50 Things to Freeze to Save Time and Money

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50 Things to Freeze to Save Time & Money

I’m in love with my deep freezer. Our relationship started in 1993 when I bought it and it’s still going strong after 22 years. It’s survived three moves and outlasted my marriage. It’s helped me through postpartum exhaustion, celebrations, busy summers and long winters. I don’t know of any home appliance that works so hard, quietly doing its job, all to save me time and money.

Yet, some people don’t understand the potential of their freezer and what it can do for them. They use it to store convenience food and ice cream and that’s about it. If this is you, do yourself a favor and let your freezer help you out.

Top Six Reasons To Use Your Freezer More

  1. You don’t have to go to the store as often, which saves time and money.
  2. Keeps items you use infrequently from getting stale, saving money.
  3. Take advantage of really good deals you find and stock up, saving money.
  4. Have things on hand for impromptu cooking or baking, saving time not running to the store.
  5. You can freeze food that is already prepped, saving time.
  6. Have baked goodies ready for breakfast or snacks all the time, saving time and money.

With all that time saved not going to the store you’d think I might have time to defrost and organize my freezer, wouldn’t you?

Here are over 50 things to freeze to save time and money. I’ve frozen all of them and probably have the majority in my freezer right now. I won’t bother to mention things you buy already frozen as I would assume you realize you can freeze them.

