20 Foods to Freeze to Save Money

One of my favorite wedding gifts was an unusual one. It was the upright freezer that my parents and siblings gave to us. I absolutely love our freezer! Having an extra freezer in the basement saves us so much money because it allows me to shop the sales and stockpile perishables.

Is meat on sale? I’ll buy 15 pounds. A great deal on cheese? I’ll buy 10 packages. Bake an extra loaf of bread? Go ahead and freeze it. Discover a mark-down on butter after the holidays? I’ll stock-up as much as my budget allows.

I find that my freezer saves me a great deal of money by shopping the sales and freezing great deals for later use. It allows me to make the most of seasonal sale cycles, too. Not only that, but my freezer also saves me time when I double recipes to “bake once and eat twice.”

Also, it should be noted that while there are guidelines for the quality of freezer food, frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. You can read more on this topic at Food Safety here.

Through trial and error as well as some food research, I’ve discovered that it possible to freeze many things. Here is a list of things that I regularly freeze, as well as some tips and tricks to help you save time and money by utilizing your freezer. There’s a lot of information and links here but I hope this helps you think about all the different things you can freeze to save yourself time and money!

1. Cheese

Grated cheese freezes best. Blocks will crumble after frozen so I grate blocks first (or buy already shredded cheese) for the freezer.

2. Milk

Pour a 1/4 cup out of each container before freezing to allow for expansion. I buy half gallons of milk on sale and freeze them to make yogurt in my slow cooker. Kalyn at Creative Savings suggests freezing milk in muffin tin increments for smoothies and baking. That’s a clever idea, too!

3. Butter

When it’s on sale around Thanksgiving and Christmas, buy extra butter at the low prices and store it in the freezer for later.

4. Cream cheese

With such a long shelf life, I normally store mine in the fridge but it can be frozen.

5. Sour cream

It may separate when thawed but if you’re using it for baking, it will be just fine.

6. Leftovers

If you aren’t going to eat all of your meal, rather than let it go to waste in the fridge, freeze it for a later time. Consider starting a miscellaneous container to freeze even the tiniest bits of leftover vegetables or meats, to turn into homemade soup at a later date.

7. Chocolate chips

Yes, chocolate has a long shelf life but I find chocolate stay fresher in the freezer. This also applies to clearance chocolate that I buy after the holidays. Chocoholic that I am, I always have chocolate chips in my freezer!

8. Baked goods

I bake a lot and regularly store cookies, bars, pies and coffee cakes in my freezer. It is very convenient to pull out a quick dessert for surprise company. Here are 5 of my favorite desserts to freeze.

9. Cookies and cookie dough

Again, if you bake cookies, bake a double batch and store some in the freezer. You can also make your own cookie dough and scoop it into balls for the freezer. Then, when you are ready to bake cookies, pull out as many scoops of cookie dough as you wish for quick, fresh cookies.

10. Bread

You can freeze homemade bread or store bought bread. I also bake and freeze rolls in double batches for the freezer. This is the homemade bread recipe that I make (only $0.50 a loaf), as well as my recipe for homemade crescent rolls, both of which freeze wonderfully. Tortillas, pita bread and buns all freeze nicely, too.

11. Freezer meals

Obviously, you can freeze complete meals to eat at a later date. If you’re looking for freezer meal ideas, check out some of my favorite freezer meals here.

12. Diced onions and peppers

When onions are on sale or your garden produces an abundance of peppers, wash and dice them. For onions, I like to package them in onion bundles so I have onion that is already diced when I’m cooking. This trick saves me a lot of tears! For peppers, I dice and flash freeze them before storing them in quart bags in the freezer.

13. Caramelized onions

I started making caramelized onions in my slow cooker last year. What a brilliant discovery! I make a slow cooker full at one time and freeze the onions in smaller foil packages that make them quick to defrost for delicious burger toppings or on grilled cheese.

14. Meat

Buying meat on sale and freezing it for later is one of the absolutely best ways to use your freezer to save money. You can freeze your meat in large packages or repackage it into smaller portions. You can freeze meat raw or cooked. The options are endless! I like to freeze raw hamburger in one-pound foil packages. I also cook hamburger and freeze it in one pound bags to quickly add to spaghetti sauce, chili, tacos, nachos or any other meal with hamburger that I want to assemble quickly.

15. Pre-cooked and shredded chicken

This is a great way to save money and time. Cook and shred your chicken ahead of time (I like to use my slow cooker to cook it) so you can quickly assemble a delicious dinner of poppy-seed chicken or any recipe that requires chicken. It’s a game-changer for dinner!

16. Eggs without shells

I don’t do this one regularly but you can! Simply crack your eggs into a bag and add a pinch of salt to help the yolks maintain their shape. I would do two eggs to a bag and label them so you remember how many eggs are in each bag. If you have an abundance of eggs and are worried about using them before they go bad, freeze some for future baking.

17. Pasta

Yes, pasta cooks quickly but you can freeze cooked pasta if you have extra. You can freeze cooked noodles by themselves or already covered with sauce. If you have little ones who like pasta, this is a time saver for quick babysitter meals!

18. Tomato sauce

Anything tomato based (tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, etc) freezes well. If you make your own spaghetti sauce, freeze it in 2 cup ziploc bag portions so you always have pasta sauce at the ready.

19. Smoothie ingredients

If your family likes smoothies, buy fresh fruit when it’s on sale and freeze for smoothies. You can even go one step further and make individual smoothie bags with various fruit, including frozen cubes of yogurt or juice, so that you can make a smoothie in seconds. This saves you time and money!

20. Apple pie kits

This is one of my favorite things to freeze and save money. Here’s how I make apple pie kits. When apples go on sale in the fall, I make at least a dozen apple pie kits so I can frugally make up an apple pie in minutes – anytime my husband requests one. It saves us money and results in a delicious dessert. Win-win!

