All summer long I’ve been buying big bunches of grapes and freezing them. Not only do I actually prefer to eat them that way, but it’s also an easy way to save money too! (If I don’t freeze them right away, they usually sit in the fridge long enough that I accidentally forget they are in there. And no one likes mushy grapes!)
Thinking about my frozen grapes got me thinking about other things I could be freezing. I knew I was probably throwing out way more food than I should be, so it occurred to me that freezing other things could save me a considerable amount of money over time. But I realized that I knew next to nothing about the best ways to freeze other sorts of food! So I decided to sit down and do some research about what I can freeze and how to go about it. After much research and reading, I came up with the following list of 20 things you can freeze to save yourself time and money. But before we get to the list, I wanted to talk about a few additional reasons why freezing foods is a great choice!
- It saves money! You can buy in bulk and then freeze what you won’t use right away.
- It’s convenient! Having a stocked freezer can help you avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
- It saves time! Cook things ahead of time and then freeze them for a quick meal or snack later.
- It’s fresh and delicious! Freeze your favorite fruits and veggies when they’re in season, so you can enjoy the delicious bounty of summer any time of the year!
20 Surprising Things You Can Freeze
- You can freeze cheese in whole blocks! Just thaw it completely on the counter before putting it back in the fridge. You can also freeze shredded cheese and put a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour in the bag to prevent clumping when it thaws.
- If you love fresh parmigiano reggiano, buy a big block and grate in a food processor. Store it in your freezer in a freezer bag, and it will keep for months. Just scoop out a couple of tablespoons as you need it!
2. Homemade Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast
- Make extra pancakes, waffles, or french toast during your weekend breakfasts and freeze them for quick and easy breakfasts during the week to come. Place your pancakes (or waffles, or french toasts) on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to a freezer bag. Reheat them in your microwave, toaster, or toaster oven.
Related: World’s Best Whole Grain Pancakes
- When freezing fruit, it’s a good idea to freeze them on a lined cookie sheet first, and then transfer them to a freezer bag. Freezing them on a cookie sheet first makes it so the fruit won’t stick together, which makes it easier to pull out a small amount at a time as needed.
- One of my very favorite chilly treats is a handful of frozen grapes! Give it a try sometime and let me know what you think! :-)
- You can freeze bananas whole and use them later to make banana bread. If you have bananas that are starting to get too brown, just toss them into the freezer with the skin on. Then when you’re ready to use them, pull them out, microwave for a few seconds, then squeeze the insides into your mixing bowl.
- Keep a “Smoothie Bag” in the freezer. Toss in extra apple wedges, peaches, pears, bananas, chunks of melon, or any kind of fruit. When the bag gets full, dump it in the blender and make a smoothie!
4. Veggies & Herbs
- Dice onions, chiles, or bell peppers, then freeze them flat in gallon-size freezer bags. As they are freezing, press “score lines” into the bags using a chopstick so you can break off as much or as little as you need for your recipes.
- You can freeze ears of corn whole, then use your microwave cooking method to cook it (see the link below for details). Cook a bit longer for frozen corn, or let it defrost before cooking. You can also cut the corn off the cob and freeze it that way.
- Roast roma tomatoes in the oven at a low temperature (225 degrees or so) with garlic, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil for 4 to 5 hours. When cooled, transfer the tomatoes to freezer bags. Use them in chili or or to make tomato sauces.
- Freeze fresh herbs in ice cube trays with a little water or leftover stock. Use the frozen herb cubes in soups, stews, or casseroles later in the year.
- To freeze leafy greens like spinach, blend it up in your blender with a little bit of water and then freeze in ice cube trays. Drop a couple of cubes in your blender with frozen fruit for easy green smoothies!
Related: 13 Super Smart Frugal Food Tips
- Keep a gallon-size bag in the freezer to store leftover veggie pieces, including peels, stalks, ends, etc. When you’ve filled the bag, use the veggies pieces to make vegetable stock. Keep another bag for pan drippings or sauces that are left after cooking meat, which you can use to add flavor to soups.
- Cook a big batch of rice, spread it on a lined cookie sheet and freeze. When the rice is frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag and you’ll have frozen rice you can use in a pinch. This tip is especially great for brown rice, since it takes so long to cook!
6. Baked Goods
- When your favorite bread is on sale, stock up and freeze it. Or when you’re in a baking mood, make extras of your favorite baked goods and freeze them for later. (Here’s a tip for defrosting baked goods or breads – place them in your microwave overnight, but don’t turn it on. The enclosed space helps to keep them from drying out.)
- Make apple pies in the fall to enjoy throughout the year! Bake them, then freeze them in freezer bags wrapped in freezer paper. Then when you have a hankering for pie, just take one out of the freezer, remove the wrappings, and place in your oven for 2 hours at 200 degrees. (You can also freeze SLICES after baking a whole pie, or just freeze the filling. Follow the link below for more details.)
- Whenever you make pasta, go ahead and cook the whole package. Freeze any leftover pasta to add to soups and casseroles later. Just put the cooked pasta in a freezer bag, lay flat, and make sure to squeeze out all the air. Reheat the pasta by running hot water over the bag for a few minutes.
- You can also freeze uncooked pasta just to make it last longer.
8. Flour and Other Grains
- You can store flour in the freezer to make it last longer.
- If you don’t want to store flour in the freezer, you can freeze it for three days when you first bring it home to kill off any bacteria or critters trapped inside.
9. Sauces, Stocks, and Juice
- Freeze sauces in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop the cubes out and put them in a freezer bag.
- The tip above is also great for things like canned tomato paste! Most recipes only call for a small amount of tomato paste, and then you’re left with an open can that’s nearly full. Freeze it instead!
