HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Freezer staples: not meals

I'm trying to come up with a decent list of freezer staples...things that are a pain to make on the fly, but useful to have ready to roll from the freezer. I'm not looking for full meals to be frozen, more like recipe additives. My ideas thus far are stock of various make and model, roasted garlic, Carmelized onions....and what else?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Pesto and demi glace. Poached chicken or turkey, chunks or shredded.

    1. Sauces, fresh noodles, pizza dough, and ice cream.

      1. Grilled or roasted eggplant.
        Cheese sauce.
        Roasted tomatoes.
        Mashed sweet potatoes - can be reheated as is, used for pureed soup, for pie (and pound cake), or to thicken and flavor pan sauces for poultry and pork.

        1. Various beans made from dried. Especially these "Cowboy Beans" from Rick Bayless.


          1. Frozen beans (limas etc.) and field peas, baby peas, okra, roasted/shredded poblanos, hash browns. I also keep some vegetarian pot-stickers handy (and maybe some non-veggie ones for me), because we like to steam those to have with scrambled eggs for weekend breakfasts.

            Since I'm the cook as well as the sole omnivore in the household, some of the dishes I make for myself when she's off elsewhere are designed with leftovers that can be bagged and frozen: braised meats, casseroles, things like that.

            1. stocks
              onions, cooked and raw
              fresh pasta
              sauces, mexican, italian, turkish
              doughs, pizza and bread
              cheese, grated enough for one pizza per bag
              cooked beans, in family sized containers
              vegetable trimmings to make stock

              1. Compound butters
                Slow cooked tomato sauce
                Dinner rolls

                1. Just marking my place with interest... I just got a vacuum sealer today...

                    1. Roasted, peeled, seeded peppers in small ziplocks.
                      Duck livers, until you have enough to do something useful.

                        1. boneless, skinless chicken *thighs* (more flavor than breasts at half the price)

                          frozen stir-fry vegetables

                          meatballs (whether my own home-made or a good brand)

                          pearl onions

                          ice cream

                          some sort of frozen berry medley

                          pie crust

                          1. Chopped/minced veggies- especially onions, garlic, garlic, celery, carrots


                            Pizza dough

                            Unbaked loaves of bread, rolls

                            Stock-beef, chicken, veggie

                            Baggies full of roasted bones that I keep adding too-chicken, beef, etc

                            Bacon fat, chicken schmaltz

                            Bags of various veggies stems-broccoli stalks, onion stems, woodie ends of asparagus etc. good for stocks and soups.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: foodieX2

                              I just keep my various 'fats' in the fridge. Seem to last forever or at least til I use them all.

                            2. I've been pulling the peppers from my garden and tossing them in the freezer whole.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                I used to peel, seed, cut in strips and freeze.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  That's what I did with a bunch of poblanos last week. Doing it whole is mostly about laziness. :-P

                                  1. re: Kontxesi

                                    I always leave the jalapeños whole, and nuke them for a few seconds before mincing. Thanks for reminding me- those a a real staple in my freezer.

                                2. re: Kontxesi

                                  At the end of tomato season (for me, weeks and weeks ago), I did the same with whole tomatoes and grape tomatoes--washed, dried, and tossed whole into the freezer. They'll skin themselves when thawing in a nice vat of chili come this winter.

                                3. Sauces and spice pastes are useful - I like to freeze them flat in a plastic ziplock bag, so I can cut off small amounts as needed. Pesto, romesco, harissa, Thai curry pastes, etc.

                                  Stock in small quantities, when you just need a bit for a sauce. Ditto for wine. Leftover coconut milk for curries freezes well this way too.

                                  Roasted red and yellow peppers. Baked squash.

                                  Pureed vegetable soup bases. Roast or simmer squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, onions, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, etc, with onion if you like. If simmering, use the minimum amount of liquid required. Puree, and package. You can then take them out, add stock, season and have a quick, hearty, tasty soup.

                                  Braised or roasted meat - beef or lamb shanks, pork shoulder roast, pot roast, baked ham, roast beef etc. Cook them, slice them, drizzle a bit of stock or or gravy or pan juices over them, wrap and freeze. The bit of extra liquid will keep them nice and juicy when you thaw them out. Something like braised beef shanks can seriously cut down on cooking time for a stew or curry.

                                  Cooked beans of various sorts - chickpeas, lentils, beans. Use dried beans and cook a big batch.

                                  Various tomato sauces - a simple pureed one, a hearty bolognese meat sauce, a thick mushroom/tomato/basil sauce.

                                  Pizza dough rolled out ready to go, and some pizza sauce to go on it.

                                  1. Corn
                                    Quartered baby artichokes
                                    Carmelized onions
                                    Pizza dough
                                    Chicken/turkey broth

                                    1. Home made pasta sauce, always in the freezer here. Cooked beans, some home made refried beans. Home made marshmallows for that sweet tooth :)

                                      1. Salt pork. That's about it for me in terms of non-meals.

                                        1. Pasta sauce
                                          Deli meat
                                          Coconut milk
                                          Pizza dough
                                          Blanched veggies - favorites are spinach and arugula

                                          1. Blanched greens - kale and collards, mostly.

                                            1. Parm rinds
                                              demi glace
                                              tomato paste

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: monavano

                                                Good call on the parm rinds. I do the same, great added into soup!

                                                1. re: monavano

                                                  Oh yes, forgot about my stashes of pecans, walnuts & pine nuts!

