Are you wondering how to freeze your extra carrots? In this guide, I’ll walk you through questions such as “do I really need to blanch my carrots before freezing?” and “what to do with leftover carrots?”. I’ll teach you how to freeze (both with and without blanching), help you choose which method is best for you, and share some of my favorite recipes that use frozen carrots (you know, so they don’t sit in your freezer forever and not get eaten).
Before we get started, let’s get one question out of the way “Can you freeze carrots?”. Why, yes, you can! Not only can you freeze carrots, but it’s a pretty simple thing to do as well. This post will share the tips and techniques that I’ve collected over the years, as well as some advice from additional experts in things like how to grow your own carrots, and what to do with all those frozen carrots in your freezer.
Let’s get started!
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What is blanching and do I need it for carrots?
Blanching is the process of heating a food, in this case a carrot, to kill off enzymes that can degrade flavor, color, and texture in the food over time. Most cooks will recommend blanching carrots prior to freezing them. However, the reason for blanching is not for food safety, but more for lengthening the amount of time you can store the carrots without losing flavor and appearance. If you plan to use your carrots within the next three months, you don’t need to blanch them. If you want to store them longer (3-12 months), you should blanch them so they preserve better. The blanching process adds 10-15 minutes to the preservation process, so if you are short on time and plan to use the carrots within the next 3 months, you can skip blanching.
How to Blanch Carrots
To blanch carrots, you will need to heat them for a specific amount of time to kill the enzymes, then rapidly cool them to stop the heat from over-cooking them.
- Boil a large pot of water. Add salt (optional) for better flavor and color preservation.
- Set out a large bowl of ice water on the counter.
- Add carrots to boiling water.
- Set a timer and remove promptly when it goes off (do not over or under boil). For whole carrots, boil for 5 minutes. For diced or shredded carrots, boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove carrots from boiling water and place directly in bowl of ice water until they are chilled all the way through. Your carrots are now blanched.
How to Freeze Carrots Without Blanching
The trick to freezing carrots without blanching is to have a plan to use them relatively quickly (less than 3 months from freezing date). Blanching helps preserve the carrots longer, but you can freeze without blanching as long as you use them within the next three months. To freeze carrots raw, it can really be as simple as just put them in the freezer. Here’s a step by step to help as well (and check out the recipe card below for more in depth details).
- Clean your carrots to remove any dirt.
- Prepare your carrots. You have choices here. Keep the peel on or remove. Either is fine. Freeze whole carrots? Sliced, diced, or shredded? All are okay.
- Line a tray with a non-stick surface such as parchment paper, silicone mat, or wax paper.
- Place the carrots spread out on the tray and place in freezer.
- Remove from freezer after 2 hours.
- Place the carrots in a sealed container (like a ziplock bag). Label with the contents and date.
- Place them near the front of your freezer so you don’t forget to eat them within 3 months.
Can You Freeze Raw Carrots?
Yes, you can! Freezing them raw basically means you freeze them without blanching them. If you are freezing whole carrots raw, I’d recommend cleaning to remove any dirt before freezing, then follow the directions for how to freeze carrots without blanching.
How to Freeze Shredded Carrots
When freezing shredded carrots, the trick is to freeze them in small portions so that they are easier to use when you remove them from the freezer. If you freeze in large batches, you will end up with a carrot ice block that is very difficult to use in recipes. My recommendation is to use quart size Ziplock freezer bags for freezing shredded carrots. These allow you to only put a limited amount in each bag, usually about the right amount for a recipe later. You can also freeze flat so they store easier in the freezer and thaw quicker once removed from the freezer. Note: If you are going to be storing for longer than 3 months, make sure you blanch the carrots before freezing.
To peel or not to peel, that is the question!
Should you peel your carrots before freezing them? The answer is … maybe.
Most people recommend peeling carrots before use – regardless whether you will be freezing them or not. If you aren’t sure, the safe bet is to peel them. Peeling takes a little bit longer, but removes any remaining dirt and bacteria that might linger even after washing. If you know where your carrots came from (like from your own garden) and you’ve washed them thoroughly, you can choose to skip the peeling process to save time. However, even then, it’s safer to peel than to not peel.
Want to peel but don’t want to spend the time it takes to do it? Try one of these carrot peeling hacks to speed up the process:
- Use both sides of the peeler. Slice down the carrot and use the return stroke to peel more on the way back up.
- Don’t hold the carrot in your hand – hold the end with your fingers and place the other end on the cutting board and rotate as you peel the entire length in one go. Check out this YouTube video to see this in action.
- Don’t have a peeler? Use a wire brush, balled up aluminum foil, or the back of your knife blade to peel the carrots.
- Don’t like your carrot peeler? Try this one from Oxo.
How to Plant and Grow Your Own Carrots
Love carrots but don’t love buying them from the store each week? Want to grow your own? Or maybe you already have started a carrot garden and want to get some tips and tricks. There’s no one better to teach you than Getty Stewart – check out her blog post on growing your own carrots!
So now you’ve got a freezer full of carrots – what do you do with them? Check out this recipe roundup!
There’s nothing worse than spending a bunch of time preserving your carrots than to find them in your freezer three years from now uneaten. Even with the best freezing techniques, the flavor will degrade over time, so you want to use your frozen carrots before you hit the 6-12 month mark.
Need some inspiration? Check out these recipes that work great with carrots straight from the freezer:
If you froze your carrots whole, use these recipes:
Creamy Vegan Carrot Soup from A Virtual Vegan. This uses whole carrots, which eventually get cut then blended into this soup. Perfect for a cold winters day.
Carrot Ginger Turmeric Smoothie from Minimalist Baker. This does contain almond milk, so if you are allergic like I am, you can substitute soy milk or coconut milk as well.
Got diced/sliced carrots, check these out:
Creamy Carrot Casserole from Taste of Home. While not vegan, this vegetarian dish is pretty simple to make and it’s a great crowd pleaser.
Roasted Frozen Carrots from Build Your Bite. This recipe uses crinkle cut carrots, but also works well with sliced and diced carrots.
Vegetarian Vegetable and Bean Chili from Betty Crocker. Hard to go wrong with so many good flavors mixed together in this recipe.
You shredded your carrots? Then these recipes are for you:
Curried Carrot Fritters from A Virtual Vegan. These can be made by thawing your frozen shredded carrots in the fridge for a day, then using in this recipe.
Vegan Nut Free Carrot Cake from La La Lunchbox. Shredded carrots make this carrot cake amazing!
Learning how to freeze your carrots can not only ensure this nutritious vegetable doesn’t go to waste, but can make meal prep easier on future nights when the carrots are already washed, peeled, and ready to go. You can freeze carrots in any form from shredded to whole. You can even cook your carrots into another dish and freeze that if you want (frozen carrot soup is a good option; carrot cake muffins also freeze well).
How to Freeze Carrots
- Start a large pot of water to boil.
- Wash and peel your carrots. Remove the ends.
- Cut your carrots into desired size (shredded, sliced, diced, or keep whole).
- Set up a large bowl of ice water on the counter near the stove.
- Add carrots to boiling water. Set a timer. 2 Minutes for shredded, sliced, or diced carrots. 5 minutes for whole carrots. (Don't forget to set the timer – accuracy is important here!)
- When the timer goes off, remove the carrots from the boiling water and add directly into the ice water.
- Once carrots are chilled, spread on a towel to dry more.
- Spread dried carrots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (could also use a silicon mat).
- Freeze for 2-4 hours.
- Remove from freezer. Place carrots in airtight container such as a Ziplock bag. Label and date. Return to freezer.