I often make stews with meat and veg such as beef and mushroom, cassoulet, etc. I normally eat one portion fresh and then portion and freeze the rest of my stew, to be eaten on a later date. However, often I find that when I defrost my stew portion it has coagulated - it has a jelly like consistency, even when hot. I try to solve this by adding a little water and giving it a good stir, which does give it more of a pourable consistency, but it doesn't bring back the smooth velvety texture the stew had when fresh.

I normally just use a spoon of flour or cornflour (cornstarch) to thicken my stews, so the only ingredients are meat, veg, oil, flour, some liquid (stock, often beer or wine), and seasonings. Would a different thickener prevent my stew getting this coagulated, jelly-like texture after freezing?

  • 5
    Are you just heating it up to an eating temperature, or back to cooking temperature? Some thickeners (like gelatin) are thermo-reversable, but you need to get them warm enough for them to liquify ... and then they can be cooled off until they get to their setting temperature. I'm not sure about starches, though; I can't remember having this problem (I use potato starch, but typically don't freeze it)
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 14:29
  • Sounds like you are making rich stew with enough meat produce gelatin.Just warm it more. Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 1:15

2 Answers 2


Experiment and see if flour acts the same as cornstarch. I find that cornstarch tends to "set up" in such a way that food remains a gelatinous blob after reheating. It does this after being refrigerated too, so I don't think it has to do with you actually freezing it: just cooling it down.

I think flour works a little better to reheat which is why I tend to try to use that for things which I know I will want to reheat and eat again later.

Lastly, do make sure you get it piping hot when reheating as this will help to smooth it out and will also melt and gelatin that comes from the meat.


I find that reheating on the stove and stirring work better than microwaving for sorting out the consistency if I used (wheat) flour. Don't rush it (it doesn't take long anyway). I don't use much flour, and leave sauces fairly thin, which seems to help too (you don't say what kind of spoon or how much liquid; I could be using more or less than you). I don't often use cornflour for thickening so don't know if that behaves differently on freezing

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.