What You CAN and CANNOT Freeze

On March 1, 2017 by Erin Fullam

What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

One of the most commonly asked questions we hear is, “What are foods that freeze well?”

Or, “Which foods DON’T freeze well?” We also hear, “Wow, can you really freeze THAT?”

Here at Once a Month Meals we tend to make our own rules and break a few others when it comes to freezing food. We have done a lot of testing in our own kitchen to back up this list! So don’t worry. We have provided you with a few tips and tricks for items that are typically thought of as foods you should not freeze. There are a few basic guidelines to follow, but we like to twist a few of the rules when it comes to our menus. Feel free to share in the comments as well your tips and tricks for freezing!


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't
Two for one sales on your favorite berries have you sad because you don’t know if you’ll go through them all? How about some great deals on seasonal fruits like mangoes that you want to enjoy all year without the price tag? All fruit can be frozen! Prior to freezing, wash properly, dry and divide into easy portions. This way you can just take out of the freezer what you need for a recipe without worrying about the entire bag.

If properly stored, fruit can last up to a year in your freezer. If you are going to use it in a smoothie, it can be frozen. It’s going to get blended smooth anyway so texture is not an issue. Berries of all kinds, bananas, apples, oranges, pineapple, kiwi, mango, peaches and nectarines, cherries, you name it, you can freeze it! Flash freezing is also helpful so you don’t get big chunks of fruit stuck together.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't
Stop letting those last corn cobs or tomatoes on the vine go to waste! You can freeze most vegetables! Prior to freezing, wash properly, separate if applicable, and dry. Blanching most vegetables will keep them at their peak. (Blanching means dropping the vegetables into boiling hot water, then immediately into ice water then drying.) Here’s a helpful chart that shows vegetable blanching times.

Dry and divide into easy portions.  This way you can just take out of the freezer what you need for a recipe without worrying about the entire bag.

If properly stored, vegetables can last up to a year in your freezer. Here are a few of our posts on how can freeze onions, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and corn. Leafy greens such as spinach, chard and kale can also be frozen. Just chop and blanch and store. You can even put them in ice cube trays for easy portions for stews and soups.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

Many people assume that dairy isn’t one of the foods that freeze well, but we beg to differ.

Dairy is one of the sections in the store where you can really buy in bulk and take advantage of your freezer space. You can freeze milk (even in the jug, just pour a little out on top for expansion purposes), cheese of any kind (just slice, shred or cube before freezing so it won’t crumble), cream cheese, and even yogurt.

Would you have guessed that eggs are one of the foods that freeze well? Eggs can also be frozen raw or cooked. You cannot freeze them in the shell, but simply crack them and place in a freezer safe container. You can even use an old ice cube tray to freeze egg whites or egg yolks separated for certain recipes. Eggs can freeze up to a year!

We like play the rebel in this category quite a bit, especially with sour cream and cream cheese. We have quite a few dishes that are heavy in the cream department that make it onto our Once A Month Meals menus. Yes, sour cream and cream cheese are notorious for separating or becoming crumbly when frozen and reheated. However, it is our experience that this can be tempered a bit. If you reheat the dish slowly and stir regularly it will most likely return to nearly its original state. Now these recipes are not going to be winning awards for food presentation, but they are going to taste good.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't
All meats can be frozen cooked or uncooked. It is best to remove the meat from the store packaging and place it into a freezer bag or package it with your Foodsaver. Thawing in your refrigerator is best because if you don’t use it, you can refreeze it. If you thaw using other methods, you MUST cook the meat before refreezing. Here’s a great post on how to utilize some of the big meat sales you have in your market often. Ground beef/turkey/chicken can be found on sale in bulk often too. One of our favorite tricks is to cook the meat, then package in portions, and freeze for later use or a quick fix meal night.

