There are many good reasons to freeze foods. First, freezing food can save you money. After you grocery shop and purchase items in bulk or stock up on extra food items, freeze the items you won’t use right away so it doesn’t go to waste and you have to throw it away.
Second, it’s convenient to have a freezer full of food that you can grab for meals. Plus, it saves you from making unnecessary trips to the grocery store where you would probably spend more money.
And third, it saves you time. If you cook and prepare food in advance, you can freeze meals and snacks to pull out on busy days.
Before listing all of the foods you can freeze or the foods that don’t freeze well, here are food tips on how to flash freeze foods, how to prevent freezer burn and labeling food before you place it in the freezer.
HOW TO FLASH FREEZE FOOD:
With a bunch of food items below that you can freeze, I suggest flash freezing the food first if you don’t want pieces to clump together during the freezing process. Before flash freezing fruits or vegetables, first wash them and pat them dry. Then flash freeze foods by placing individual pieces of food separately on a baking sheet or tray and putting the tray in the freezer for 1-3 hours until the pieces are frozen. Once this is done, you’ll remove the frozen pieces from the tray and place them in resealable freezer bags, then label and put the bags in the freezer. If food will be in the freezer for a longer period of time, then wrap it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and put it in the freezer bags.
HOW TO PREVENT FREEZER BURN:
To prevent freezer burn, you’ll want to minimize the food’s exposure to air by using freezer bags or containers. Make sure to push out any excess air from the freezer bags before sealing them. If you are freezing baked goods or meats, wrap them in aluminum foil twice and then place them in freezer bags. To freeze casseroles, read this tip here so you don’t have to put your good casserole dishes in the freezer for months or use aluminum baking tins. Wrapping and storing food correctly will prevent freezer burn.
LABEL ALL FOOD:
Be sure to label any freezer bag or container you place in the freezer with the name of the item, the date, quantity of food if applicable (for example, 2 cups of shredded chicken), and any cooking instructions. You might think you’ll remember what’s in the bag or container, but once it’s frozen it looks different and it is hard to tell what it is. Trust me, just label everything.
Here are 70 foods you can freeze or that don’t freeze well:
FOODS YOU CAN FREEZE:
Bacon Bits — Freeze homemade bacon bits that you can later use to sprinkle on top of baked potatoes or in soups.
Berries — Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries can make delicious smoothies or can be used in baked goods like muffins. Flash freeze the berries first so they don’t clump together during the freezing process (see above how to flash freeze food).
Bread – Buy extra loaves of bread on sale and freeze them. If you make homemade bread, slice it first before freezing.
Sweet Breads — Freeze loafs of sweet breads such as banana bread or zucchini bread. To freeze sweet breads, wrap them in plastic wrap and then a heavy tinfoil and put them in a freezer bag.
Breadcrumbs — Make your own breadcrumbs and freeze them.
Butter — When you find a sale on butter, stock up and freeze it. When you are ready to use it, take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. Usually the best time to stock up on butter is when it is on sale around the holidays.
Cakes — Freeze baked unfrosted cakes. It’s important to wrap cakes in plastic wrap, then double wrap them in aluminum foil. Frost the cakes after you take it out of the freezer.
Casseroles — Make casseroles as you normally would, but instead of baking them freeze them. Read the tip here on how to freeze casseroles. Label each casserole with the name of the recipe, the date you made it, the oven temperature, and how long it needs to bake.
Citrus Zest — If you have lime, lemon, or orange zest left over, don’t throw it away. Freeze it. Wrap the zest in aluminum foil, place it in a clear resealable bag and label it.
Cheese – If cheese is on sale, buy extra. With bags of shredded cheese you can put it directly into the freezer. With blocks of cheese, you’ll want to shred it first, then bag, label and freeze it. If shredding your own cheese (and to prevent clumping when thawed), flash freeze the cheese first or put a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour in the bag and mix it with the cheese (see above how to flash freeze food). Blocks of cheese that have been frozen tend to crumble.
Chicken Broth — If you cook a whole chicken, save the bones and make a broth, then label and freeze it.
Cookies – Freeze extra cookies so you can take them out and enjoy eating one or two when you have a craving. To freeze cookie dough, scoop it out onto cookie sheets and freeze. When they are frozen solid, put them in freezer bags. When a cookie craving hits, bake as many cookies as you want. Just add 1 to 2 minutes to the cook time specified in your recipe.
Fruits – You can freeze fruits such as apples, pineapple, peaches, nectarines, oranges, cherries and other fruits if you use them in smoothies. Flash freeze the fruit first so it won’t stick together, then bag them in resealable bags (see above how to flash freeze food).
Granola — Freeze granola to keep it crunchy and crisp.
Grapes — Frozen grapes are a yummy afternoon snack. Flash freeze the grapes first so they don’t clump together (see above how to flash freeze food).
Herbs — There are different ways to freeze fresh herbs. Chop them up, lay them out on a baking sheet, and flash freeze them (see above how to flash freeze food). Another way is to freeze them in an ice cube tray with water or olive oil.
