HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Things that don't freeze well

There has been a recent thread on "freezer phobia" and what freezes well. As someone with a new chest freezer, what doesn't freeze well?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Anything not labeled clearly. Those are the items that become shapeless blobs of something. Or you defrost "chili" and get italian style meat sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: autumm

      They still freeze fine :) Just with some adventure involved.

    2. Mascarpone cheese. I know from experience. :(

      1. Don't laugh but when my last kid went off to college and shared an apartment w/fridge freezer to hedge any landlord issues I emailed him this list:

        Never freeze cans or shell eggs; they can burst when frozen. Always throw away any broken egg or can, discarding the food where no one, including pets, will eat it. Wine bottles and soda containers can burst in the freezer too, but the contents leave more of a mess than a hazard.

        Never refreeze melted ice cream. Don't defrost your ice cream container in the microwave unless you plan to eat it all.

        Freezing coffee is not recommended. If you've bought more coffee than you can drink in two weeks, divide it into one-week portions before freezing. Remove a week's worth of coffee and a time and don't refreeze it. Wrap well: It tends to absorb odors.

        Cabbage, celery, cress, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, parsley and radishes get limp, waterlogged and quickly develop oxidized color, aroma and flavor.

        Baking potatoes, baked or boiled, get crumbly, water-logged or mealy.

        Cooked macaroni, spaghetti or rice without sauce tastes mushy and warmed over.

        Cooked egg whites get soft, tough, rubbery or spongy.

        Meringue gets soft, tough, rubbery or spongy.

        Icings made from egg whites get frothy and weep.

        Cream or custard fillings for baked goods separate and get watery or lumpy.

        Milk sauces, for casseroles or gravies, may curdle or separate.

        Sour cream separates and gets watery.

        Cheese or crumb toppings on casseroles become soggy.

        Mayonnaise and salad dressing curdle or separate.

        Fried foods, except french fries and onion rings, lose crispness and become soggy.

        from this source: http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/TH...

        I'm sure you've got this covered but the info resides in a handy place to share it w/you. Happy chest box freezing!

        13 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          Thanks, my post was a result of a new freezer but also a few articles I read elsewhere on what not to freeze. As usual, these forums often offer even more information and first-hand opinions than is easily found via a quick Google search. Thanks for the article, very helpful. I have found that somehow soup with cheese or dairy freezes OK.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            You're welcome. I have that list stuck in a college folder on the laptop, I'll probably toss it now..it got plenty of use!

          2. re: HillJ

            It's amazing. Reading your post made me want to throw up.

            1. re: HillJ

              Great list! Thanks!

              I'm curious if anyone knows if tortillas freeze well. Thanks!

              1. re: UTgal

                I had tortillas for lunch with a nice glass of wine. I plastic wrapped them and then placed them in a large bag along with individual cups of salsa I grab one of each on the go.

                1. re: HillJ

                  Thank you! I hate buying a package of 10, using a few for a recipe then trying to use up the rest. Only two of us in the household, no kiddos.

                  1. re: UTgal

                    Package of 10 sounds like flour tortillas right? I always keep mine in the freezer but have learned that removing the number that I need (1 or 2 at a time) is much easier if I put a small piece of foil, parchment, etc. between the individual tortillas. It doesn't have to be big. a 4x4 inch square works. When I don't, the tortillas always stick together in the middle and I either have to partially defrost the whole stack or risk breaking the tortillas as I pry them apart.

                    1. re: seamunky

                      Yes, flour tortillas. Thank you so much for the suggestion! I could definitely see them freezing together in a big clump.

                      1. re: UTgal

                        seamunky is right they will stick if you don't adjust them for use prior to freezing. What I do is roll them into cigars, wrap in plastic as portions with the cups of salsa. Then I just grab what I need as I go through them.

                        But generally speaking I find that I do prepare everything I freeze from its original packaging to suit my needs. Whether I'm breaking down a large pkg of beef steaks or portioning out foods I'll use as a snack or lunch for one.

                  1. re: seamunky

                    The entire article was very informative at the time (2005) and well researched.

                2. Potatoes, rice...anything that when defrosted will absorb water and turn to mush.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: petek

                    I've been wondering about this. Trader Joe's sells frozen rice and potatoes. I've never tried either but I guess it works somehow.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Probably flash frozen..so no ice crystals form. Makes a huge difference.

                      1. re: petek

                        I remember reading somewhere a few years ago that you could somewhat replicate that at home. You would have to spread the rice out on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer kind of like how people do it to freeze berries or individual pieces of chicken.

                        1. re: cornedhash


                          Not sure if you could replicate the same results at home, but I have frozen berries on a sheet pan with good results(no clumping). rice just ain't the same after freezing.

                    2. re: petek

                      I've found that brown rice freezes nicely. White's a bit harder.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        Rice freezes wonderfully. If you're making fried rice.

                      2. re: petek

                        agree with petek, and, imho, pasta in sauce also falls into this category. pasta turns into mush.

                        1. re: Gastronomos

                          Well, considering it's made up of mostly water... :D
                          But seriously it doesn't get all mushy when you defrost it?

                          1. re: petek

                            If we freeze watermelon it's to enjoy it frozen like fresh cut into triangles for a BBQ but long term, cubed and eaten much later it would be water logged and tasteless.

