how to flash freeze

Flash freezing — the process of spacing items out on a tray, freezing them until they are firm and then storing them in more space-efficient freezer bags — is the single most revolutionizing concept I have adapted into my cooking repertoire, because it allows us to freeze uncooked dumplings, gnocchi, biscuits, scones and even scooped cookies without them become one doughy mass.

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32 comments on how to flash freeze

  1. Robby

    I use this technique frequently for the types of items you describe. Perfect for a small household to enjoy fresh baked goodies. I learned this technique as “individually quick frozen” (IQF in the trade) and ‘flash freezing’ having to do with a super cold (well below 0*) special freezer. Either way, it’s a great technique to know.

  2. Emily

    This technique sounds REALLY useful. Do you have to have a freezer temp that is zero or below to flash-freeze these unbaked scones (and other baked goods)? This may be a stupid question, but do you thaw the baked goods first, or bake them longer?

  3. Theresa

    I’ve been interested in this idea for so long but haven’t been able to find out any information about how to re-heat the frozen items. Can you provide a step-by-step process?

  4. Edie

    Now I’m truly impressed with you Deb…
    This is how to have on hand and serve the very best to your friends and family. I often buy large quantities of fruit, meat, cheese or whatever (on sale) and flash freeze them distributed evenly on cookie sheets. After about 2 hours, bag the frozen baked goods ( or whatever) in my desired quantities using the “food saver”bagging system.
    Finally, I now have a food system that I can enjoy whatever I need at a great price in my required quantities in my own freezer without the previous problems of freezer taste or burn.As a true foodie no one leaves my home without something to take home and eat…with flash freeze system it`s easy.
    It has taken me 30 years to figure out how …but finally!

  5. JT

    I’ve frozen these jalapeno-cheddar scones for my little girl’s 1st birthday party this weekend but would like to know the best way to cook them. Should I thaw them first before they hit the oven and follow original directions, or just bake them frozen, adding extra time?

  6. Linda

    Deb, like Theresa I wondered about baking the items? Specifically, what about scones? (I’m planning to try the Dreamy Cream scones for an early Saturday breakfast, so I’d like to make them Friday night.) Would I let them defrost or bake them as is (and would I need to increase baking time?)

    What about with cookies?

    I love your site!!

    1. deb

      It is personal preference. I prefer to freeze items unbaked because I think baked goods always taste best when they’re freshly baked. But there’s no reason you can’t use the freezer to pause at any point in the process.

      JT — You can bake them directly from the freezer, they’ll just take a few minutes longer.

  7. Epizephyrii

    It took me a few reads to realize there wasn’t more to this post. I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but Flash Freezing refers more to using techniques to freeze things very quickly (such as dropping things in liquid nitrogen) rather than just the process of freezing things separated on a pan.

    This still is a very good technique and I’ve used it often myself, but just pointing out the terminology is wrong.

  8. Karolina

    I love this method. Every year my Grandma and I do it with our yummy Christmas Eve pierogi (If you want the recipe, I can email it). We usualy do it around mid-December so as to save some time for other Christmas cooking (in Poland traditionally there must be 12 courses for Christmas Eve!)

  9. Colleen

    Epizephyrii, what would you call it? I’m open to suggestions! I haven’t heard a good alternative (or any, really) personally, and there has never been an occasion where I haven’t been able to figure out what “kind” of flash freezing was intended from the context.

  10. Della

    We had 300ft of thorn-less boysenberry vines when I was growing up and we used this technique to freeze the unwashed berries. They could then be stored like purple marbles in the freezer. Washing them when we were ready to use them (cobbler!) helped defrost them.

  11. Grace

    hi deb,

    i froze the dreamy cream scones and then baked it, but when i took it out, the inside was still a little uncooked while the bottom was all done (and would have burned if I added any more time). this keeps happening. help! should i cook it longer at a lower temp?

  12. eeb

    Haha! I’ve been flash freezing & I didn’t even know it! I pour home made basil pesto into plastic lined muffin tins then freeze. The plastic helps you to pop out the muffin-sized-portions of pesto and store them in a zip lock bag. Then I just pull out 2 or 3 portions depending on how much I need (I use it for pasta, rare beef, steamed fish, grilled chicken). Such a quick way to add pizzaz to a simple dish.

  13. moi

    Flash freezing is the use of liquid nitrogen mixed with a liquid. THis freezing method is quick freeze but not flash. Flash freezing methods actually preserve the cellular membranes of what ever you are freezing.

  14. RubyRoo

    Hi Deb!

    Just want to say first I am absolutely addicted to the Smitten Kitchen – when other people read blogs, I read the archives!

    I’m so glad I checked tips before stumbling around check every recipe! I extra question I had – do you notice any difference in freezing directly from the freezer verses thawing and baking? I’m planning a big brunch and will be doing lots of scones and homemade pop-tarts and the like, and I’m wondering what you yourself usually do, and if it differs at all depending on what it is/dough type/etc.

    Thanks so much,


  15. Heather

    It’s also great for bacon! Roll up each strip and freeze them and then you can unfreeze however many you like, instead of being forced to eat the whole package within a week. What a shame.

  16. Fringie

    I do this with tablespoonsfull of tomato paste and stuff and do stock and other liquids in ice cube trays (along with individual egg whites). Trying to figure out if I can do egg yolks he same way.

  17. Danielle

    I’m coming in a few months late on this….cut I’m going to make some scones for brunch on Sunday and I’d like to flash-freeze some for another day. My question is, how far out can “another day” be without these puppies going bad, uncooked, in the freezer? Thanks!

  18. Kim

    As far as egg yolks go, I remember reading somewhere that you mix them with some salt (or sugar, I suppose, if you’re planning to use them in sweet recipes) to maintain some sort of texture-thing, and then you can freeze them individually. I know it’s worked for me with the salt, but since I rarely separate my eggs, I don’t know if there were subtle variations that might end up being problematic. In general, though, I’m a huge fan of ice cube trays. I’m definitely going to do the tomato paste idea!

  19. I work as a yacht chef and anything (ANYTHING) I can do to shorten the eighteen hour days helps when in the midst of a busy charter season; I just started doing this with falafels and grain “burgers”………I’m happy to read about scones……

  20. Natasha

    Hi Deb –

    Making these now – 1/2 in the oven 1/2 flash freezing. Question – might be a silly one – do you add the egg wash for the flash freezing directions or omit this? Wasn’t sure if the egg wash should be done again for re-heating -but don’t see anyone else asking so I’m assuming – freeze egg wash and all!

    Hell’s Kitchen is smelling Deliciouso!


  21. Priya

    Hi Deb!
    Would you please lend your advice on the last question posed: Would you advise freezing unbaked cupcakes? Thank you!