Food – To Freeze or not to Freeze

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You might be surprised to find out which foods you can and which ones you should not freeze. Freezing food prolongs it’s shelf life and can help save money and prevent waste. While you can safely freeze any food, some foods just don’t freeze well, the texture can change making the food unappetizing. Make sure you label and date everything you freeze.


Dairy and Eggs:

Milk – To freeze milk in it’s original plastic container you will need to remove about an inch to allow for expansion. You can also freeze it by pouring into ice cube trays, freeze and then transfer to freezer bags for storage. Frozen milk should be used within 3-6 months, thaw in the refrigerator and shake before using.

Butter – Butter can be frozen in the package you purchase it in. It can be frozen for up to a year any longer and the taste and texture may change.

Cheese – You can freeze a block of cheese in the package you purchase it in, or cut it into portion sizes and freeze in air tight packages. Packages of shredded cheese freeze really well, if freezing for longer than two months place the pack of shredded cheese inside of a heavy duty freezer bag to help prevent freezer burn. Most cheese will become crumbly after being frozen, so it’s best if it’s being used for cooking.

Yogurt – You can freeze yogurt but the consistency may change. It works great for smoothies or quick frozen treats.

Eggs – Do not freeze eggs in the shell, eggs expand while freezing and the shell will break. The best way to freeze eggs individually is in muffin tins or ice cube trays, once frozen transfer to freezer bags. For best results mix the yolk and white together before freezing. Egg yolks can become thick when frozen, the spruce Eats offers detailed instructions on freezing egg yolks. Cooked eggs like scrambled and omelettes also freeze really well.

Dairy and Eggs that Don’t Freeze Well:

Cooked egg whites – They become rubbery

Sour cream – Only freeze if you will be cooking with it as it will separate and the texture will change

Cream Cheese – The texture will change, but can still be used for cooking

Cottage Cheese – Will become grainy, but can still be used for cooking

Mayonnaise and mayo-based salads – Will separate and the texture will not be appetizing

Cream based soups and sauces – They can separate and curdle

Heavy or Whipping Cream – Will not be able to whip after freezing, but can be frozen if you whip it first.


Meat:

Red Meat, Pork, Poultry and Seafood – Can all be frozen. Wrap meats very tightly in either plastic wrap or freezer paper, pressing the wrapping right up against the surface of the meat. Then seal it inside a freezer bag or use a food sealing machine. Double wrapping helps prevent freezer burn.

Casseroles – To avoid having dishes you might need in the freezer for months you can bake casseroles in disposable foil pans, cool completely before covering. Can be re-heated in the foil pan.

Stews and Soups – Cooled soups can be frozen in freezer safe bags. Laying them flat for more room. ( Cream based soups don’t freeze well)

You have probably heard that it’s not safe to refreeze meat once it’s been frozen and then thawed. There are some exceptions to this, depending on how it was thawed and how long it was thawed for. You can also refreeze meat if you cook it first. You may be interested in 10 frozen food safety myths debunked on the Today Shows website.


Vegetables:

Most Vegetables can be frozen however many of them will only be good for cooking with once frozen.

Avocados – Cut in half, remove the seed and shell, freeze in halves or mash and add lemon or lime juice. Once frozen avocados are best used for guacamole or in dressings.

Fresh Corn – Can be frozen on the cob in the husk. Corn from the Grocery store should have the husk removed and be blanched before freezing. You can also cut the corn off the cob for freezing.

Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Carrots, Green Beans, Okra, Tomatoes, Summer Squash and Zucchini – Benefit from being blanched before freezing. Blanching is a process in which you boil or steam vegetables briefly until they are partially cooked.

Peas  – Peas freeze great straight from the garden, shell and freeze in freezer safe containers or bags.

Mushrooms, Cabbage, Onion, Celery and Bell Peppers – Have a high water content but can be chopped and frozen if you plan on cooking with them.

Potatoes – Don’t freeze well raw, however if you cut and cook them until al dente you can then freeze them. Mashed Potatoes can also be frozen. Baked Potatoes tend to dry out.

Herbs – Herbs can be frozen in water, butter or olive oil. Place cut herbs in an ice cube tray, cover with water, melted butter or oil. Once frozen transfer to freezer safe containers. To be used in cooking with.

Vegetables that don’t Freeze well:

Vegetables with high water content will give unfavorable results.

Cucumber, Lettuce, Radishes and Sprouts – Have too much water and will become mushy when frozen.


Fruits:

All fruit can be frozen. Especially if you are cooking with them, or using them in smoothies.

The best method for freezing fruit is to clean and cut them into chunks, small fruit (berries & grapes) can be left whole. Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or tray, freeze them until firm. Once firm, transfer to freezer safe containers or plastic freezer bags.

Apples – To prevent oxidation, cut apples can be soaked in lemon juice before freezing.

Bananas – Can be frozen in the peel or cut and placed in freezer bags, great for baking and smoothies

Citrus – Wash and dry to remove any wax coating. Citrus can be frozen whole or sliced prior to freezing. Remove from freezer as needed. Perfect for zesting and juicing.

Stone or Pit Fruit – Fruits that contain a pit can be frozen, but you should remove the pits first.

Melons – Have a high water content, they will become mushy after being frozen if you thaw them. Eat them frozen or use in smoothies from a frozen state.


Breads, Dough, Grains, Nuts & Baked Goods:

Store bought bread – Can be frozen in the bag it was purchased in, try to press out any excess air. Thaw on a wire rack turning often or hang up to thaw to prevent hard spots.

Homemade bread – Should be completely cooled before wrapping tightly and freezing.

Dough – Yes you can freeze any dough, thaw before baking. Ultimate Guide for freezing Dough.

Baked Goods and Pastries – Should be cooled completely before freezing. For best results they should be double wrapped for freezing.

Tortilla Shells – Can be frozen and thawed in the package they are purchased in or in freezer bags.

Grains – Rice and Brown Rice, Quinoa, Rye and Wheat Berries, Barley, Buckwheat, Millet, Bulgur Wheat all freeze well. Cook large batches of grains and let them cool. Freeze in plastic freezer bags, laying them flat in the freezer.

Pasta – Cooked pasta should be cooled completely and frozen in individual portion sizes, add a little water and thaw in the microwave.

Oats and Flour – Freezing Oats and Flour can greatly extend their shelf life and help protect them from pest infestations.

Nuts & Seeds – Nuts and Seeds are high in oil and actually benefit from being stored in the freezer. Keeping nuts in the freezer extends their shelf life. They can be frozen in the shell or out in.


Snacks:

 

Chocolate and Candy – Most candy can be frozen, bring the temperature of chocolate down gradually by refrigerating before putting in the freezer.

Chips – You can freeze a whole bag of chips to prolong the shelf life and prevent them from getting stale.


Foods You Shouldn’t Freeze

Desserts with meringue – Whipped egg whites are sensitive to cold and will become soggy.

Desserts with crumb topping – Crumb topping will get soggy.

Fried foods – Will become soggy

Gelatin – Will separate

Carbonated Beverages – Not only will it lose it’s carbonation the container can explode


 

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