Guide: How Long Can You Keep Food Frozen

Before you freeze it, make sure you know how long it can linger. We stuff our freezers on the daily and forget expiration dates—which is why a quick and dirty guide is what you need to keep frozen food as fresh as possible and not keep it past its quality time.

Of course, you’ll need to ensure that you’re freezing everything properly and following the generally advised freezing periods for each item so you’re not keeping items past the point of freezer burn. Getting the most out of our groceries and pantry items is key, so grab a pen and take note!

Just how long can you keep food frozen? Check out our easy guide below.

Let’s Break It Down: Different Types & Timelines

As an easy rule to follow, most food can stick around for 3–6 months in the freezer without any issues. Scientifically speaking, frozen temps stop the growth of bacteria, so you’re good to go indefinitely. But we always want the best quality possible and that’s where the below timelines come in handy.

Close up of bread

Freezing Breads

Freezing your breads creates a much longer life and keeps the mold away. Here’s how long you can freeze different kinds of bread:

  • Baked breads | 1 to 3 months
  • Baked cakes (cupcakes) | 1 to 3 months
  • Baked pies | 1 to 3 months
  • Baked cookies | 6 months
  • Cookie dough | 6 months
  • Baked muffins | 6 months
  • Pancakes/Waffles | 1 to 3 months

Freezing Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits can be frozen as is without any issues. Veggies should be cut and cored to make cooking easier later. Blanch all veggies to retain color and nutrients!

  • Vegetables | 1 year
  • Fruit with pits (cherries, plums, etc) | 9 months to 1 year
  • All berries | 9 months to 1 year
  • Bananas | 9 months to 1 year
  • Apples | 9 months to 1 year
  • Citrus fruits | 3 months

Plate of various different cheeses

Freezing Cheese & Other Dairy Products

Be careful with your dairy. Shelled eggs cannot be frozen.

  • Soft cheeses | Not recommended for freezing
  • All cheeses | Up to 6 months
  • Milk | 6 months
  • Yogurt | 2 months
  • Butter | 6 to 9 months

Freezing Soups & Stews

Some of the easiest items to freeze and reuse later are soups and stews. Freeze them, and put them away for a rainy day!

  • Soups | up to 3 months
  • Stews | up to 5 months

Pizza on serving board

Freezing Pasta & Pizza

These are the best leftovers and easy to freeze. Use airtight containers.

  • Pasta | 1 to 3 months
  • Pizza | 1 month

Freezing Casseroles

When you double the recipe, you can freeze it all for a later date!

  • Casseroles with eggs | 1 to 3 months
  • Casseroles without eggs | 3 months

Freezing Seafood

Vacuum seal your seafood to keep the air out.

  • Lobster or crab | 10 months to 1 year
  • Fresh shrimp or scallops | 3 to 6 months
  • Cooked fish | 6 months

Various meats in storage

Freezing Cooked & Uncooked Meats

Cooked meats should be prepared to freeze after they have completely cooled off.

  • Ground beef, turkey, or pork | 3 to 4 months
  • Steaks | 1 to 2 months
  • Ham | 1 to 2 month

Uncooked meats should be wrapped in freezer wrap (not plastic wrap).

  • Ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken | 1 to 2 months
  • Chicken or turkey | 6 months to 1 year
  • Steaks | 6 months to 1 year
  • Ham | 6 months

Tips & Tricks For Freezing Your Food

Not only should you follow the timelines provided above, but you should also follow these tips and tricks to ensure the best quality freeze:

  • As previously mentioned, freezing eggs is a no-no. They will expand inside the shell and cause a huge mess in the freezer—don’t do it!
  • When freezing liquid of any kind, be sure to include space in the container for expansion.
  • Write the date on the container so you remember how long you have left for the best quality. Organize the freezer by food type as well.
  • Use freezer bags and wrap food to avoid freezer burn.
  • Use vacuum sealing. It will always get the job done properly if you’re questioning any other packaging for the freezer.
  • Keep the freezer closed, especially if the power goes out. You don’t want warm air inside.
  • Once you thaw out your frozen food in the refrigerator, for the most part, it’s safe to refreeze. But know that the quality won’t be on par with when it’s fresh or frozen the first time.

Want more food storage tips? Check out our article on making and storing your own homemade pickles!