Wonder what foods freeze well? A lot more than you imagined! Discover the 40 best foods that you can freeze to save time and money. Your grocery budget will thank you!
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In my opinion, a good freezer is worth its weight in gold. And you know how much those things weigh, right? 🙂
I sometimes wonder how in the world I’d survive without the huge beast of chest freezer that we inherited from my parents when we got married.
Obviously, I would survive, I know. But goodness, it would make my life so much more complicated. Because that freezer has saved us so much time and money over the 12 years that we’ve had it!
Reasons to Use Your Freezer More
- It saves you time! Freeze already prepped food to have on hand for an easy meal or snack later.
- It saves you money! Buy in bulk and stock up on good sales and then freeze what you won’t use right away.
- It keeps things fresh! No more throwing out stale or spoiled food. Freeze it instead!
- It’s convenient! Having things on hand eliminates the need for last minute runs to the grocery store.
- It’s healthy! Freeze fresh fruits and veggies when they are in season or on sale to enjoy all year long.
What foods can you freeze?
I grew up in a household where we used our freezer a lot, so I was familiar with some of the more common food to freeze. But I’m always looking for more ways to save money on groceries. Plus, I hate working harder than I need to and I’m constantly watching for new ways to save more time.
As a result, over the years I’ve discovered a whole slew of other foods that freeze well too. And boy, have I been putting my freezer to work for me! It’s been awesome!
Want to do the same? This list of foods you can freeze will give you lots of great ideas!
Foods to Freeze to Save Time and Money
Butter freezes super well because it doesn’t change texture or consistency after it’s frozen. Whenever I find butter on sale at Aldi for $2/lb., I always buy a whole case and freeze it. It’s such a simple way to save money on our grocery bill and it’s super handy to not have to worry about running out of butter for a while!
Milk sometimes separates a bit when you freeze it, but if you shake it up once it’s thawed, it mixes together nicely again and isn’t a problem, especially if you are using it in cooking or baking.
To freeze, first check if your plastic milk jug has an indented circle on the side. If so, you can simply put your jug in the freezer as is because the circle area will expand and keep the jug from bursting as the milk freezes. If your jug doesn’t have the indented circle, you’ll want to empty about 2 inches of the container before you freeze it.
I like to always keep a gallon of milk in the freezer to eliminate that whole, “Oh no! We have no more milk in the house and I need to run to the store stat” problem. It has saved me more than once from needing to take the time to make a special trip to the store!
3. Sour Cream
The consistency of sour cream changes a bit when it’s frozen, but it still tastes fine! I just make sure that I use the previously frozen sour cream in recipes where the slight difference in consistency won’t be noticed.
4. Cottage Cheese
I rarely use cottage cheese except in my No Boil Lasagna and 5 Minute Mandarin Orange Salad, so I often had partial containers of cottage cheese in my fridge that would end up going bad before I got them used.
I finally decided to try freezing my leftover cottage cheese and it ended up being a success! Like sour cream, cottage cheese changes consistency and tends to get a bit more watery once frozen. But it still works well in casseroles, soups, lasagna and baked goods.
5. Cream Cheese
This is another item that changes consistency slightly when frozen. So while it might not work so well to spread on bagels, previously frozen cream cheese will work great in baking, cooking and in things like dips.
Have some yogurt that you’re worried will spoil before you get it used up? Put it in the freezer! Like other milk products, it changes consistency slightly but is still perfect for using in recipes like this Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake or these Flourless Double Chocolate Muffins.
If your yogurt is in the little yogurt cups, you can even make yogurt popsicles. Just insert a popsicle stick into the top, then once frozen, pop the yogurt out of packaging and viola! You have an easy yogurt popsicle!
More foods that freeze well
7. Shredded Cheese
See a great deal on shredded cheese? Stock up and put the extra bags in the freezer! You can even shred your own cheese and freeze it that way if you prefer. It tends to clump a bit more but I don’t usually find it to be that huge of an issue.
8. Onions | Peppers | Carrots
Yes, you can freeze vegetables raw and it’s actually a great time saver! Simply dice or slice them, put them in a freezer bag and you are good to go the next time you need onions, peppers or carrots for a recipe!
If you have the time and patience, you can also flash freeze your veggies. This method will make it a bit easier to get small amounts of onions, carrots or peppers because they won’t clump together as much. To flash freeze, simply spread out the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet, then freeze. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.
Also, you might want to double bag your onions so that everything else in your freezer doesn’t take on their flavor. Ask me how I figured that tip out!
Helpful Tool: This little chopper is one of my absolute favorite kitchen tools because it makes dicing large amounts of onions, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and more super easy! I use it all the time!
Left with half a zucchini? Or have a gardener friend share a bunch of zucchini with you that you are sure how to use up?
The easy solution is to grate it up and freeze it! Super easy and so convenient. Whenever you are ready to use it, just thaw, drain off the excess liquid and you are good to go. If you prefer to freeze diced zucchini, it’s better to blanch it first. Learn how to freeze diced zucchini here.
Need some delicious ideas for your frozen zucchini? Here are 40 inexpensive zucchini recipes to help you out!
