Freezing Home-Prepared Foods
Listen to the article
Your freezer can be a great help in keeping you stocked with prepared foods to have on
hand for emergencies such as weather problems or unexpected guests. It also is a great aid
for those who cook for only themselves and dont want to eat the same dish for two to
three nights in a row.
Here are some suggestions for keeping the quality in frozen prepared foods:
- Slightly undercook prepared foods to avoid over cooking during the reheating process.
- Cool foods quickly for safety and freshness. Set pan of food into another with ice water
to cool food quickly or place in refrigerator until cool and then freeze. Do NOT cool at
- Be sure container is freezer to oven safe if you plan to freeze in the baking dish. The
dish should have a cover. Be sure to place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the food
surface to prevent moisture loss and seal the edges with freezer tape before replacing the
- Straight-sided casserole dishes can be freed for other uses by lining with heavy duty
aluminum foil before filling. After the food has been frozen, remove it from the dish.
Complete wrapping and seal. Use the same dish later to reheat and serve the meal.
- Package foods you plan to reheat in the microwave in microwave-safe containers.
- Save cheese or crumb toppings for casseroles until the time for reheating and serving.
They become soggy during freezing.
- Use shallow containers to freeze foods more quickly.
- For one or two servings, divide casseroles and other dishes into smaller
containers before feezing.
Most main dishes can be reheated with or without thawing. Thaw all dishes containing
meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products in the refrigerator for safety purposes. If
the food is still frozen, it will take longer to reheat. Be sure center is thoroughly
heated, preferably to 160°F. Partial thawing in the
refrigerator can help reduce the reheating time significantly. Most baked goods thaw
rapidly and can be thawed at room temperature because of their low moisture content.
University of Missouri Extension Guide GH Freezing
Karen Elliot, ElliottK@missouri.edu
Regional Specialist, Nutrition and Health Education
Jackson County, Missouri
University of Missouri Extension