There are plenty of other things you can freeze to save money and time. What do you always keep in your freezer?

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19 Comments

  1. I do a lot of these, but never would have thought of freezing eggs. Which will be wonderful once my traitorous chickens start laying (they’re being freeloaders right now), I wonder if I could make omelet packs and have all the herbs and veggies already in the eggs before I freeze them? I will have to try it, anything that saves a few minutes in the morning is alright in my book.
    I love using my freezer for veggies from my garden, I even made my first batch of freezer jam last week since I didn’t have enough time to do a proper cooked jam, and it turned out great (almost as good as cooked jam).
    Thank you for sharing these great tips!

    1. You’re welcome! I haven’t made any jam yet this year, but I do love a good homemade jam. And yes, you can freeze eggs. I don’t generally freeze them, since they have a pretty long fridge shelf life but it handy to know. An omelet pack is a GREAT idea! I’d love to hear what happens, when your chickens start laying and if you give it a try! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I like to freeze eggs as follows: crack one egg into each cup in a muffin tin, then freeze. Removal is easy is you spray the tin first and in a pinch you can run water on the bottom side of the tin to pop the eggs out. Then I store them in freezer bags.

    1. Great idea on how to freeze eggs! Thanks for sharing, Jamie! Next time I find a good deal on eggs, I will have to give this a try.

  3. I make pizza dough, let it rise once, punch it down and freeze it. I also bake cookies in big batches and freeze them to keep my cookie jar full when the grandkids come over. They especially like to decorate sugar cookies, so I make cut-out sugar cookies and have them in the freezer ready to decorate when they come over. We also make waffles in big batches and freeze them. Just pop them into the toaster like Eggo waffles! Sliced cheese and deli meat also freeze well. I also make muffins in big batches and freeze them for a quick morning meal, thawed in the microwave.

    1. Great additions, Kim! My freezer always has cookies of some sort in it. It makes entertaining on the spot so much easier. I freeze pancakes like you do waffles for quick breakfasts. Muffins are also great freezer foods. I’m glad to meet someone else who loves and utilizes their freezer as much as I do!

  4. Great list here! I love using my freezer to extend the life of food and also to save me money by allowing me to stock up on sale items. So, I’ve never frozen cream cheese. Do you know, does freezing it really change it’s consistency? One of the things that I have spoil on me a lot is opened packages of cream cheese. You know, you use half a block for a recipe sort of thing? I keep thinking that I should just automatically freeze the remaining part and then use it in a soup that I make that calls for cream cheese.

    1. That’s my problem, too, Lydia. I don’t freeze a lot of cream cheese but I should probably do the same thing with my half opened blocks. If you are using frozen cream cheese in a casserole, you shouldn’t notice the texture change (at least, I don’t). That said, I wouldn’t use cream cheese that has been frozen just as cream cheese, but when using it in soups or casseroles, I think it works just fine! You’ll have to let me know what you think!

    2. You can toss that half-package of cream cheese into things that will simmer or heat through a bit and let it melt, like spaghetti sauce, mashed potatoes, hamburger helper, beef stroganoff (I sometimes use it instead of sour cream), shredded chicken tacos (we put lime juice, red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper, and some cubed cream cheese into our shredded chicken for tacos; we don’t keep the chicken plain)… not to mention, you can mix it with shredded cheddar and spread on crackers, or mix it with chili and shredded sharp cheddar as a dip (I like using the onion & chive cream cheese for that one). We *never* end up with spoiled cream cheese at our house. ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Currently, our chest freezer has a sizable breast milk stash in it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Other than that, we have a hodge-podge of many of the things you listed: bread, butter, various meats, and veggies. I didn’t know you could freeze sour cream! That will be handy for the times we don’t use it before it’s sell by date.

    1. I well remember the days of frozen breast milk stashes! A blessing, indeed. And yes, for the sour cream! I just discovered a carton in the very back of my fridge that had already expired. Wish I had frozen that for later! Hodge-podge full freezers are still a blessing for all the money it saves us!

  6. Frozen juice concentrate. I especially buy OJ when it is on sale for my orange chicken recipe and homemade Orange Julius.

    1. Yes! I stock up on juice when it’s on sale, because sales on juice concentrate are becoming far and few in between! I haven’t made orange julius in much too long. Yum!

  7. I freeze marinated chicken to grill or bake, and also marinated beef stew for stir fry. I can skip the marinade time when I’m preparing them.

    1. Excellent point, Karen! I do the same on occasion. I need to do that for stir fry’s again, because it does save so much prep time!

  8. We freeze a lot of bread! We don’t eat much of it but who doesnt love an occasional grilled cheese!? ๐Ÿ™‚

    But other than that it only has breast milk and veggies. We dont do much bulk shopping but I’m sure once our child gets a little older (and a lot hungrier) we will start!

    1. Bread freezes great! And yes, grilled cheese is a great quick meal to fix! A freezer will certainly help you as your family grows, to continue saving money. Thanks for commenting, Luke!

  9. I usually have most of your list in the freezer except for dairy. Last night I decided on the spur of the moment to make your Poppy Seed Chicken. Why, yes, I had pre-cooked chicken in the freezer! ๐Ÿ™‚ But I found that I didn’t have any cream of chicken soup, so I substituted a can of cheddar cheese soup. It turned out to be a fantastic variation and one that I will repeat. Thanks so much for sharing that recipe – it has become a favorite at our house!

    1. Ohhh, that’s a fun twist that I’ve never thought of! I will have to give that a try sometimes, Addy! Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you all enjoy poppy seed chicken. It really is a delicious recipe!

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