Baked Goods

What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

Some of our favorite foods that freeze well are baked items! We recommend flash freezing most of the smaller baked items for better storage. You simply need to store them properly and you will have no problem enjoying your favorites! Even pancakes and french toast can be made ahead of time in larger batches and frozen individually for you to enjoy any day of the week. Tortillas are another item you can buy ahead of time or make and freeze. Just place parchment in between so you can easily remove them after thawing. In addition, you can freeze the batter/dough before cooking the items. Here are some items that can be frozen before ever hitting the oven:

  • Pizza dough – Rise, and knead according to directions. At the point you would bake, simply allow to sit in refrigerator several hours before freezing to slow the yeast and then wrap appropriately and freeze.
  • Pie dough – Prepare as usual, wrap and freeze. You may also choose to make the entire pie and freeze it uncooked. Simply remove from the freezer go straight to the oven (although be certain to not use a glass pie pan if doing this) and bake for 1.5 times the amount indicated.
  • Batter – Whether it is pancake, waffle or muffin, you can freeze it after mixing and before baking. Just put it in a freezer container, leave enough head space, etc. When you defrost just make sure to do so slowly in your refrigerator allowing enough time to properly defrost.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

Here is another one that doesn’t usually make the “foods that freeze well” list. But we have tested the rules and found them to be wrong! Yes, if you boil the pasta too long before freezing it has a tendency to turn mushy when frozen. Instead, cook the pasta al dente (basically take 2-3 minutes off the suggested cooking time). Since the pasta is slightly undercooked, it will cook a bit more when added to a dish and taste more like fresh cooked pasta. After it is cooked, drain the pasta and then douse it with cold water. This will cool the pasta off and further stop the cooking process. Now you can add it to your dish or freeze it for an evening that you just don’t have an extra 15 minutes to boil pasta.

Also, we commonly freeze pasta salad. Our best suggestion for doing this is to make sure you cook the pasta al dente but that you also freeze the “dressing” or liquid ingredients separate from the pasta mix and simply mix before serving. This will keep your pasta from absorbing too much of the liquid and becoming mushy during the freezer process.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

Also an item commonly thought not to freeze well. Yes, you will sometimes find it becomes crumbly when frozen and reheated, but not so much when it is added to a dish. Also, like pasta, if you leave the rice slightly undercooked it will do better when defrosting and reheating. However, you can also freeze individual servings of rice and they will come out just fine. Again, just remember to under cook it a bit.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't
Don’t fret about your garden herbs going to waste! The easiest way to freeze your fresh herbs is to put them in ice cube trays with a small amount of water. Once frozen store them in a freezer safe bag or Foodsaver them and they are portioned for your use all year!

Pantry Items

What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

Do you have limited pantry space? There are plenty of pantry items that belong on the list of foods that freeze well. You can freeze most of your baking goods! You can store nuts in the freezer. This is actually preferred because their natural oils can go bad. Chocolate chips, chocolate bars, etc can all be stored properly in the freezer. Flours, sugars, and other dry goods don’t necessarily have to be stored in the freezer, but in humid months and humid climates it can be beneficial so they last longer. You can even store evaporated milk, condensed milk, shredded coconut or tiny marshmallows that you use on your holiday dishes.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

Roast chicken not only makes your house smell divine, but it’s a dish that serves you more than once. After you’ve picked the roast to pieces, place the carcass into your slow cooker, along with a few herbs and mirepoix (the holy trinity of cooking – onions, celery and carrots), then cover with water and let cook for about 8 hours. Strain and then you can place it into portioned bags and freeze. Or you can let it sit in a bowl in your refrigerator overnight to skim the fat, then portion into bags and freeze. The same can be done for beef, veal or vegetable broth. You can also freeze soups that you have made or if you only use a portion of a can of store-bought, dump the remainder in a bag and freeze it.


What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't

Most sauces can be frozen if stored properly in the freezer. It’s best to let them cool, then portion into freezer bags. Lay them flat in your freezer for optimal storage space!

Full Meals

What You Can and Cannot Freeze - Foods that Freeze Well and a few that Don't
I wouldn’t be a Once a Month Meals writer if I didn’t mention full meals, would I? You can find a variety of menus on our site – we promise you’ll find something that you want to enjoy! We tend to push the freezing envelope with full meals. You will find that we freeze pasta and even dishes with cream cheese. But we keep you covered with step by step instructions to thaw and cook your dishes. Please read the recipes carefully and the freezing directions to avoid any issues.