                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                    Oh, yeah. I do keep parm rinds but in a baggie in the back of the cheese drawer rather than frozen. And when I'm making a suitable dish, I invariably forget all about them.

                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                      Me too, they are. In the cheese drawer. I need to make some gravy soon.....

                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                        I made chicken Parmesan Sunday and nearly slapped myself when I actually remembered that I wanted to throw in a parm rind only to realize that I had just thrown the rind out from a used up chunk of cheese.

                                                    2. Besides various cuts of meats, fish & poultry, and snacks for my kids, here's my list:
                                                      Citrus zests
                                                      Ginger root
                                                      Bread dough
                                                      Hard cheeses
                                                      Puff pastry dough
                                                      Demi glaces
                                                      Vegs to steam or add to soups
                                                      And my most current addition : fresh, roasted & seeded Hatch chiles

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                        I grate my ginger then freeze.

                                                        Just put a batch of meatballs in the freezer today.
                                                        Cleaned and sliced 4 packs of chicken cutlets, froze them

                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                          That's funny, I just put the whole root in. Grates very easily when frozen and lasts forever.

                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                            Do you find the flavor is different? I started freezing the ginger but the frozen ginger just seems to taste different to me for some reason.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              Actually, I hadn't noticed, but it's usually cooked in a dish, so I will have to compare next time. I'm making some Thai curry soon, and then some Korean BBQ, so I will let you know, as I think I still have a knob in the vegetable drawer to use up also.

                                                            2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                              That's how I do my ginger as well, Dirtyw/ExtraOlives

                                                        2. *Potstickers from Dominicks/Safeway (chicken & pork delicious)
                                                          *cooked breakfast-type sausage such as Bob Evans, to top pizza or throw into pasta sauce
                                                          *Dorot herb cubes: garlic, ginger, cilantro, basil0 i get them at Trader Joes, Costco, sometimes Target
                                                          *leftover cooked chicken, usually from Costco to throw in casseroles, soups, tortillas
                                                          *frozen soups- I always make a double or triple batch,
                                                          *frozen homemade lasagnas in single or double serve sizes, for kids coming in from sports at staggered times,
                                                          *leftover broth or stock from a larger container
                                                          *fresh herbs ground in mini chopper with a bit of olive oil, pressed flat in freezer bags- break off a bit as needed- for herbs that Dorot doesn't make or that need cutting back in my pots
                                                          *flank steak frozen in marinade mix, so when they thaw they are already marinated and ready to grill
                                                          * when my kids were younger and we ate more of this, I would pre-cook ground beef, onions, garlic, and green or red pepper, place in freezer bags and add to chili, soup, pasta, sloppy joes to get dinner ready in a flash
                                                          * citrus zests and juice

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: jankp

                                                            Costco has the Dorot cubes? What flavors?!

                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                              Different kinds of home made pesto
                                                              left over tomato paste
                                                              cooked beans and chickpeas
                                                              veg trimmins for stock
                                                              herbs in olive oil
                                                              lemon juice and zest
                                                              meat: cut up,chicken, sausages etc
                                                              seasonal fruit
                                                              right now I'm freezing corn and kale to use in winter

                                                              I need a bigger freezer.... :-)

                                                              Oops, posted in the wrong spot. Sorry.

                                                            2. re: jankp

                                                              I don't precook my ground beef, but I buy 6+ lbs in sale, and freeze in 1lb portions. Perfect for tacos, chili, shepards pie

                                                            3. Vegetable trimmings for making stock
                                                              Parm rinds
                                                              Several bags of stock
                                                              Bags of fruit that I freeze if we cant eat before its time
                                                              And my favorite are the lemon juice cubes and cubes of the fresh herbs I couldn't use up

                                                                1. Cooked wild rice - cook the entire pound bag at one time, freeze in 1 - 2 C. portions.

                                                                  Waffles - make a double batch, freeze extras.

                                                                  1. Chicken, pork, beef and corn stocks
                                                                    Roasted garlic
                                                                    Caramelized onions
                                                                    Meat sauce
                                                                    Bags of roasted tomatoes
                                                                    Chopped red and green peppers, onions, celery and celery leaves in separate vacuum sealed bags
                                                                    Grated ginger root
                                                                    Pizza dough
                                                                    Fresh corn cut off the cob and frozen in the vacu-sealed bags
                                                                    Sauteed mushrooms (when a large container was just starting to go bad, sliced and sautéed and frozen for later use)
                                                                    Fresh CSA kale chopped and vacu-sealed for later use in soups

                                                                    1. stock--chicken or beef
                                                                      berries--all types
                                                                      nuts, seeds, or their flours
                                                                      wheat and rye flours
                                                                      roasted tomatoes
                                                                      a chicken carcass
                                                                      cheeses--grated mozz in sq. containers, hard cheeses, parm rinds
                                                                      pesto cubes
                                                                      leftover frosting
                                                                      leftover almond paste
                                                                      a cake
                                                                      cookie dough
                                                                      pie dough
                                                                      bags of vegetables

                                                                      1. Chipotle peppers in adobo - frozen in ice cube trays then transferred to ziplock bag. They are easy to cut up when frozen.

                                                                        Caramelized onions
                                                                        Roasted garlic
                                                                        Whole ginger
                                                                        Homemade biscuits and scones - cook from frozen at same temp as recipe suggests
                                                                        Ziplock bag for vegetable trimmings, etc to make stock
                                                                        Frozen balls of cookie dough - cook at same temp as recipe suggests
                                                                        Pizza dough - defrost in fridge
                                                                        Slow roasted tomatoes