Jams & Jellies — Homemade freezer jams & jellies are easy to make and are delicious.
Meat — Freeze raw meats such as chicken, beef, ground beef, steaks, pork, bacon and other meats. Place the meats in resealable freezer bags and label the bag. Try to get as much air as possible out of the freezer bags.
Cooked Meat: Shredded Chicken & Ground Beef — Use a crock pot or InstantPot to cook chicken or ground beef. For the chicken, place it in the crock pot, add salt and pepper, and a small amount of water. Cook it on low for 8-10 hours. Then shred the chicken using forks or place it in a mixer using the cookie dough paddle. The mixer will shred it quickly for you. Measure out 1-2 cups shredded chicken per freezer bag, and label and freeze it. For the ground beef, place it in the crock pot, add salt and pepper or taco seasoning. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Stir the meat after a few hours and cook longer if needed. Measure out 1-2 cups of ground beef per freezer bag, then label and freeze.
Milk, Buttermilk and Heavy Cream – If you freeze milk you’ll want to take a small amount of milk out of the top to allow for expanding. To use frozen milk, let it thaw then shake well before opening to make sure any solids are remixed. You can also freeze buttermilk and heavy cream as well.
Muffins — Freeze muffins for a quick breakfast or snack.
Nuts — If you bake often with nuts, keep them in the freezer and take them out whenever you need to use them. This will help them from going rancid too quickly.
Pancakes, Waffles & French Toast – Make extra pancakes, waffles, or French toast during your weekend breakfasts and freeze them in Ziploc bags for quick and easy breakfasts during the week. Just pull them out of the freezer and reheat them in your microwave or toaster.
Pasta Sauce & Tomato Paste – If you have leftover store bought or homemade pasta sauce that you don’t want to go bad, place it in a resealable bag, label and freeze it. With extra tomato paste, freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop them out and put them in a freezer bag. Then pull out the amount of cubes you need to use for cooking.
Pies — Baked pies keep really well in the freezer when wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. When ready to eat, take the plastic wrap and foil off, then warm the whole pie in the oven or warm up one piece at a time. However, one pie that doesn’t freeze well is the meringue on Lemon Meringue Pie. When thawed, it becomes chewy. You can freeze the lemon pie and then after taking it out of the freezer add the meringue on top.
Pizza Dough — Make an extra batch of homemade pizza dough, place it in a resealable freezer bag, label it, then put it in the freezer.
Rolls & Biscuits — If you have extra rolls and biscuits from dinner that you won’t eat right away, freeze them so they don’t go bad. Then pull out just one or two for an easy snack. You can also freeze canned biscuits, crescent rolls and pizza dough right in the tube.
Sandwiches – Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or deli meats with a slice of cheese freeze really well. When you pack lunches for school or work, it’s a real time-saver to pull a sandwich straight out of the freezer and put it into your lunch box in the morning. And it helps keep the deli meat cold. By lunch time the peanut butter or deli meat sandwich will be thawed. If you’re adding condiments or veggies to the deli meat sandwich, pack those separately to add to the sandwich when it’s time for lunch.
Soups — If you have extra soup, rather than throwing it away, freeze the extra in individual containers for easy lunches or dinners.
Vegetables — Corn, carrots, green beans, broccoli, diced onions, peas, diced bell peppers and other vegetables can be frozen. You can freeze almost any vegetable except for the ones with high-water content (see vegetables that don’t freeze well below). Flash freeze the vegetables so they don’t clump together (see above how to flash freeze food). Then place in resealable bags, label and freeze them.
FOODS THAT DON’T FREEZE WELL:
Cottage Cheese, Ricotta, Cream Cheese and Sour Cream – If you freeze these items they will separate and won’t maintain their original texture when thawed. However, you can freeze them and still use them in casseroles or other dishes you are cooking. You just won’t want to use them or eat them plain once they are thawed.
Eggs – Never freeze an egg that is in its shell because it will burst open.
Mayonnaise – After taking mayonnaise out of the freezer, it will separate and curdle when thawed.
Pasta – Cooked pasta tends to go mushy after being frozen.
Rice – Rice tends to get crumbly and mushy after being frozen and thawed. Some people have mentioned that if rice is taken out of the freezer and reheated with enough water it tastes fine.
Vegetables with High Water Content – Don’t freeze vegetables with high water content such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery, zucchini and tomatoes. They get squishy and mushy when frozen. However, there are a few exceptions. If you blanch the tomatoes first by boiling them for 30 seconds to a minute, then place them in a cold water in your sink, you can take the skin off the tomatoes and freeze them in resealable bags to use in sauces. As for zucchini, if you shred it, flash freeze it (see flash freezing above), then bag and freeze it, you can thaw it to use in foods you are baking or for zucchini bread or zucchini cake. Celery can be diced and frozen, then used in soups.
What other foods freeze well or don’t freeze well?