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!
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!
- Deli meat
- Hot dogs
- Wild game (e.g. duck, goose, venison)
- Oily fish (e.g. herring, salmon, trout)
- White fish (e.g. cod, haddock, whiting)
- Raw egg whites
- Raw whole eggs (mix the white with the yolk)
- Scrambled egg
- Cottage cheese
- Ice cream
- Milk (especially low-fat or skimmed milk)
- Berries (e.g. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- Fruit juice
- Green beans
Grains, nuts and baked goods:
- Bread (e.g. sliced pan, soda bread, tortilla wraps)
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!
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
- Eggs boiled
- Eggs – raw in their shell (they expand when frozen and crack)
- 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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- 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
- Pasta dishes (e.g. lasagne, pasta carbonara, risotto)
- Sandwiches (without mayonnaise-based dressing)
- Shepherd’s pie
- Spaghetti bolognese
- Stiry fry
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
- 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.
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:
Food Safety – European Commission. 2020. Food Waste – Food Safety – European Commission. [online] Available at:
Greutman, L., 2019. 83 Foods To Freeze Or Foods NOT To Freeze. [online] Lauren Greutman. Available at:
Safefood.eu. 2020. Safefood | Storing Food Safely | Freezer Faqs. [online] Available at:
Shoemaker, S., 2020. Can You Freeze Milk? Guidelines For Different Types. [online] Healthline. Available at:
Usda.gov. 2020. Food Waste Faqs. [online] Available at: