Swedish meatballs, simmered in a rich beef stock gravy and served over egg noodles, give you comfort food suitable for a cool evening. Preparing and freezing the meatballs for later turns them into a quick meal option for a busy night. You'll just need to invest a few minutes in cooking the noodles to go with the meatballs and gravy.
You can freeze the meatballs cooked or uncooked, and with or without the accompanying gravy, but the noodles they traditionally accompany should be made fresh.
Raw meat stores longer than cooked meatballs. For the longest storage, prepare your Swedish meatballs ahead of time, but don't cook them or add the gravy until you're ready to serve. For the simplest freezing, shape the meatballs and place them on a lined baking sheet. Freeze the raw meatballs until they are solid, and then transfer them to a storage bag. Store them in the freezer for up to four months. You can remove only the amount of meatballs you need, because they remain loose in the bag.
Cooked Swedish meatballs supply a heat-and-eat meal option that requires no preparation other than heating when you're ready to use them. Prepare and brown the meatballs over medium-high heat, and finish cooking them in the gravy. Cool the meatballs and gravy to room temperature, and then transfer them to a freezer-safe container. You can place them in the freezer and store them for up to two months.
Freezer-safe, zip-top storage bags work best for loose, uncooked meatballs, but you can also use plastic or glass storage containers. Air exposure causes freezer burn, so any container must have an airtight seal and cover the meatballs completely. Although it's possible to freeze cooked Swedish meatballs in the same dish you will reheat in, an alternative is to line the dish with foil, freeze, and remove the foil package and place it in a bag. You can then place the foil-wrapped meatballs back in the dish for thawing and reheating.
Thawing and Use
Thaw both raw and prepared Swedish meatballs overnight in the refrigerator so their temperature remains below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the growth of illness-causing bacteria. Raw meatballs cook most evenly when thawed before use. You can reheat frozen prepared meatballs in the oven until the food reaches an internal temperature of 165 F, which can take one hour or longer at an oven temperature of 375 F. Alternatively, thaw the prepared meatballs in the refrigerator and reheat them on the stove top until they reach 165 F.