The Essential Frozen Groceries for Home Cooks in 2021 and Beyond

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Credit: Courtesy of ALDI, Inc | Mama Cozzi's Pizza Kitchen

It’s no secret how much we love a good freezer find around here. We talk about smart shortcuts and full-blown frozen meals a few times a week. So when it came time to pick the freezer finds that we thought were absolutely essential, we really dug in and took our work seriously.

We spent months tasting, testing, and debating. We heated up frozen pizzas, cooked frozen tots in the air fryer, boiled up ravioli, and more. And, eventually, we came up with this final list for the 2021 Grocery Edition of Kitchn Essentials.

Note: We actually have even more frozen finds throughout the whole feature. (Breakfast sandwiches are listed under Breads & Breakfast, for example!) So be sure to check out the full thing.

1 / 10
Best Frozen Pizza

We all have nights that call for a frozen pizza. Do your future self a favor and have some of Aldi’s beloved Mama Cozzi pizzas in the freezer. Between the frozen options and the refrigerated take-and-bake options, the stores still often manage to sell out on Fridays. If you can't find the classic pepperoni, get any of the fun special toppings. (Did somebody say mac and cheese pizza?)

2 / 10
Best Tater Tots

Look, there’s really no such thing as a bad tater tot. That’s the official finding from our frozen tot taste test. But there’s one that edges out the others. Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs have that slightly sweet, nostalgic flavor you crave. Cook them in an air fryer if you have one!

3 / 10
Best Frozen Fruit

It would be nice to always have a heaping bowl of cherries around, but they don't come cheap. Luckily for us all, the bountiful frozen blend from Dole is a downright steal. Plus, it’s got all the good berries: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. It's smoothie time somewhere!

4 / 10
Best Cheese Bread
Brazi Bites

You could either make pão de queijo yourself — or you could grab a bag of Brazi Bites, Brazilian cheese bread. It's a crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside wonder that's great any time of day.

5 / 10
Best Soup Dumplings
Trader Joe's

These happy little dumplings full of steamed pork and ginger soup (careful, it’s hot!!!) got at least three Kitchn editors through 2020, and we see no reason to stop enjoying them in 2021 and beyond. They pack a punch with a healthy dose of the ginger, and can go from freezer to belly in two minutes via the microwave.

6 / 10
Best Frozen Ravioli

If one cheese is good, five is better. And this five-cheese almond flour ravioli is ridiculously amazing. Handmade and frozen fresh, fluffy raviolis (grain- and gluten-free, thank you very much!) pack ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, fontina, and asiago into every tasty bite. (For some tunes with dinner, check out Cappello's playlists!)

7 / 10
Best Frozen Veggie Shortcut
Whole Foods Market

A lot of us could stand to eat more veggies, and Whole Foods is making it easy with our new hero: their frozen California-Style Vegetable Protein Blends. The bag is packed with protein, thanks to lentils and soybeans (it's also got broccoli, peas, and bell peppers). Steam the bag in the microwave in a matter of minutes and check out these dinner ideas while you wait.

8 / 10
Best Frozen Aromatics
Dorot Gardens

If you're not yet buying frozen garlic, Food Editor at Large, Christine Gallary, would like you to start. It's great if you hate the lingering smell of garlic on your fingers or if you've ever gone to break up a bulb and found that it's gone brown and mushy. Toss Dorot Gardens Crushed Garlic Cubes in your freezer and you'll never have to "make do" without.

9 / 10
Best Ice Cream
Ben & Jerry's

Ice cream is a fiercely competitive field, and everyone has a singular favorite. But collectively if we could just have one pint it would be Chunky Monkey, a platonic ideal of ice cream, as the ultimate treat. We also appreciate and respect Ben & Jerry's longstanding willingness to take a public company stand on social justice. If Chunky Monkey isn't for you, we still feel good recommending any other flavor from this great company.

10 / 10
Best Frozen Yogurt

Contributor Dana McMahan went through a phase where she had a Yasso Mint Chip Bar every night. (She's currently wondering why that stopped.) Deliciously minty, sweet, and refreshing (with very little sugar compared to other frozen treats), and made of creamy Greek yogurt for a fairly virtuous snack, they're the perfect punctuation to dinner.