Can You Freeze Carrots? Learn How!

Can you freeze carrots? Yes you can! But you can’t just pop them in the freezer – there’s a bit of prep involved. The steps are easy, but it does take time.

beautiful fresh carrots
When you have a lot of fresh carrots whether fresh from the garden or you scored a great deal at the store, freezing is an excellent way to preserve those carrots.

Read More: Freezing Shredded Carrots, Dehydrating Carrots, Storing Garden Carrots

Frozen carrots are a nutritious and delicious option and can be such a time saver. I use them in endless dishes including soups, stews, curries, casseroles, stir-fries, sheet pan dinners and even for a simple side dish of carrots. Freeze using different shaped cuts (round slices, diagonal slices, diced cubes, julienne strips or thicker lengthwise strips) depending on your favourite cooking process.

Does Freezing Carrots Cause Nutrient Loss?

A little, yes. Anytime you boil vegetables or put them in water, there will be some loss of water soluble vitamins. In carrots, you’ll see some loss of Vitamin B and Vitamin C. On the other hand, fat-soluble Vitamin A becomes a little more concentrated. Does this mean you shouldn’t cook or freeze carrots – no! It’s a good argument for eating carrots in different forms – raw, cooked and even baked like in carrot cake! If you have a well balanced diet, this minimal loss of nutrients is nothing to worry about.

Can You Freeze Raw Carrots?

Simply put, no! The most important rule about freezing carrots is that they must be blanched (partially cooked) before freezing. Use the blanching process!

Print my helpful blanching chart: Tips and Times for Blanching Vegetables

I don’t care what you read elsewhere on the internet! Anyone can take raw carrots and put them in a freezer bag – it doesn’t make it right. You can’t freeze raw carrots if you want them to taste good and not have a weird texture if you keep them for more than a month.

As a Professional Home Economist who studied food science and who consults the latest info on food preservation, I beg you, please don’t do it! Here’s why. Carrots, like most vegetables, contain enzymes that cause them to continue to age after they’re harvested, even in our fridge. The aging process does not stop in cold temperatures – even freezing temperatures. To stop the enzymes and preserve flavor, color, texture and nutrient loss, you need to blanch veggies, including root vegetables like carrots, before freezing. Luckily, blanching is super easy to do.

What’s the Difference Between Blanching and Cooking?

Blanching is briefly putting vegetables in boiling water and then quickly immersing them in ice cold water to immediately stop further cooking. Usually, the hot immersion is less than 5 minutes, but varies depending on the size and type of vegetable. The exact times have been scientifically tested to ensure they stop the enzymes in a particular vegetable while not over-cooking it. See: Tips and Times for Blanching Vegetables

Cooking is when you prepare your vegetables to a tender, enjoyable texture and finish them with seasonings to suit your personal taste preferences.

Can You Freeze Fully Cooked Carrots?

Yes, you can. It’s a great way to reduce food waste and enjoy leftovers. BUT because they’re fully cooked, the texture of frozen fully cooked carrots will be much softer than blanched carrots. I also recommend using them much more quickly than blanched carrots. Keep frozen cooked carrots for 3 -5 months only.

How to Freeze Carrots – Step by Step

Step 1 – Trim and Wash

washing carrots at sink
Wash and trim carrots. You do not have to peel carrots.

Remove green stems and wash carrots thoroughly. When I have homegrown garden carrots and there’s a lot of dirt stuck to them I do an initial wash outside and then wash them again inside to get all the grit and soil off.

You do not have to peel your carrots. In fact, you’ll keep more nutrients if you don’t peel them.

Step 2 Cut or Slice to Desired Size

Cut carrots to your preferred size. In fact, if you have whole baby cut carrots, you can freeze them whole, I just wouldn’t recommend freezing large whole carrots. I usually make carrot slices, but for added variety I will also slice a few lengthwise. No matter how you slice them, keep them a consistent size so the blanching time is the same.  

Use a food processor or mandolin for quick, consistent results. Of course a sharp knife works too!

different carrot cuts and blanching time
Choose your favourite way to cut carrots, just keep them a consistent size.