50 Things to Freeze to Save Time and Money

  1. Bread-Extra loaves go in the freezer so they stay fresh until we get to them.
  2. Chips, Pretzels, & Crackers- Get them when they are on sale or just to keep them fresh. Cold and crispy chips are the best.
  3. Cereal-Available for breakfast, snacks and rice crispy treats
  4. Margarine & butter
  5. Hamburger & hot dog buns
  6. Chocolate chips
  7. Oatmeal
  8. Flour- Storing it in your cabinet, bugs can hatch in it. Yuck. Freeze it instead.
  9. Brown sugar
  10. Meats- Buy it when it’s reduced and put it straight in the freezer.  You can save 40% on meat!
  11. Wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seed, sunflower seeds, etc.things to freeze - wheat germ, white riceSometimes a recipe calls for something you don’t use that often. Freeze it until the next time you need it.
  12. Nuts- almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, mixed nuts, in the shell or shelled, sliced, chopped or whole
  13. Fruits- buy fresh berries when they are on sale and *flash freeze on a tray then bag them for storage in the freezer. Great for smoothies because you can just grab a handful and they make your smoothie nice and cold.
  14. Vegetables- Slice bell peppers or onions into strips and flash freeze. When you need just a little green or red pepper you can take just a few strips out of the bag. This is great for us as we have a hard time eating a whole pepper before it goes bad.
  15. Jalapenos- I slice in half and flash freeze for use in salsa year round. Otherwise, I’d be heading to the store for one silly jalapeno when I get a craving for chips and salsa.
  16. Waffles- If I’m going to make waffles, why not make a double batch and freeze the extra? I break them into quarters and freeze between layers of wax paper in a plastic bag. Defrost and heat in the microwave or pop them in the toaster if you like them crispy after they’ve defrosted.
  17. Pancakes- same story, different breakfast.
  18. Panko Crumbs- I don’t want them to get stale, so in the freezer they go.
  19. Yeastthing to freeze - yeast Yes, you can freeze yeast. I buy it in bulk in one pound bags. It’s so, so much cheaper than buying it in jars or little packets. I first did this at Sam’s probably 10-15 years ago and bought two bags. It still worked great until I ran out recently. This time I bought it on Amazon.  I kept a jar from a previous yeast purchase and refill it from the bags.
  20. Shredded cheese- I used to buy shredded cheese and freeze it. Now I shred my own, and still freeze it. It will clump together more as it doesn’t have the cornstarch, cellulose, sawdust, or whatever that white stuff on shredded cheese is, on it to prevent it. You can defrost it in the microwave a little and then break up the clump with your hands.
  21. Herbs- Why must you buy cilantro and parsley in quantities large enough to last a year when the herbs will barely last a week? I got tired of throwing cilantro away so now I chop it in a food processor with a little olive oil to help it stick together, flash freeze it in one tablespoon balls or clumps on a tray and then store in a plastic bag for future uses. Just take out a little ball of cilantro when you need it. I use it in fresh salsa all the time.
  22. Hamburger Patties- I don’t buy them in patties, I make my own, season, flash freeze on a tray, then freeze them separated by wax paper in a plastic bag. This way I can take out however many patties I need and I’ve saved myself some time.
  23. Pizza sauce-I have the same problem with pizza sauce as herbs. Whether I make my own pizza sauce or buy it, I always end up with more than I need. Freeze the extra for next time. Otherwise it will turn green before you make pizza again.
  24. Cookie Dough- Freeze in a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag. Just as convenient and way better than refrigerated cookie dough you buy.  It doesn’t take that long to thaw and if you’re in a rush you can defrost in the microwave. You can also freeze it in balls in a container, but that takes up more space in the freezer.
  25. Granola bars- things to freeze - granola barsWhen I make homemade, I freeze them for lunches and they are thawed by the time you’re ready to eat.
  26. Baked Cookies- Occasionally I’ll bake several batches of cookies at once and freeze some for later. I use 5 Qt. ice cream containers to freeze them in.
  27. Cooked Shredded Chicken- Whether I make a whole chicken specifically for this purpose or just shred the leftovers from dinner,  having cooked chicken in the freezer is way, way cheaper than buying it precooked.
  28. Browned Ground Beef- It’s the preparation that tends to take time in cooking. If I have ground beef already browned (and drained) in the freezer, dinner can be ready in half the time. Great for tacos, spaghetti with meat sauce and casseroles.
  29. Soups-I love to make a big pot of homemade soup and freeze the extra in individual size containers for lunches (assuming you have a microwave available). I use the little plastic containers you can buy deli meat in. They hold around two cups.  Homemade soup is cheaper, healthier and will be the envy of your coworkers.
  30. Pizza Crust-You can freeze pizza crust after the first rise in flattened discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and then put in a plastic bag. Once thawed completely, pat or roll out on your pan and you’re ready to top your pizza.
  31. Ripe Bananas- Peel and either flash freeze individually or just pop them all in a bag. Flash freezing just means you’ll be able to pull out one banana without it being frozen/stuck to others. These are great for banana bread and smoothies.
  32. Pie Crusts- Similar to the pizza crust. Freeze it in a disc, thaw, roll out and you’re one step closer to PIE.
  33. Popcorn Kernels- Sometimes I’m lazy and buy microwave popcorn. Thank goodness the bag of popcorn kernels is stored in the freezer so they don’t get stale during my times of laziness.
  34. Coffee- It’s cheaper to buy it in the big can, but how long will it take one person (not me, coffee=blech) to use that much coffee? Keep some out, freeze the rest! It will stay fresh.
  35. Cake-There was a time I would bake a cake and it would take us quite a while to eat it. My solution was to bake it in two 9 inch round pans and freeze one for later. (Do not frost it prior to freezing.) It was great. Now I have teens and I don’t have that problem.
  36. Buttercream frosting- For frosting the cake, of course. Once it is thawed, stir it well and it’ll be good as fresh.
  37. Homemade stock- Chicken or vegetablethings to freeze - chicken stock
  38. Marinating Meats-If you’re like me, you always forget to marinate meat until 5 minutes before you’re supposed to put it on the grill. Solution? Freeze the meat and the marinade together in a plastic bag right after you come home from the store or the next day. Then it will be marinated whenever you want it. The night before you plan to grill, move it to the refrigerator. The next evening, it will be thawed, marinated and ready to go.
  39. Vegetable peels & scraps for stock-I keep a plastic zippered bag in my freezer door for onion and carrot peels and other vegetable scraps to use when I make vegetable or chicken stock. I don’t keep potato skins or any greens. The dry papery onion skin is the best as it will give your stock the nice dark color you want.
  40. Muffins
  41. Quick breads such as pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, banana bread
  42. Hot cocoa mix- the recipe I use makes a big batch.
  43. Leftover lasagna
  44. Pot stickers- flash freeze things to freeze - potstickers
  45. Marshmallows
  46. Graham crackers
  47. Candy coating, leftover melted chocolate
  48. Zucchini- Because if you grow it, you’ve got a lot.
  49. Pre-Made Smoothie Bags-1/2 cup fruit & 1/2 cup yogurt in a freezer bag. Freeze. When you want a smoothie thaw slightly under warm water to break it up just a little then dump in blender. Add 1/2 cup juice or milk and blend. Experiment with ingredients.
  50. Ice-Yes. Ice. Because why pay for frozen water when you can make your own and save it? And because a full freezer is more energy efficient than a half full freezer.

*Flash freeze* – Lay wax paper or parchment paper on a cookie sheet or tray. Spread items out on the tray without touching each other and freeze until frozen solid. Then put them in freezer bags. flash freezing - potstickersThey will be frozen individually and won’t clump together (as much) so it is easy to take out how much you need.

Always remember to label and date what you put in the freezer.