Frozen grapes are just the yummiest! They’re awesome for snacking on in the summer and can also be a great way to save money. Buy a bunch when they’re on sale, freeze them and you’re all set with fruit for snacks or lunches.
Frozen bananas are perfect for baking and using in smoothies. They will get mushy and darken in color once frozen, but it doesn’t affect their flavor.
To freeze, peel and cut into whatever shape you prefer, flash freeze and then transfer to freezer bags. If you plan to use the bananas in baking and need them mashed, you can also mash them and measure them into the desired portion and then freeze them that way. Just label your bag/container so you know how much it holds!
More of the best foods to freeze
Berries can be so expensive! So when I see them on sale for a great price I love to stock up and freeze a bunch.
To freeze, simply wash, drain thoroughly, bag and put in the freezer! Or you can use the flash method I mentioned when I talked about freezing onions, peppers and carrots. This will make it easier to grab just a handful of berries at a time, which is especially nice for softer berries like raspberries.
Frozen berries get mushy once thawed, so you’ll want to either eat them frozen (so refreshing!) or use them in smoothies or in baking. If you are using the berries in baking, most times you don’t need to thaw them before adding them to the recipe.
We love pesto! And one of my favorite things to plant is basil because I know I’ll be able to make lots of fresh pesto with it. The problem, of course, is using it before it spoils. But freezing pesto is the perfect solution!
I like to use this pan to freeze pesto in small portions. I simply freeze the filled pan and then once frozen, I gently remove the “cubes” and place them in a freezer bag or freezer safe container. I find the small portion to be perfect since it thaws quickly and is also great for adding just a bit of flavor to things.
You can also use an ice cube tray, but I’ve found that they tend to absorb the flavor and often get stained too, which is why I prefer my metal muffin pan.
14. Pasta Sauce | Tomato Paste
Tired of throwing out that partially used can of tomato paste or jar of pasta sauce? Start freezing it and save yourself some money!
You can put it in a freezer safe container to freeze or try my muffin pan trick that I use with pesto. The small pan works well for tomato paste. And the larger muffin pans work great for pasta sauce. Once frozen, just remove from the pan and transfer to a freezer bag. This is especially handy for freezing specific measurements!
15. Citrus Juice | Citrus Zest
It’s cheaper to buy a large bag of lemons, limes and oranges right? So why not buy a bagful and then juice and freeze whatever citrus you don’t need.
I love to use my ice cube trays for this. It’s super easy and one cube equals 2 Tbsp. of juice.
If you’re going to be freezing the juice, you might as well freeze the citrus zest too, right? Just zest as usual, then store in a freezer bag to use as needed. So convenient!
Helpful Tip: To get the most juice from your citrus, microwave it for just a tiny bit until it’s warm. Heating your citrus softens the membranes which allows them to release more juice, meaning you’ll get more for your money. Yay!
We aren’t really fans of avocados plain, but I recently discovered a homemade salad dressing that we like that uses an avocado to make it nice and creamy. The thing is, avocados can be pricy if you don’t buy them on sale! So I’m buying a few when I see a sale and then freezing them following these instructions.
Basically, you need to sprinkle the cut avocado with lemon juice to keep them from browning and then freeze them that way. Frozen avocado doesn’t work great for eating it plain but it’s totally fine for things like dressings and other recipes where avocado is mixed with something else.
More foods you can freeze
I cannot tell you how often I’ve had garlic begin to sprout before I got it used! I finally got smart and started freezing my garlic as soon as I bring it home from the store, and it has totally been a game changer!
You can freeze garlic whole or in individual cloves. When you need a clove of garlic, just use it as you would if it wasn’t frozen. And yes, it even works in a garlic press as easily as if it wasn’t frozen.
18. Apple Pie Filling
Kristen from Joyfully Thriving first introduced me to the whole idea of freezing apple pie filling. And to be honest, I was pretty excited when I realized that I could keep apple dessert kits in the freezer and have them ready to pull out for an easy dessert whenever needed.
Basically, you peel and slice your apples, mix in any additional dry ingredients and then freeze it all together in a freezer bag. When you are ready to make your pie, just add any additional filling ingredients (my favorite apple pie recipe calls for butter and milk too) and proceed as usual- there’s no need to thaw!
The great thing is, you can use this same idea for Apple Crisp, Easy Apple Dumplings and all sorts of other apple desserts. Just add your dry ingredients to your apples, mix, then freeze. And you’ve got an easy prep dessert at your fingertips!
Want to keep your yeast fresh for pretty much forever? Store it in the freezer! It works like a charm and will keep for years.
Keep homemade or bought cookies fresh by freezing them! I love using a big 5 qt. ice cream bucket for storing homemade cookies in the freezer.
23. Cookie Dough
Who doesn’t love the ability to enjoy warm, fresh-baked cookies in a matter of minutes any time you want them? Freezing homemade cookie dough makes that totally possible.
Just roll the cookie dough into balls and place in a freezer safe container, being careful not to squeeze the dough balls too close together so they are easy to remove later. If you prefer to use a freezer bag, place cookie dough balls on a baking sheet and flash freeze, then transfer to the freezer bag.
