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How to Freeze Food: The Dos and Don’ts

How To Freeze Food

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.

Freezer-Friendly Tips

  • 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.