Don't ruin good food in your freezer

Freezer-Meal Cooking: What Foods Don't Freeze Well

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

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One of the most common questions I hear from people who are interested in freezer-meal cooking is: "How do I know what will freeze well, and what won't?"

If you're unsure of how well something will freeze, freeze a single serving when you prepare the dish for a regular family meal. This way you can check on how well the item holds up to freezing and reheating.

The following lists should give you a good start at identifying potential freezing problems with various food items.

Don't Freeze Well:

  • Greasy foods (They just become greasier)
  • Cake icings made with egg whites
  • Cream fillings and soft frostings
  • Pies made with custard or cream fillings
  • Fried foods (They tend to lose their crispness)
  • Fruit jelly on sandwiches may soak into the bread
  • Soft cheese, such as cream cheese (can become watery)
  • Mayonnaise (It separates - use salad dressing instead)
  • Sour cream (It becomes thin and watery)
  • Potatoes cooked in soups and stews (They become mushy and may darken. If using potatoes, cook until barely soft and still firm; then freeze quickly.)

Change During Freezing:

  • Gravies and other fat-based sauces may separate and need to be recombined by stirring or processing in the blender.
  • Thickened sauces may need thinning after freezing; thin with broth or milk.
  • Seasonings such as onions, herbs and flavorings used in recipes can change during freezing. These are best added during reheating to obtain accurate flavors.
  • Vegetables, pastas and grains used in cooked recipes usually are softer after freezing and reheating. (undercook before freezing, or add when dish is reheated)
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  • Heavy cream can be frozen if used for cooking, but it will not whip after freezing.
  • Some yogurts may suffer texture changes.
  • Raw vegetables lose their crispness, but can be used for cooking, stews, etc.
  • Many cheeses change texture in the freezer. Most hard cheeses turn crumbly (which makes them okay for grating, but not for slicing).

Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide for Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity. Visit Debi online at

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