This how to freeze food article can help you with all the necessary freezing dos and don’ts you need to keep your freezer well-stocked—and not a frozen wasteland! The tips below are a useful starting point, and there’s more detailed information under specific ingredients in our Seasonal Produce guide. We also have a helpful article on freezing baked goods. Try one of our top 10 make-ahead dinners or one of our delicious slow-cooker soup recipes that are great for freezing for later. Never get freezer burned with this handy guide on how to freeze food.
How to Freeze Different Foods
- Chicken: If you frequently use boneless skinless chicken breasts in recipes, package them for the freezer in recipe-size portions. For best results, freeze the chicken as soon as possible after purchasing it. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in heavy-duty foil, then place in a freezer weight plastic zip top bag.
- Ground Beef: Divide ground beef into half-pound portions before freezing. Place each portion in a freezer-weight resealable plastic bag, then flatten before sealing. Not only will smaller portions thaw more quickly, but they also allow you to thaw only the amount needed for your recipe.
- Casseroles: Prepare casserole as directed in foil-lined baking dish, making sure there is enough foil extending over edges of dish to cover and seal. Freeze casserole until firm. Remove from dish; wrap tightly with foil. Place foil-wrapped casserole in labeled and dated freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When
- Fruits & Vegetables: Slice or dice the fruit or vegetable then place in freezer-weight resealable plastic bag.
- Soups, Stews & Sauces: Let soups, stews and sauces cool to room temperature then skim the fat off before freezing. Store them in a plastic storage container with an air-tight lid. Leave an inch of space to allow for expansion during freezing.
- DO label items with a description and the date before placing them in your freezer.
- DO keep a list of what is in your freezer and the dates things were added. Cross items off as you remove them.
- DO store similar foods together – staples on one shelf, casseroles and prepared food on another.
- DO freeze foods in individual portions. It’s beneficial since you can thaw only what you need and it shortens thawing time.
- DO use ice cube trays to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil. After frozen transfer to a resealable freezer-weight plastic bag to quickly add to sauces, soups and sautés.
Freezer No-No Tips
- DON’T freeze food while hot. Always cool food to room temperature before storing it in the freezer as a safety precaution.
- DON'T use containers that are too large for the food. Squeeze excess air from freezer bags before sealing.
- DON'T fill your freezer with baking dishes. Line dishes with foil before assembling a casserole, wrap and freeze the finished casserole and then lift from dish and store in a resealable freezer-weight plastic bag.