Freezing food is an excellent method of preserving the nutritional value of food, while extending its life and also reducing unnecessary waste! So, you may be wondering what food can I freeze? Additionally, what foods are unsuitable for freezing and how long can food be frozen for? If you’re someone who batch cooks or often has leftovers from cooking, then learning about what meals freeze well will be a game-changer, and will undoubtedly save your time and money, and cut out the unnecessary evil of food waste.

Not only that, if you’re meal prepping with a goal of trying to reduce weight or perhaps follow a clean eating plan, having a freezer stocked with healthy food will help you resist the temptation of indulging in less-healthy options, and also obliterate the risk of being short of food and resorting to ordering takeaway.

Below you’ll find both a list of foods suitable and unsuitable for freezing, along with a list of meals that freeze well. As an added bonus, you’ll also find included guidelines regarding how long food can be frozen for. It may shock you how long freezing can preserve the life of food!

What food can I freeze? - Supermarket freezer stocked with food

Foods suitable for freezing

Freezing is a form of food preservation which inhibits growth of enzymes and microorganisms to delay the spoiling of food. In Europe, around 88 million tonnes of food waste is generated annually; it accounts for approximately 20% of the food supply and is attributed to 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. Americans waste a staggering 150,000 tonnes of food per day, or approximately 30-40% of the food supply! By making simple changes to how you manage and store your food, you can save yourself on the cost of purchasing more food, the cost of disposal and the unnecessary time wasted having to prepare more meals, while doing your part for the environment.

Did you know? Frozen fruit and vegetables often have greater nutritional retention compared to their fresh counterparts whose nutritional value degrades with oxygen and sun exposure!

Meat:

  • Bacon
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Deli meat
  • Hot dogs
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Sausage
  • Turkey
  • Wild game (e.g. duck, goose, venison)

Seafood:

  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Oily fish (e.g. herring, salmon, trout)
  • Prawns
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • White fish (e.g. cod, haddock, whiting)

Eggs:

  • Raw egg whites
  • Raw whole eggs (mix the white with the yolk)
  • Scrambled egg

Dairy:

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Milk (especially low-fat or skimmed milk)
  • Yoghurt

Fruit:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries (e.g. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • Cherries
  • Fruit juice
  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Smoothies

Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Spinach

Grains, nuts and baked goods:

  • Bread (e.g. sliced pan, soda bread, tortilla wraps)
  • Cake
  • Muffins
  • Nuts
  • Pasta
  • Rice

This microwave-safe meal prep containers review may be just what you’re looking for to store, freeze and carry these foods on-the-go!

What food can I freeze? - Frozen blueberries in a bowl

Foods unsuitable for freezing

Some foods just don’t thaw well and can often lead to discolouration, taste distortion or impaired texture once thawed. Other foods with a high water content tend to become soggy when thawed. Additionally, while milk can be frozen, it may become grainy or the water and fat may separate. However, some people address this issue by shaking the milk well before use.

While we’re on the topic of freezing liquids, have you ever put a bottle of water into the freezer and came back to find it cracked? Well that’s because liquid expands when frozen by approximately 9%; that’s why it’s necessary to never completely fill a bottle to the brim with liquid that you intend to freeze. This applies to soups and broths too! So always remember to leave extra space (only fill till it’s about 3/4 full) to allow for liquid expansion.

While there’s nothing stopping you from freezing the below products, you may regret it later.

  • Butternut squash raw
  • Cabbage
  • Coffee
  • Cucumber
  • Eggs boiled
  • Eggs – raw in their shell (they expand when frozen and crack)
  • Lettuce
  • Milk (almond, oat and soy milk may become grainy or separate after thawing)
  • Pasta – raw
  • Potatoes – raw
  • Rice – raw
  • Tomatoes – whole

What meals freeze well?

Batch cooking is truly revolutionary for people who lead busy lives, those following meal plans and cooking meals for themselves or even just for people who simply don’t enjoy cooking. Fortunately, there are endless lists of meals that can be made in bulk and frozen for later. The same principle applies for leftovers. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve cooked slightly too much, you may have saved it for later, threw it out, or you might even have just loaded the surplus food onto your plate. This isn’t ideal for people following a weight loss plan or are on a rigid macro-tracking programme.

Thankfully, you’ll never have to feel the need to do that again after being equipped with the below list of meals that can be frozen. Your only obstacle now is to practice your tetris skills for fitting it all into the freezer! Or alternatively, invest in some compact food storage freezer bags which not only have a zip slider, but they’re also airtight leak-proof and reusable!

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What food can I freeze? - Xup Zip lock freezer bags

  • Breakfast burrito
  • Casseroles (e.g. beef casserole, lamb casserole, vegetarian casserole)
  • Chilli con carne
  • Curries (e.g. beef curry, chicken curry, vegetarian curry)
  • Egg muffins
  • Meatballs
  • Noodles
  • Omelette
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta dishes (e.g. lasagne, pasta carbonara, risotto)
  • Pizza
  • Porridge
  • Sandwiches (without mayonnaise-based dressing)
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Smoothies
  • Soups
  • Spaghetti bolognese
  • Stews
  • Stiry fry
  • Waffles

What food can I freeze? - Soup in a bowl

How long can I freeze food for?