Step 3Blanch in Big Pot

  • Bring a large pot of water to a hard boil. I use a large stock pot about 2/3 full of water. Do not add salt.
  • Add prepared carrots (about 4 cups of carrots to 16 cups of water). Return to boil.
  • Once the water and carrots return to a boil, watch the timer carefully and boil (blanch) carrots for 2 minutes. Blanch for 5 minute for whole baby carrots.
  • When the time is up, use a slotted spoon to immediately remove carrots from boiling water.

Step 4Cool in Ice Bath

immerse carrots in ice water

Put in ice cold water immediately to stop the carrots from continuing to cook. Ice cubes in the water ensures the water stays nice and cold. I’ve been known to use snow instead of a bowl of iced water!

Step 5Drain Well, Cool and Pack

Drain carrots well. Excess moisture can lead to freezer burn and rubbery carrots. The ice water bath should have cooled the carrots completely – but be sure the carrots are thoroughly cooled to prevent condensation from building up in the bag.

For free flowing frozen carrots, flash freeze the carrots in a single layer on a lined baking sheet for two hours before transferring to a freezer bag. Or, freeze carrots in convenient package sizes so you can take out a package at a time when preparing for a meal. For my family of four, I like to freeze my carrots in 3-4 cup portion sizes.

Whichever method you choose, remove as much air from the freezer bags as possible before sealing. Use a straw tucked in the corner of the bag and suck out the air – it’s like a vacuum seal! Of course, if you have a vacuum sealer – use that!

freezing carrots

Step 6Date, Label and Freeze for a Year

Label and date the carrots.  They’ll keep in the freezer for up to a year.

Yahoo! Carrots in the freezer. Now, tell me, what’s your favourite way to use your frozen carrots?

May I tempt you with these Oven Roasted Hot Pepper Jelly Glazed Carrots?

Let me know how your carrot freezing goes down below in the comments or on Instagram @GetGettyS or on Facebook  @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to you become more confident in using and enjoying fresh, whole ingredients. She is the author of several recipe books, frequent media guest, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener. Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this.

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40 Comments

  1. Getty thank you for this information! My daughter’s school was literally giving away huge bags of fresh carrots because they over ordered and I just couldn’t pass them up. I was able to feeeze (4) 1-gallon freezer bags of carrots!!! Ha ha, there was actually a huge carrot over 12” long! Looked like something for Bugs Bunny 😁.

    1. Hi Rosie,
      Way to go! What a great way to make use of those extra veggies – what a bonus for you guys!
      Glad my info was able to help.
      All the best,
      Getty

  2. Thank you so much for this great article. My husband and I recently moved to NC, and we love to grow our own vegetables. Well, the carrots did very good, but I did not know if I can freeze them. In searching for some ideas I came across your blog, and I am blanching the carrots now. Thanks again. Looking forward to learn more from you and your great ideas.

    1. Hi Graciela,
      Thank you for your lovely comment. I’m glad you found this article useful and hope you’ll come back for other tips for your home grown garden veggies.

      All the best from snowy Manitoba,

      Getty

  3. Is there a way to store without using disposable plastic bags? My main reason for wanting to freeze carrots is because I love the convenience of frozen veggies for a quick snack for my kids but am desperately trying to cut down on plastic (because… the planet). I thought I’d just use a freezer safe container but then there’s no way to remove the air… thanks!!!

    1. Hi Amy,
      Yes, you can freeze veggies, soups, stews and all sorts of things in jars. Use thick jars that are straight – wide mouth jars are best. The ones that have a shoulder at the top may break as food expands and pushes upwards. You’re right, it’s difficult to remove the air from jars unless you have a vacuum sealer with a jar attachment. (Vacuum seal jars after food is frozen – ie freeze first, remove from freezer, vacuum seal then return to freezer). My best advice would be to fill the jar leaving a 1 inch headspace and eat it within 6 months for optimum quality. The longer it stays in the freezer, the more likely that the food quality will deteriorate due to air. Food is still safe, just quality will deteriorate. If you’re able to remove the air, you’re food will last a year or longer.

          1. I do all the same steps except I put my blanched and drained carrots on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Once they are frozen, I simply slide them into freezer bags. This way I can scoop out as many as I like and they are not one big frozen lump

  4. Pingback: Planting, growing and freezing the winter crop of Nantes carrots.
  5. Thanks for cooking times. If you freeze individual pieces on a cookie sheet or an hour or so, you can then toss them into freezer bags. It gives a lot more flexibility and no need to guess what amount might be a serving size.