- Squeeze lemon juice or lime juice into ice cube trays, then pop the cubes out after they have frozen and store them in freezer bags. Now you have “fresh” lemon and lime juice whenever you need it. And you never have to kick yourself for letting another bag of lemons from Costco go to waste! (Been there, done that.) And don’t forget to ZEST the lemons or limes first, and keep the zest in the freezer as well!
10. Mashed Potatoes
- Using an ice cream scoop, place even portions of mashed potatoes onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze until hard, then transfer the potatoes to a freezer bag. These will keep in the freezer for at least 2 months.
Related: Easy Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- You can freeze all kinds of homemade dough – cookie dough, pizza dough, focaccia dough, pie crust, etc.
- For things like pizza, pie, or bread dough, shape it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
- For cookie dough, scoop it out onto cookie sheets and freeze. When they are frozen solid, put them in freezer bags. When a cookie craving hits, bake as few or as many as you want! Just add 1 to 2 minutes to the cook time specified in your recipe. You can also make “slice-and-bake” cookie dough by shaping it into a cylinder, and freezing it in foil.
- Freeze canned biscuits, crescent rolls, pizza dough, etc. right in the tube. Stock up when they are on sale!
12. Soups and Chili
- Cool leftover soup completely and transfer to a freezer-friendly container, leaving about 1 cup worth of empty space to allow for expansion while it freezes. The day before you want to eat it again, move the frozen soup or chili to the fridge to thaw safely. Then just reheat and serve!
- For perfectly portioned soups, pour your favorite homemade soup into paper cups and place them in the freezer. Once the soup is frozen, peel away the paper cup. Now you’ll have “canned” soup at the ready anytime!
13. Breakfast or Lunch Sandwiches
- When you pack lunches for school or work, it’s a real time-saver to pull a sandwich straight from the freezer. Just throw it into your lunch box/bag in the morning, and it’ll be thawed by lunch time. It also helps keep the meat cold. PB&J, or deli meat and a slice of cheese work well. If you’re adding condiments or veggies, pack those separately to add when lunchtime rolls around.
- You can also freeze breakfast sandwiches! Cook scrambled eggs and sausage/bacon in bulk, pile them onto biscuits or english muffins, wrap them individually and then freeze, Grab one out of the freezer in the morning, then microwave and enjoy. You can do breakfast burritos or quesadillas as well!
14. Potato Chips, Crackers, & Pretzels
- Stock up on chips, crackers and pretzels when they are on sale and throw them in the freezer. Personally, I think frozen chips actually taste better! When eaten straight from the freezer, they are crisper and the flavors really pop!
Related: Microwave Potato Chips
15. Milk or Fruit Juice
- Ever wonder why plastic milk jugs have those circle indents on the side? They are there to allow milk to expand while freezing! (I had no idea!) To use frozen milk, let it thaw then shake well before opening to make sure any solids are remixed. You can also freeze buttermilk and heavy cream as well, which means no more wasting it after using a little bit in a recipe.
Related: How To Freeze Heavy Whipping Cream
- Like milk, the only concern about freezing juice is leaving room for expansion. A good rule of thumb is to leave 8 ounces empty for every half gallon of juice you’re freezing. Stock up when it goes on sale or at a discount warehouse.
- Yep, it’s true! Freeze leftover frosting, then when you need to frost something. let it thaw in the fridge. When it has thawed completely, whip it up a bit and use like you would if you just made it!
Related: My Mom’s 7-Minute Frosting
- Who would have thought you could freeze raw eggs? Just crack the eggs into a freezer bag, and freeze flat. Or crack your eggs into an ice cube tray (yolks and whites separately, to make it easier) to use for cakes and cookies. Just let your eggs thaw in the refrigerator, and use as you normally would.
18. Homemade Casseroles
- When you are cooking a casseroles (lasagna, mac and cheese, enchiladas, etc), why not double up and freeze one for later? They’re great to have on hand for when unexpected company drops by, or for busy weeknights. You can do this a couple of ways.
- Freeze the entire casserole by lining the base of the dish with freezer paper, adding the ingredients, then place the whole dish in the freezer. When the casserole is frozen solid, remove it from the dish, rewrap the food, and return the food to the freezer. This saves room in the freezer and you can keep using your casserole dish. When you’re ready to bake your frozen casserole, unwrap and place in the original dish to defrost and cook.
- Another way to freeze a casserole is to cook it, let it cool, and then cut into individual servings and freeze. Reheat in your microwave!
- Cook a big batch of chicken, shred it up, and freeze it. Or if you get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, just shred the leftovers store them in the freezer. Having shredded chicken in the freezer is a great timesaver when making things like enchiladas!
- Place meat in a freezer bag, pour your favorite marinade over the top, and freeze. When you defrost it, it will be fully-marinated and ready to cook.
- Pre-cook ground beef and portion it out for meals, and you won’t ever have to stress about defrosting a pound of ground beef for dinner! When you need ground beef for Shepherd’s Pie, Sloppy Joes, Tacos, etc., just pull it out of the freezer, add the seasoning, and microwave. (Cook for 3 minutes, or 1 minute and 30 seconds if it’s going to be baked and doesn’t need to be thawed all the way.) For crock pot meals, like chili, there’s no need to thaw first.
- Freezing yogurt is easy, and it makes a delicious and healthy frozen treat. I like to stick a popsicle stick right through the lid of the yogurt, then place the yogurt cup in the freezer. Then I just pop the frozen yogurt out of the container later when I need a frozen treat! (Or you could just defrost them in the fridge if you want non-frozen yogurt.) :-)
Related: The Easiest Frozen Yogurt Pops Ever!