How to Freeze Carrots to Use Later in Soups, Stews, and Even Cake

published Sep 22, 2022
How to Freeze Carrots

Follow these steps for freezing carrots and you can whip up soup, stew, or a simple side dish whenever you want!

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 3 1/2 cups

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

While some markets sell individual carrots, this hearty, healthy root vegetable is more commonly sold in bags or bunches — go for bunches with greens attached, a good sign of freshness and flavor.

Buying in bulk can save you money and, if kept in a cool, dark place, carrots will keep for a few weeks. But for longer-term storage — and to maximize flavor, texture, and nutrition — freezing carrots is a far better option. And it’s easy. Read on for everything you need to know about freezing carrots, including how to use your frozen stash in recipes.

How to Freeze Carrots

It’s tempting to simply toss extra carrots in a bag for freezing, but if you want to preserve their taste, texture, and nutrients, it pays to blanch them first. Blanching can even protect carrots’ gorgeous color! Plus, taking a few minutes to prep your carrots now will save time when you’re ready to cook them. Here’s a breakdown of how to prep, blanch, and freeze carrots.

Tip: It’s best to freeze food when it’s still at its peak, so freeze carrots as soon as you know you won’t use them. They should still be firm and plump rather than soft or shriveled.

1. Prep, peel, and slice the carrots.

Cut off the ends of your carrots and any greens. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outer layer of the carrots, if desired — you can use the peels to make pesto and other scraps to make vegetable stock. Cut each carrot crosswise into rounds. (If your carrots are very large, halve them lengthwise before slicing into rounds.)

2. Blanch the carrots.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the carrots for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on their size. Plunge the carrots into the ice water to stop the cooking process, then move them to a clean towel and pat dry — you want the carrots as dry as possible before freezing. 

3. Freeze on a baking sheet.

Spread the cooled and dried carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for about 5 hours or until frozen solid.  

4. Transfer to resealable plastic freezer bags.

Transfer the frozen carrots to one or more resealable plastic freezer bags or freezer-safe reusable bags, label and date the bags, and freeze for up to a year.

Tip: If you can’t fit a baking sheet in your freezer, place the carrots directly in resealable plastic freezer bags and lay the bags flat in the freezer until fully frozen. Avoid overpacking the bags and try to keep the carrots in a single layer.

How to Use Frozen Carrots in Recipes

Having carrots in the freezer means you always have an easy side dish on hand, but that is just the beginning. Frozen carrots can be used straight from the freezer and added to soups, stews, casseroles, and pot pies. You can boil, roast, sauté, or microwave frozen carrots without thawing; because they’ve been blanched, they’ll cook faster than usual.

That precooking does mean your frozen carrots won’t have the crunchy texture of fresh, so it’s best to avoid using them in salads, slaws, or other raw dishes. You can use frozen carrots to make carrot cake, but you need to shred them before freezing — use the same process as above but be sure to peel the carrots before shredding and blanch them for less time. 

Here are a few recipes to get you started.

How to Freeze Carrots

Follow these steps for freezing carrots and you can whip up soup, stew, or a simple side dish whenever you want!

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    carrots

Equipment

  • Large pot

  • Large bowl

  • Baking sheet

  • Resealable freezer bags

  • Marker and freezer tape for labeling

Instructions

  1. Prep and peel: Cut off the ends of the carrots and any greens. If desired, use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrots.

  2. Cut: If the carrots are very large, cut them lengthwise in half. Cut the carrots crosswise into rounds.

  3. Blanch: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the carrots for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on their size. Plunge the carrots into the ice water to stop the cooking process then move them to a clean towel and pat dry.

  4. Freeze on a baking sheet: Spread the cooled and dried carrots on a baking sheet and freeze for about 5 hours or until frozen solid.

  5. Freeze in resealable bags: Transfer the carrots to resealable plastic freezer bags or freezer-safe reusable bags, label and date the bags, and freeze for up to one year.

Recipe Notes

Frozen carrots can be used straight from the freezer in recipes like soup, stews, sautés and more.