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10 Foods You Should Never Freeze

What foods should you never freeze? Welcome to my weekly post where I answer one of your questions you’ve submitted. This week’s question is what foods you can’t or shouldn’t freeze.

Foods you should never freeze

Are there foods you can’t or shouldn’t freeze? – a reader

As you likely know, I love using my freezer for all kinds and sorts of things. And I freeze a lot of items like flour, cottage cheese, butter, milk that most people don’t think of being things you can freeze. (Check out my post on 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Freeze.)

But there are some things I don’t recommend you try freezing. Here’s a list of the top 10 things I think you should never freeze:

1. Lettuce

While I’ve frozen spinach to use in smoothies (and it works!), most lettuce will get limp and soggy if frozen, due to the high water content.

2. Blocks of Cheese

You can freeze shredded cheese without a problem, but if you freeze block cheese, it will be very crumbly when thawed (you can use it if you are planning to melt it, but it won’t work for slicing and snacking on).

3. Raw Eggs

I have heard from some people that they successfully freeze raw eggs, but I’ve never had success with doing so. However, I’ve frozen cooked eggs (such as in a Breakfast Casserole) without any issues.

4. Cream Cheese

If you plan to use the cream cheese in baked goods, you should be okay. However, if you plan to spread it on bagels or something, I wouldn’t recommend freezing it as it will end up very crumbly after it’s frozen.

5. Potatoes — raw or mashed.

You can freeze mashed potatoes, but they are usually water-y if you don’t add cream cheese and/or sour cream to them. And raw potatoes will usually turn a dark color when frozen.

6. Cucumbers

Cucumbers have high water content, so they will be mushy and soggy if frozen.

7. Milk you plan to drink.

You can freeze milk (and I do it often!), but I only recommend using it in baking. It separates and has sort of a lumpy consistency  when thawed — which isn’t very appetizing!

8. Raw meat that has been frozen and then thawed.

If you freeze meat raw and then thaw it, it needs to be cooked if you are going to re-freeze it. If meat is already cooked, I recommend not thawing it and re-freezing it as it will usually affect the quality of the meat.

9. Jell-O

Okay, this might seem like a crazy one to put on the list, but we tried freezing Jell-O as an experiment a few weeks ago and it did not work at all. It was all soupy and water-y when thawed!

10. Celery

When thawed, frozen celery will be very limp. However, if it’s diced up in small pieces before frozen, you can use it in a casserole and it will probably be okay. But don’t freeze whole celery stalks with the intent to thaw and snack on them! 🙂

What else would you add to my list? Anything on my list that you’ve had success freezing?

P.S. Have a question you’d love for me to answer in a future Q&A post? Send me an email through the contact form here.

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  • Lana says:

    I freeze raw cubed potatoes by dicing them, soaking them in salt water for ten minutes and then running them through my salad spinner to dry them. Then I flash freeze them on a baking sheet. Store in a freezer bag. I cook them in olive oil in a single layer covereed for 8 minutes then uncover and brown them for about 5 minutes. The potatoes never change color in the freezer and taste fresh and delicious.

  • Alisha says:

    I freeze gallons of milk ALL the time. To thaw it, you just put it in cool water for pretty much all day. (Never hot water as this will thaw the outside of the milk quickly while the inside is still frozen = not safe.) It takes a long time to thaw. It does separate but all you have to do is shake it well once before opening and it’s just like before you froze it.
    Half and half and heavy whipping cream I’ve not had success freezing unless like you said you’re going to use it for baking, not drinking.

    • Interesting! I’ve thawed it on the counter and in cold water and it’s always super lumpy and weird (but works great in baking). Do you have to shake it super hard for quite awhile??

