How to Freeze Anything (2024)

Whether its fresh produce or cooked left-overs, freezing food is one of the best ways to combat food waste and keep plenty of food on hand for an extended period of time. However, there are a few tricks and tips before freezing foods to keep in mind to ensure maximum flavor and freshness, for when it's time to pull your stash from the freezer.

Freezing and Food Safety

Check your freezer to ensure that it is at 0 F or colder. A dedicated refrigerator-freezer thermometer is a must. You can usually get a set of two, one for the fridge and one for the freezer, for less than 10 bucks.

While freezing doesn't kill foodborne bacteria, it massively slows down their ability to reproduce, which is why freezing prevents food spoilage. Once thawed, those bacteria wake back up and go about their business, which means it's time to either eat or cook that food.

Most foods don't fare well in a home freezer beyond two to three months, although guidelines for specific foods vary and this is generally a matter of quality rather than food safety.

These Glass Food Storage Containers Make Food Prep and Organization a Breeze

Tips for Freezing Foods

Use resealable plastic containers or freezer bags, not glass, which can crack when subjected to rapid changes in temperature. And remember that freezer bags and sandwich bags are not the same things. Freezer bags are made of thicker plastic and the plastic itself contains an additive that prevents it from becoming brittle in the freezer, which ordinary sandwich or storage bags do not.You can also use a vacuum sealer which comes with freezer-safe bags.

Freeze in individual portions where possible. This not only speeds defrosting, but it also helps avoids waste. Divide soups and stews, for example, into smaller bags with one or two portions apiece, rather than freezing an entire batch in a single container.

Smaller sheet pans are handy for freezing berries, banana slices, green beans, and other small items so they don't stick together. Spread them on the sheet pan, freeze, then transfer to freezer bags.

Think of freezing as a way to preserve freshness rather than merely avoiding spoilage. In other words, freezing food when it's at its peak of freshness will give you a better result after you thaw it. Freezing blueberries once they start to go mushy will only give you mushy thawed blueberries.

Removing every last bit of air from resealable containers or zip-top freezer bags is nearly impossible, which means that some amount of freezer burn is inevitable after a while. But if you plan to do a lot of freezing, a vacuum sealer, which does remove all the air, might be a good investment.

Cool cooked foods thoroughly before freezing. Not only does adding hot foods to the freezer cause a food-safety hazard (because of the extra time the cooling food will spend in the so-called food temperature danger zone), but putting something hot into the freezer warms up the other foods that are in there, which can cause them to become unsafe.

How to Properly Thaw Frozen Foods

In some cases, your frozen items can be used straight from the freezer. Examples are frozen berries that are going straight into a smoothie or frozen dollops of tomato paste that are going straight into a soup, sauce or chili. Indeed, it's possible to cook frozen chicken breasts, or even a whole turkey straight from the freezer (although this last is definitely not the preferred technique).

In other cases, though, you'll need to thaw the food before working with it and the safest way to do that, especially for high protein foods like meat, poultry, and fish, is to move it to the refrigerator overnight. Trying to defrost frozen meats, fish or poultry at room temperature, or using warm or hot water, can lead to a case of food poisoning.

Here are some specific tips and guidelines for freezing various foods.

How to Freeze Anything (2)

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Freezing Fresh Meat and Seafood

With these foods, it is especially important to freeze them right away as soon as you get it home if that's the plan. In other words, don't hold raw meat in the fridge for three days and then freeze it.

Remove from styrofoam or plastic supermarket trays. Divide ground meats into portions or patties before freezing. Double-wrapping (either two layers of plastic wrap or a layer of wrap, followed by a zip-top freezer bag) will extend shelf-life and prevent freezer burn.

Store up to two to three months in the coldest part of the freezer (i.e. the back, away from the door). Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

How to Freeze Anything (4)

Freezing Fresh Produce

The best way to freeze fresh vegetables is to blanch them first. Veggies need to be prepped for blanching in different ways (e.g. cutting broccoli into florets, peeling and slicing carrots, seeding and slicing peppers, trimming stems from green beans, and so on), but the general idea is to get the food into whatever form it will be eaten in.

Next, boil them for a minute or two, then immediately transfer to an ice-water bath to halt the cooking. Then after draining and drying thoroughly (wet veggies will develop frost), spread on a sheet pan, freeze, then transfer to zip-top freezer bags.

