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To freeze or not to freeze? The meals that can be frozen and ones that can't

Get to grips with the basics of freezing food so you can make easy meals that can be frozen.


selection of frozen food

Key steps

Remember these golden rules of freezing foods:

  1. Be aware that foods with a high water content may not freeze well.
  2. Always make sure food is at room temperature before putting it in the freezer. 
  3. Store frozen food in portion-sized chunks to make it easier to defrost and eat.

Freezing is a great way to make food last longer but some food items are better suited to the process than others. Learning what can go in the freezer and what should be eaten as quickly as possible is important if you want to cut your food waste – and we’re here to help! Follow this guide on freezing food to learn the key principles and get answers to more specific questions like can you freeze cheese sauce?

Freeze food in portion-sized chunks to make them easier to defrost. It’s also easier to plate-up and control portion sizes this way!

What foods can be frozen?

Most foods can be frozen. However, the process might affect the food’s texture and make it less pleasant to eat. Freezing rice can result in a mushy texture while freezing cheese sauce can result in lumps.


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What foods cannot be frozen?

The main foods to avoid freezing are:

  • Fried food 
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado 
  • Fresh tomatoes 
  • Salad leaves
  • Yogurt 
  • Raw potatoes 
  • Cooked eggs
If you’ve got food that can’t be frozen, but you don’t want it to go to waste, check out our tips on food recycling to limit food waste.

Health Warning

There are more risks when it comes to freezing meat because of the chance of food poisoning so be extra careful and never re-freeze any food you’ve defrosted.

How to freeze foods

Most foods are easy to freeze. Simply place them in a container after cooking, allow them to cool to room temperature, then pop them in the freezer. You should use a sealed container.

For trickier items, here are some extra tips:

1) Freezing cooked vegetables and raw vegetables

  • Freeze fresh vegetables as soon after picking as you can to seal in nutrients.
  • Wash and prepare the veg first – you’ll want to cut up bananas, for example.
  • If freezing vegetables after cooking, consider separating into small portions to make defrosting and reheating easier. Read our article on reheating food for more tips here.
  • Do not freeze vegetables again after defrosting them.

The following vegetables freeze well after cooking:

  • Potatoes that have been chopped or roasted
  • Peas and beans
  • Fried or caramelised onions

Both courgettes and aubergines can lose some of their stability in freezing and become mushy. You can get around this by freezing these vegetables uncooked in slices or grated.

2) Freezing cooked meat and raw meat

  • Freezing doesn’t kill bacteria so always freeze meat on the day it’s cooked.
  • Freeze cooked meat for a maximum of 3 months – throw it out after this.
  • Label frozen meat thoroughly so you know when it should be eaten by. 
  • Eat defrosted raw meat within 24 hours of defrosting (if kept in the fridge).
  • Let cooked meat cool before you freeze it or it may encourage bacteria growth. 
  • Do not freeze meat again after defrosting it.

Once you’ve got the hang of which foods can and can’t be put in the freezer it’s much easier to make meals that can be frozen. This not only saves you money and puts leftovers to good use, but it’s also better for the environment by preventing food waste.

Originally published