Storage & Safety

Can You Freeze Broccoli?

Published on July 9, 2024 | 0 Comments
can you freeze broccoli?

If you can’t eat all of the fresh broccoli in your refrigerator before it goes bad, you may be wondering whether you can freeze broccoli to keep from wasting it. Maybe you’ve gotten into the habit of grabbing a fresh head of broccoli every time you pass through the produce aisle. That means you’re bound to eventually have more broccoli than you can use before it starts to turn yellow. 

Other questions you may need answering include “Can you freeze raw broccoli?” or “Can you freeze fresh broccoli?” As with all produce, broccoli only lasts so long in your refrigerator. And if you can freeze broccoli, the question remains as to whether it’ll taste the same after it’s thawed, leaving us wondering which recipes might be best suited to the frozen-and-thawed product. Fortunately, beloved broccoli holds up well to freezing as long as you follow simple steps. And even if your thawed broccoli is a little limp, there are many ways to use it so it doesn’t go to waste. Read our guide below to find out all about freezing this gorgeous cruciferous green.


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Can Broccoli Be Frozen?

Can you freeze broccoli? Nearly all of us have purchased frozen vegetables at one time or another, so you may already know the answer to this. You can freeze broccoli, but the key to successful freezing of any food is to take the time to prepare it properly so that it is usable when it thaws out later.

Frozen broccoli on a plate.
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Can You Freeze Fresh Broccoli?

You just got home from the market with a fresh head of broccoli only to realize you already had one in the produce drawer. What to do? Can you freeze raw broccoli? The answer is yes, you can freeze broccoli in its raw state, but doing so properly is key.

You can freeze fresh broccoli by simply separating it into florets and tossing them into a freezer bag. Press to remove as much air as possible. You’ll be able to either thaw your broccoli out as needed, or you can cook with the florets from frozen. Keep in mind that whilst you can freeze broccoli for later use, it won’t have the same color or texture as it did when it was fresh.

Can you freeze broccoli? Yes if you put it in a freezer bag!
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Can You Freeze Cooked Broccoli?

Can you freeze cooked broccoli? This depends on how cooked your broccoli is. If you’ve steamed, boiled or roasted your broccoli to its fully tender state, it’s better to eat it all up than to try to freeze it. Because the broccoli is already fully tender, freezing it and thawing it will soften it up even more and may result in a mushy mess.

Instead, for those wondering whether you can freeze broccoli once it’s cooked, it’s better to partially cook it than to do so until it's fully tender. Blanching is a partial cooking technique that helps preserve both the color and texture of the broccoli. It involves boiling the vegetable for a short period of time, before plunging it into cold water to cool fully prior to freezing. When you buy vegetables from the store that are already frozen, it is likely they have already been blanched.

Finally, if you’re curious as to whether you can freeze steamed broccoli, yes! Steaming is the next best option if you don’t want to blanch your broccoli first.

Steaming broccoli is a good way to freeze it.
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Can You Freeze Raw Broccoli?

Can you freeze uncooked broccoli? Will it taste the same when it thaws? Remember that broccoli has a high water content. This means that while you can freeze raw broccoli, the water will expand as it freezes, causing some damage to the plant’s cell structure. Thawed broccoli will be less crisp than fresh, milder in flavor and paler in color. For the best color and taste results, you can freeze broccoli after blanching or steaming it.

Chopping broccoli.
via Canva 

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How To Freeze Broccoli

Taking the time to prepare your broccoli for the freezer properly will be well worth the effort. The whole idea is to get something on the other end that is still enticing and enjoyable to eat. You can freeze uncooked broccoli or you can freeze broccoli that has been blanched or steamed. Just don’t try to freeze fully cooked broccoli.

Broccoli and other frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer.
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How To Blanch Broccoli for Freezing

If you can boil water, you can blanch. Simply bring a pot of water to boil, salt it and boil your broccoli florets. If you’re wondering how long to blanch broccoli for freezing, start with two minutes. You want to allow the color to get bright green, so you may go as long as three minutes, but two should be enough. Rinse immediately in cold water to halt the cooking process. 

Use paper towels or a dry kitchen towel to pat the broccoli dry and then spread it out on a baking sheet. Freeze for about two hours and then transfer the frozen broccoli pieces to a freezer bag or container.

You can freeze broccoli by blanching - boiling the broccoli
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Freezing Broccoli Without Blanching

Can you freeze uncooked broccoli? If you don’t have time to blanch your broccoli, you can freeze broccoli by separating the head into florets and storing them in a freezer-safe bag. Be sure to press out as much air as possible to minimize freezer burn (using a straw to suck out extra air is a great trick). 

Don’t waste the stem! Trim the ends and peel the exterior of the stem, then cut into bite-sized pieces and freeze along with the florets. Your broccoli won’t be crispy enough for a raw vegetable platter when it thaws, but it can still be used in stir fries or soups.

Can you freeze broccoli! Yes, in a freezer bag.
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How Long Can You Freeze Broccoli?

As a rule, it’s always best to use up frozen broccoli as soon as possible. You can freeze broccoli that has not been blanched for up to three months while broccoli that has been blanched will last up to six months.

Frozen broccoli
via Canva

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How To Cook Frozen Broccoli

Can you freeze broccoli for use in quick weeknight meals? Yes! The great thing about knowing that you can freeze broccoli is that it works best when used directly from its frozen state versus thawing it out. Need frozen broccoli recipes? Try tossing your frozen broccoli pieces into a stir fry or mixing them into soup.

Broccoli in stir-fry.
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How To Roast Frozen Broccoli

Have you ever wondered if you can freeze broccoli and then roast it? Most of us might hesitate at this assuming the frozen broccoli would be too watery. But it actually works! Just get your oven nice and hot (400℉ to 425℉) and spread the frozen broccoli out on a baking tray so it has room for the hot air to circulate.

Roasted broccoli on an oven tray.
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Can You Air Fry Frozen Broccoli?

If you are looking for information on how to air-fry frozen broccoli, look no further. It’s even easier than roasting. Just preheat your air fryer to at least 380℉ and throw the frozen florets in. You can toss them in seasoning after they are cooked for more flavor.

Use an air fryer to thaw frozen broccoli.
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How To Thaw Frozen Broccoli

You can thaw frozen broccoli by transferring it to the refrigerator for a few hours, but in almost all applications, you can freeze broccoli and use it directly from the freezer bag. If you’re looking for inspiration on what to do with frozen broccoli, look for cooking classes near you — learning from a professional chef is a great way to learn tricks, tips, techniques and new spins on old classics. And if you can’t make a class in-person, you can also check out online cooking classes.

Cooking frozen broccoli and other vegetables in a pan.
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Is Frozen Broccoli Healthy?

Can you freeze broccoli and still get the health benefits from it? Believe it or not, frozen broccoli might actually be more healthy than fresh. If broccoli is quickly frozen while it’s still fresh, the freezing process locks in healthy riboflavins that would denature over time as the fresh broccoli ages. That said, freezing produce will cause it to lose some of the anti-inflammatory benefits that you get with fresh. Either way, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can consume and it’s a great source of dietary fiber.

Broccoli in a salad.
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If you find a fresh head of broccoli irresistible, you’ll be happy to know that you can freeze broccoli so that it never goes to waste. The process is so simple, too — just blanch it, pat it dry and freeze the individual florets before transferring to your storage container. Better still, there are many ways to use frozen broccoli directly from the freezer, and it retains the majority of its health benefits even after being frozen for several months. So, don’t let those gorgeous heads of green go to waste any longer — simply follow the steps above and thank us later!

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