Freezing fruits is similar, but you can skip the blanching step. Note that you can freeze whole bananas in their peels. The peels will turn brown, but the fruit inside will stay bright and fresh. They can be stored for two to three months.

Leafy vegetables like lettuce and kale as well as tomatoes and other produce with high water content don't freeze well.

You can freeze fresh herbs by chopping them, mixing them with a small amount of water or olive oil and then freezing this mixture in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to zip-top freezer bags.

How to Freeze Anything (5)

Freezing Dairy and Eggs

With whole eggs, the problem is that the expansion caused by freezing can cause the egg to burst its shell. Additionally, hard-cooked eggs can turn rubbery when frozen.

The best way to freeze whole eggs is to crack them into a bowl, lightly beat with a pinch of salt or sugar (depending on whether you're using for a sweet or savory dish) and freezing in a resealable container. Think about how many eggs you'll need and freeze them in that amount. You can also freeze the yolks and the whites separately.

Whole milk can be frozen, although it will separate, which will affect its quality when thawed, you can still cook and bake with it. It's only when drinking it that you'd notice the difference.

Heavy cream freezes well but half-and-half doesn't. Dollops of whipped cream freeze nicely on a parchment-lined sheet pan (transfer to freezer bags).

Cheese can be frozen when cut into pieces and double wrapped. Cottage cheese and sour cream will turn grainy. Sticks of butter freeze extremely well, but whipped butter doesn't.

How to Freeze Anything (6)

Freezing Soups and Stews

When freezing soups and stews (which includes things like chili), take care to chill them completely in the refrigerator, at least until the fat rises to the top and hardens (which usually means overnight). Scrape off that fat and discard it, then transfer the soup to resealable containers or freezer bags.

Freezing Casseroles

You can almost always freeze a whole unbaked casserole (which includes lasagna) in its baking dish by wrapping it tightly with foil. Thaw overnight before baking or transfer directly to a cold oven, heat the oven and bake. Allow extra time to ensure it's cooked through and remove the foil during the last 20 minutes or so to crisp the top.

You can also par-bake a casserole or lasagna and then freeze, thaw and reheat. But remember to bake it slightly less than all the way the first time as it will cook further during reheating. You should see bubbling sauce and an instant-read thermometer in the center should read at least 160 F.

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Freezing Baked Goods

Baked breads, cakes, and brownies can be fully cooled, then double wrapped and frozen for two to three months. Unlike highly perishable foods, these items can be thawed, still wrapped, at room temperature. This includes cupcakes, muffins, and quick breads.

Cookies can be frozen in a resealable container or bag, but you can also freeze the dough, either in rolls (slice, then bake) or in individual balls which you can bake directly from the freezer.

Helpful Links

  • The Right Ways to Freeze Every Food You Need

Surprising Foods You Can Freeze

How to Freeze Anything (2024)


How do you keep things frozen all day? ›

Wrap it in Aluminium Foil

It insulates the container and prevents it from warming up. Combining the foil with a high-quality cooler ensures that your food remains frozen for days at a time. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you're travelling with frozen food to ensure none of it ends in the bin!

Is there anything I can freeze? ›

Vegetables such as mushrooms, avocados, spinach, rhubarb (yes, it is a vegetable!); beans, carrots, broccoli can all be frozen. If they naturally have a high water content it's best for them to be pureed, sautéed, stewed or made into these easy freezer-friendly veg meals before freezing.

What are 3 things that don't freeze? ›

Some foods simply don't freeze well. Examples are mayonnaise, cream sauce and lettuce. Raw meat and poultry maintain their quality longer than their cooked counterparts because moisture is lost during cooking.

What things can't freeze? ›

Foods That Do Not Freeze Well
FoodsUsual UseCondition After Thawing
Icings made from egg whitesCakes, cookiesFrothy, weeps
Cream or custard fillingsPies, baked goodsSeparates, watery, lumpy
Milk saucesFor casseroles or graviesMay curdle or separate
Sour creamAs topping, in saladsSeparates, watery
11 more rows

Is flash freeze a real thing? ›

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – A flash freeze is as simple as it sounds. Once temperatures drop below 32°F, there is a chance for any liquid water to quickly become ice.

