How to Freeze Onions

You may ask, can you freeze onions? Well, the answer is, you can. When you freeze chopped onions in bulk, you are saving yourself time and money. Freezing chopped onions is an ideal way to have onions on hand when you need only a small amount for a recipe. Find out the best way to freeze onions, along with tips for which onions to use, how to chop them, and the best ways to use frozen onions.

whole onions on a cutting board and chopped onions in a bag

Sometimes putting dinner on the table comes down to how difficult it is or how long it will take to make the meal. I love to have a few short cuts on hand to make preparing dinner quicker and easier. For me, freezing onions is one short cut that I love. I will buy seven or eight pounds of white onions when they are on sale. Then, I get out my food processor, dice the onions, and bag and freeze them in small portions.

Of course, you can buy frozen onions at the grocery store. However, when you prepare your own onions at home, you can cut them into sizes you like best. I prefer to cut mine into smaller pieces than those you buy in the store. 

Do onions freeze well?

Yes, they do, but they won’t have the spring of fresh onions. For this reason, frozen onions work best in cooked dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles, and chili. You can also sauté them with ground beef. Onions retain most of their flavor for three to six months when frozen.

How to Chop Onions for Freezing

I have a food processor that has a dicing function, so for me, this is a quick process. If you do not have a food processor that has a dicing function, you could use your food processor cutting blade. If you have a Vitamix, chop onions on the slow speed.

You can also cut the onions with a knife.

What Type of Onion Should I Use?

White onions tend to be slightly sweeter and less hot than yellow onions. Both onions freeze equally as well. I mostly choose white onions.

If I am going to bake a dish I will use yellow onions. I think the longer you cook a yellow onion the milder it may become.

I have not frozen red onions because I rarely use them. They would freeze as the white and yellow onions.

whole onions on a cutting board

Having a bag of frozen onions on hand is an excellent way to save time. Chopped onions are perfect for soups, stews, sauces, and foods that need to be baked.

Freezing chopped onions is also an ideal way to have onions on hand when you need a small amount for a recipe. I hope you give a try to freeze chopped onions in your kitchen.

Steps to Freeze Chopped Onions

  1. Select fully mature onions. Peel the outer skin and scrub the onion clean with a vegetable brush under running water.
  2. Chop onions into the desired size.
    chopped onions and a knife on a cutting board
  3. Place the chopped onions evenly on a cookie sheet, not letting them overlap. The onions will freeze best when frozen as individually as possible. Place plastic wrap over the onions and add another layer if desired.
    chopped onions spread out on a baking sheet
  4. You can place plastic wrap over the onions and add another layer if desired.
  5. Wrap the baking sheet with onions with plastic wrap and place it into the freezer.
  6. When the onions have frozen completely, divide onions into small portions. I like to freeze mine in 1 and 2 cup portions.
    chopped onions in a measuring cup
  7. Place chopped onions into small zip-top freezer bags, date the plastic bags, and put the bags into the freezer.
    chopped onions in a bag

How to Use Frozen Onions

Onions that have been previously frozen work best in soups, stews, and when used as homemade pot pies. Since the onions have been frozen, they will not brown as a fresh one would.

Ice crystals form inside the cell walls within the onion and this bit of water keeps the onions from browning.

Frozen onions are perfectly fine for use in recipes, especially soups and stews. I use frozen onions when I make Wendy’s Chili or Quick and Easy Taco Soup.

frozen chopped onions in plastic zip top bags

My Reader’s Tips for freezing Onions

  • Tip: Don’t use zip-lock sandwich bags. Thicker freezer bags will keep your frozen onions in good shape and minimize the onion odor leaking into your freezer.
  • Tip: For easy storage, first freeze your bags of diced onions flat between cookie sheets, pressing to make the bags as flat as possible. When the bags are frozen solid (about two hours), remove the cookie sheets and stack the bags.
  • Tip: Chopped onions tend to freeze in clumps. The solution to unclump them is to bang the bag against your counter a few times before each use. 
  • Tip From a Reader: Cut your onions in quarters and freeze them. Once frozen, you can cut them easily or break them with your hand. 

In addition to freezing onions, you can also process onions for future use by making onion powder and onion salt

Love onions? Try these recipes!

