Food Hygiene and Safety

At What Temperature Should Frozen Food be Stored & How Long?

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

At what temperature should frozen food be stored and for how long? is a common question many of us have regarding keeping our food fresh and safe. Proper storage is essential in ensuring that frozen food stays fresh and poses no health risks. The ideal temperature for frozen food in the freezer is below 0°F (-18°C), and the storage time varies depending on the type of food.

In this article, we will thoroughly explore the ideal temperature for storing frozen food and how long various types of food can be safely stored in the freezer. We’ll also cover some tips for preventing freezer burn and maximising the flavour and nutrition of frozen food.

Assortment of frozen vegetables and dumplings in the refrigerator

At What Temperature Should Frozen Food be Stored and for How Long?

Freezing food is a fantastic way to keep it fresh for an extended period. It’s a handy way to store food, especially for people too busy to prepare fresh meals daily. 

One of the essential aspects of freezing food is the temperature at which it should be stored. Freezing food at the proper temperature guarantees it remains safe and does not spoil soon.

Let’s get into today’s key topic, “At what temperature should frozen food be stored and for how long?”

What is the Ideal Temperature for Frozen Food?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the ideal temperature for frozen food is below 0°F (-18°C). At this temperature, the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and moulds is considerably delayed, and the food remains safe to eat for a lengthy period. 

If the temperature in your freezer goes above 0°F, the food may begin to thaw partially, and germs may grow, resulting in spoiling. Furthermore, temperature fluctuations can cause the frozen food to thaw and refreeze, leading to freezer burn and deterioration in quality, flavour and nutritional value.

Therefore, it’s an excellent idea to check the temperatures with an appliance thermometer periodically. Thus, you can ensure that your freezer maintains the ideal temperatures to keep your food safe and fresh for longer.

Close-up of frozen berries in transparent plastic bags in the freezer

How Long Can Frozen Food be Stored?

Here’s a detailed chart with information on the recommended freezer storage times and how to properly freeze and store various types of food.

Type of FoodFreezer Storage Time (Store at 0°F (-18°C) or below)How to Freeze 

Protein Items

Meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc.)6-12 months
  • Meat can be stored for up to a year in the freezer.
  • Quality may decline after six months.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap or freezer paper, then place in airtight freezer bags or containers.
  • Consider separating meat into portions for easy thawing.
  • Avoid refreezing thawed meat.
Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.)6-9 months
  • Wrap in plastic wrap or freezer paper, and then 
  • Place in airtight freezer bags or containers.
Fish and shellfish6-9 months
  • Wrap in plastic wrap or aluminium foil, and then 
  • Place in airtight freezer bags or containers.
Eggs 6 months
  • Either separate the yolk and white, or
  • Beat the eggs before freezing

Dairy Products

Milk3 months
  • Texture and flavour may change after freezing. 
  • Use it for cooking or baking rather than drinking it on its own.
  • Leave some room in the container for expansion, as the milk will expand when frozen.
Butter, Yogurt, cheese etc.2-6 months
  • Store in an airtight container or freezer bag.
  • Thaw the product slowly in the refrigerator.
  • Avoid using a microwave or leaving it out at room temperature for thawing.

Other Items

Fruits (berries, bananas, etc.)8-12 months
  • Wash and dry well 
  • Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, and then
  • Transfer to airtight freezer bags or containers.
Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)8-12 months
  • Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, 
  • Transfer to an ice bath to cool,
  • Drain well and pat dry, and 
  • Place in airtight freezer bags or containers.
Bread and baked goods3-6 months
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil, and then 
  • Place in airtight freezer bags or containers.
Ice cream2-4 months
  • Keep it in airtight freezer containers while pressing it directly onto the surface of the ice cream.
Cooked foods (homemade or store-bought)2-3 months
  • Divide into portions and place in airtight freezer bags.
  • Label with the name and date of the dish.
Frozen dinners3-4 months
  • Keep them in a freezer-safe container, and 
  • Remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag.
Pizza1-2 months
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil, and then 
  • Place in airtight freezer bags.
Juice concentrates8-12 months
  • Pour into airtight freezer containers, leaving some room for expansion.

Things to Remember

Remember, the suggested storage times are just general guidelines and can change depending on different factors like —

  • how well the food was packaged, 
  • the quality of the food, 
  • and the temperature and conditions of the freezer. 

Looking for a quick and easy solution for dinner? Check out our latest blog post on Can You Cook from Frozen? We’ll show you how to cook chicken, sausages, fish, and vegetables straight from the freezer, saving you time and hassle in the kitchen.

 Confused young woman in front of open refrigerator

Food that You Can’t Freeze

Certain foods are not freezer friendly. These are as follows:

Food TypeFreezer Friendliness
Crumb-Based FoodsBecome soggy when defrosted and reheated.
High-Water Content Fruits & Vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, radishes, and watermelonsBecome limp and mushy.
Soft Herbs like parsley, basil, and chivesTurn brown.
Egg-Based Sauces like mayonnaiseSeparation and curdling can occur.
Milk-Based SaucesSeparation can occur
Plain Yogurt, Low-Fat Cream Cheese, Single Cream, Cottage CheeseGo watery
Raw Eggs in ShellsExpand and crack
Hard-Boiled EggsGo rubbery
Canned FoodsThe items may expand and burst the can, leading to potential contamination and loss of quality.

Tips to Follow for Freezer Storage

By implementing these tips, you can keep your frozen food safe and maintain its quality for a longer time.

  • Use air-tight containers or bags made for freezing to prevent freezer burn.
  • Label and date all frozen items to keep track of storage times.
  • Use a vacuum sealer to remove air from packaging and extend storage time.
  • Freeze foods in smaller portions to allow easy thawing and reduce waste while saving money.
  • Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator or microwave.
  • Avoid refreezing thawed food to maintain quality and prevent foodborne illness.
  • Avoid freezing any foods after their “use-by-date” because they are no longer safe to eat.
  • Do not overload the freezer to allow for proper air circulation.
  • Ensure you defrost your freezer if ice builds up. 
  • Regularly clean and organise the freezer to prevent odours and ensure proper storage conditions.
  • Keep freezer doors closed during power outages to maintain the temperature. A full freezer can keep its temperature for up to 48 hours if the door remains unopened.

These above guidelines and tips can help you make the most out of your freezer and enjoy delicious and safe meals for months. 

Wrapping Up

Knowing frozen food’s ideal temperature and storage duration is crucial in maintaining its taste and texture. Remember to keep the freezer temperature at or below 0°F (-18°C) and store different types of food accordingly. Always label and date your frozen items, and follow the recommended food storage times to prevent food waste and maintain flavour.

Hopefully, after going over the entire write-up, “At What Temperature Should Frozen Food be Stored and for How Long,” you can now enjoy the convenience and benefits of frozen food without compromising its quality.


What happens to bacteria when you freeze the food?

Freezing doesn’t necessarily kill bacteria but only slows chemical reactions in food and causes bacteria to become dormant, pausing their growth and toxin production.

What is the ideal fridge temperature?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recommended fridge temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Can food spoil if frozen?

Freezing doesn’t spoil food unless the packaging is compromised, but frozen food may not taste as good as properly canned food.

Which temperature is the danger zone for food storage?

Most dangerous bacteria grow at temperatures higher than 8°C and below 63°C, known as the “danger zone” for food storage.


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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.