    • Emily says:

      Ditto on this. We freeze milk all the time as our Costco is an hour away and I only buy milk twice a month. Just shake it really hard once it’s thawed (and yes takes forever!) and you can’t tell at all. And yeah, you shouldn’t freeze half & half/cream UNLESS you whip it first – if I have leftover cream that is about to go bad (or if we are going to travel before using it all) I whip the cream with vanilla and sugar and then make little dollops on wax paper and freeze. Once they are solid, I put them in a bag or tupperware and store. They do great and are SO yum in coffee or just for a quick (very rich) treat. I have even put the frozen dollops over hot pie for dessert.
      Eggs – I used to freeze all the time when we lived very remotely and couldn’t get to the store often. You freeze them raw. You have to beat them first to break the yolks well and then freeze them in small plastic bags – I would freeze two in one bag as many recipes call for two eggs or I would freeze 10 to a big bag so I could do scrambled eggs as a meal. Again, you have to let them sit to thaw for a while (don’t try to microwave or even put in warm water) and then mix them really well before using, but they do great.

    • Becky says:

      Yes! When we lived far from town, we’d freeze gallons of milk and you’d never know the difference…

  • Sara King says:

    The Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes freeze great, but I’m thinking it’s be cause they have cream cheese in them. I thaw them in the fridge for a day, and then reheat in the oven.

    • Yes! I’ve had some super yummy mashed potatoes that were frozen that had cream cheese and sour cream in them!

      • Rebekah says:

        I actually prefer having frozen mashed potatoes to the fresh variety. Whenever we have leftover mashed potatoes, I freeze them in several cup portions.

        Then, thaw the leftovers (they might be soupy), add a couple of eggs, any kind of cheese you have, salt, pepper, any other seasonings or add-ins you might want (ham, chives, bacon, veggies, etc) and then bake them in muffin tins. They turn into these fantastic crispy-edged potato “muffins” that are delicious as a dinner side or even for breakfast! I actually ate 2 this morning with my toast. They’re fantastic!

    • Sarah says:

      I tried freezing potatoes in the containers that you microwave. It didn’t work well they were gritty and just gross

    • Maria says:

      We freeze all our milk. I’ve never had it come out clumpy. You just set it in the sink at room temperature until defrosted and shake it and you’re good to go. No one would ever know! It’s 2% maybe that makes a difference?

  • Emily says:

    And on blocks of cheese – yes, it will be crumbly, but it doesn’t affect taste or safety. We just crumble it instead of grate it and it works great on tacos, eggs, pizza, homemade mac & cheese, etc.
    Other random thing about cheese is most cheese does not have to be refrigerated until it’s opened. It has to be “real” cheese (not Kraft singles or anything processed like string cheese) but standard blocks of cheddar that are factory sealed in plastic or wax will keep outside a fridge for months. In hot climates the oil will separate out and you will have to freeze it to reincorporate the fat back in (when it crumbles after freezing) but it doesn’t affect safety or taste. We found this out from a missionary living overseas – her mother would send her blocks of cheese in care packages. We started taking blocks of cheese over in suitcases to missionary friends (in countries where they couldn’t get cheese) when we would travel overseas.

    • Jordan says:

      Thanks for sharing! -Jordan, MSM Team

    • Andrea Vaughan says:

      Yes, living overseas we always had people bring us cheese, and when we’d return from HA we’d bring back kilos of the stuff! 🙂 not great food slices of cheese, but when you want to eke it out to make it last having it crumble is actually better

  • Ashley Penn says:

    If you buy sliced Amerian cheese, you CAN freeze it! I do recommend wrapping it in a paper towel before you put it in the bag, so it doesn’t get soggy when you thaw it, but we did it that way for years buying the enormous sleeves of unwrapped sliced cheese from Coscto.

  • Katie says:

    You can also refreeze meat that has been thawed in the refrigerator according to USDA guidelines. I know some people aren’t fans of that but you can especially if you have a larger cut of frozen meat and you want to portion it out.

  • Hannah says:

    I made extra mashed potatoes at thanksgiving and froze them. They were watery when they thawed, but after just a few minutes reheating on the stove, they were back to their original fluffy texture.