You can rest assured that our freezer meal recipes are foods that freeze well and that they have gone through the testing to prove it. When we develop a new recipe, we test it in our kitchens. But we also send all of our recipes (from our site and from our blog partners) to volunteer test cooks who provide feedback on the cooking process and on how well the dish froze.

As always if you have a recipe you are questionable about freezing or have concerns, please feel free to contact us at info @ onceamonthmeals.com and we’ll be happy to review with you!


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

What You Can and Cannot Freeze - The rules aren't as rigid as you think! Here is our list of foods that freeze well and foods that don't!


Join the discussion
  1. How about those cake frosting containers we can never seem to finish? I’ve had good luck with freezing those.

    1. GREAT tip! I do the same kind of thing with coconut milk or tomato puree in ice trays. I always seem to end up with half full cans and don’t want to waste it!

  2. Seeing as I cook for 9 people every night, prepping and freezing is the only way to get an easy night. Due to a supermarket overstock of broccoli and cauliflower I managed to get a lot really cheap but in peak condition. Prepped veg, parboiled and drained, home made cheese sauce from a roue base, poured over the top, cooled in the fridge and then popped in the freezer, bagged and wrapped. Came to 30p/per person for a full meal. To cook it was just remove from freezer, remove bag, cover with foil and pop in the oven at 180 deg for an hour as the stoneware dish was huge remove foil and bake for a further 10 mins uncovered to lightly brown. Had so much veg that there is a 2nd broccoli and cauliflower cheese bake in the freezer as well.

    1. I did the same but when it thawed the sauce had separated and looked disgusting so I binned it. I thawed in the fridge as advised so not sure what I did wrong.

  3. Question: can you freeze dressing like Ranch dressing? I wan to buy in bulk of ranch dressing, but didn’t know if I could freeze what I’m not using. Thanks

    1. I think you could Jullie! The only issue with dairy products is that they sometimes separate when they thaw, but typically they stay together better if you thaw them slowly in the refrigerator and then mix them well once thawed. We like to bend the rules a little.

  4. Awesome post! Thank you so much for all the information. I kind of suspected about pasta and rice and now I know for sure. Thanks again!

    1. Yes! I bought a 10lb bag from Costco. Chopped and sliced all of them and bagged them in individual portion sizes and went into the freezer. For the chopped potatoes to cook- I microwave them for 2 minutes and then put them in a frying pan, either fried as is or keep going add a little milk and butter and turn them into mashed potatoes. For the sliced potatoes, I thaw them as quickly as I can and fry them in my deep fryer to make chips! I leave them under a towel in between batches so they don’t brown too badly. Cheers!

  5. does any one know if you can freeze leftover creamed corn. I am talking about the corn cooked with cream cheese, butter and heavy cream?

    1. Hi, Anna. I don’t see why not. With some of the heavy hitters in the dairy department, I’d say just warm it up slow and stir frequently to keep any separation to a minimum. It might not look as pretty as it when it was made before freezing, but it should taste just as good. 🙂

    1. Hi, Tom. If you are referring to a coconut cream pie filling, there would be a good chance it would separate. Your best bet would be to vacuum seal it to minimize the ice crystals and help maintain its original consistency.

  6. I have extra filling of crab/ cream cheese and sausage/cream cheese mixture that we didn’t bake off for Christmas. Both of the recipes call for the fillings to be put into crescent rolls. I was wondering if I could freeze either the mixture separately in a container OR go ahead and make them up then freeze them that way? If I make them up, would you recommend cooking them fully or just part way before freezing.

    1. I would freeze separately and reheat slowly following the directions under the “dairy” section. That way if for whatever reason it’s not good you don’t lose the cream cheese and the crescent rolls.

    2. I’m replying a year late, I’m sorry! Hopefully this is helpful to someone though. I think the best way would to use refrigerated/cold croissant dough, add the fillings and roll up. Place those in the freezer and just bake the croissants as normal — but thaw first before baking. I worked at a donut shop but we used croissant dough and small breakfast sausages and would prep the day before like this.

  7. After you freeze the veggies and fruits, how do you warm them up? Can you just steam them?

    I am wanting to make ahead as much of my toddlers’ food as possible so I’m trying to find the best way to do that.

