Every now and then I get a question from a reader and it makes me realize I don’t always explain things well and I often assume people know how to do certain cooking techniques – such as flash freezing.
What is flash freezing?
For me flash freezing means placing items on a baking sheet lined with parchment and freezing uncovered until frozen solid. Then I transfer the food items to either a plastic bag or vacuum sealed bags.
Why do you “Flash Freeze,” food vs just freezing the food?
The reason you “flash freeze,” is to be able to easily pull out separate items after they are frozen. A good example is cookie dough. If you place the cookie balls in a plastic bag and then freeze the bag, they will stick together. You will have to thaw them all out before you can use them. If you freeze the balls of dough first with space in between each ball, you can easily pull out a few balls to thaw at a time before you bake them.
What kinds of foods are best for flash freezing?
I pretty much flash freeze everything individually if I know I might want a portion of it later. Besides cookies, another good example are my Chipotle Egg Cups. I flash freeze them on a baking sheet then vacuum seal them up in packages 6 or 7. I take one out every morning for breakfast and microwave.
Casseroles and Lasagna
You can also flash freeze food items such as casseroles and lasagna. Allow the casserole or lasagna to completely cool in refrigerator. Then slice into individual portions. Flash freeze the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for at least a few hours, then transfer to vacuum sealed bags. I like to use the vacuum sealed bags because they take up less space in my freezer and I can pull out exactly how many pieces I need for dinner, vs freezing a big casserole dish.
Mini Meatloaves, Turkey Burgers and Enchiladas
Again, I flash freeze these on baking sheets so it’s easy to pull out just one when you need it. For the enchiladas, I make the sauce when I’m ready to bake it but freeze the enchiladas separately so I can grab what I need for dinner.
- If it’s a cookie that I typically bake for my kids, then I will just flash freeze them and put them in a large plastic bag such as a Ziplock gallon bag. I’ll pull what I need out and bake them up for the evening dessert. No sense in cutting open the vacuum sealed bags all the time if I get in the bag a lot.
- If it’s a cookie that we don’t eat as often or a special treat, I’ll flash freeze but then vacuum seal in packages of about 6 or 12 cookies.