                            So I'd be curious what Gastro means too. Something new to learn?

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I freeze watermelon when I have more than I can eat fresh to use in blender drinks in the next week or so.

                              1. re: autumm

                                Good point autumn. In a blended drink the watermelon liquid can and often does work in our favor.

                                1. re: autumm

                                  Yes. I buy in season and freeze plenty. Watermelon does nicely in the blender for smoothies and with tequila for that watermelon "margarita"...

                          2. Tomatoes actually freeze okay, but only if you intend to use them for sauce or as a cooked ingredient.

                            If you intend to freeze a wide variety of things, especially cooked items, one of those vacuum-sealing Food Saver devices might be worth the investment. Just think about that carefully, and don't do what I did and use it once then put it in a drawer and forget it!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              I don't always use a whole can of tomatoes so have been freezing them and it works well.

                              I actually have a Food Saver as well. It was a Christmas gift so the new freezer sort of completed the puzzle. I was just looking at the mason jar sealer, it seems useful.

                            2. The Kitchen (Food Network) just did a segment devoted to Freezing Saturday past. I will watch it and post what they reported.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Ottojr

                                It was a good episodes, I think I watched it a couple of times...random reruns in the background.

                              2. I buy big bags of spinach and kale-----because I put them in my protein drink. Otherwise forget it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mortswife

                                  As in you don't freeze anything else?

                                2. Raw onion does not freeze well.

                                  I used to make a multi-purpose ground pork mixture popular in Vietnamese cuisine and freeze it in easy-to-use portions. It's used for stuffing everything from cabbage rolls, to tofu, to bittermelon, steamed "frittata" and as a base for fried spring rolls. It consists of ground pork, bean thread, wood ear mushrooms, minced onion, and seasonings.

                                  I've since learned that if I freeze as it, the onions defrost into a watery mess and the mixture doesn't cook up correctly. So now I know to leave it out and add minced onion when I cook the final dish.

                                  1. Fresh vegetables or fruits


                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Donuts and other baked goods freeze just fine, as long as they're properly wrapped and frozen whilst still fresh(ish)

                                      1. re: petek

                                        I find defrosted donuts to taste like sponge cake, and not in a good way. Even properly wrapped.

                                        I agree, however, that baked goods, like muffins and what-not, do better. But those weren't listed initially.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          Are you talking about cake or yeast donuts or both?
                                          I've had not problem freezing yeast donuts(not that I do it that often,they never last that long) :)

                                    2. At niece's baby shower ( a few years ago)... part of the food crew... making, setting up, etc. At the end of event SIL was just gonna toss a LOT of sliced cheeses and meats, and I just couldn't do that. Cheese (like provolone, cheddar, swiss) will freeze fine but texture is a bit off when thawed... FINE to tossing into omelets or topping a casserole. Ham freezes OK, but thaws a bit watery... I just sizzle it up in a little butter as a base for eggs. Had meats (like salamis and pepperoni) seemed to fair the best... maybe not deli fresh but fine for topping a pizza.

                                      My food saver came from a thrift store and it's a FOOD SAVER. Once properly sealed, I never find freezer burned stuff. Labeling stuff (dates, too) can be helpful.

                                      Once had more than half a quart of buttermilk left over from somoe recipe... WHY can't you find that in smaller containers?? I froze it and it seemed totally separated once thawed, but a quick zizz in blender or food processor, brings it back to usable. Same with extra riccotta/egg/mozz mix for lasagna... a little watery but a good "beatin" helps once thawed.

                                      1. A lot of things posted on this thread actually freezes well..cooked rice, milk, fruit curd fillings, butter cream frostings, cheeses (soft & hard), doughnuts..cooked rice freezes well; I do it often. Milk (whiz in blender) and soft cheeses like cream cheese freeze (you have to drain it and whiz up in food processor but good to bake with). I have mac & cheese in the freezer now that I made, just needs a stir. Some things may have to be whisked or drained and mix in a food processor or blender, but it will still be usable. I freeze donuts, pastries, cakes...even pop tarts eaten straight out of the pack, all the time with on adverse affects at all.

                                        Another thing, vegetables. I grow a vegetable garden every year. Most of my veggies are prepared for the freezer because I'm lazy about canning. I have tomatoes in my freezer now and have used them for soups & sauces. Nothing wrong with them. I freeze random bits & pieces of veggies for stock and keep them in a large ziplock bag until I have enough for stock; carrots, celery, onions and herbs like parsley, basil, etc. They freeze fine.

                                        When I have onions that I can see are going to sprout before I use them ,I'll peel and dice them up then freeze them on a sheet pan until frozen. Then I'll put them in a ziplock bag and toss a handful into whatever I'm cooking when I need it. I do the same thing with celery. You probably can't use them in a fresh dish (well, they do good in gazpacho) but for cooked dishes, they're fine.

                                        It depends on what you will be using the item for. If it's a cooked dish, then a whole lot of things can be frozen. At my local store, there's a "seasoning vegetable" mix in the frozen veggie section which is a combination of diced red & green bell peppers, onions & celery. Look in your grocer's freezer for what can be frozen.

                                        1. I think I've had it before but does a vegetable cheese soup freeze ok (it has no cream)?