no space for air.
    3. Pack in the Meat Sandwiches in Airtight Freezer Bags or Containers - Pack in the plastic-wrapped sandwiches carefully into an airtight freezer container or freezer bags.
    4. Seal securely, label and freeze - Squeeze out as much excess air as possible from the freezer bags after putting the sandwiches inside.

      Once the bags are sealed securely and labeled, they are ready to freeze. The same applies to the container.

      Note that while you can freeze your deli meat sandwiches for up to two to three months, it is wise to eat them up as early as possible within freezing.

      Keeping them in the freezer indefinitely may harshly affect their texture and quality over the long run.

Freezing Unopened or Pre-Packed Deli Meats

Time Taken: 5-10 minutes

What You Need:

  • Cling film or aluminum foil

This is the simplest method that takes no time or hassle at all. In this case, you can simply store it in the freezer without having to transfer into a separate freezer-safe container or bag.

Wrap the Unopened, Tightly Packaged Deli Meats Securely in Cling Film or Aluminum Foil

This added layer of either cling film or aluminum foil (you can simply use some plastic wrap if neither of those is easily available) protects your deli meats against freezer burns!

Make sure you wrap it super tightly and securely; no part or surface should be exposed to the freezer airs.

This is to ensure the best and most effective protection in the freezer.

Place in the Freezer

Your deli meats are good to be kept in the freezer!

Yep, it really is that simple.

However, do keep in mind that if your deli meats do not come in pre-packages suitable for freezer storage or if they have already been opened, you will need to follow a different method.

While some people claim that using this method, you can freeze unopened and pre-packaged deli meats for up to 6 months, the FDA recommends that you use up frozen deli meats, whether unopened or opened, within not more than 1 to 2 months of freezing.

So, keep that in mind and make sure you do not end up forgetting about the deli meats and keeping them in freezer storage indefinitely.

If needed, I usually recommend that you use a marker to label the package with the storage date.

Freezing Leftover or Homemade-in-Advance Deli Meats

Time Taken: 15-20 minutes

What You Need:

  • Rigid, freezer-safe container with tight-fitting lid
  • Cling film or aluminum foil

Freezing deli meats is also not a big deal if, say, you have already used up some and would like to freeze the leftovers, or if say, you have cooked some in advance for a special occasion of some sort.

Note that the shelf life of deli meats when kept in the refrigerator is around five days to a week, depending on the specific type and preservatives used (be sure to check for manufacturer’s advice), so if you plan to use it up within then, there is no need to freeze.

Otherwise, just follow these instructions carefully, and you will get there just fine.

Transfer Deli Meats to an Appropriately-Sized Container with a Tight-Fitting Lid

Do this carefully.

Try to use a container that is not too small to have the meats fit in it rigidly but is also not so large that there is too much space left on the top after you have put the meats in.

Secure Lid Tightly

The container should also mandatorily have a tight-fitting lid.

Snap it on tightly and carefully after all your deli meats have been transferred inside.

The container being secure is central to ensuring your deli meats freeze well.

Wrap the Top With Cling Film or Aluminum Foil

Again, you can just use plastic foil if neither film or foil is readily available, but just be sure to wrap and securely, really tightly.

This is just an added protection against freezer burns, especially to ensure your deli meats survive in the freezer for an extended period of time.

Label and Freeze

Label the container with the storage date. It is ready to freeze!

Freezing Deli Meats in Serving Portions

Time Taken: 20-30 minutes

What You Need:

  • Airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer bags

Freezing in portions is always recommended irrespective of whatever food it is you are freezing.

This makes sure that you only use the amount you require at a time without having to bother the rest and get into the whole hassle of re-freezing.

In case of deli meats, it is especially recommended if you have, say, a considerable amount that you need to keep in freezer storage.

For example, if you have cooked some in advance to use for lunch or another meal over a week or so.

In this case, freezing in portions is highly recommended!

Transfer your Deli Meats, Portion-Wise, into Small Airtight Freezer Bags

Decide the portions carefully and prudently in advance, and transfer them accordingly into each freezer bag.

Secure the Freezer Bags Carefully

Again, if you do not seal your freezer bags properly or correctly, there is no way to ensure your deli meats will keep in freezer storage for more than even a few weeks.

Once you have put in the required portion in each bag, squeeze out all the air from the bag, then seal it tightly. Make sure they are completely airtight and watertight.

Label and Freeze

Label the airtight freezer bags with the storage date to make sure you do not end up keeping them in the freezer indefinitely or beyond the recommended time period.

They are ready to freeze!

Again, make sure you use up all of the deli meats within at the most 2 months from freezing!

The advantage to freezing your deli meats in this method is that you can simply take out one freezer bag at a time and use that without bothering the rest!

Freezing Larger Cuts of Deli Meats

Time Taken: 20-30 minutes

What You Need:

  • Rigid, freezer-safe container with tight-fitting lid or large airtight freezer bag
  • Cling film or aluminum foil

In the case of larger cuts of sliced or cured deli meats, you need to follow a slightly more complicated method of freezing them.

But this makes sure they stay well in the freezer.

Wrap and Cover the Meats Entirely Using Tin Foil or Cling Film

You need to do this in such a way that there are no exposed parts or surfaces of the deli meats.

To be safe, you can even go with double layering.

I usually recommend the first layer with cling film and another with aluminum foil.

This ensures maximum protection of your deli meats.

Transfer Wrapped Deli Meats into Either an Airtight Freezer Container or Bag

Carefully do this to make sure the wrapping does not come undone.

It is a good idea to choose an appropriately-sized container: one that is not too small to have the meats fit in it rigidly, but is also not so large that there is too much space left on the top after you have put the meats in.

