How to Stock & Organize Your Freezer

With a smartly stocked and organized freezer you can make dinner faster, avoid extra supermarket trips and save money. Now that's cool.
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With a smartly stocked and organized freezer you can make dinner faster, avoid extra supermarket trips and save money. Now that's cool.

Chill Out!

From storage and labeling tips to a frozen food timeline, here's everything you need to know about properly stocking your freezer.

Chill Out!

Rack 'Em Up

Problem: Odd-shaped containers of soup and sauces are hogging space.

Solution: Turn 1-gallon resealable freezer bags into skinny storage. Fill the bags, lay them flat on a baking sheet and freeze, then store vertically in magazine files.

Rack ‘Em Up

Enjoy a Cold One

Problem: You're short on ice.

Solution: Store liquor in the freezer, and the supercold, slightly thickened alcohol will keep ice in drinks from melting too quickly.

Enjoy a Cold One

Stay in Shape

Problem: Your kids love meatballs -- but not if they aren't round!

Solution: Stop your meatballs from getting squished by freezing them first in a single layer on a baking sheet. Then pile them into a resealable freezer bag.

Stay in Shape

Spare Your Pans

Problem: Your favorite baking pan is stuck in the freezer with a lasagna.

Solution: Put that pan back in heavy rotation. Next time you make lasagna, or any casserole, line the baking dish with foil, leaving a 4-inch overhang, before filling and baking. Once the lasagna is cool, freeze it, then use the foil flaps to remove it from the pan; tightly wrap with freezer paper and pop it back in the freezer. Later, unwrap it, put it back in the pan and heat it up.

Spare Your Pans

Put Up Produce

Problem: Where are the peas? Unwieldy bags of vegetables are crammed into every empty crevice.

Solution: Keep the bags out of the way and all in one place by storing them on the top tier of a desktop in-box. Place heavier frozen meat in the bottom trays.

Put up Produce

Trade Trays

Problem: That T-bone you pulled out for dinner is dry and leathery and tastes a little funny.

Solution: Lose the foam trays and plastic wrap your meat came home in. Rewrap roasts and meats in freezer paper to keep them moist and flavorful.

Trade Trays

Be Crystal Clear

Problem: Your ice cream is covered with a thin layer of ice shards.

Solution: Press a piece of plastic wrap flat against the ice cream surface to keep it creamy and smooth.

Be Crystal Clear

Pack Like a Pro

Want to keep freezer burn at bay? We've got tones of tips for wrapping your food up safe.

grilled veggies

Get our tips!

Ice Ages

Frozen foods don't last forever. Eliminate waste with the following freezer timeline.

Cool Ice Cube Trays

1 Month

Milk, ice cream, hot dogs and bacon.

Ice cream

2-3 months

Casseroles, stews, bread, cooked pork and beef.

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Mu Shu Casserole

6 Months

Grated cheese, raw shrimp and cooked chicken.

Cherry Tomato Chicken

9 Months

Muffins, cookies, fresh vegetables and raw chicken parts.

Cornmeal Stuffing Muffins

12 Months

Raw whole chicken, steaks, butter, egg whites, breadcrumbs and fishsticks.

Gremolata Butter

Thaw it Out

Want to learn how to take food from frozen solid to family dinner?

Cornbread & Chorizo Stuffing

Whether you've got all night or just a few minutes, click here for the most efficient defrosting methods.

Stock Your Freezer Pantry

Make extras of the following items to keep on hand for quick use.

The Fridge

Pancakes

Reheat them in the microwave or toaster oven.

Fluffy Pancakes with Syrup

Burritos

Bake one for a snack or a few in a casserole.

Burritos

Cooked Rice

Stir into soup or toss with salads.

Rice

Breaded or Battered Cooked Chicken Cutlets

Instant dinner!

Chicken Dippers

Now get cookin!

We've shared our top 20 freezer-friendly recipes to whip up for dinner, tonight!

Chicken Potpie Bowls

Get the recipes!