  • Kristie says:

    We freeze all our milk. We live where milk prices are quite low, but we have to drive a long ways to get to our Aldi. Just thaw overnight in a pot of water and give ‘her a good shake.

  • September says:

    Why do you freeze flour?

  • Amy says:

    I have never froze plain cream cheese, but I have prepared peanut butter cheeseball and chocolate chip cheeseball and stored in the freezer. The cheeseball did just fine in the freezer. I prepared it ahead of time to bring to holiday gatherings without having to spend the time preparing it the day of. Quick, easy, and yummy!

  • Audrey says:

    Sour Cream does not seem to freeze well for me🙁

  • Barb says:

    You can freeze thaw and refreeze meat. Ideally there should be a few ice crystals on the meat but it will not damage or make you I’ll. It might affect the quality a teeny bit. Most of us have purchased previously frozen meat or fish at the store at some point.

  • Jan says:

    We freeze milk all the time, but we thaw it in hot water about 30 min. Shake it, put it in the frig. It turn out great. Just remember to shake it good

    • Gloria says:

      I freeze milk when I have more than we can drink before “use by” or “expire by” date. I bring it out a day before I want to drink it and put it in the frig to defrost. Ready to use the next day. I just shake it to mix the fat back in.

    • Jordan says:

      Thanks for the tip! -Jordan, MSM Team

  • E says:

    we freeze block cheese all the time. It won’t work for slices, but I can grate or crumble it. Mozzarella is softer so it doesn’t get as crumbly after you freeze it.

  • Ann says:

    I have a great recipe for freezing cucumbers that uses a sugar vinegar brine. They can’t be used as you would an unfrozen cucumber but it’s great way to use extra cucumbers if you have a garden or are given more than you can use fresh. They are wonderfully crisp when thawed and very refreshing.

    • AliceMarie says:

      Ann, I would love to have your recipe for the cucumbers-please share! Thanks, Alice Marie

      • Ann says:

        Frozen Cucumbers

        2 Qts cucumbers, peeled and sliced
        1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
        2 TBSPs salt
        1 ½ C sugar
        1 ½ C vinegar

        Sprinkle cucs with salt and add enough water to just cover. Soak for 2 hrs, rinse well with cold water

        Mix vinegar and sugar until dissolved

        Combine sugar/vinegar mixture with cucs and onions

        Place cucs/onions in containers, cover with vinegar/sugar mixture and freeze

      • Ann says:

        Frozen Cucumbers
        2 Qts cucumbers, peeled and sliced
        1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
        2 TBSPs salt
        1 ½ C sugar
        1 ½ C vinegar
        Sprinkle cucs with salt and add enough water to just cover.  Soak for 2 hrs, rinse well with cold water
        Mix vinegar and sugar until dissolved
        Combine sugar/vinegar mixture with cucs and onions
        Place cucs/onions in containers, cover with vinegar/sugar mixture and freeze

    • Jordan says:

      Sounds delicious! -Jordan, MSM Team

  • Jen C says:

    I have had no luck in freezing almond milk either. It separates terribly. However, after reading these comments on freezing milk, maybe I just need to shake it more than I do?
    I wish there were a way to freeze cheese slices ( I love the big packs of sliced cheese from Costco) but they fall apart as well.
    I buy the large block of cheese (Costco), shred it in my food processor & freeze it in 2 c. portions.

  • Jackie says:

    Just a couple comments. Cheese does not last long enough in my house to freeze. I do freeze grated cheese when I buy in bulk and grate it for other uses. I have had no problem freezing milk. We just shake it and it comes out OK. As for eggs. You have to scramble them if you are going to freeze them. We would occasionally have people give us eggs to use in camp and when we had too much I would take and scramble them for later us in baking and even for scrambled eggs. There is no problem that way

  • Sarah D. says:

    You can totally freeze mashed potatoes. Just thaw them and put in a crockpot for 2 to 3 hours. They thicken up nicely. You can also freeze milk. You just have to thaw completely and shake well.

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