You would think, looking at the amount of food I keep in my freezer, my grocery bills must be huge. But it’s just the opposite. I’m able to make more things from scratch and save money because I keep items I use on hand in the freezer. There’s less temptation to go out to eat or get take out when you have a freezer full of food. This can go a long way to help you achieve your savings goals.

Help me spread the word by pinning this post to Pinterest or sharing on Facebook. That way more people can see how I need to defrost my freezer!

What kinds of things do you freeze that help you save time and money? Let me know in the comments. I plan to share some of my recipes for the freezer in the future. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you get them!

 

48 Comments

  1. Aloha, i have signed up for your newsletter. I am looking forward to receiving it! One thing we use a lot here in Hawaii is fresh ginger. Before I retired, I worked as a breakfast cook in one of our popular resteraunts. I had a wonderful chef that taught me many of his own innovations in the kitchen. One of the best was to freeze the fresh ginger root and grate the root (no need to peel) as you need it. Freezing the root makes it milder, and the tiny bits of peel give it back the zing. I have shared this with many people here and they are all amazed. Ginger root tends to dry out quickly and by freezing it stays fresh and juicy for months in the freezer.

  2. I precut Cookie dough and flash freeze then stacked in a log to save space. That way I can bake as many or as few as I want

  3. Stevie Jane on

    I am happy to see some new ideas. Redoing my kitchen and will be oven less for awhile. I will now double up on everything!

    • Oh, I’ve been through a kitchen remodel! Moved my kitchen into the dining room and did the dishes in the bathroom sink, which was TINY! Hope this helps and good luck with your remodel!

    • Well, as you can see from my picture it is definitely NOT all that organized. I wouldn’t win any organization prizes, I’m sure. I have plenty of space since it’s a chest deep freezer. Basically I just keep meats on one end, baking items on the other end. I have the two baskets that came with the freezer, that have frequently uses items. In the middle, I stack containers of square things, which are usually stocks and fruits or vegetables. In front of them are my various flours/grains. Then there are boxes of cereal beside that and crackers. On top of the boxes are bread loaves. Behind those boxes are random things. On top of everything are potato chips. I try to group like items and like sized items so things stack or fit well and boxes and containers on the bottom breads and bags of items on top. Honestly sometimes, it’s just kinda thrown in though. When I make freezer meals or marinate meats in ziploc bags, I freeze those flat, then they take up very little room and stack on top of each other or you can stand them up on their ends, once frozen. Hope that helps.

  4. We are a family of six, so I buy the large waxed Bologna and cooked ham, slice them on my meat slicer, different sizes for sandwiches, frying etc. I then put them in vacuum seal bags based on quantity per meal or sandwiches for a few days and freeze. Saves a lot of money! I also freeze my corn on cob from my garden by blanching and using vacuum seal bags, I make French fries and perogies with the potatoes from my garden and freeze also.

      • I Blanche for 5-8 mins, then flash freeze using wax paper on cookie trays, then divide in the vacuum seal bags, seal and their in the freezing. It is a little time consuming from start to finish, but so worth it when I realize how much money it saves us.

  5. Cathryne Rimsa on

    Add milk to the list. I divide a half-gallon of milk into pint containers. (Clean juice bottles work well for this). Remember to leave head room. The small bottles fit nicely into the little niches in the freezer, or in the door compartments.

    • Yes, I forgot about milk. I had to freeze half a gallon last week when my refrigerator wasn’t working. You have to shake it up when you’re thawing it.

  6. Thank you for sharing these, I always love to get new ideas on ways to make food last longer.
    Earlier this spring I made and planted a garden and I knew that before the peas and green beans were ready to pick I had to have a freezer, so I went on the local classified site and got one for $50! I love getting fresh veggies and fruit (I just made my first batch of freezer jam). I think a freezer is one of the biggest must-haves for being frugal. When you have the space to store stuff, you can grab those great deals at the store and feel great about it.
    Thank you for making such a great list, I am going to have to try some of these I wasn’t aware of.

  7. Do you know if you can freeze cheese slices? I just bought them BOGO and we don’t go through them super fast at our house.

    • Hmmm…. I think I remember my mom doing that and they would get a little crumbly, as all cheese does when frozen. You could always try just a slice or two and see how they are. If they do get crumbly and you know you won’t be able to use it before they get moldy, I’d go ahead and freeze anyway. You can always plan to use it for things that would be melted anyway.

  8. Dorothy hoskins on

    Wow! What a great list! I love “shopping ” from my freezer. Sundays are prep days at our house and shopping Day. If I find a deal on meat, it goes into ziploc bags with marinade on them. I sometimes make enchiladas and lasagna -double the recipes and freeze one. I mean if you are going to go thru all that work you might as well make two meals out of it! I also cook sausage into round patties and then flash freeze them for breakfast sandwiches. I also freeze powdered sugar, flour, brown sugar, nuts, shredded coconut and chocolate chips (when they are on sale- I grab more than one bag great for holiday baking! ) liked said I love shopping from my freezer!