The same applies for an airtight freezer bag.

Secure the Freezer Bag or Container Carefully

If you are using a bag, squeeze out all the air from it before sealing it tightly and carefully; and as for a container, make sure you snap on the lid tightly.

Label and Freeze

Label the container or bag to ensure you use it up within the recommended time period and do not end up keeping it in the freezer for too long.

Your deli meats are ready to be frozen – and for up to 2 months!

How Long Can You Freeze Deli Meats?

If frozen properly following the right method, with all the steps having been followed properly, and if made sure that the bags or containers have been sealed carefully, your deli meats can be frozen for one to two months.

However, it bears mentioning that the longer the meats sit in the freezer, the greater are their chances of a deteriorating consistency and texture and even flavor.

So, it is a good idea to finish up your meats at the earliest since freezing.

In the case of deli meats, the drop in the flavor, taste, and texture is gradual but definite.

So, while you can technically freeze cooked chicken indefinitely, there will be a drop in quality over time.

This is also I we recommend always freezing with the storage date labeled. This way, you do not end up keeping the deli meats in the freezer for too long.

How to Store Frozen Deli Meats?

As discussed, deli meats can be kept in freezer storage in airtight containers with tight-fitting lids, whether leftover or freshly made or in portions, in different cuts and kinds, in small airtight freezer bags.

Whichever method you go with, the sealing and freezing need to be done very carefully; good quality airtight and watertight freezer-safe containers need to be used, and it needs to be ensured that the deli meats are frozen at the same, consistent temperature in the freezer.

Remember that your deli meats may not hold up well in the freezer even beyond a few weeks if the storage is not done properly, following all the instructions correctly and meticulously and making sure you use the best quality materials.

How to Defrost Frozen Deli Meats?

The safest way to defrost your frozen deli meats is to just let them thaw in the fridge overnight.

Your frozen and defrosted deli meats can be re-heated in the microwave.

As mentioned, your safest bet is to go with the time-tested and fail-safe method of letting the cooked chicken thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

If you are in a hurry, in some cases, you can also defrost your frozen deli meats in the microwave and use the defrost option.

Check the meat and in the middle to see if it has thawed properly.

Never defrost frozen meats while keeping them at room temperature.

After defrost the deli meats, you can reheat them.

Use the microwave or even a plastic cooking bag.

To reheat the deli meats using the latter, boil around 3 to 4 cups of water in a pot, and then place the defrosted deli meats in the plastic bag.

Can You Re-freeze Frozen Deli Meats?

It is not recommended to re-freeze frozen deli meats, as, to freeze and thaw it once would already take a toll on its consistency, texture, and even flavor.

But to repeat that whole process once more might render the meat ruined beyond salvation.

Try your best to use up all of the deli meats the first time around that they are thawed.

In the case of leftovers, it is best to discard them as chances are that they are no longer suitable for consumption. The risk of bacteria is too high.

This is also the reason that I advise you to freeze deli meats, or any food for that matter, in serving portions, or together at once only if you are confident that you can use it all up at one go.

Refreezing is really not worth it.

Do Deli Meats Freeze Well?

If stored, frozen, and thawed correctly, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to deli meats.

They freeze quite well and hold up well in the freezer for a good one to two months.

Just be sure to keep a close eye on the deli meats at all times, especially during thawing and reheating. Just follow the instructions well and thaw carefully.

Note that when reheating the meat, you only want to get some heat back into it; you do not want to cook it again, so always keep a close watch and be careful.

You can cook the meat again after it has thawed, if necessary.

Other things to note and make sure so that the deli meats freeze well is that the freezer temperature stays consistent and that the containers and freezer bags used are of good quality and sealed very tightly and securely before freezing.

FAQs

Which deli meats freeze best?

While you can freeze all kinds of deli meats, some do tend to freeze better than others.

Cured deli meats such as bologna and sausages, tend to freeze the best owing to their dense textures and lower content of water.

On the other hand, you can also freeze ham, chicken, turkey and other deli meats just fine, but they might turn out a little wet upon defrosting, but that is fixable and no cause for worry. Simply use a paper towel to pat it dry.

Within when should I use up frozen and defrosted deli meats?

It is highly recommended that you use up frozen and defrosted deli meats within not more than 3 days.

How do I know if my frozen deli meats have gone bad?

As with all other frozen foods, it is highly advised that you check for signs of spoilage before consuming frozen deli meats.

In case of deli meats, look for signs such as if it feels slimy.

Most deli meats are usually brined, and the slime that shows up when deli meats start to get spoiled is the brine reappearing to the surface.

Also look for signs of molds or discoloration. If there are any, discard the meats immediately. Also check for smells. If the deli meats smell too stale or off, it is a good idea to get rid of them as they are no longer suitable for consumption.

Does sliced corn beef freeze well?

Yes! Sliced corn beef freezes excellently, whether frozen as a large piece or in individual slices. Do make sure to consume it within a maximum of 2 to 3 months within freezing as it is in this period that it retains its flavor and quality the best.

What happens if I eat old frozen deli meats?

Eating old frozen deli meats is obviously not recommended in any scenario. Consequences can range from simple stomachaches to severe food poisoning.

It is best, therefore, to not risk it at all, and simply throw away old frozen deli meats that no longer seem safe to eat.

Bottom Line

We hope this comprehensive, step-by-step guide covering the best methods to freeze deli meats successfully at the safety and ease of your home has helped you!

For any further questions you may have regarding freezing deli meats, please do let us know by reaching out to us!

If you have any other tips and tricks, feel free to reach out and let us know; we will add them to this guide so they can help more people!

If this guide has helped you, please do share it with your friends and family so that they can also use it.

References

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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