University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

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Common Foods that May
NOT Freeze Well

University of Nebraska - Lincoln logo Alice Henneman, MS, RD, Extension Educator & Dietitian
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department logo Joyce Jensen, Registered Environmental Health Specialist
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department

To freeze or not to freeze? Following are some foods that often do not freeze well.

  • Cooked eggs, including meringue toppings, may become tough and rubbery.

  • Cooked chunks of potatoes, such as in potato salad, may become soft and crumbly. Mashed and twice-baked potatoes may freeze more satisfactorily.

  • Custards and cream puddings, by themselves or in pies may separate.

  • Pasta may become mushy. Pasta shapes used in baked recipes -- such as lasagna, jumbo shells, ziti, and manicotti -- may freeze best, especially if the recipe is prepared and frozen before baking.

  • Raw, watery vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers and radishes; tomatoes, celery and cabbage may become limp.

  • Yogurt and sour cream may change in texture. Some prepared dishes made with them may be frozen successfully; experiment with a small amount.

  • Mayonnaise may separate during freezing and thawing.

  • Sauces and gravies thickened with flour or cornstarch may separate and break down when frozen.

  • Fried foods may lose their crispness. Exceptions are French fried potatoes and onion rings.

  • Crumb toppings, such as on casseroles, may become soggy after freezing.

  • Gelatin may weep.

Sometimes you will see these foods in commercially frozen products because food companies have equipment that freezes food faster and helps retain quality better. Also, various ingredients,generally unavailable to home cooks, are used commercially to help prevent frozen foods from breaking down.

Before you double a recipe for frozen "planned-overs," experiment by freezing a small amount the next time you make the recipe. If you're satisfied with the results, prepare extra food for freezing when you make the recipe again.

As a general rule, foods with a high water content, such as the vegetables in our list, do not freeze well. The water in food expands during freezing and breaks down the food is structure, making the food mushy when thawed. This is why frozen fruit packages often advise eating the fruit while still slightly frozen.


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Developed By:

Alice C. Henneman, MS, RD
Extension Educator
University of Nebraska
Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Fax: (402) 441-7148
Phone: (402) 441-7180
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