10 Pasta Sauces to Freeze for Easy Weeknight Meals

updated Nov 30, 2023
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Interior view of jar of homemade pesto with spoon filled with pesto in the background
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Dinner nirvana is what happens when you walk in the door, tired from work, and just a few minutes later you’re snuggled up at the dinner table with a warm bowl of pasta and a glass of red wine. With a little foresight and the help of your freezer, this dreamy scenario can actually be a possibility.

All it takes is making a double batch of pasta sauce the next time you cook one up. Eat half now and freeze the other half for later. Here are 10 recipes for delicious, freezable pasta sauces to help you achieve this weeknight heaven in a bowl.

Make Now, Freeze for Later

There are two ways to stock your freezer for quick pasta dinners. You could cook up a big batch on Sunday, portion it out, and freeze it. But an even simpler way is to make an excellent pasta with sauce for dinner one night this week, and make double the amount of sauce and freeze it for later. That way when you’re in the mood for a saucy pasta, all you have to do is defrost and heat up what you already made. So easy!

Tips for Freezing Pasta Sauces

There are a couple of things to consider when freezing sauces for pasta. First, cream-based pasta sauces don’t do well in the freezer. Sauces with a small amount of cheese like pesto, however, are fine, although some people prefer to add the cheese after defrosting. If the sauce requires a little cream, just add it as you’re reheating the sauce.

Most of these can be reheated directly from the freezer; just warm gently over low heat in a saucepan. Or you can thaw overnight in the fridge for quicker reheating the next day.

Pasta Sauces for Freezing

1 / 10
Spread it on sandwiches, toss it with pasta, or treat yourself a single happy spoonful, but definitely absolutely positively make pesto any chance you get.
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2 / 10
2-Day Tomato Pasta Sauce

Tomato sauce can be so many things: fresh and simple, marinara full of vegetables, or slow-cooked until it is so luscious and rich that it’s the stuff of memories.

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3 / 10
Penne alla Vodka

a melange of flavors.

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4 / 10
Chicken Ragù with Bacon & Fennel

Secret ingredient to this particularly delicious sauce is fennel.

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5 / 10
Marinara Pasta Sauce

This tomato sauce takes 20 minutes to make and requires zero planning.

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6 / 10
Slow-Cooked Bolognese Sauce
A recipe for Italian Bolognese sauce that can be made in the slow cooker or on the stove.
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7 / 10
Sausage & Fennel Ragù

This is a chunky sauce, with an emphasis on that sweetness and brightness, the sausage playing a backup role with its heat and meatiness. You can use fresh tomatoes in this sauce, if you like. You can also use a less spicy sausage, if you want to avoid the heat.

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8 / 10
Nutty Arugula Pesto with Penne and Parmesan

This recipe has a good hit of garlic and lemon — the juice and the zest add a brightness and a zip that I find so many pestos lack. The arugula is slightly spicy and the walnuts add an earthy toastiness, so it’s extremely well balanced.

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9 / 10
Lamb Bolognese

Traditionally, bolognese uses a mixture of ground beef and veal to create a rich, meaty sauce that’s perfect for spooning over thick noodles like pappardelle.

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10 / 10
Basic Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes
If you've been eyeing those gorgeous tomatoes at the market and wondering what it might take to turn them into jars of sauce, wonder no more.
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