More How-To Guides

Be sure to check out more of my beginner cooking series and great DIY recipes here on CopyKat!

whole onions on a cutting board and chopped onions in a bag

How to Freeze Onions

Learn how to freeze chopped onions.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Freeze Chopped Onions, How to Freeze Onions
Servings: 50
Calories: 18kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds chopped onions

Instructions

  • Chop onions into the desired size.
  • Lay chopped onions evenly on a baking sheet. Do not let onions overlap. Ideally do not let the onions touch. When frozen individually, they will freeze best, and they will be best to use.
  • You can place plastic wrap over the onions, and add another layer if desired.
  • Wrap the baking sheet with onions with plastic wrap and place it into the freezer.
  • When the onions have frozen completely, divide onions into small portions. I like to freeze mine in 1 and 2 cup portions.
  • Place chopped onions into small plastic bags. Date the plastic bags and put the bags into the freezer.
  • Frozen onions are best used within 3 to 4 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 18kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

Never miss a recipe

Join the CopyKat eNewletter

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Amanda

    5 stars
    Hello. I definitely see how the grozen onions would work well in soups and stews but I was wondering how you thought they would fare in meatloaf. I saute the onion,celery and garlic before I add it to the ground meat. Thank you for your help!

    • Lorna

      I freeze caramelized onions in 4 oz canning jars. Very handy. I can heat them up in the microwave or thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Works well for putting on burgers, sandwiches or adding to recipes that call for caramelized onions. I have no idea as to how long they last. I have never kept them longer than two months and that was because I missed a jar. I tend to do a slow cook in a large dutch oven over very low heat. No sugar is added (that is for a quick caramelizing).

  2. Janice

    I grow my own onions and have been freezing for years. I use my kitchenaid chopper to mske fast work. Then I put the onions in a pint (100 calorie size) ziplock bag. Then I put as many of those filled pints as will fit int a larger gallon size ziplock. This makes it easy to find snd use when I go to the deepfreeze to get a bag. The pint bags are the perfect amount for my recipes! No need to get out more than is needed. I store peppers the same way.

    It is great to grab a bag and go!

  3. Angela Borja

    I buy onions when they are on sale , i cut them in fourths and freeze them, once frozen you don’t even need to cut them you can break them with your hand. saves time and money. if your a stickler for uniform sizes they are even easier to cut when frozen.

  4. Nocalgal

    I freeze carmelized onions. Once you’ve got the chopping done, it doesn’t take any longer to do 3-4 onions than it does to do one. I also freeze sauteed mushrooms and bell peppers for the same reason.

  5. Rebecca W

    Oh great!! I didn’t know this! I will certainly start chopping and freezing my onions instead of wasting them now!! Thanks 🙂

      • Steve Thomas

        “Left over onions”? I’m not familiar with the concept!

        There are a lot of people out there showing people how to make chopped onion. They want you to make a lot of surgically-precise cuts. I admit that my knife skills are not the greatest. I haven’t yet amputated my head, but it’s come close.

        So I recommend cheating. Use a mandoline cutter. I’ve bought stainless steel ones costing over $100, but they are too big, requiring a lot of counter space to use, storage space, and they are slow and cumbersome to use. My favorite in the Super Slicer, $14.95 at Amazon. I use it 5-10 times a week, and because it’s plastic, it only lasts about 5 years before I buy another, and I consider that money well spent.

        One knob, you twist to set thickness. A second knob raises blades so you can cut old-fashioned french fries (which I prefer) or shoestring fries(like McD’s) in a single pass. For onion rings, I leave that knob in the lowered position, but for diced onions, I use the shoestring cutter, then do a cross cutting of the onions when I’m done.

        It’s much faster and easier to wash up the mandoline and the knife used to dice onions than it is to clean a food processor. Everything is flat and open, so you do little more than rinse, but it’s hard to clean the food processor thoroughly, so you don’t end up with onion flavor in whatever you fix next. i don’t want onion flavor in my dutch apple pie!

        N.B. – Mandolines are incredibly sharp so NEVER use one without the “holder” unless you’re slicing a head of celery or a carrot, where your fingers are kept several inches away.

      • Stephanie

        I am familiar with a mandolin :(. I just about lost the tip of my index finger on one. I chopped my onions via a dicing attachment on my food processor. I doubt I will use one again. I totally echo wear a guard, or use the guard that it comes with. I get my knives sharpened about twice a year. So I appreciate a sharp blade.

  6. JJ

    I also keep previously sauteed onions ( bell peppers and fresh mushrooms) in the freezer. really handy and then I don’t waste anything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating