Here’s a quick answer for you: yes, you can freeze onions. Read on to learn how.
Onions make a great addition to many foods. Sometimes though, you’re in a hurry to add some flavor to a soup or meatloaf, and don’t have a lot of extra time. Other times you may find yourself with an onion surplus through either your garden or accidentally purchasing too many at the grocery store. That’s where frozen onions come in handy.
It’s a good thing that you can freeze onions. Seriously, how many times have you found yourself with an extra pile of chopped onions after prepping dinner? I do, all the time. As an immediate disclaimer, they won’t be as awesome as a fresh onion, but when push comes to shove, they’ll still do the trick.
When you freeze an onion, it limits its uses, but they can still be used in meals such as meatloaf, stews, soups, ground-meat mixtures, casseroles, and crock-pot meals. These types of meals work best because the onion isn’t the star. It’s mixed, blended, and mushed around, so you don’t have to worry as much about either the texture or the look. Yay meatloaf.
So without further adieu, here’s how you go about it. For best results, freeze onions that are fully mature.
Step 1: Prep the Onion
Wash, peel, and chop the raw onion into whatever size you need. Typically, you don’t want to chop them any smaller than 1/2-inch or they turn into an ice chunk in the freezer. Blanching them is not necessary. Onions have enough water content, that once they freeze, it will expand slightly and bruise the flesh.
Step 2: Tag ‘em and Bag ‘em
If you only have a wee bit of onion, you can immediately place them in a labeled freezer bag (type of onion, date frozen, expiry date). Make sure that they’re as flat as possible to prevent clumping when the onions freeze.
If you have lots of onion, spread it out in a shallow layer on a baking sheet. Then cover and freeze for a couple hours so that they don’t stick together. After they’re frosty, you can throw them in a labeled freezer bag. The shallow layer prevents clumping (and having to thaw all of them) when you need to use some of them later.
Freezer bags provide the best results. I use the quart size. They’re thicker and help prevent freezer burn and odor leakage. If you’re using a thinner bag, be sure to double-bag the onions or you’ll find your other freezer food tasting and smelling like onions. That’s no bueno.
Step 3: Let’s Freeze Onions
If you’re brave, suck the air out of the bag and quickly zip it closed. Otherwise, just do the best you can to expel the air. Again, spread the onions flat in the bag, layering them no higher than 1/2″ if possible.
Place the bag of cut-up onions flat in the freezer, if you laid them flat, you can stack them, and feel good about saving space. Give yourself a pat on the back. Leave them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Step 4: Don’t forget to use it!
When it’s time to use the onions, simply break a portion off and thaw it out. Frozen onions thaw easily with or without a microwave in a few minutes. After you freeze onions, they never quite return to normal. They’ll be a bit mushy because the water inside them has expanded and then condensed.
When cooking soups and stews, you can add the onion still frozen. I would recommend using them at the beginning so you can blend them up. The water will help rehydrate them as they cook.
And that’s it! Now you know the secrets to freezing any left-over sulfur balls you have laying around. Thanks for reading! Did you find this article helpful or do you have questions? Comments are welcome below.