How to Freeze Cucumbers and Enjoy Summery Flavor All Year Long
There’s nothing quite like fresh cucumbers — especially in the height of summer, when they are juicy and sweet. But if you have an abundance of the veggie, you might be wondering if you can freeze cucumbers. Happily, freezing cucumbers works and is easy to do. (It’s definitely a lot simpler than another popular method for preserving cucumbers: pickling them.)
Although there are a handful of techniques you can use to freeze cucumbers, the best, easiest, and longest-lasting techniques are freezing slices on sheet trays, or puréeing into a liquid. You can use either of these methods with any type of cucumber, including seedless. Here’s how to freeze fresh cucumbers so they last for months … and don’t get soggy.
How to Freeze Cucumbers: Slicing
This technique for freezing cucumbers is as easy as they come, and it’s much better than freezing cucumbers whole. (If you attempt to freeze them without slicing, they’ll become watery and soggy upon thawing.)
- Rinse: First, rinse and dry your cucumbers. Be sure there’s no water on the outside, which could crystallize and become freezer-burnt.
- Slice: Then slice them into rounds, anywhere from 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.
- Layer on a tray: Line a sheet tray with parchment paper to avoid sticking, and layer the cucumbers on it in a single row.
- Freeze: Place the tray in the freezer, ensuring that it sits evenly so that the cucumbers don’t fall to one side and become clumpy.
- Transfer and store: After a couple of hours, and up to 24, remove the tray and transfer the now-frozen slices into a freezer-proof zip-top bag.
This technique works because the cucumbers freeze individually before being stored together. That means they don’t stick together in one big mass — and you can remove as many cucumbers as you want each time. (P.S.: You can also freeze fresh berries using the sheet tray-to-plastic bag method. No need to slice those!)
How to Freeze Cucumbers: Puréeing
Another smart way to preserve cucumbers is by puréeing them, then freezing the liquid. Think of it as Spa Water 2.0. First, rinse the cucumbers — no need to dry them. Slice off any stems or tough ends, then chop into a few large pieces. Add to a blender with a splash of water, and blend until liquidy and frothy.
This technique works best with seedless cucumbers because they are less bitter, but can be done with any type.
To freeze your cucumber liquid, you can pour it into a freezer-safe container or jar (leaving enough headroom for expansion), and close tightly. Or, you may pour the purée into individual ice cube trays and freeze. Once totally frozen, pop them out and store them in a zip-top bag so you can thaw a little bit at a time, as needed.
How Long Do Frozen Cucumbers Last?
If you notice that your frozen cucumber bag or cucumber purée has a layer of freezer burn on the top, you can scrape it off and use the rest — but it’s best not to continue to store it in the freezer for much longer.
How to Thaw Frozen Cucumbers
Texturally speaking, frozen cucumbers will never be as crisp and crunchy as their fresh counterparts. That’s okay, though, because you’ll likely be using your frozen cukes as a component in a recipe, like gazpacho. You can add them directly to the recipe, and let them thaw as they cook, get blended, or puréed.
Because cucumbers have such a high water content, they can become soggy when frozen in slices and let thaw at room temperature. That’s why the puréeing method is preferable for most applications.
How to Use Frozen Cucumbers in Recipes
Leave the crudité platter and ranch-drenched salad for the fresh cukes. Frozen cucumbers really thrive in saucy, soupy, or blended recipes (again, it’s the textural thing). If you haven’t already puréed yours before freezing, you can add frozen sliced cukes to just about any recipe that calls for chopped or blended cucumbers.
- Any variety of gazpacho will benefit from the sweet, juicy freshness of a cucumber.
- Tzatziki loves cukes! You’ll want to let the cucumbers come to room temperature in the dip; any excess moisture will help thin it out to a spreadable consistency.
- Although this recipe for granita bypasses both aforementioned techniques, it does rely on frozen cukes … and counts as a satisfying summer dessert.
- Nobody ever regretted adding frozen cucumber slices to pitcher cocktails (at least, I can’t imagine they have.)