Freeze sausage balls at your convenience and you'll have a flavorful main dish or appetizer at the ready for last-minute dinner guests or after a long day. Bake sausage balls before freezing them, or freeze unbaked sausage balls and bake them later. Unbaked sausage balls retain quality longer -- up to four months. Use baked sausage balls -- which have a shorter freezer life -- within two to three months, as baked meat dries out faster.
Make sausage balls according to your favorite recipe, and bake as instructed. Bake the sausage balls in a metal pan, or a tempered glass pan that is able to move from hot temperatures to cold temperatures without breaking.
Cool the sausage balls as quickly as possible to prevent development of bacteria. Freezing hot food also raises the temperature of your freezer, which may compromise the quality of food already in your freezer. The best way to cool cooked meat dishes quickly is to place the hot pan in a larger pan filled with ice water. Replace the ice as needed until the pan is cool.
Transfer the sausage balls into an airtight plastic freezer container. Leave at least 1/2 inch of head space at the top of the container. You can also freeze the sausage balls in a baking dish or a disposable aluminum baking pan. Cover the dish with at least two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, then slide the dish into a large plastic freezer bag.
Label the package with the contents and date. Freeze the sausage balls immediately.
Make sausage balls according to your recipe. Do not bake them.
Spread the sausage balls on a freezer-proof serving tray or jelly roll pan. Place the sausage balls in the freezer.
Allow the sausage balls to freeze hard, then take them out of the freezer.
Package the sausage balls in an airtight plastic container or a resealable plastic bag. Because the sausage balls are frozen individually, they won't stick together and you can remove them as needed.
Label the sausage balls. Note the date, the contents, and baking instructions. Freeze the sausage balls immediately. Never allow raw meat to remain at room temperature.
- Michigan State University Extension; FAQ: Food Preservation and Storage
- University of Illinois Extension; Freezing Cooked and Prepared Foods; Frances O. Van Duyne; July 1984
- University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service; Preserving Food: Freezing Prepared Food; July 2002
- North Dakota State University Extension: Make-Ahead Meals Save Dinnertime Tonight