Can you quick freeze at home? ›

Place the food on a baking sheet or tray. Make sure the edges of the pieces do not touch, as this can cause them to fuse together while they chill. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.

What food can you freeze the longest? ›

How long can you keep food in the freezer?
  • Poultry, whole: a year.
  • Steak: a year.
  • Blanched vegetables: a year.
  • Fruit in syrup: a year.
  • White fish: eight months.
  • Open packs of frozen fruit: eight months.
  • Unsalted butter: eight months.
  • Fruit juice: six months.
Jul 29, 2022

How long will dry ice last? ›

In a cooler – 18-24 hours. Outdoors – 3-5 hours. In liquid – 15-45 minutes.

How many bags of ice does it take to fill a cooler? ›

When packing your cooler you should aim for an ice to content ratio of 2:1. That means you want TWICE as much ice as you have food and drinks. To maximize food space, you can count any food that you freeze towards the “ice” part of the ratio.

What liquid is impossible to freeze? ›

Using liquid helium, the researchers were able to cool a lipidic mesophase consisting of a chemically modified monoacylglycerol to a temperature as low as minus 263 degrees Celsius, which is a mere 10 degrees above the absolute zero temperature, and still no ice crystals formed.

What are two things that don't freeze? ›

While shelled eggs and canned foods are the only things that aren't safe to freeze, there are a handful of other foods that don't freeze well. These include: Fruits and vegetables with high water content - (celery, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, melon).

Can humans freeze and survive? ›

“The short answer is no, it is not possible, and very probably never will be possible,” Professor Gary Bryant, Associate Dean (Physics) at RMIT University, told IFLScience. In fact, the human body – normally maintained at 37°C (98.6°F) – really can't cope with much temperature change at all.

What chemical freezes everything? ›

Liquid nitrogen is just very cold nitrogen. It is 320oF below zero (-196oC). It's so cold that it freezes anything it touches almost instantly. Also, anything at normal room temperature is so much hotter than liquid nitrogen that the liquid nitrogen boils when it touches something.

What is the hardest thing to freeze? ›

the hardest liquid to “freeze”, if we define freeze as “make solid” is liquid helium. The stuff already needs to be kept at -270 degrees C, just a few degrees above absolute zero. To freeze it, we need to get really extreme: -273 degrees C AND a pressure of around 25 atmospheres.

What will freeze first? ›

"It all depends on how fast the cooling occurs, and it turns out that hot water will not freeze before cold water but will freeze before lukewarm water. Water at 100 degrees C, for example, will freeze before water warmer than 60 degrees C but not before water cooler than 60 degrees C.

What is killing freeze? ›

If a frost period is sufficiently severe to end the growing season or delay its beginning, it is commonly referred to as a "killing frost." Because frost is primarily an event that occurs as the result of radiational cooling, it frequently occurs with a thermometer level temperature in the mid-30s.

Why can't humans freeze? ›

Ice crystals could damage the intricate structure of the cells. But the molecules scientists use instead are toxic, and most cells can't survive the process. So what about human bodies? “We can't yet cryopreserve even a very simple organ,” Bryant says.

Is liquid nitrogen Edible? ›

FDA says that while liquid nitrogen is nontoxic, it can cause severe damage to the skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidently ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain. There is also the risk of breathing problems, which may be especially problematic for those that suffer from asthma.

What temperature would flash freeze a human? ›

Is it possible to be instantly frozen? In physics and chemistry, flash freezing is the process whereby objects are frozen in just a few hours by subjecting them to cryogenic temperatures, or through direct contact with liquid nitrogen at −196 °C (−320.8 °F).

Can wet roads freeze? ›

During the day the water remains liquid, but during the night it freezes on the road surface. Furthermore, wet roads often freeze up very rapidly when the air above is dry. The reason for this is cooling from evaporation.

What liquids freeze the fastest? ›

Water will freeze faster than liquids with salt or sugar in them. Some liquids freeze faster than others because of viscosity, or thickness of the liquid. Viscosity is the resistance of a liquid to flow. For instance, a cup of honey will take longer to pour than a cup of water because the honey has higher viscosity.

What is the easiest liquid to freeze? ›

Water freezes fastest because water doesn't contain other ingredients. Water is H2O, hydrogen and oxygen.