When the urge for some fresh baked cookies hit, pull whatever amount of cookies you want from the freezer and bake as usual, adding 1 to 2 minutes to the bake time.
More food to freeze to save time
Muffins and sweetbreads freeze super well. In fact, freezing them often seems to make them even moister. I love making a big batch of Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins, Flourless Double Chocolate Muffins or Crumbly Pumpkin Bread and then freezing part of it to have for handy snacks or desserts when needed.
I know some people say that you shouldn’t freeze a frosted cake, but should wait to frost it until after it’s thawed. But I find it much more convenient to freeze cakes frosted! Yes, sometimes the icing gets little beads of liquid on it once it’s thawed but it’s usually not a problem and it definitely doesn’t affect the flavor.
One word of caution though. I have had some issues with the color bleeding out of homemade colored frosting when I froze it. So just be aware of that!
See your favorite bread on sale? Stock up and freeze it for some easy savings. You can also freeze homemade bread, which is super handy since many recipes make more than a couple of loaves.
25. Bread Crumbs
I don’t use bread crumbs a lot and had trouble a number of times with them getting rancid before I got them used. Now I store them in the freezer and it’s totally eliminated the issue!
If you’re going to make pancakes, why not make a double batch and freeze the extras? It’s such a time saver and makes a simple, quick breakfast or lunch.
To reheat, you can either microwave them or if are like us and prefer them a little crispy, use your toaster.
27. Pie Crust
I love my Super Easy Homemade Pie Crust recipe because it is so incredibly easy to handle and makes delicious pie crusts. But since it makes three to four pie crusts and I typically don’t need that many, I had to figure out what to do with the extra crusts.
Freezing pie dough has been one of my favorite discoveries! Just shape the dough into a small disc (or discs, depending on how many crusts you are freezing), wrap tightly in plastic, place in a freezer bag and freeze. When you are ready to use, simply thaw, roll out the dough and proceed as usual.
More food that freezes well
28. Cooked Rice
Need a small amount of cooked rice for a recipe? Save time and cook up a big batch and then freeze the extra. You can either put the cooked rice in a freezer safe container or do the flash freeze method mentioned earlier so that it’s easier to get small amounts out at a time.
Want to use the rice as a side with another dish? Just add a little water to the rice when reheating to keep it from drying out. If you are using the rice in a soup such as my Curry Chicken and Rice Soup, you can just add it as is. In fact, you don’t even need to bother to thaw it!
29. Cooked or Dry Beans
I love to cook up a big batch of beans and then freeze them in 2 cup portions (the equivalent of 1 can). It saves me a ton of time! You can also freeze dried beans as well as homemade refried beans.
Have tortillas that you aren’t ready to use but are nearing their expiration date? The freezer will save them for you!
Help your flour last longer by storing it in the freezer! You can either leave it in the paper packaging it comes in, or if opened, simply transfer it to a freezer bag.
32. Chips, Pretzels, Graham crackers, Crackers, Popcorn
Have trouble finishing chips, pretzels or crackers before they get stale? Put them in the freezer! This is also great if you want to save money by stocking up on a sale.
Keep nuts fresh longer by storing them in the freezer.
34. Popcorn Kernels
We love homemade popcorn, but sometimes it goes months before I get a bag used up. After several months, I used to have trouble with the popcorn not popping very well and would have lots of unpopped kernels.
My mother-in-law suggested I try storing my popcorn kernels in the freezer and it totally took care of the problem!
More Freezer Food Ideas
It’s super convenient to have frozen soup on hand to pull out for an easy lunch or dinner. And homemade soup is so much healthier than store bought too!
To freeze, just cool soup and then transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze. Don’t forget to not fill the container completely full to allow room for expansion! Usually, about 1/2 to 1 inch is sufficient.
It’s so easy to make a double batch of things like Cheeseburger Casserole or Oven Ready Lasagna and then put the extra casserole in the freezer. Such a sanity saver for busy days when you have no time to make dinner!
Love the idea of making freezer meals? Check out this free freezer cooking workshop!
37. Broth | Stock
Have part of a container of bought chicken broth that you are worried will spoil before you need it? Transfer it to a freezer safe container and freeze it! I also love to freeze my homemade chicken broth.
38. Lunch Meat
We eat a fair amount to sandwiches around here for lunches, and one of the ways that I keep it affordable to do that is by stocking up on quality lunch meat when I can get it on sale. I just freeze whatever we won’t use by the expiration date and it works wonderfully.
39. Raw Meat
Whether it’s bacon, ham, pork loin, turkey, chicken, ground beef, roasts or steaks, stocking up on meat when it’s on sale and then freezing it is such an easy way to save money!
Pork products tend to freezer burn more quickly though, so they should be used within four to six months of freezing.
40. Cooked Meat
One of my absolute favorite ways to save time on dinner prep is to keep cooked meat such as bacon, ground beef and cubed chicken in the freezer. It means that I can cut down on the amount of time it takes to make so many recipes!
For the ground beef, I’ll divide it into 1 lb. amounts. The chicken gets frozen in 1 ½ and 2 cup portions. And the bacon? I cut each slice in half and then freeze it that way to use in quiche and breakfast wraps.