So you’re now educated on the types of food that are suitable for freezing. But just how long can they be frozen for? Well, check out this guide for Cold Food Storage Chart

Summary

  • Freezing is a process which inhibits enzyme and microbial activity to preserve food for longer
  • Most meat, fish and poultry are suitable for freezing
  • Some milks may separate or become grainy when frozen
  • Care should be observed to determine if the type of egg is suitable for freezing
  • There is greater retention of nutritional value in many frozen foods compared to their fresh food counterparts

Did any of the foods above surprise you that they could be frozen? Are you someone who freezes food regularly to preserve food, and if so, have you any tips on freezing food? Also, do you prefer fresh or frozen food? E.g. fresh vegetables are often favoured over frozen foods in many households. I’d love to hear your comments and tips below.

Sources

Andress, E., Harrison, J. and Reynolds, S., 2014. So Easy To Preserve. 6th ed. Athens: The University of Georgia.

FoodSafety.gov. 2019. Cold Food Storage Chart. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2020].

Food Safety – European Commission. 2020. Food Waste – Food Safety – European Commission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2020].

Greutman, L., 2019. 83 Foods To Freeze Or Foods NOT To Freeze. [online] Lauren Greutman. Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2020].

Safefood.eu. 2020. Safefood | Storing Food Safely | Freezer Faqs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2020].

Shoemaker, S., 2020. Can You Freeze Milk? Guidelines For Different Types. [online] Healthline. Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2020].

Usda.gov. 2020. Food Waste Faqs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2020].

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12 Comments

  • Felicity · 12/05/2020 at 7:55 PM

    Great article on what food I can freeze. Some I was not eve aware of. Great attention to detail. Kind regards

      Sharon · 13/05/2020 at 7:06 PM

      Hi there,

      Good to hear, I’m glad you found it valuable.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

    Rudy · 12/05/2020 at 7:56 PM

    Great post! You can really save money by freezing leftovers after big holiday dinners, for example.

    When you freeze bananas, remove the peel, first.

      Sharon · 13/05/2020 at 7:06 PM

      Hi there,

      Good to hear, I’m glad you found it enjoyable. That’s a good tip on the bananas too!

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

    Ibi · 12/05/2020 at 8:14 PM

    Hi Sharon,
    Your write up is very insightful. I never realized that frozen fruit a lot more healthier because they are preserved from oxidation.

    I also find the lists you have provided very helpful. It’s so good for mums on the go.
    Thank you

      Sharon · 13/05/2020 at 7:07 PM

      Hi there,

      Glad that the post has been of benefit. Yes, and at least you’ve some more reassurance as you never know how long fruit has been sitting on a shelf for.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting on my page!
      Sharon

    Sir Wilbert · 12/05/2020 at 9:00 PM

    This is actually a very interesting article. I usually buy only a few things at a time because things go bad in a matter of days. I seriously feel I can confidently go out and buy more products without worrying about them going bad. Thank you Sharon. I can’t wait for your next post.

      Sharon · 13/05/2020 at 7:08 PM

      Hello,

      It sure is valuable to know and reassuring in one sense too. Especially nowadays with the added hassle of food shopping!

      Thanks for visiting and posting your comments on the page, it’s much appreciated.

      Best wishes

    C.N. · 12/05/2020 at 9:29 PM

    Thank you so much for this article, Sharon! I often freeze foods, as I want to preserve the foods for as long as possible (especially during the holidays), and I’m trying to eat much better these days (I’m in my 20s, but I need to let go of some of the sodium and sugar. Haha). I tried to freeze coffee one time, and, as you noted, it was a complete train wreck. Frozen Folgers does not taste good AT ALL. Haha Never again. Haha Great read! God bless you!

      Sharon · 13/05/2020 at 7:09 PM

      Hi there,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope the article was of interest and use to you. It can be difficult but taking one step at a time and phasing in changes is much more attainable than going gung-ho for a short while and resorting to old habits.

      If there’s anything I can be of assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out!

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

    Krista · 13/05/2020 at 2:12 AM

    Great read! My husband and I have a big chest freezer that we use a lot. I have lots of meat, fish, some veggies in it and right now with all thats going on its so handy to be able to go pull some meat out of that freezer. I have never tried freezing eggs before that sounds interesting and some of those vegetables i havent but a lot of the other stuff i have tried and it all was fine. Cream cheese and sour cream have a different texture after you freeze them but still are fine! Again good read!

      Sharon · 13/05/2020 at 7:10 PM

      Hi there,

      That sounds ideal, not everybody has that luxury! Hopefully it’ll help you freeze even more food than you’re already doing. I hope the article was of interest and use to you and you found some nuggets of information to take away!

      If there’s anything I can be of assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out!

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

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