How do you freeze water in 5 minutes? ›

This method of instant freezing is called “supercooling.” You can use salt, ice, and water to supercool water bottles in an instant. Supercooled water will remain a liquid until something, like a tapping motion, instantly kickstarts the freezing process.

What is the best liquid to freeze? ›

Water did freeze the fastest with an average of 56.6 minutes.

Can you freeze Styrofoam? ›

Polystyrene is considered safe for food use when in a solid state. However, heating can cause chemicals to leach from the foam and into the food.

How do you freeze without burning? ›

6 Tips for Preventing Freezer Burn
  1. Avoid long-term storage. Over extended periods of time, the best-protected food can still get freezer burnt. ...
  2. Keep the freezer door closed. ...
  3. Refrigerate before freezing. ...
  4. Set a low temperature. ...
  5. Use airtight containers. ...
  6. Wrap food.
Nov 3, 2021

Is 2 year old frozen chicken still good? ›

If kept frozen continuously, chicken will be safe indefinitely, so after freezing, it's not important if any package dates expire. For best quality, taste and texture, keep whole raw chicken in the freezer up to one year; parts, 9 months; and giblets or ground chicken, 3 to 4 months.

Is 2 year old frozen hamburger still good? ›

Ground beef is safe indefinitely if kept frozen, but it is best if used within 4 months. Refrigerate or freeze ground beef as soon as possible after purchase. This preserves freshness and slows the growth of bacteria.

Can I eat 5 day old leftovers? ›

Leftovers can be kept for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. After that, the risk of food poisoning goes up. If you don't think you'll be able to eat leftovers within four days, freeze them right away. Frozen leftovers will stay safe for a long time.

Can you put dry ice in a drink? ›

Can you put dry ice in a drink? Dry ice is safe for using in co*cktails, as long as you avoid swallowing and use gloves and tongs during handling. A 1-inch chunk will settle to the bottom of drinks and co*cktails and disappear in about 5 minutes.

How long will 1 lb of dry ice last? ›

If you have a 1 lb piece of dry ice that is changing from a solid to a gas at a rate of 5-10% per day, you can expect it to last you between 10-20 days in a freezer. What is this? Planning to use it within 10 days will be safest. Even with a small piece of dry ice, remember to handle it with care.

Can you refreeze dry ice? ›

A: No. Dry ice turns to a gas at –109.3° F, so even a freezer will be far too warm to prevent that from happening.

Do you put ice on top or bottom of cooler? ›

Start your layers with block ice down at the bottom of your cooler. Then add any frozen goods and the goods you need to keep very cold, like raw meat. Now pour a layer of ice cubes over everything, making sure that they are packed into every crevice. You want to leave as little empty space behind.

Why is Yeti so expensive? ›

In summary, the high cost of Yeti coolers can be attributed to their innovative design, superior construction, unparalleled insulation, heavy-duty components, certified bear-resistance, excellent warranty and customer service, and environmental commitment.

Does salt make ice last longer? ›

However, the ice will only melt if there is enough salt present to lower the freezing point of the water. If you don't add enough salt, then the ice will simply stay frozen. So, if you're trying to make ice last longer, it's important to use enough salt. In conclusion, don't fill your cooler with salt.

Has the ocean ever frozen? ›

At least 15 percent of the ocean is covered by sea ice some part of the year. Ocean water freezes just like freshwater, but at lower temperatures.

Is the bottom of the ocean frozen? ›

No matter how warm the surface of the ocean gets, the ocean's huge volume and deep basins keep temperatures at the bottom of the ocean at only slightly above freezing. At the abyssal zone, the part of the sea closest to the vents, it's way too cold to even dip a pinky into the water.

Why isn't the deep ocean frozen? ›

The gravitational pull of the moon, earth's spinning motion, and thermal convection combine to create large-scale flows of ocean water known as ocean currents. This constant motion of the ocean water helps keep the water molecules from freezing into the somewhat stationary state of ice crystals.

What can you freeze twice? ›

Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F. If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly, according to USDA.

What things are colder than ice? ›

Liquid nitrogen is much colder than ice. Nitrogen is a chemical element in group 16 of the periodic table. This is a group that contains metals, nonmetals, and metalloids. Nitrogen is a nonmetal.

