Freezing is one of the very best methods of food preservation, but not every food freezes well. You’ll find plenty of freeze/don’t freeze lists on food blogs and university extension sites if you’re curious or want guidance, but eggs show up on most of them. Cooked egg whites get rubbery when they’re frozen, as most lists will tell you, and egg-thickened custards will tend to “weep” liquid when they’re thawed.
That’s worrisome if you want to freeze a quiche, because a quiche is basically just a savory custard inside a piecrust. Still, quiches are sold in frozen form at the grocery store, so clearly it’s perfectly possible to freeze them successfully.
Freezing Quiche Unbaked
One way to avoid any potential problems is to freeze your quiche in its unbaked form. That neatly sidesteps any potential issues with cooked eggs or custards, and you can simply bake it whenever you need to.
Line a pie plate with crust, or make up a batch of tart-sized crusts for mini-quiches if you prefer. Next, make a batch of your favorite quiche recipe and use it to fill the shell or shells. Transfer the quiche to your freezer, and carefully set it on a level spot to freeze. Once it’s fully frozen, wrap it airtight in plastic wrap or a freezer bag. You can bake the finished quiche from frozen, adding 10 to 20 minutes for a full-sized quiche or 6 to 10 minutes for mini-quiches.
If you pre-freeze the crust before filling it, it won’t absorb as much moisture from the egg, and it’ll have a better texture after it’s baked.
Freezing Quiche Baked
The problem with freezing an unbaked quiche is that you’re committed to baking the whole thing once you pull it from the freezer. If you start with a baked quiche, you have the choice to freeze it whole or in single-serving portions, which gives you more flexibility.
Even though eggs and custards are iffy in theory, in practice, a quiche usually freezes and thaws pretty well. It’s got the right balance of eggs and cream to prevent weeping and to avoid that oddly rubbery texture frozen eggs get. Prepare the quiche according to your favorite recipe, and let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerating it for a few hours helps a lot. If you’re freezing the whole quiche, it’ll freeze faster and more evenly if it’s already cold. If you’re portioning it, it’ll slice more neatly.
Wrap a whole quiche tightly in a freezer bag or plastic wrap. This is easier if you freeze it unwrapped first and then wrap it afterwards, but that step is optional. For individual slices, freezing them unwrapped to begin with is almost mandatory. You can wrap a frozen slice much more tightly, which keeps out the air and prolongs its storage life in the freezer.
Personal Preference Counts
There are arguments for freezing your quiche baked or unbaked. Unbaked quiches can’t be distinguished from fresh-made once they’re baked off, which is a definite plus. The downside is that their crusts can become soggy as they bake, and you’ll have to wait a lot longer for your meal.
Baked quiches can also develop a soggy crust if you cut them while they’re still warm. Individual portions are quicker to warm up as a meal for one or two, which is a definite positive. On the other hand, they’re also more likely to take on unwanted flavors from the freezer. You can make a case for doing it either way, so personal preference is really the tiebreaker. If you’re a serious quiche lover, you might want to do both.
A Few Pro Tips
If you know ahead of time that you’ll be freezing the quiche, there are a couple of things you can do to help it freeze better. One is to whisk a small amount of flour or other starch thickener into the egg mixture. This helps bind up the moisture, and it reduces the risk of “weeping” when it’s thawed.
Another crucial step is to review your quiche recipe for add-ins that are high in moisture. Zucchini, bell peppers and fresh tomatoes are all excellent examples. They work well in a quiche that’ll be eaten right away, but they’ll lose a lot of moisture in the freezing and thawing process. That can make your quiche watery and the crust doughy, which you don’t want.
Make a point of swapping out high-moisture ingredients for drier alternatives: fresh herbs in place of juicy vegetables, crisp bacon or dry-cured prosciutto in place of watery deli ham, and so on. Dry ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese can help absorb any excess moisture, giving the finished quiche a better texture after thawing.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.