    1. Yes! Both can be frozen. We have a post specifically on dairy here: https://onceamonthmeals.com/blog/series/kitchen-tips/how-to-freeze-dairy-products/. But the short answer is you can freeze them right in the container or in ice cube trays. Then remove the cubes to a freezer bag. You will want to thaw them slowly and shake or stir vigorously before you use them. Also for some reason, heavy cream doesn’t whip well (like for whipped cream) after being frozen. So just take note if that is what you need it for.

  8. I see that some of your recipes contain frozen vegetables as ingredients (e.g. paleo lemon chicken with green beans). I thought it wasn’t safe to refreeze foods that had once been frozen. Bacteria levels can get too high.

    1. Refreezing can be done safely if you do your research well. Also, I am not seeing a recipe in our system called “Paleo Lemon Chicken with Green Beans,” is that the exact name of the recipe? I’m happy to take a look. However, our instructions are to cook to freeze so initially you wouldn’t be “refreezing” anything anyway.

  9. We eat a diet heavy in vegetables, protein and dense carbs . (high fiber). We use veggies in place of pasta and rice, like cauliflower and zucchini zoodles. Some vegetables produce a lot of water when cooked, like zucchini. How would we freeze things like zucchini lasagna and prevent the extreme juiciness?

  10. I’m considering making my own tv dinners by making the entree but using frozen veggies from the large bags of frozen veggies and portioning them in my trays. Since the veggies have not been thawed or cooked, just moved from one container to another , would there be any problem with safety or heating later?

  11. I am making some stew for my freezer – meat and vegetables with a vacuum sealer. My question is can I freeze it all without the spices and water (adding it after it thawed, when I put it in the slow cooker) or do I have to add the liquid prior to freezing the packaged food? Will it effect how it freezes/tastes? Thank you

    1. Sharyl, you don’t have to freeze them with liquid. The vegetables will freeze best once blanched, but the meat should be fine. However, if you know you are making a stew you might find it easier to assemble the stew (liquid, spices, and all) and freeze as one solid block. That will save you a ton of time. Then you only have to thaw and dump it into your slow cooker on your cooking day. Freezing those ingredients separately seems like an extra step if you know you are making a certain stew. But again, that’s just how we would do it! But overall, you should be fine! Does that make sense? We are always here and happy to help!

  12. I’ve never had good luck freezing milk in the jug. I always get these solid flecks in the milk. Very off-putting. If you can tell me how to avoid those, I’d love to be able to freeze milk so that it’s drinkable when thawed.

  13. Such an intriguing site. I’m so glad I found it yesterday. I loved the article on what you can and cannot freeze, but noticed you never got to the part about what you can’t freeze. Or is there really nothing you can’t freeze if prepped properly?

    1. Oh Jeannette we are so glad you found us!

      And yes, it’s true. There really isn’t anything you can’t freeze. You truly can freeze almost anything. It really comes down to how WELL it freezes, how long you can freeze it, and if freezing the item will change the texture/taste of your food.

      And yes, a HUGE part of that is packaging! If you spend good money on quality food, do the same with your packaging. Be sure to also never put warm food in the freezer, and to get as much air out as possible!

      Jeannette, you might find this post of ours helpful too! >> https://onceamonthmeals.com/blog/series/get-started/how-long-do-freezer-meals-last/

  14. We bought a 118 ounce can or 7# 6 ounces of Bushs’ beans. How can we s tore the remainder after

    1. If you want to store the baked beans, you could put whatever is left over in a ziplock freezer bag (or freezer container of your choice), and freeze the rest until you’re ready to eat. But, it will likely have a different texture after freezing, especially for a long period of time. One idea is to repurpose it into another recipe (bean soup, slow cooker chicken and baked beans etc.), so that you don’t notice the texture change as much. Let us know how it turns out!

  15. Wow, this was a a wonderful article. Very, very helpful indeed. I’ve been spending a bit of time this past week looking at all kinds of ways to assist in meal prep. Thank you very much. I will certainly be trying some of these tips for a start and will definitely keep you posted on how it goes.

    1. We would not recommend freezing lettuce. It would be better to purchase fresh lettuce at the time that you thaw and serve your frozen meal.

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