Aromatic and packed with flavors, onions are a staple ingredient in many cuisines. Being one of the most frequently used vegetables, people tend to buy them in bulk. Unfortunately, they often go bad earlier before we can go through each bulb.
Perhaps, you use tons of onions quite often. But chopping them always leaves you sobbing uncontrollably.
Either way, you might be wondering: can you freeze chop onions and freeze for later?
Yes. Onions can be frozen whole or chopped, with or without blanching. Keep reading to learn the easy ways to freeze onions.
How To Freeze Onions
When it comes to freezing this aromatic vegetable, there are a few ways to go about it. Regardless of the method you choose, we need to pick the fresh, fully mature, and firm bulbs. They should feel heavy for their size, free from soft spots and molds.
Keep in mind that onions have a strong smell that can be easily picked up by other foods. To prevent your freezer smells like onions, make sure to use a heavy-duty freezer container and double-check that the package is sealed tightly. For extra precaution, you can also double (or even triple) the bag, if necessary.
Here are our step-to-step tutorials to freeze red onions and other types for long-term storage.
Freezing Chopped Onions
Blanching is not necessary if using this method.
1. Select fresh bulbs, peel, and clean them.
2. Slice, dice, or chop them to your desired size. Use a knife, a mandolin, or a food processor if you’re working with a large amount.
Onions become softer after thawing. So, don’t chop them too finely, or you will end up with a mushy final product.
From here, you have three options for packaging.
Option 1: Freeze in Individual Portion
This is the most useful and practical method if you know the typical amount you need for upcoming recipes.
– Portion chopped onions to the desired amount.
– Pack into a smaller freezer bag.
– Suck out excess air, seal it tightly, and label with the quantity and freezer date.
Option 2: Tray Pack Freezing
– Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread chopped onions on it, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
– Freeze until they are frozen.
– Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. The chopped pieces will freeze individually and make them easier to pull as much as you need for future recipes.
– Press out as much air as possible from the bag and seal it tightly.
– Write the freezing date and pop the package back into the freezer.
Option 3: Dry Pack Freezing
– Pack and spread chopped onions into a thin layer in freezer bags.
– Remove excess air and flatten out the bags.
– Seal tightly and label them with the freezing date.
– Stack the packages in a tray and freeze for several hours.
– Once frozen, take out the tray and stack the frozen packages.
Freezing Onion Bulbs
This method is not really recommended because thawing a whole bulb takes a much longer time. Next to that, blanching is necessary when freezing whole bulbs. So, if you’re not a fan of blanching, this is not your way to go.
- 1. Choose fresh bulbs, peel, and clean them thoroughly.
- 2. Sort them by size for blanching.
- 3. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
- 4. Blanch the smaller bulbs for 3 minutes and up to 7 minutes for larger ones. Make sure that the heat reaches all the way through the center.
- 5. Plunge blanched bulbs in icy water immediately and let them cool promptly.
- 6. Drain them off in a colander and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
- 7. Pack them in a freezer-safe container and leave ½ inch headspace.
- 8. Seal it tightly, label it with the freezing date, and pop it into the freezer.
How To Thaw and Use Frozen Onion
After freezing, onions become softer and lose their crunchy texture. So, using them for fresh salads or eating them raw might not be the best idea. However, they are excellent for any cooking recipes you can imagine, such as:
- Soup, stew, curries, and hot dishes
- Casserole and savory pies
- Omelet and egg dishes
- Stir-fries and sauteed vegetables
- Pasta sauces
To thaw, simply leave it in the fridge and let it soften up slowly. Alternatively, simply tear off a section and throw it into the pan. Let it thaw while cooking.
How Long Can You Freeze Onion?
Frozen onions retain their best flavor for up to 8 months after freezing. Some people store them for up to a year, and they have no complaints. As long as frozen continuously at 0 °F, they should remain safe to use indefinitely, although the wonderful flavors might be less kicking.
Technically speaking, you can refreeze onions. Unfortunately, the texture and flavor will suffer from repeated freezing and thawing.
Yes. Whole bulbs can stay in a cool, dark place such as your pantry or basement. After peeling and cutting, they should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 to 2 weeks. For long-term storage, freezing is an excellent alternative.
Frozen onions will become soft and lose their crunch texture. Besides this small issue, they are still packed with flavors and perfect to go in any cooked dishes.
Frozen onions that are appropriately prepared and continuously kept at 0ºF are safe to keep indefinitely. However, the flavor and texture will diminish slowly over time.
Yes. It will lose some of its crispness after freezing and thawing. But, green onion (or scallion) freezes surprisingly well. To freeze, choose fresh roots, clean and cut them, flash freeze for a few hours, pack them in a bag, and freeze up to a year.
Freezing onions is a smart hack to preserve any leftovers and save time for meal prep. They can be frozen in bulbs or chopped, blanched, or unblanched.
If you use chopped onions regularly but dreading the tearful preparation, do the task in advance and freeze them for future cooking. Check our tips above! If you run out of onion to use, check these onion alternatives.