12 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze, Like Eggs and Rice

Freeze now, use later

surprising foods you can freeze person reaching into freezer
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Surprise, surprise, the freezer is good for more than storing dinosaur chicken nuggets and your ice roller. By knowing the ins and outs of what you can store long-term, you can save yourself from impromptu trips to the grocery and a whole lot of food waste. Don’t believe us? Here, surprising foods you didn’t know you could freeze—from butter to cooked rice.

(FYI: According to the USDA, the freezer will actually keep food safe nearly indefinitely, so suggested storage times are based on ideal taste and texture, not food safety.)

10 Foods You Should Never Store in the Freezer

surprising foods you can freeze: butter
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1. Butter

Nothing beats soft, room temperature butter for spreading on toast, but it’s also good to have a stash frozen for a rainy day (and by that we mean the bake sale your kid forgot to tell you is tomorrow). Butter will keep for an entire year in the freezer if stored correctly. If it’s sealed and in the original packaging, store it as is. If you want to freeze a stick that’s partially used, remove the wax paper (save it), wrap the butter in plastic wrap, recover the whole thing in the wax paper and freeze. For butter that’s in a tub or container, take the lid off, put a piece of plastic wrap over the butter, put the lid back on and store the whole thing in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to one year
surprising foods you can freeze: bread
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2. Bread

It’s a sad day when we see our favorite loaf of sourdough creeping towards expiration. If you know the loaf will go moldy before you can finish it, the freezer can save it from the garbage can. Wrap the bread tightly in a layer plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil before freezing it. Psst: Slicing beforehand can make your life easier when you want to thaw a single piece.

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to three months
surprising foods you can freeze: cookie dough
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3. Cookie Dough

Our favorite party trick? Scooping out an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies, then popping the baking sheet in the freezer instead of baking them. You can store the dough balls in a freezer-friendly zip-top bag and pull out as many as you need when a craving strikes, when you’re stuck with dessert duty for an impromptu dinner party, when your neighbor has a baby, you get the idea…

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to two months
surprising foods you can freeze: shredded cheese
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4. Shredded Cheese

Is it just us, or is it nearly impossible to grate the *exact* amount of cheese called for in a recipe? We’re always eyeballing it, and we usually end up with extra. Excellent news: That shredded mozz can be bagged and stored in the freezer for the next time you make a homemade pizza. (This goes for whole blocks of firm and semi-firm cheese too.) That block of Parm you spent $20 on? Grate it and put it in the freezer, and you’ll be able to take out just what you need to sprinkle on pasta or soup.

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to six months
surprising foods you can freeze: banana
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5. Whole Bananas

Instead of letting those ripe bananas rot on your countertop, simply toss them peel-on into your freezer. They won’t retain their firm texture, but you can peel them and use them in a batch of banana bread or banana pudding cheesecake. (Yum.)

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to three months
surprising foods you can freeze: garlic
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6. Garlic

We love peeling garlic every time we need to cook, said no one ever. Save yourself the trouble by peeling a big batch of cloves, then pack them up in a freezer bag and store them for another day. They’ll stay fresh for about six months.

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to six months
surprising foods you can freeze: bacon
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7. Bacon

Like cheese, butter and other foods on this list, bacon isn’t cheap. Still, we don’t always need to fry up an entire pound at once. Freeze unused, raw bacon for up to a month and you’ll save yourself from having to buy another package the next time you host brunch. (Want to make it easier to thaw? Check out our storage hack for freezing individual slices.)

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to one month
surprising foods you can freeze: ginger
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8. Ginger

Similar to garlic, whole ginger is another aromatic that will stay fresh in sub-zero temps. We like to wrap it first in plastic wrap, then foil, then place it in a plastic bag before freezing to ward off freezer burn. Bonus, frozen ginger is easier to peel; use a metal spoon to scrape off the fibrous outer layer.

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to six months
surprising foods you can freeze: flour
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9. Flour

While you may have lost track of when you bought that flour in your panty, it does go bad eventually. Storing it in the freezer will lengthen its shelf life (up to two years for white, one for wheat) and has the added benefit of staving off pantry pests (like moths) that are drawn to wheat products.

  • How long can you freeze it? White flour, up to two years; whole wheat flour, up to one year
surprising foods you can freeze: nuts
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10. Nuts

Nuts are notorious for going rancid quickly, thanks to their high oil content. But you can slow their expiration and preserve their flavor by freezing them. Whole nuts will stay fresh for up to a year, while chopped nuts (and nut flours, for that matter) will last for about six months.

  • How long can you freeze it? Whole, up to one year; chopped, up to six months
surprising foods you can freeze: grains
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11. Cooked Grains

You know that cooked rice is only good for two days in the fridge. But if you want to set yourself up for future stir fry success, you can freeze it to make it last longer—just make sure you allow it to cool completely first. Spread the cooked rice in a thin layer in a dish, transfer it to the fridge to cool, then divide up the rice into freezer bags for longer storage. The same method will work for other cooked grains, like quinoa and farro.

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to three months
surprising foods you can freeze: eggs
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12. Raw Eggs

If you end up with more eggs than you can use within a few weeks (or your recipe called for a bunch of egg yolks but no whites), you can freeze raw eggs, egg yolks and whites, no problem. For whole eggs, beat together the egg and white before storing and labeling with the number of eggs and date. For egg whites, pour into a container (or an ice cube tray for easy portioning and thawing) before freezing. As for freezing egg yolks, well, they can take on a funny texture in the freezer, but per the American Egg Board, if you beat them with a small amount of salt or sugar, you can prevent this change.

  • How long can you freeze it? Up to a year, but ideally up to four months


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...