How to Properly Freeze Foods
Step 1: Choose Freezer-Friendly Foods
Some food is better suited to freezing and reheating than others. Casseroles, soups, stews, chili, and meat loaf all stand up to the freezer well. Find our picks for the best freezable recipes.
For stews, braises, or other semiliquid dishes with some fat content, chill completely, and then skim the fat from the top before freezing. Fat spoils over time in the freezer and shortens a dish’s frozen shelf life.
Store foods in small servings, no more than 1 quart, to help them freeze quickly. This also allows you to defrost only what you need.
Use a permanent marker to label each container with the name of the dish, volume or weight if you’ve measured it, and the date you put it in the freezer.
Freezing is a great make-ahead strategy, but it doesn’t work for all foods. Some things simply don’t freeze well.
- Gravies and sauces thickened with cornstarch or flour will separate during the freezing process. You can freeze an unthickened sauce, and then add thickeners after thawing.
- Fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as lettuce and watermelon, will become limp and soggy when thawed.
- Cooked potatoes develop a gritty texture when frozen.
- Fully cooked pasta may become mushy once reheated. Slightly undercook pasta before freezing it.
- Some dairy products, such as yogurt, sour cream, milk, and light cream, will separate when frozen.