    1. Great tip, JoAnn! Thanks.
      This flash freezing idea works well for all sorts of veggies and fruits.

      Getty

  6. can blanched carrots be frozen, thawed and then eaten as raw carrots or must they be only used as cooked? I’m talking about using them for a raw vegetable tray with a dip for entertaining. I imagine they would be limp.

    1. Hi Babs,
      Once blanched and frozen, you’ll want to use vegetables like carrots in cooked dishes. You’re right, they’ll be too soft to enjoy on a vegetable tray.

      If I’m not making a side dish of hot veggies with my frozen vegetables, I like to toss them into soups, stews and casseroles. I find them super convenient for those purposes.

      All the best,

      Getty

  7. Would the blanched carrots/vegetables need to be defrosted before steaming or can they be steamed from frozen? Also how long would you suggest to steam carrots for them to be al dente?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Steam frozen veggies like these blanched carrots from their frozen state, no need to thaw. Steaming time will vary with the thickness of your carrot slices. At around the 6 minute mark, use a fork to pierce a carrot to judge how tender they are – continue cooking until you get your desired result. When they’re all done toss in a bowl with a little butter and honey – yum!

    1. Hi Heather, I’m not sure what your intent is – why store them in water and for how long? Storing veggies in water will cause them to lose water soluble vitamins. The longer they’re in water, the more you lose. So, unless there’s a particular reason that I’m not seeing, I would not recommend storing blanched carrots or blanched beans in water.

  8. Just the article I was looking for!

    I do not have a garden, but my in-laws have a huge garden and my husband and I (mostly me) have been tasked with the harvesting, canning and freezing this year as my father-in-law had to have surgery on Friday and they will be in the hospital for a month!

    This is all very new to me and was a little overwhelming, until I found your blog!!!!
    Very easy to read and understand!

    Thank you!!!!!!

    1. Aw, thanks Cassandra. I’m glad you found me and that I was able to help you through the process. Good luck to your father-in-law, I’m sure he’ll appreciate your work and will think of you throughout the year as he enjoys his garden carrots.

  9. Can you add a herb butter to the carrots before you freeze them?
    We like basil butter with carrots. Thought it might be a way to combine two summer favorites

    1. Hi Libby,
      Thanks for your question. The only hesitation I would have is regarding reheating the carrots with the herb butter. You wouldn’t want to lose the butter if you steam your carrots, nor would you want to overcook the herbs and cause them to lose their color. I like to heat the frozen veggies then place a pat of herb butter on them just before serving. A quick stir and the butter is melted and the herbs stay green and flavorful and are evenly distributed.
      Basil butter with carrots sounds pretty awesome. I think I will have to try that!

    1. Way to go Mary, enjoy them all year long! Glad you found the instructions easy to follow.

    1. Yes they can. For example, I will often add frozen carrots to soups or stews and then freeze any leftover soup or stew. The quality of the carrots will decrease and they may not hold their shape as well.

  10. This sight was very helpful. I recently planted Danvers Carrot seeds. The package says they are perfect for freezing. The fact I have little to NO experience growing or freezing vegetables didn’t stop me. I was up for the challenge.

    Carrots are among my favorite vegetables. So I jumped in with both gloves on to try my hand at growing and storing carrots for the winter. Searching the WEB I ran across several recipes for freezing carrots. Your page was the most helpful.

    Clear step-by-step instruction were easy to understand. The colorful illustrations personalized it for me. It felt as though my grandmother were guiding me through it.

    Thank you. You will be among my favorites.

    Sincerely

    Kathy Core

    1. That’s lovely, thanks Kathy! I’m glad you find my site and writing style helpful. Much of what I’ve learned about gardening has been passed down to me – so you really are getting Grandma’s tips!
      Good luck with your carrots – way to go for it.
      When it comes time to harvest and freeze your carrots be sure to come back!

    2. Carrots are pretty easy to grow, but if your soil isn’t soft enough, tubers won’t thrive, they become stunted in clay soil. If you add some sand and peat, this helps a lot.

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