Is it possible to be frozen for 100 years? ›

Cryonics is absolutely legal technology. In order to preserve your body or brain, it is enough to sign a contract. This can be done not only by the person himself but also by his relatives (after the patient's death). Under the terms of the contract, “KrioRus” stores the body for a hundred years.

Has anyone been cryogenically frozen yet? ›

As of 2014, about 250 corpses have been cryogenically preserved in the U.S., and around 1,500 people have signed up to have their remains preserved. As of 2016, four facilities exist in the world to retain cryopreserved bodies: three in the U.S. and one in Russia.

How much does it cost to be cryogenically frozen? ›

The minimum cost is $200,000 for a body and $80,000 for the brain alone. Most of Alcor's almost 1,400 living "members" pay by making the company the beneficiary of life insurance policies equal to the cost, More said.

How do you keep ice crystals from forming on frozen food? ›

Food placed inside the freezer is usually warmer than the appliance's internal temperature. As the food cools, it is normal to see some condensation turning into frost or ice crystals on it. To avoid this, make sure to store food in sealed, freezer-safe and moisture-proof containers or wraps.

How do you freeze things so they don't stick together? ›

If you don't have any freezer bags handy, and you're worried about food sticking together, divide items with baking parchment, foil or freezer paper. It's vital to keep your freezer at the right temperature: the Food Standards Agency recommends keeping your freezer at -18°C to keep all items thoroughly frozen.

How do you freeze ice clearly? ›

The only way to make perfectly clear ice cubes is through directional freezing. Boiled water helps eliminate air and impurities from water and leads to ice that is clearer than standard kitchen ice cubes but is not crystal clear.

Does aluminum foil stop freezer burn? ›

The One Thing You Should Always Do to Prevent Freezer Burn

Simple tricks like wrapping foods in double layers of wax paper or aluminum foil before storing them in freezer-safe containers or bags will go a long way to making sure your food doesn't go to waste.

Does salt prevent ice from forming in freezer? ›

The salt impedes the ability of the water molecules to form solid ice crystals. The degree of freezing point depression depends on how salty the solution is.

Do Ziploc bags prevent freezer burn? ›

Protect your food with Ziploc® brand Freezer Bags. Each bag locks out freezer burn while keeping food fresh and full of taste. Less freezer burn means less wasted food and money.

Is it better to freeze food in glass or plastic? ›

Plastic containers can release chemicals when frozen just as they can when heated. For better food safety, opt for glass. The right glass containers are freezer and refrigerator safe, meaning they won't release any harsh chemicals or break if frozen.

What is the best material to freeze food in? ›

Good freezing materials include rigid containers made of aluminum, glass, plastic, tin or heavily waxed cardboard; bags and sheets of moisture-vapor resistant wraps; and laminated papers made specially for freezing. Can aluminum foil be used as a freezer wrap? Heavy duty aluminum foil can be used as a freezer wrap.

Why should you not freeze things twice? ›

Remember that freezing does not kill bacteria, only prevents the microbes from multiplying. So thawed food will have some bacteria that can multiply at room temperature, meaning that if the food is refrozen, there will be an increase in bacterial count by the time it is thawed again.

Is it OK to freeze food in glass containers? ›

Glass is an excellent way to store food, whether it be in the pantry, the fridge, or even the freezer. It is perfectly safe and very easy to freeze food in glass, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Does boiling water before freezing make clear ice? ›

Boil water to make clear ice cubes

It is the impurities present in the water that give the ice cubes their opacity and whitish color. Invisible in the liquid state, these small impurities appear when the water solidifies. It is necessary to boil water to make these imperfections disappear.

Does freezing hot water make clear ice? ›

The problem: cloudy ice cubes, with unsightly bubbles in the center, even though you started with clear water and a clean ice tray. The answer: start with hot water, not cold. The reason: hot water holds less dissolved air than cold water. Those bubbles in the center of an ice cube come from air dissolved in the water.

Does hot water freeze faster? ›

Yes — a general explanation. Hot water can in fact freeze faster than cold water for a wide range of experimental conditions. This phenomenon is extremely counterintuitive, and surprising even to most scientists, but it is in fact real. It has been seen and studied in numerous experiments.


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