  9. Cameron Hearn on

    When making stew, chili, cheese/chicken enchiladas, I make way too much, then freeze the rest. If you put just a couple enchiladas in each bag, they thaw quickly. If you freeze stew or chili in baggies, lay them flat until frozen, you can then stack them like books so they’ll take less room and they’ll thaw faster. Thanks for the ideas.

  10. I make my own breadcrumbs from the low-carb bread we eat. Save the ends and miscut slices that don’t fit in the toaster and when you get enough dry them out in a low oven ad toss them in the food processor. It is easier to store crumbs in the freezer than it is bread.

    • Well from the looks of my freezer, don’t take lessons from me on the organizing! 🙂 Freezing in ziploc bags flat does help save a lot of space though. You can also use cardboard boxes without tops to put like items in or to keep things from getting smashed.

  11. I love freezing to save money and food waste. I make crumble topping in bags so I can make a quick dessert .The sauce from tinned tomatoes goes into ice cube trays to use in soups ect. I freeze home made chicken stock in ice cube trays so I can use how many I freeze leftover cake cubed for trifles.
    home made cheese sauce. T he list is endless, and its surprising how handy all these simple leftover foods, which people throw away come in handy and are quickly used.

  12. My mom would peel, grinding and freeze large amounts of garlic. She’s done it in to different ways, one as a flat slab and we would brake off how much we needed per recipe or in small portions, wrapped in seran wrap.

  13. We go in with friends on a half cow, etc. I always make a double batch of my spaghetti sauce. I freeze seasonedhmbg for my Greek sauce, tacos and the like. Then grab hot dogs or make taco salad. I freeze real butter. I always have pizza toppings. Cheaper than going out for lunch to have quick fix lunches. Extra meatballs. Fruit is my fave. Love fresh taste mid winter. I vacuum pack most everything.

  14. I was given a large amount of bananas. I peeled them, and flash froze them whole and put them in freezer bags. When I took some out of the freezer to use they were a black mess! Threw them away. What did I do wrong?

    • You didn’t do anything wrong, that’s just what bananas do when they are frozen. That’s why they are only used in things like smoothies and baked goods when frozen, things that they’re going to be mushy in anyway. They are fine to eat like that, but they’re not going to be able to be eaten like they’re fresh after frozen. It’s like when bananas turn dark because they’re really ripe. Still fine to eat.

  15. I use plastic crates in the chest freezer. This helps organize by categories . I am short and can]t reach the bottom easily so this allows me to lift the food to where I can reach it.

    • I just put them straight in the freezer. Cereal in the box and flour in the bag. If I’ve opened the flour to use some and then return it to the freezer, I place the whole bag inside a ziploc bag in case some spills.

  16. Hello Danell,
    I truely enjoyed your article. A lot of the items I had totally forgotten about. Being from the south, harvest was the main source for freezing and canning. My family and I traveled cross country for almost 20 years, not leaving room for a garden. So over the years I lost touch with the old ways. Now that we have settled back in the south, I have forgotten how large my is… not!
    I’m trying to get back in the swing of things. A big one is soup, free soup in the winter. I keep a freezer bag for saving “clean” left overs, such as corn, peas, gr. Beans etc, “clean” meats such as meat not cooked in a sauce, and some pastas. When we want soup add water, a touch of this and we’re done. I never let any part of a ham, Turkey or chicken go. Chicken and turkey for stock. Ham fat and bone for cooking, beans, collards and such. Gizzards for giblet gravy or dumplings.
    And ice, yes ice, lol. My ice maker has its days, plus we use it in the cooler. Hopefully next season I will be able to enjoy harvest again. That alone will cut my grocery bill in half.

  17. I have a small upright freezer,I put 2 plastic baskets on each shelf.I put ready cooked meals in one,poultry in one,red meat in one,and so on.The baskets are labeled ,so I can just grab what I need.I use the door storage for butter,nuts etc.Thank you Danielle for your ideas,i found sone things that I didn’t know you could freeze!!

  18. I use a dry erase board and list everything in my freezer. I also write the # of packages I have. I also use my vaccum seal bags. So if I have 5 1lb pkgs of ground beef & take 1 out I just erase & chge the number. It is so helpful to know what you have and what you might need!

    • That’s a great idea Linda. I found a peel and stick dry erase film that I put on the fridge for a grocery list, and its removable, no damage. I never thought to have one on my freezer too for an inventory list, that’s awesome!

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