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Mar 3, 2008 02:19 PM

Can you freeze chopped onions?


I bought a big bag of onions for $2. There are six onions, and I live alone, so I cook for one. I know they stay good a long time, but I'm sure I can't use them before they will go bad. They sell chopped onion in the freezer section of the grocery store, so I should just be able to chop them and freeze them right?

Once I freeze them, how long will they last without being freezer burned?

Thanks guys!

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  1. Sure, you can freeze them. But presumably you'll want to put them in small plastic bags with enough for a single recipe. I also double-wrap everything in the freezer.

    1. You can freeze anything.
      The question always is: what happens when you defrost it.
      Onions get watery when they thaw, so if you plan on sautéing them, they won't do very well. They won't be very good to add to salads or other things in which you want raw onions either because they'll lose their crispness.
      I keep onions in a dry place away from direct light and they last a pretty long time. If they start to go bad, I can always peel off a few layers and use the good parts. Then I can freeze the rest for adding to stocks or stews where the dryness or crispness isn't important.
      Onions don't usually freezer-burn but they seem to acquire a lot of moisture in the freezer. Probably because they have so much in them to start with. They really aren't one of the most successful items to bother freezing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: MakingSense

        I bought a bunch of Vidalia onions once. I was told to quarter them, boil briefly then freeze. That didn't work well. The onions were ok but only good for soup-ish dishes. I'd tend to agree with MakingSense.

        1. re: mrsfury

          Thanks everyone! I'll use them as long as possible, then freeze them when their shelf life is over. I make lots of soups and stews so that would work just fine. Thanks!

        2. re: MakingSense

          OK, I'm a tad late with this, but "freezing" at home won't do it. Try some dry ice in a cooler. Place the Ice on a cookie sheet on the bottom, then two bricks to support another sheet. Chop the onions and place them on the top cookie sheet that was placed on the bricks. The sheet needs to fit in the cooler. Close the cooler and in a few hours, they will be frozen, but not runny! When frozen slow, like in a home freezer, the h2o in the onion's cells crystallizes and punctures the cell wall, causing the loss of h2o. By freezing sub 0, with dry ice, the cells freeze before their walls can be punctured. Works great with fruit!

          1. re: Mad Hatter

            If the cookie sheet is placed on top of the dry ice you will essentially have an anti griddle. The onions will freeze on contact

        3. Many years ago, I tried the frozen chopped onion from the supermarket, based on that experience, I wouldn't freeze chopped onions.

          Carmelize them and make a pizza?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Alan408

            Caramelized onions freeze pretty well. You can take them out and throw them into a sauté pan for a quick reheat and finish. Saves a lot of time.
            I've done a large batch at one time and frozen them in meal-sized portions. I guess the fat in them, and having evaporated much of the moisture, makes the difference.

            1. re: MakingSense

              That's been my experience. I would advise cooking then freezing.

          2. I, too, live alone and cook for one, so I freeze onions often. The chopped onion bits stick together like crazy when frozen, so measure out what you expect to need and freeze in portions, like 1/2 chopped onion, in small freezer boxes or plastic freezer bags (Ziploc, Glad, etc).

            Like the other posters have said, don't expect your thawed onions to be crisp again. They *will* be soft. Soups, stews, and the like are perfect applications for frozen onions. I do use them for sauteeing, but I skip the thawing step - I put the frozen chunk of onions right in the hot oiled pan.

            Side note: I freeze lots of vegetables this way (like I said, living alone with lots of leftovers), and when I have several baggies/boxes full of different things, I add them to a pot with a can of crushed tomatoes for instant, healthy vegetable soup!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Aimi

              Thanks for the advice everyone! This helps a lot! Mainly, I use onions for soups and stews so this should work out perfectly!

            2. yes, you can def, freeze them. I do it all the time, they aren't good for like a salad or anything but great to cook into things